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How to Texture 3D Assets Using Traditional Methods

The Bedroom is a very personal project to me. It is based on the famous homonymous painting by Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. The inspiration came to me a couple years ago, while I was reading Vincent’s biography along with his letters.

Often depicted as a dark, mad genius, I wanted to show a different side of Vincent. Through color, lighting and camera work, this project shows the ups and downs Vincent went through while living in Arles. Especially what the painting The Bedroom meant to him.

As if his ghost, the camera floats through the painting, the idyllic situation that Vincent dreamed of having in the south of France, in his painter’s colony.

Abruptly, as if waking up from a dream, the camera leaves the painting and shows us reality. Still warm, and promising, but lonely. The camera ends on a high angle looking down at the moment of the creation of the painting. All colors lose their saturation, the frame freezes. Vincent and his bedroom become a memory.

Related Link: How to Tell a Story Through Environment Arteduardo-nicolau02eduardo-nicolau03From the beginning, I wanted to get the textures right. I wanted people to feel like touching the screen, especially for the painted version. During production, I tested digital brushes on the assets that I considered to be the main ones, like the bed and the chair. But I didn’t get the results I wanted. So, I decided to do like Vincent did: to paint with real oil!

After all the 3D assets were modeled, I’d print the UVs, then measure and draw them onto a canvas. Then, following the original painting as a reference, I’d start painting. I hoped that the end result would look something like the original. I used high-resolution pictures of the painted UV and applied them digitally to the 3D asset using Mari and Photoshop.



After both the painted and the photo real environments were done, I had to face another challenge: to model Van Gogh. This proved to be very difficult since Vincent had only had one picture taken of him during his lifetime. I didn’t even know if that picture was authentic or not. On the other hand, he painted over 30 self-portraits, and even though his expressionist style wouldn’t be 100% faithful to what he really looked like, they helped me get a sense of his essential features, like his forehead, chin and eyes.

Once the Z-Brush sculpt was done, I sent it to Maya so I could do the retopology and the UVs. Then, I could send it back to Z-Brush for the final touches, and finally, take it to Mari so I could do the surfacing.



This project was my first serious attempt at the imaginative world of 3D, and I would’ve never been able to complete it without the help and support of Vancouver Film School instructors, my friends, and especially, my family.

I’d also like to thank The Rookies for giving me the privilege to write about my project.

Author: Eduardo Nicolau

My name is Eduardo Nicolau, and I am from Sao Paulo, Brazil. My career goal is to become a movie director. After studying Advertising and Film Production, I decided to study 3D because I realized that being part of this industry would offer me the tools that I need in order to become the storyteller that I want to be.

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