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Momen Elwan: 3D character artist interview

Momen Elwan

Freelance 3d character artist

3D character artist Momen Elwan gives an insight as to his creative processes after graduating from a faculty of engineering, telling us his workflow and other important tips.

Momen's Instagram

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

Momen

My name is Momen Elwan, and I’m a character artist from Ismailia, Egypt. I graduated from a faculty of engineering, the “computer and control” department. As a kid I always loved to play games, my first clash with CG things was at the age of 9 I think, my cousin gave me a CD of 3ds Max version 3, and my dad searched for a simple tutorial on how to model a teapot, move its cover, and get smoke out of it.

I remember that my father did that because he saw how much I loved playing games, so he decided to show me the road to one of the programs that they make games with. He printed the tutorial on several A4 papers and gave it to me, I remember how hard it was to achieve back then, but I did it. I couldn’t continue studying more because our PC at that time was a bit old.

After graduating from college, I was trapped by the army service here in Egypt, it was 3 years in army, so I told myself to use this amount of time to learn new things, things that you love the most. I went to a friend who is an architect and he gave me some materials and tutorials on how to use 3ds Max.

I remember that I took 1 year to learn 3ds Max and start to master modeling. Mostly hard-surface modeling. At the beginning I wanted to learn everything from modeling to rigging , animation and rendering, to open the doors for me to be able to find what I love and to find a job. I tried everything, but I didn’t like any of them, so I decided that I loved modeling the most.

The next step was to learn how to do characters. I searched on the internet how they were made. I found many people back then modeling characters using polygons inside of 3ds Max, which is a painful process> I told myself that I will not model characters using this method and I have to find another way. I kept searching until I found ZBrush, and tried to learn it all by myself, which is a hard thing to do.

Finally, after 3 years of learning, I finished my army service, and landed my first job after 2 weeks in a leading TV/commercial studio here in Egypt, “Gemini Studio”. I worked at this studio for 3 years, and after that I decided to quit the full-time job and work on my own things. Now I am freelancing and teaching at ITI, “Information and Technology Institute.”

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

Momen

I use ZBrush all the time in my projects; actually I use it in everything from organic to hard-surface modeling. My workflow was ZBrush for sculpting and modeling, 3ds Max for UVs, Substance Painter for texturing, Maya and Arnold for rendering, and finally Photoshop for compositing.

The idea from the beginning was to choose a simple concept so my students could model and follow me through the process of making it, and after finishing it, I posted a turntable on my Facebook page. The amount of positive feedback I got from it was amazing, that’s why I decided to not close this project and push it to get a quality render out of it.

fight racing sports 3d character design realism lighting

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

Momen

The challenges in this project was to make a good-looking style that no one can hate; the difficult thing in creating stylized characters or style is to make it look simple but artistic at the same time.

My challenge here is to present a story from it, not just a studio lighting render. It is my first time to make an environment in my projects like this, thanks to Quixel for making it simple to make environments. The new thing I learned from this project was the ability to produce a good style and direction in terms of camera angle and colors, and to choose a chilling mood out of the render.

3dtotal

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

Momen

I always try to fill any gaps in my portfolio; if you take a look you will find that I can model and do a lot of styles, I find it very useful to model anything related to characters from realistic to cartoony.

I keep my portfolio up to date by making personal projects from time to time, trying to get out of my comfort zone and do a lot of styles.

3dtotal

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

Momen

Currently I dedicate my Facebook and social media to my work only, I am a member of many groups related to art from 2D to traditional and 3D too. I love checking and watching anything related to my work. I love watching stop motion animations and traditional sculpting stuff, always checking new tools and updates, in this field you will never stop learning new stuff.

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What are your artistic ambitions?

Momen

My dream is to work on international films or games, I want to watch a film or play a game that I participated in.

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What can we expect to see from you next?

Momen

I am currently working on cool projects, likenesses, and visuals. And working on a personal project in my free time, creating a female warrior.

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