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Luis “MainBrain Art” Varón: 3D generalist artist interview

Luis Varon

Look Dev / Lighting Artist

Luis Fernando Puentes Varón, aka MainBrain Art, is a CG generalist with a passion for look dev and experimentation. Find out more…

Luis' ArtStation

3dtotal

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

Luis

Hi, I’m Luis Fernando Puentes Varón, and in social media you can find me as MainBrain Art. I’m a 3D artist from Colombia, more focused on Light and Look Dev – I started my career as a CG modeler and later became a CG generalist. Now I’m trying to focus more on lighting and look dev, which is my passion. I love to try new looks and styles for my artworks, always experimenting with new stuff.

car 3d model render realistic creation
Acura NSX 2012 Concept

3dtotal

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

Luis

The idea for my last gallery image came from my hunger to do something new: I wanted to try a workflow with a more hand-painted texture style, then I found the amazing concept from Guille Rancel. When I saw it I knew that was the one. It had everything; modeling, grooming, and the stylized look that I wanted to achieve.

alchemist cabin 3d model scenery environment
Alchemist Cabin

3dtotal

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

Luis

It had a lot of challenges, and I learned a lot! The first one was the perspective of the concept, it was really difficult to get the pose working, one-shoulder armor, the arms, the ribs – they were really difficult to get the right proportions, and still get the right pose. The other challenge was the grooming. It was my first time using XGen, but there is a guy called Jesus Fernandez on YouTube who explains it well, for use in Maya. Finally, the challenge I loved the most to explore was the look dev. I read an article about how Pixar did the food in ratatouille, and I wanted to give it that look. So it ended up a combination of a single scatter to every object even the metals, and in comp I played with the values and colors of the single scatter AOV.

bug creature design 3d model digital art
Hada

3dtotal

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

Luis

I use PureRef to collect the references. For modeling, I use ZBrush and Maya, Substance Painter for texturing, and Renderman, Arnold, Redshift for look dev and lighting. For compositing, I use BlackMagic Fusion and Nuke sometimes.

3dtotal

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

Luis

Well, this industry is evolving so quickly, that you have to learn something new every day. So I always try to learn something when I see the chance. A good way to do it, is to grab any model, could be yours, or the one that came by default in Substance, Renderman, or whatever. Then start testing, paint it, apply some material to it, see how it reacts to the different lights, just play with it. The next time you do a portfolio piece, those tests will help you a lot!

3dtotal

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

Luis

I’m always looking on Pinterest for new concepts and ideas. And pages like 3dtotal, cartoon brew, 80lvl for news.

3dtotal

What are your artistic ambitions?

Luis

Hah! I want to do a lot of stuff, but in the short term, I want to do a short film with a stylized look that I’m currently researching.

medieval city environment scenery housing 3d model
Medieval City

3dtotal

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

Luis

I follow a lot of artists, but I would say that Jeremy Vickery, Arvid Schneider, Guille Rancel, Tomm Moore, Vitor Hugo Queiroz, Thibaud Pourplanche, Alice Pisoni, and so many more, are my favorites.

3dtotal

What can we expect to see from you next?

Luis

Well, there is a lot of stuff that I want to do, but I would say that I want to create a safari character, with the same style as I did in my last artwork.

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