Tiago Rios: 3D artist and instructor interview

3D artist and Melies School instructor, Tiago Rios, shares the process and inspiration behind March's gallery entry, Imperfect Cell fan art...

3D artist and Melies School instructor, Tiago Rios, shares the process and inspiration behind March's gallery entry, Imperfect Cell fan art...

3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
Tiago Rios: Hi, my name is Tiago Rios and I work as an instructor for Melies School in São Paulo, Brazil. I'm also a freelance 3D artist.

3dt: Tell us the story behind your recent gallery entry: What inspired you to create it?
TR: I made the Imperfect Cell character for a contest based on Dragon Ball Z. He is my favorite character in the anime. When it comes to the Dragon Ball-based series, there are a lot of things that don't look as great as the original, especially with the live action movies. So, my goal was to make him look badass, exactly as he would be in a CGI movie.

3dt: Did you face any difficulties when creating this image, and how did you overcome them?
TR: The hardest part when re-designing this character was to blend his personality with insect elements. I did a lot of research, collecting mantis and beetle images, so I could incorporate some parts into my character.

3dt: What software did you use and do you have any tips for using this software, or any other software that you use to create your art in general?
TR: My daily software choices are 3ds Max and ZBrush. There is always discussion between those and why you should use one specifically. But you really should stick with the one you are most comfortable using. You should search for scripts and additional plug-ins if you are using 3ds Max, that's the main advantage of the software in my opinion. I always tend to use these plug-ins;quad chamfer modifier and xformer 2.0 two extra tools that really come in handy when modeling.

Akuma from the <em>Street Fighter</em> series

Akuma from the Street Fighter series

3dt: Would you consider yourself to have a particular signature style, or techniques that you use often?
TR: Not really. I try to be an all-round artist in terms of style. This is very important in my opinion when working as freelancer. You should be able to do realistic characters as good as cartoony stuff. However, I'm a great fan of comics. So, I often try to exaggerate the posture and proportions of my characters.

Sci-fi design based on Carlo Arellano artwork

Sci-fi design based on Carlo Arellano artwork

3dt: What are your artistic ambitions?
TR: To work as a character artist in the game industry for a AAA studio is my ambition and what keeps me making art every day. Opportunities always seem to come when you least expect them, or often from the places you least expect them, so I will keep doing my stuff until this day comes!

3dt: What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skillset, and why?
TR: MARI for sure. I really want to improve my texturing skills, and I think MARI could really push texturing to the next level. I'm also already using Marvelous Designer to simulate realistic cloth folds.

Tiago's version of Demitri from the <em>Darkstalkers</em> fighting game

Tiago's version of Demitri from the Darkstalkers fighting game

3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
TR: I like to alternate between long projects and fast ones, this way I don't get stuck in one project and it keeps me encouraged to finish as fast as I can to start a new one. What I mean by a long project would be a full body character with proper topology, UV'd and all set in a rendering package. A fast project can be described as a bust, with or without textures, for example.

3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
TR: That's a tough question! I have a lot of favorite artists from both mediums. Igor Catto, Rafael Grassetti and Bruno Camara are some talented guys that really inspire my works. I'm always checking their latest offerings. Also, I would like to take this question as an advantage to thank my friend, Igor Catto. He is my tutor and always helped me with invaluable feedback. I also love the work of Simon Lee. He is a traditional artist and the dynamism and body language of his pieces are just insane!

Fan art of Blizzard's Orc

Fan art of Blizzard's Orc

3dt: How do you like to unwind?
TR: Sculpting in oil-based clay makes me relax and also improves my digital skills. I've discovered the passion of sculpting recently and can't stop now! Also, every weekend I love to kick back with my girlfriend and watch a couple of good movies and shows followed by popcorn and chocolates.

3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
TR: I'm currently working on some personal characters focusing on cinematics and game pipeline. I want to specialize in these two industries, so my next pieces will follow those formats.

Re-design of <em>Imperfect Cell</em> (Dragon Ball Z)

Re-design of Imperfect Cell (Dragon Ball Z)

Related links:

Check out Imperfect Cell in the gallery
View Tiago's personal site
Imperfect Cell wouldn't look out of place in ZBrush Characters & Creatures. Grab a copy!

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