Diego Sain: 3D Character and Creature Artist Interview

3D character and creature concept artist Diego Sain unveils the working methods behind his latest ZBrush projects, and his aims for the future...

3D character and creature concept artist Diego Sain unveils the working methods behind his latest ZBrush projects, and his aims for the future...

3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?

Diego Sain: Hi, my name is Diego Sain and I am an autodidact character concept artist. I was born in Italy but now live in Barcelona. Here I had the opportunity to improve my artistic skills, starting in the animation field, later focusing on traditional modeling, and now with computer graphics. I have always been interested in each step of the character creation process, beginning from the sketch to the final composition.

I created MrFang in order to test my skills with Fibermesh

3dt: Where did you find the inspiration for your latest gallery entry? What's the story behind its creation?

DS: I work daily on my personal creative world by using sketch, references, and discovering new styles. The inspiration can come up at any time, but the hardest work is to contextualize and adapt this to my own style. My aim is to not create just beautiful images, but especially to be able to tell interesting stories through my characters. I look for the creation of fantasy characters, but at the same time maintaining a realistic mood, which has been gained by the creation of my Coccohell and MrFang.

3dt: What software and plug-ins did you use to create this image? Did you face any difficulties, and how did you overcome them?

DS: My workflow is based on ZBrush, KeyShot and Photoshop, which are three really good programs for the experimentation phase with a great artistic predisposition. My work has never faced any unresolvable problems, but it has always given me further stimulus to keep going and improve my skills by the utilization of new tools and techniques. The total dedication, the effort to put everything into question in order to achieve the optimal outcome, is the fundamental constant for any kind of project.

Work done in the Creature Design Workshop with Luca Nemolato

3dt: Do you normally use this software in your workflow? What other software and plug-ins do you favor?

DS: ZBrush is the principal program in my work, but according to the requirement I will also use 3D-Coat for the retopology and Maya for the low-poly modeling and UV mapping.

3dt: Are there any particular techniques that you use often? Or do you like to experiment?

DS: I don't use any particular technique but in each of my projects I try to experiment with new tools and investigate the capability of a different type of software. Finally, after lots of hard work I came across a workflow which I feel is suitable to my artistic skills and my style.

Infest is a quick project done to improve my knowledge of KeyShot

3dt: What are your artistic ambitions?

DS: I have just come out of a long and hard working path, which was aimed at improving my portfolio. Now I would love to start up a new working experience in a team, where I could daily compare my knowledge with other artists, and firstly where I could grow up as character concept artist. But at the same time I would continue working on self-improvement, through my personal projects with new characters and creatures.

3dt: What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skillset, and why?

DS: With a future job I would like to add Marvelous Design into my workflow. I think that is a great program in order to work on the realism of my characters and also I would love to spend time in searching new potentiality of ZBrush R7, as Zmodeler and Nanomesh.

With Sakura I wanted to work with ZBrush and search for detail

3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?

DS: Every day I try to make up some time for drawing and thinking about my next projects, in this way the next step with ZBrush will be easier and quicker, if the principal researches on the character have been accurately carried out. Usually searching the web such as 3dtotal, ArtStation, ZBrush Central, and I'll post my work on CG communities to help me to maintain the desire to improve myself. I think that an updated portfolio is fundamental in order to show off own qualities and the artistic development.

3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?

DS: As an autodidact, constantly following other artists' ideas and results is essential for my work development. Through their work, interviews, tutorials and workshops, I learn something new every day. There are so many artists, which through the years affected my own work and style, motivating me, especially during times of troubles. Recently I got the opportunity to frequent a workshop by the Digital Shark Academy, managed by Luca Nemolato, a very great artist. I always grab these kinds of opportunities, inasmuch as they are wonderful experiences, but most of all they are fundamental to strengthen my skill and to motivate me.

Cocohell was a personal challenge but very funny to create

3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?

DS: I would say… more fantasy characters, which live surrounded by stroppy creatures based on post-nuclear scenarios… Actually it sounds really good!!!

Related links

Check out Diego Sain's personal website
Find out how Diego created Cocohell
Add your vote for MrFang in the gallery
Grab a copy of ZBrush Characters & Creatures

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