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Méline Pischedda: grooming specialist artist interview

Méline Pischedda

Grooming Specialist

3D artist Méline Pischedda is a grooming specialist currently working her way through MoPA (formerly Supinfocom). Check out her grooming workflow and excellent work so far…

Méline Portfolio

3dtotal

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

Méline

Hi! My name is Méline Pischedda. I’m 25 years old, and I am a French 5th-year student at MoPA school of 3D animation (formerly Supinfocom) located in Arles, in the South of France. I’ve always been drawn to all types of art. I graduated in interior architecture and graphic design. Thanks to my training at MoPA, I had the opportunity to discover grooming and I decided to specialize in it (hair, fur, and feathers), and I'm also very interested in character FX.

3dtotal

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

Méline

I wanted to improve my grooming skills so I looked for a concept on Instagram. I came across a drawing by Aaron Blaise that reminded me of my childhood. It was Rajah. I'm a huge fan of his art because there is enough detail to interpret it in 3D and the lighting is very well done.

I started by modeling Rajah in ZBrush, in T-pose, and then in posing. I switched to Maya to do rotopo and UV. When that was done I imported it into Substance Painter to texture it and paint the various density maps. I put it together in Maya and started doing the groom with Yeti, fur shading, and rendered it with Arnold and ACES. I got help from a friend, Alexandre Mougenot, for lighting and composition in Nuke, he helped me highlight the grooming work. I really enjoyed doing this project.

3dtotal

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

Méline

The biggest challenge was getting the shape right, both from the body and from the grooming. I wanted Rajah to keep his mischievous smile, that was the challenge of the sculpture. For grooming, the most difficult parts were the cheeks, chin, and torso. I looked a long time for the final form; I wanted it to be closest to the concept. I improved in Yeti and enjoyed it a lot!

3dtotal

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

Méline

I mainly use Maya (Yeti and XGen), Houdini, Blender, and 3ds Max (Ornatrix). I really like creating the long guides or the intricate hairstyles in Houdini and Blender; I find them easier to control. I think Yeti is perfect to use for fur or a short haircut. But overall I rather like the nodal mode for grooming, I find it more understandable and convenient. That's why I use Yeti and Houdini most of the time.

feline cat stylised furry animal  model render lion

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

Méline

I try to work project after project, even if sometimes I work on several because I like to switch between them. When I complete a project, I render it in sRGB (linear), clay, guides, and sometimes a character turn. I'm also trying to make a little compositing video, to see all the changes. I did it for my other project "Reverse Tiger" also inspired by Aaron Blaise. Since everything is ready, I can put it in my showreel and my portfolio whenever I want and stay up to date.

3dtotal

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

Méline

On Facebook, I am a member of the "CG Grooming Artist" group where I can find tips from other people and their struggle with different software as well. On Instagram, I follow the hashtag "character design challenge", where some artists post their 2D art. It is an inexhaustible source of creativity, and I use it to reproduce the 2D concept into 3D artwork.

female character design 3d render model

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What are your artistic ambitions?

Méline

I am very open to different styles. I really enjoy working on the stylized projects because I can play with the shapes and create something very unique. On the other side, I am totally blown away by some grooming work on realistic characters. I have a slight preference for animals, but I also enjoy hair styles, especially since learning Houdini.

3dtotal

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

Méline

Regarding concept artists, I like the work of Loish, Lydia Elaine, Hedvig H-S, and David Ardinaryas Lojaya because they have their style and I like the way they play with the shapes of their characters.

For 3D works, I really appreciate the work of Yuriy Dulich, Gabriela Salmeron, and Massimo Righi for the realism of their work; I would like to be able to attain their level one day. They really inspired me to become a grooming artist.

illustration model lion mammal furry animal design

3dtotal

What can we expect to see from you next?

Méline

Right after Rajah, I released "Reverse Tiger", which is an imaginary tiger concept by Aaron Blaise. And I recently released the last feline in my “Aaron Blaise Special Felines” trilogy. For the other projects to come, I have tons of ideas but I intend to reinterpret some famous characters. Stay tuned, it's coming soon ... with more fur!

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