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David Zavala: character artist interview

David Zavala

Character Artist

Character artist David Zavala currently lives in Mexico working on 3D models for Ar and VR applications, with a passion for portraiture. Check out amazing work from his portfolio, and his advice for beginners…

Visit David's ArtStation

3dtotal

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?

David

Hi, I´m David, and I live in Querétaro, Mexico. I am a character artist or at least I aspire to be one! I now work in a small studio located in my city, working mainly in 3D modeling for AR and VR applications. I love making faces, mainly feminine, texturing the skin and making hair with the haircards technique because the results that can be had are very great.

3dtotal

What was the workflow behind your latest gallery image? Where did the idea come from?

David

Well, it all started with a simple head sculpting practice but little by little I started to add more details. I ended up turning it into a practice of skin texture, then hair, and then I decided to improve my render in Marmoset Toolbag.

The workflow is simple or at least it is used by many people, sculpted from high poly in ZBrush, retopology in Maya, and textures in Substance Painter (I usually use MARI to project certain textures and Photoshop to add irregularities), hair textures with xGen and render in Marmoset. Something I have adopted on my own, for example, is in the hair: I create the card in Maya and export it to ZBrush where I am accommodating the geometries to form the hairstyle (this technique has worked for me a lot). Finally – and this is something I recommend – leave the project for a while and look back after a few days or weeks as this helps to find any mistakes. It is my best workflow where I can gain experience and have fun.

Finally – and this is something I recommend – leave the project for a while and look back after a few days or weeks as this helps to find any mistakes.

3dtotal

What challenges did the image present? Did you learn something new?

David

Ha, everything is a challenge in a new project! I think my main conflict was making the face attractive (for me) I changed the face so many times – there is a lot of difference with the first version. As for the new thing I learned, I think it was to improve my workflow with my hair and go step by step with the definition of my artistic style.

3dtotal

Do you use any other software, either for work or personal projects?

David

Some more specific ones are Marvelous Designer for clothes, some functions in Blender or 3ds Max, some functions of 3D-Coat for retopology and UVs, Topogun, and I’ve recently discovered Rizom UV that works perfectly. The last wonder that I could only try during 30 days, was Zwrap – I loved it!

3dtotal

How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?

David

I usually have my personal work that I would have finished a few months prior, to give me enough time to observe and learn the mistakes they have, and this at the same time helps me in the project I am working on. When I am prepared or satisfied with what I have learned I upload my work to my portfolio, and the same story is repeated with the following project. I think that the best way to deliver an updated portfolio is not to repeat the previous mistakes, and asking for feedback from other artists is also recommended.

3dtotal

Are you a member of any social media groups? Any favorite hashtags you check on a daily basis?

David

Mainly on Facebook groups that are the most supportive in spreading my work and feedback, and also some in Discord. I am not involved on many pages but I think they are very important. I’m on Instagram and Facebook usually, and the most important hashtags I see are #zbrush, #artstation, # 3dtotal, and #sculpting.

3dtotal

What are your artistic ambitions?

David

To work from home as a freelancer for video game companies; to become an expert in making hair for video games; to make a Patreon or something like that to spread my knowledge: and to make unique characters that transcend or at least serve as a reference for other artists (mainly faces – I love doing female faces.)

I think that the best way to deliver an updated portfolio is not to repeat the previous mistakes, and asking for feedback from other artists is also recommended.

3dtotal

Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?

David

Fernanda Suarez (digital artist) is an inspiration to me; her characters convey emotions, the way she makes her eyes so deep and seductive or how she places the dots in exact points so that they look attractive; her colors – in essence all her work is extraordinary.

There are too many artists to name, but for the 3D, Georgian Avasilcutei and his technique to make characters, the style of Olya Anufrieva, the realism of Ian Spriggs, the sculpting of Daniel Bel, or the textures of Borislav Kechashki.

3dtotal

What can we expect to see from you next?

David

Keep working, improving my anatomy both sculpted and drawn; hair techniques, more realistic characters without losing my style, setting up a Patreon, working abroad, and meeting many artists. I really want to get to my dream job where I just have to make beautiful art – it is worth dreaming. Thank you.

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