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Kuker - A Real-Time Character

Kuker - A Real-Time Character

Yana Georgieva
by janen1ko on 28 May 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

Hi everyone! I'm a self-taught 3D Character Artist at the very beginning of my journey, and I would like you to meet Kuker. But before that, I would like to thank Evo Danchev (@evodanchev) not only for providing a high-res photo reference for this project but also for his inspiring work.

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It’s been a year of wearing masks every single day, no matter where we go. This inspired me to create a real-time character that has a very special power. The power to create a new promising future by using his/her unique magical powers, connecting people’s hopes and believes to the power of nature.

“Kuker” is the Bulgarian word for a mummer. Kuker is a real human being wearing a mask and is a very prominent part of the ancient Bulgarian traditions that are still alive today.

Kuker not only dances but also performs rituals. Kuker plays an important role in the believes surrounding the cycle of seasons and nature where especially important are the moments of transition, when certain rituals must be performed to ensure order and harmony, to create chaos, and put chaos to order. The key parts of the character are the elements of the mask and the bells on the belt. These key elements aim to frighten forces of evil and drive them out of people's lives. The emerging fire in the scenes was inspired by Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice.


Video editing and creation: Pavel Simeonov ( on Instagram)

Music by Balkansky, song: Dub, album: Orenda (@balkansky on Spotify)

You can see below some shots of my process breakdown. In a nutshell:

-> High poly and low poly modeling in ZBrush and Maya

-> 170k tris count

-> 10 Texture sets

-> Baking and texturing in Substance Painter

-> Rendering in Marmoset Toolbag 3

Thank you!

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