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Jesús M Chacón: 3D character artist interview

Jesús M Chacón

3D Character Artist

Spanish 3D character artist Jesús M Chacón also has archviz experience, and here he talks about the process for locking down a likeness, and his ambitions and inspirations so far…

3dtotal

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

Jesús

First of all, I wanted to thank you for the interview. My name is Jesús, I'm from Spain, I did a university degree in Architecture, but my first contact with 3D design was much earlier than my university studies. I've been working like a freelancer especially doing archviz, though I have worked in other design fields. Nowadays I'm looking for an opportunity in the industry as a 3D character artist. As I am already familiar with team and multidisciplinary work, I'd like to work in a team to improve my skills and share experiences and knowledge.

3dtotal

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

Jesús

The idea came as it usually happens; you see images in different places, either in films, television, comics, digital galleries, and these images suggest things, ideas, which often lead you to do something very different from what you've seen, but it works as a spark to awaken the imagination when you are working. In this particular case, the face of the character is very suggestive and in some ways it reminded me of the art of Fernando Botero, so I decided to do this realistic caricature.

About workflow, this artwork has been done with ZBrush, Mari, and Maya. The head and body were totally sculpted with ZBrush with the common workflow, dynamesh, retopology, details, and displacement. And then, it was exported to Maya and rendered with Arnold.

futuristic female character design
Priestess. Real-time character
marvel inspired 3d character
The gentleman. Real-time character

3dtotal

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

Jesús

There's always room to learn something new. For this work I focused particularly on the detailing of the skin. I tried to improve my workflow in this area. In order to understand better the working of the skin, its wrinkles and pores, the process was done mainly by hand, avoiding the usual projection workflow. This way you have more freedom and are not constrained by fixed textures.

On the other hand, the second challenge was to learn Arnold Render, because until now I have been working either with real-time engines or with V-Ray and Corona Render. Although all render engines have similarities, each one has its own features. So I have been learning a lot about Arnold's shaders and lighting. It has also been a challenge getting a more realistic look in the eyes.

futuristic priestess 3d model
Priestess. Real-time character

3dtotal

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

Jesús

Definitely, I have worked with a lot of different software from different branches of design, software for architecture, graphic design and different 3D software. A few years ago I was more focused on Modo and 3ds Max. But, nowadays the programs I more frequently use are 3ds Max, Maya, and ZBrush. Other programs, like Marvelous Designer, Substance Painter, or Photoshop, are also essential. Lately, I've been also interested in incorporating Moi3D into my workflow.

3dtotal

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

Jesús

Whenever I start a new project for my portfolio, I look for something I have never done before. I try to meet a new challenge with different situations to deal with, so it doesn't become a mechanical work. Out of my experience, I would advise to have a learning purpose for every practice. It could be a good idea to find your weaknesses and figure out new ways to make progress. You don't learn when you just practice for the sake of practice itself. You learn when you drive your practice in a deliberate way towards the solving of a weakness you have.

3d character model sheet
Priestess. Real-time character

3dtotal

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

Jesús

Yes, sure. I frequently use different social media and webs. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are my favorites. I use Instagram like a kind of sketchbook and as a source for inspiration. Facebook groups can be very useful when it comes to get feedback and meet other community members. Finally, I'm on other websites similar to 3dtotal. Some of my favorite hashtags to follow are #zbrush, #3dcharacter, #characterdesign, #cgi and #render.

3dtotal

What are your artistic ambitions?

Jesús

I'd like to keep studying anatomy and the performance of the human body in movement in order to improve the posing of characters. I am also interested in hard surfaces. Although I already know the workflow of subdivision modeling, I want to get deeper into it and catch up with other software like Moi 3d. Nevertheless, I have an open mind for whatever it might come.

3dtotal

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

Jesús

In general, I follow a lot of artists from different fields, it depends on what I'm looking for. For example, recently I have been watching the photography of Roger Deakins looking for inspiration for composition and lighting. Rafael Grassetti, Ian Spriggs, Kris Costa, Georgian Avasilcutei, Cedric Peyravernay, Ben Nicholas, Pascal Blanché, and Marco Plouffe are artists that I've been following lately.

For example, Kris Costa, Georgian Avasilcutei, and Pascal Blanché are very experienced artists and they get involved very actively in social networks. Georgian Avasilcutei has a Twitch channel where you can learn a lot and Pascal Blanché, on Twitter, shares artworks which boost your inspiration. There are many others from whom you can learn. You only have to open your eyes and know what to choose.

3dtotal

What can we expect to see from you next?

Jesús

On a personal level, I am interested in working on more real-time characters. I already know Unreal Engine from previous work in archviz and small projects, but now I would like to go deeper and present the new projects for my portfolio in UE4. The possibilities of UE4 at the render level are impressive and I definitely want to bring my real-time characters to the next level.

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