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Behind the Scenes: Aang (Avatar, The Last Airbender)



Hello everyone!

My name is Luis Miguel Maldonado, and I'm from Colombia. I've been a 3D graphic designer for 10 years; my first approach into 3D was with Maya, but nothing beats Blender.

I could say that my interest in 3D began at a very young age, with all the changes in technology since the 90s, video games, computers, the internet, etc. Before becoming a graphic designer, I was a software developer for over 12 years.

Currently, I work as a freelance 3D designer/artist and of course, I enjoy using Blender.


The live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series finally premiered on Netflix in 2024, and the original animated series experienced a resurgence. I wanted to make Aang smiling and happy at 12 years old, just like we saw him in the animated series years ago.



To bring my Aang to life, I started with a quick sketch and then went from there. I wanted to show him in a more contemporary way in terms of his clothing but without neglecting the aspects that make Aang an iconic character, such as his characteristic tattoos.

Project Development

As with any digital development or artistic project, it is important to have order which is how I manage it within my Blender file with the respective hierarchical order of collections and objects.

Everything was done within Blender: Modeling, Sculpting, Shading, Texturing, Texture Painting, Lighting, Post-production, Animation (Turntable), Rendering.

It is important for me to tell you that I lost my left arm years ago, which is why I do all my work with my right arm only. I work without a tablet, only with a mouse. To help me with shortcuts and the use of keys like Alt, Shift and Control, I use a Razer Naga mouse that has 19 customizable buttons. With several years of experience, I have achieved a certain agility that allows me to work faster than many people with both arms.


  • PC - Windows 11
  • Tarjeta de video: NVIDIA RTX 3080
  • Procesador: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
  • RAM: 32 GB


  • Blender (versión 4.0)
  • Photoshop


After the general blockout, I started sculpting the head with its details. Then I added the clothes and accessories. I wanted to show something related to Aang's spirit animal and inseparable friend, Appa, so I added it to the scene as an enamel pin that my wife helped me design. For the look of the enamel pins, I followed Nazariy Dudnik's tutorial; for the design of the stitched patch with procedural threads⁣, I followed Kent Trammell's tutorial from CGCookie; and for the procedural fabric with the fuzz⁣ of Aang's jacket, I followed Derek Elliott's tutorial.


In my experience with 3D, I have learned about lighting in a self-taught way, following rules and guidelines used in photography. I do not usually use HDRI but instead add, configure, and adjust each light, depending on each project.

RENDER: Aang (Avatar, The Last Airbender)

Animation render:

More renders:

Feel free to contact me on my social media. Thank you for reading!

About the Artist                       

Luis Miguel Maldonado, a.k.a. solosalsero, is a 3D artist from Bogotá, Colombia. Specializing in Blender for 3D modeling and lighting, he is available for freelance work and eager to take on new projects.

About the Author

Avatar image for Alina Khan
Alina Khan

A self taught 3d artist, who seeks to excel in the computer graphics field. Currently a student, freelancer and the editor for the 'Behind the Scenes' at Blender Nation.

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