Modeling for collectibles: 3D artist André SiK

André SiK

3D Artist

We sit down with 3D character modeler André SiK to discuss how he approaches working on sculpts for collectibles, including his highly detailed model for the Night King. Take a look!

André's Artstation


Brazilian digital sculptor extraordinaire André SiK has created some incredible sculpts for Prime 1 Studio, a manufacturer of collectible models. At 34 years old, he has been working in the industry for the last 4 years, following his graduation in Animation Design in 2016 at Universidade Anhembi Morumbi. We caught up with him to find out more about him, and his process.

“I live in São Paulo, Brazil,” he says, “and currently I'm working with games, which along with collectibles, is one of the areas I love the most. This is actually one of the things I enjoy the most with 3D sculpting – the possibilities we have. I've worked with games, collectibles, animation, and every day I'm learning something new to do. To be honest, I don't think I'll ever stop studying

Night King

We were particularly impressed with his model for Game of Thrones’ Night King. “The software I used for this Night King project was ZBrush. Lately with all the improvements, I don't even feel the need to go to other programs. For working on collectibles, ZBrush has been my bread and butter. As for this specific project, it went through some big changes from start to finish. The first concept was totally different; it had many fallen bodies with the Night King standing on top of them. In the end we thought it would be better the way it is now, with him reviving the corpses. As for duration, the whole project took around 5 months, working with a team of artists such as Mike Miranda, Gerson Rother, Jeronimo Duarte, and Kubisi.”

“One of the most important parts in collectibles is the silhouette,” continues André. “From it, at a very early stage, we can already see if the statue will work or not. From the silhouette, you can start gradually working on refining smaller and smaller forms. Another important thing to consider is the scale that that piece will be printed. This is very important for the size of the details that you will carve. For example, fabric details on a T-shirt. If the scale is smaller, you need to make bigger and stronger details, so that they'll appear on the final print.”

What about for larger pieces? “If the piece is larger, like a 1/2 scale statue, then the details can be much smaller. That being said, overall, when comparing to games, in collectible works we need to leave stronger details when we sculpt, so they are visible after the piece is printed and painted.”

Unfortunately, André is yet to hold one of his finished pieces in his hands, though he is sure that it must be even more beautiful in person, than the ZBrush software or the publicity photos. “The artists in the painting department of Prime 1 are very good. So yeah, I'd imagine that seeing a project like that in person would make me remember all the struggle and effort in bringing it to life from a sphere.”

For working on collectibles, ZBrush has been my bread and butter. As for this specific project, it went through some big changes from start to finish.

André SiK

Strong details

André stresses the importance of strong details for collectible sculpts. “If you are going to make chainmail on a character with a size of 20 cm, when modeling in ZBrush you will make this chainmail detail a big mesh, so after it is printed and in your hands, it is visible and you can see the details.”

“Now imagine if this piece is to have 90 cm scale,” he continues. “This same model in ZBrush needs to make the chainmail detail size smaller, because if it won't have very large details, so it will look ugly and not feel real after being printed. It is always important to ask the contractor for the scale of the project you are doing. With that in mind, you will already know how detailed to make each detail for the skin details on the face, fabric, metal, wood, and so on. It’s always good to look for references in this case too, usually when artists post their work, in the description they always put the scale of the project.”

batman bruce wayne dc comics 3d sculpt render model character design


Impressive bases are definitely a surefire way to boost an impressive sculpt, and also tell a story. “Prime 1 has evolved the way it makes the base of a project,” explains André. “In the past it was simpler, but over time the bases of projects are increasingly rich in details. The Berserk project that I worked on with my friend Giovanni Grecco, had a lot of detail; three heads on the back of the base, some monks trying to kill Guts' friends, a crocodile, and some other monsters”

“Some artists that I admire, and who work with great dedication throughout the production from character to base, are friends of mine too; Caio Fantini, Giovanni Grecco, and Steferson Rocha. I also admire Daniel Bel a lot – he is an amazing artist who puts a lot of detail in his works, you feel the love he puts into his projects.”

Carving a career

André has always been drawn to the 3D word. “I really like to make heads. If a head isn't good, it will spoil the beauty of the project. I like to think that the head is what will guide curious eyes to the piece. Another thing that I consider very important is the base that the character is standing on. The base tells a story, so it is very important to make it match whatever emotion or energy the character is feeling or showing. A well-crafted base is essential for a project to get attention. And last but not least, quality of details. Giving the proper amount of care and love when adding details to your project will most definitely call the attention of curious eyes.”

So with André’s focus on head-making, he opens ZBrush and begins by making the model high-res, before adjusting the retopology. “I make the bakes and texture, and after that bring it to the engine, either Unreal or Frostbite EA. Having knowledge of these software is very important if someone is thinking of getting into this gaming industry. And using social media, Artstation, and Linkedin. Generally companies post in these places mostly. In my case I applied after seeing a post on Facebook. I went to the site and posted my portfolio for them to see, and so the company got in touch with me.”

As for those looking to get into the industry, he has some advice to keep in mind. “In the game industry, each project you work on has a different documentation, showing the way they want you to do the work, how you should post at the end of your day. Each project has the lead artist who helps you with some doubts – there is a lot of organization and this is a very good thing.”

The future

André has many exciting projects coming up. “For 3D print collectibles, I'm working on some renders of a Bruce Wayne project that I custom made for a company. I'm also making a Batman, which in this case is a personal project, I've already posted some WIP images on my Instagram. I don't have time to continue it at the moment, but as soon as I have some time I want to finish it. Another personal project but in real-time I'm also doing, is a study of female heads with different ethnicities. I've been doing this for a while, to further improve my modeling, texturing, hair cards, and applying new trends that I'm learning with the work as well.”

female character model design render 3d bob hair style

“With games I'm working full-time remotely for Roarty Digital. I've been working with them for a few months and it's been pretty cool, I'm already working on my second project with them. And I can only say (N.D.A.) good things are coming, wait for it!”

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