Hi, my name is Katya (full name is Ekaterina). I live in Belarus. I graduated from the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics as a game designer and system programmer. I work in the city of Minsk, Belarus in the wonderful company “PlayDay”. I am a 3D artist.
My path in 3D
I started my path in computer graphics with 2D drawings. But after an internship at a gaming company, I decided that I wanted to do 3D.
I began studying 3D at university. There we studied such programs as 3ds Max. But this was not enough for me and I decided to pursue courses in 3D environment art. Studying at Fungi, a studio in Belarus, I learned from Kirill, who introduced me to Sketchfab. During the course I studied modeling in Blender and texturing in Substance Painter and 3D-Coat.
At the moment, my main program for 3D is Blender. I always draw textures by hand (except for PBR, but I have few such works). I create hand-painted textures in 3D-Coat. I really like working in PBR, but for mobile games, hand-painted textures with baked light are more suitable.
Сreation process for “Food truck of the future”
This is my most recent completed work. I don’t do portfolio work very often, usually only when I’m struck by inspiration.
So it happened with this job. As usual, I flipped through Pinterest and I came across a lot of cafes on wheels and something related to the future or cyberpunk; then I thought, why not combine those two things? (Yes, I understand that similar works already exist, but then I decided to completely do everything myself and to my taste.) I chose a couple of pictures of buses and began to remake them to suit my style.
Some of the works on my Sketchfab profile are made on the basis of a 2D concept. I had based my first portfolio works on 2D concepts on the advice of my teacher; he has a lot of experience in game dev, so I always listen to him. But this work was completely invented by me, which I am very happy about.
I usually motivate myself with the following phrase: “Every day I want to get better”. This applies to both my personality as well creating 3D models. I try to create something new every day. I still study and learn something new every day. In the process of creating 3D models, I prefer modeling to texturing. I want to show objects through a form. Therefore, I have a lot of unfinished work that will be ready in the near future.
As I said above, inspiration or ideas come through Pinterest, but I also admire other people’s works on Sketchfab—they push me to create interesting works.
I attended the course with a woman who still inspires me.
Blender is a wonderful program in which I create my models.
3D-Coat and Substance Painter are the programs I use for textures.
In Blender, there are a lot of different and cool functions and modifiers, but for beginners, it is better to familiarize oneself with the basic ones (this advice was given to me by my teacher). His phrase: “First you need to get used to the program; you don’t have to take and learn everything at once. You need to study everything gradually.”
And in fact, I still use basic modifiers in most cases:
- Subdivision Surface
- And which I can use (but very rarely)
- And for a beautiful cloth, Cloth
Concepting and design
Stage 1 is concepting and design. You should start with an idea that can be expressed in concepts. This is an important stage that will form the foundation for all further work. Having created a sketch or a collage from references, the final result and the steps that are required to achieve it will be clear.
Stage 2 is modeling. This is my favorite stage. In the beginning, I block out all the shapes because I need to figure out where all the objects will be placed.
Next, I begin to add details to everything so that the shapes more closely resemble their final versions. At this point, I’m already using the Subdivision Surface modifier, which helps all the nice shapes come in. The modeling stage is very interesting for me. I try to replicate what is in my head; it resembles modeling from plasticine or playing Lego. When I have made the desired shapes, I apply all the modifiers to the objects and start cleaning them up. After all, there is a lot of extra geometry after modifiers have been used.
I try to make the model low-poly, not exceeding 15,000-20,000 polygons.
For example, let’s take a croissant. I made it with a regular cube, using the Subdivision Surface and Mirror modifiers.
Next, using polygon modeling, I began to shape the croissant. Here I just rotated, scaled, and extruded the vertices.
Next, I applied all modifiers.
After having applied all the modifiers, I could see that there were a lot of extra polygons in the mesh.
Next, I selected and deleted those edges that, in my opinion, were not needed and would not affect the final image.
Then I tweaked the mesh of the object to make it look pretty. In the picture above, I have made it more rounded (Alt + Shift + S).
Now to add the icing.To make the icing fit well on the croissant, I duplicate some of the polygons from the top of the croissant (Shift+D, P).
I used the Subdivision Surface modifier to smooth out the frosting. And then I extruded the mesh.
Then I added a couple of smudges and it was complete.
In much the same way, I made all the other objects. For example, to create the van, I made the same changes to the polygons (minus the Subdivision Surface modifier) using the Mirror modifier to make the van look symmetrical.
Here the Bevel modifier also helped me. If you need to change only one face, then CTRL + B.
After I have produced a beautiful object, I begin Stage 3, UV unwrapping.
It is necessary to unwrap all parts of the mesh so that the texture fits correctly on the model. If some part of the model needs more detail, then it can be allocated more space on the UV map. When marking the seams, I try to hide them in less visible places. The standard Blender toolbox is used to create a UV map. When I have selected all the seams, I unwrap and manually lay out the seams in the UV.
Stage 4 is texturing. Most of the textures for the model are created in 3D-Coat. The program provides a unique opportunity to paint directly on the model. If I want to place nice shadows, etc., I bake the lighting on the model in Blender and transfer the texture to the texturing program.
Next comes the upload to Sketchfab.
After loading the model into Sketchfab, I add the texture. My main task is to present the 3D model beautifully.
I go to Edit 3D Settings and here the most interesting thing happens for me. Since I baked the light and painted everything by hand, I choose PBR rending with Shadeless shading. Next, I set up all the materials in the “Materials” section. For some materials, I need to add transparency or a normal map.
I go back to the scene section and adjust the viewing angle; usually I set it at 45-65 degrees. I choose the color of the background, which, by the way, also affects the picture itself. So I choose the background color very carefully.
I then proceed to the post-processing filters. Here I adjust everything depending on the model. For Food truck of the future, I have used:
As another example, for Room of forest healer I used:
- Tone mapping
- Color balance
As I’m perfecting the look of a model, my friends and family support me and give me advice.
In general, different settings are appropriate for different models. But perhaps my favorite post-processing filters are Vignette and Bloom.