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Felipe Fontoura: 3D character artist interview

Felipe Fontoura

Character Artist

3D character artist Felipe Fontoura talks about developing his portfoilio with a purpose, and the process behind his latest gallery entry...

Felipe's Website

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

Felipe

My name is Felipe Fontoura. I’m 30 years old and I live in São Paulo, Brazil. I graduated in Analysis and Systems Development, and I started to study 3D in the middle of 2013. Since 2015 I’ve been working in this area. I am currently working as a freelancer character artist. I always liked to draw when I was kid and when I discovered 3D after a few years, I was amazed by ZBrush and that made me want to enter the industry.

black manta injustice 2

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

Felipe

In this last project I started with a basemesh from ZBrush, and I used ZBrush to sculpt the most part of the characters and I made some accessories in 3ds Max. For render, I decimated the model on ZBrush and exported to 3ds Max, and then I used V-Ray. I started this project because I was participating in a contest called Magic The Challenge on Facebook. The idea was to produce a statue based on the cards of Magic The Gathering. I chose Thorn Lieutenant, based on an amazing concept by Uriah Voth.

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

Felipe

One of the challenges was to sculpt two characters, that were more complicated to do than usual. I liked to test the detailing in the accessories, sculpt the hairs, I quite like to sculpt hairs and fur. Another challenge was interpreting the concept for 3D. I had to make some changes to make the accessories more believable since I had to show the model of all sides, and I think that was the difficult part, make the accessories believable, and fixed together in a functional way.

What I learned more of was working with heavy files, because I had to split this model into five parts; two parts for each character and plus the base, and then joining all the files at the end.

Usually my pipeline for modeling is ZBrush and 3ds Max, however I use the Marvelous Designer sometimes and Substance Painter for textures. I have a bit knowledge in Maya, but I usually use 3ds Max.

Thorn Lieutenant

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

Felipe

I think the best way to maintain our portfolio is doing personal projects. Despite this, I have some works to finish yet; personal projects are what motivate me the most, because many of my professional works can’t be posted until the studio releases them. In a personal project you can be your own art director and do all the tests you want, explore your own ideas. Doing personal projects are the best way to keep the portfolio updated.

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

Felipe

Yes, some groups on Facebook like Pixologic, Ten Thousand Hours, some collectibles and art groups. It's pretty cool to see what the artists are producing, and is a good way to meet new people and show your work by posting in these groups as well. I like to follow some hashtags on instagram #zbrush #characterdesign #digitalsculpt #3dprint to see what other artists are doing.

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What are your artistic ambitions?

Felipe

Professionally it would be to work for big companies abroad or participate on big projects for games and cinema. I'm adapting my portfolio to have more opportunities in those areas, that's what motivates me. Personally, I would like to be a more complete artist. Not only work with sculptures, but to start to draw again, make my own concepts, learn different techniques of painting, and traditional art.

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

Felipe

I like to inspire myself using national and international artists, who achieve their dreams and work with art, no matter whether they are in big companies abroad or not. They show us what is possible for them, is possible for us too.  Some artists I’m inspired by are Rafael Souza, Fausto de Martini, Rafael Grassetti, Spider Lee, Pedro Conti, Daniel Bel, Igor Catto, Bruno Camara, Simon Lee, Gio Napkil, Paul Bonner, Karl Kopinski, and a lot more.

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What can we expect to see from you next?

Felipe

I intend to finish some personal works for cinematics and games, to diversify my portfolio, to open the range of possibilities and different projects I can work with. I would like to work towards this experience! I hope you enjoy my works that are to come!