Yuka Ishikawa - Men's Head

Husband and wife team Yuka and Teruyuki Ishikawa talk about their recent photorealistic creations and how they complement each others' abilities...

Husband and wife team Yuka and Teruyuki Ishikawa talk about their recent photorealistic creations and how they complement each others' abilities...

3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
Yuka and Teruyuki Ishikawa: We are 3D CG artists, and we work mainly in Tokyo. Currently we are a freelance outfit, where we receive work from various production companies. We handle many kinds of work from movies and TV animation through to game cinematics. We specialize in the creation of character assets as well as production of movies.

3dt: Tell us about your image 'Courir' and 'Men's head_001'. Were they a challenge to create? What inspired it? Talk about the software you used to create them.
YI and TI: For about three years we have been studying how to create a realistic image of a human being with CG. It was a very difficult challenge to express a human being in CG, but it was a very worthwhile experience, and one of the other goals was to create a new workflow. We (husband and wife) are studying the work from our different specialties.

That is, Yuka looks at it from the hair asset, texture and UV point of view. Teruyuki comes from a modeling, lookdev, lighting, rig, and comp aspect.

'Courir' was created to express a futuristic F1 race as a movie. We took hints from an old NAMCO game called Metro-cross. We used many photographs of women as reference for expressing her face (formation and texture).

We do not use photographs when producing the texture, it is all hand-painted. Just as special makeup artists can create a realistic-looking texture with their analog tools, we feel that the same can be done with digital tools as well. In addition, by doing everything by hand we can really get involved with the texture and receive new inspiration that deepens our understanding of formation. Of course by using a photo we can make our work more productive, but as we are still relatively inexperienced we want the time to be able to get our hands dirty with each texture.

In other words, it is also our way of studying. Especially with humans; we see people every day, so if there are any odd parts or parts where we have gotten lazy, it is easy for the viewers to notice.

We believe that it is important to face each construction head on, honestly, without compromise. One of the most important things in this flow is to create a brush that will allow us to create various kinds of expressions. We are always creating necessary brushes for what we need them for, such as a brush to express the texture of the skin, a brush for bumps and indentations, a brush for blood vessels, and so on. Even with the irises of the eyes, we do not use photographs but make everything by hand. The armor design is still a prototype and not completed yet. It takes a long time to compete a movie.

In 'Men's head_001' we aimed at a more human-like, photographic quality work. We are looking at whether or not there is any conflict with the photograph used for the background, whether or not it will be able to stand on its own as a single photograph when we insert the person into the background photo.

The hardest part was the creation of the hair. We took a lot of time to make the workflow for creating the hairstyle, and creating a realistic, natural hair texture that matched the face. The work flow started by using Fibermesh in ZBrush to create hair volume and the flow of the hair, then importing the hairline into Maya to use Shave and a Haircut to create the hairstyle and setup.

The main pieces of software that we use are Maya, ZBrush, MARI, Shave and a Haircut, V-Ray and NUKE.

3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
YI and TI: We are planning on publishing mainly human characters this year. Next year we will look at creatures and animals. The plan is to release one work every 2-3 months, but if we make a movie, there will be some delay in this. If we get any requests for tutorials or tips, we are also willing to share.

3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
YI and TI: Recently we referred to Dan Roarty's tips and used him as one of our goals. Sometimes we find lots of hints from Stan Winston's movies.

In addition, the movies produced by Blur Studio and Digic Pictures are always of the highest quality, and have the power to pull the viewer into the story over such a short time. We enjoy the action and camera work, the textures and the use of space. We watch these movies all the time. Traditional artists that we respect highly and receive inspiration from are the Japanese painter Itō Jakuchū for his sensitive use of color, revolutionary expressions and use of space; as well as Rembrandt as we can see hints for innovation in light and texture from his paintings.

3dt: How do you like to unwind after a hard day's (or night's) work?
YI and TI: About 90% of our free time is spent making personal works. We can relax through making works that we like, and can spend an enjoyable and meaningful time doing them.

3dt: If you could choose any superhero power, what would you take, and why?
YI and TI: Rather than that, we want to continue to watch good films and game movies to gain courage as artists, some production hints, and to continue to polish our artistic sense.

Teruyuki's workstation

Hewlett Packard: Z820 Workstation (main machine)
intel(R) Xeon(R) E5-2609v2 (2.50GHz, 4core, 10MB,1333MHz)
intel(R)Xeon(R) E5-2609v2 2nd (2.50GHz, 4core, 10MB,1333MHz)
32GB DDR-3 SDRAM(1866MHz, ECC, 4GBx8) Quadrro2000
Dell: Vostro410 (2nd machine)
intel(R)Core2 Quad Q9550 @2.83GHz 2.83Ghz
Monitor (main) Eizo: Color Edge CG277
Monitor (2nd) Dell: 2407WFP
Wacom intuos4

Yuka's workstation

Hewlett Packard: Z820 Workstation (main machine)
intel(R) Xeon(R) E5-2609 (2.40GHz, 4core, 10MB,1066MHz)
intel(R) Xeon(R) E5-2609v2 2nd (2.40GHz, 4core, 10MB,1066MHz)
32GB DDR-3 SDRAM(1600MHz, ECC, 4GBx8) Quadrro4000
Dell: Vostro410 (2nd machine)
intel(R)Core2 Quad Q9550 @2.83GHz 2.83Ghz
Monitor (main) Eizo: Color Edge CX2770
Monitor (2nd) Dell: 2407WFP
Wacom intuos4

Related links

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Continue to vote for 'Men's head_001' in the gallery
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