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Hadi Karimi: 3D character artist interview

Hadi Karimi

Freelancer 3D Character Artist

Iranian freelance 3D character artist Hadi Karimi specializes in creating highly realistic portraits of famous people, understanding there’s no room for error. He talks about his story so far and workflow…

Hadi's Website

3dtotal

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

Hadi

My name is Hadi Karimi, I’m a CG artist based in Tehran, Iran. I started my career as a 2D artist (digital painter) about 10 years ago, but currently I’m working as a freelance 3D character artist mainly focused on likeness sculpting. I also sometimes sculpt animals and fictional creatures.

When I choose to capture a face which so many people are familiar with, I have to be ready to face all different types of opinions and criticisms

3dtotal

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

Hadi

Most of my projects start in ZBrush, including sculpting the mesh, texturing and painting various maps (using Polypaint) and also UV mapping (using UV Master). Composition, hair grooming and the rendering part of the process happens in Cinema 4D (or Maya for some of the projects). My render engine of choice is Arnold. I’ve been always interested in doing likeness sculpting, mostly of musicians and historical figures.

3dtotal

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

Hadi

Likeness sculpting is always challenging. When I choose to capture a face which so many people are familiar with, I have to be ready to face all different types of opinions and criticisms (which are not always friendly), so it has to be convincing or otherwise people will reject it. I love this challenge because I think that’s what makes it so much fun! This one was no exception.

adele, singer, portrait
ZBrush, Cinema 4D, Arnold

3dtotal

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

Hadi

As a character artist, I have to know how to work with different softwares. I’ve worked with Maya, 3ds Max, Substance Painter… but most of my personal projects happen using ZBrush and Cinema 4D. I also use Photoshop for color correction, color grading and adding the finishing touches to my renders.

3dtotal

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

Hadi

I always try to dedicate part of my daily schedule to personal projects, because I believe that’s where my self-criticism is at its best, and I find it crucial to improve my skills as an artist. It’s worth mentioning that doing personal projects is not just producing content and adding them to my portfolio, I have to measure my progress. if this artwork is at the same level as the last one, then I should be worried.

Eminem, singer, musician, portrait
ZBrush, Cinema 4D, Arnold

3dtotal

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

Hadi

I’ve been a member of the ZBrush Facebook group for a while now and found it a good place to interact with other sculptors. Also online communities like ZBrush Central, ArtStation and 3dtotal are great to find some amazing and inspiring artworks, and also get feedback on my latest works and WIPs.

3dtotal

What are your artistic ambitions?

Hadi

I’d like to say seeing my models in some Hollywood movie but that’s such a cliché! My goal is to be another’s inspiration. To reach the point ten or twenty years from now, when you interview the next generation artists, they name me as someone who inspired them. So I guess I’ve got to work much harder!

3dtotal

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

Hadi

I have to name Rembrandt as one of my biggest inspirations. All the facial expressions in his paintings and also his lighting techniques is absolutely extraordinary. He literally captured people’s souls. If I want to name digital artists there’s going to be a long list but I’ve learned a lot by watching Kris Costa’s anatomy courses, and I think the amount of effort he puts into the detail is exemplary.

Nietzsche, writer, philosopher, portrait
ZBrush, Cinema 4D, Arnold

3dtotal

What can we expect to see from you next?

Hadi

More likenesses! I’d like to do more historical figures, maybe music legends, philosophers, and so on. Also I’ve been really curious about the video game industry recently. I’d like to make some real-time 3D characters for games, and I’m sure it brings a lot of new challenges and I can’t wait to face them!

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