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Michael Robson: 3D character artist interview

Michael Robson

3D Character Artist

3D character artist currently works as a freelance character artist on different projects from advertising to cinematics. Check out his workflow and tips for inspiration…

Michael's ArtStation

3dtotal

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

Michael

I’m a 3D character artist based in Curitiba, Brazil. My focus is mostly fantasy/dark characters. I worked in an advertising studio for 3 years, but now I’m currently working as a freelance character artist for different projects from advertising to cinematics.

3dtotal

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

Michael

My workflow has not changed that much over the years, of course you learn more and do things faster, but basically I do a rough sculpt in ZBrush, move to 3ds Max/Maya for poly modeling and get clean meshes, then I move to Maya to do the hair in Gen and render in Arnold. (Sometimes I use V-Ray in 3ds Max as well.) My inspiration most of the time is influenced by movies, games, and books that I like (Tolkien, Dark Souls, Diablo, and so on…)

elf lord of the rings style inspiration fantasy character

3dtotal

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

Michael

I always choose a subject that challenges me in some way; it could be anatomy, hair, or a different shader. The Goblin character was a bit stressful for me because I decided to push my anatomy skills further from previous projects and he also has a lot of exposed skin, so it took more time to plan and texture him as well. Magni (the dwarf) on the other hand had a lot of hair, so my main challenge there was to make a nice looking face for him and the hair ­– I never did something as complex as that before.

3dtotal

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

Michael

I use a combination of different softwares depending on the task, including professional or personal work. For example, I use Marvelous Designer for clothing, XGen/Ornatrix for hair, Substance Painter/Mari for texturing, Arnold/V-Ray for render, and of course our old friend ZBrush.

3dtotal

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

Michael

I’m not that kind of guy who updates the portfolio every month with a new piece, I take my time for personal stuff, sometimes I have to learn something new on the way, so I have to stop a bit and study that subject. But what I recommend is, focus on quality and try to set a deadline for your project. Some people say that if it is your project you can take your time, yes that’s true, especially if you are learning something new, but if you are always taking too long to finish you might face some problems with deadline/schedules when a professional work comes up.

3dtotal

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

Michael

Yeah, I use Instagram and Facebook a lot, I follow some hashtags such as ZBrush, Creatures, Fantasy Art, Character Art, Creature Design, and Anatomy.

3dtotal

What are your artistic ambitions?

Michael

I don't really know to be honest ha! Creating some really nice creatures for games and movies that I love would be nice I think! And of course push my skills to be better every day.

plague doctor model design 3d model sculpt

3dtotal

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

Michael

Recently I’ve been following some artists that are great sculptors. I really like to observe the way they represent the form and how clean they can translate to a sculpt. My great friends Cesar Zambelli and José Pericles... Samuel Poirier, Leon Enriquez, Pascal Clemente, Kris Costa, Gio Nakpil… I also like 2D, I’ve been following the work of Dave Rapoza, Kekai Kotaki, Chase Stone, Karla Ortiz, Chris Rahn and many other Magic The Gathering artists, and of course the old masters such as Bernini and Michelangelo.

3dtotal

What can we expect to see from you next?

Michael

I’m taking a break from long projects recently to focus more on sculpt and anatomy, those are the things that I want to be better at, so I will probably post more content related to that!

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