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Luis Vera: character artist interview

Lupo V

3D Character Artist

3D character artist Luis Vera is creating a series of characters based on childhood cartoons, like “Thundercats.” Take a look at his portfolio, and find out more…

Lupo's ArtStation

3dtotal

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

Lupo

My name is Luis Vera, and I’m a character artist from Mexico. At the moment I am living in the northern city of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. I began my carrier as an industrial designer doing product visualization and arch-viz, and then I switched to creating characters for games, TV, and films.

horse holding gun

3dtotal

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

Lupo

The idea came from giving an update to loved classic cartoons from the 80s; how would they look these days? So I started to make some ideas. The workflow for my last gallery image began with sculpting a base mesh in ZBrush. Looking for the correct proportions for this character, I took references from the 80s cartoon Thundercats, watched some videos (to remind me the personality of the character), cats, raccoons, reptiles, and armadillos. Once I had the base concept sculpted, I took it into Maya to retopologize, and get UVs. After that, I returned to ZBrush to work more on proportions and detail, and then exported the texture maps (Displacement, Normal, Specular, Polypaint), added some interactive grooming Splines, and rendered in Arnold.

Always work on personal projects besides your day-to-day job, and study art basics like anatomy, color, and composition, every day for at least half an hour. This will help you to keep growing, and make for good study habits and discipline. “Inspiration has to find you working."

3dtotal

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

Lupo

The challenge presented with this image was how to make a good adaptation of this character in 3D. The first thing is to always be aware of the essence and personality of the character, their color palette, proportions, and likeness. You have to find a good balance between the animation style and realistic 3D. All this, besides creating a good workflow to get the job done.

armed ogre holding weapon

3dtotal

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

Lupo

I’m always searching for new software that makes the job more efficient, and also use Substance Painter mostly for hard surface things like shields, swords, accessories for the character, and so on. For skin and organic textures, I try to stay as much as I can in ZBrush, and use Polypaint tools and masking mostly.

3dtotal

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

Lupo

Stay motivated! Search for awesome concept art in groups, artist pages, social media, articles, magazines, watching movies, old and new cartoons. This helps you to get inspired. Always work on personal projects besides your day-to-day job, and study art basics like anatomy, color, and composition, every day for at least half an hour. This will help you to keep growing, and make for good study habits and discipline. “Inspiration has to find you working."

3dtotal

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

Lupo

I check ArtStation and Instagram on a daily basis, as well as sculpting forums, CG society, and all the cool artists on Facebook: Ten Thousand Hours, Pixologic, and Character Design References. Pinterest is a good resource of art and creativity.

troll and dragon armored character

3dtotal

What are your artistic ambitions?

Lupo

To keep expressing myself through art. I have always been fascinated by the process of creating, and if on the way I get to reach people and sync with them for a moment in their lives, this would be a completed process.

3dtotal

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

Lupo

There are so many awesome artists I just couldn´t stop the list, but to name a few that have always inspired me with their work: Rick Baker, Simon Lee, Kris 'Antropus' Costa, Sadan Vague, Alessandro Baldasseroni, Aris Kolokontes, Brett Sinclair, Ian Spriggs, Raf Grassetti, Vitaly Bulgarov, FurioTedeschi, to name a few.

red and yellow cat character

3dtotal

What can we expect to see from you next?

Lupo

I’ll be creating a whole series of characters from my childhood, and new contemporary characters based on cool artwork. There are tons of ideas to explore.

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