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Natalie Dembonczyk
by NatalieDembonczyk on 26 May 2022 for Rookie Awards 2022

Created by Natalie Dembonczyk - Nate, currently a student at PIXL VISN media arts academy. A one week project. Topic : "Far East " Focus on LookDev / Modeling / Texturing

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Hello everyone! My name is Natalie Dembonczyk - Nate. I´m currently a student at PIXL VISN media arts academy. I just finished my midterm project of my third term and want now proudly present it at The Rookies.

I created that Project “Oni Mask” after 7,5 month when I started my journey at PIXL VISN and I am more than amazed how much I have learned through my education without any experience before that.

Focus on Modeling/LookDev/Texturing

When the theme “Far East” got published I had no ideas and it took me some hours until I came up with assets or props. At this moment I struggled between projects that were manageable in one week. In the end I decided to model and texture an Oni Mask, which was a recommendation from one of my instructors.

Directly when i knew what i wanted to do, I researched for references. Those were very important for me. Especially when I textured the mask, because I wanted my project to look as close to a real-world mask as possible, but should still look stylized.


Step by Step

DAY 1 - 2

I started with a Blockout in Maya to get the base shape and right dimension of the mask. In the meantime, in short breaks, I set lights and cameras in the scene, to get already some ideas for my shots. After I was satisfied with the rough face structure, I imported the mesh into ZBrush and started to sculpt details und wrinkles. After that I used the Zremesher tool in Zbrush to create a lowploy vision, so that I could UV unwrap in Maya.

DAY 3 - 4

After the UVs were done, I went over to Substance painter, baked my high- and lowploy mesh together and began to texture. At this point I decided to use an emissive texture, to make the glow for the eyes. 

DAY 4 - 5

After I was happy with the look of my project, I concentrated on the LookDev and how I want to present the Oni Mask. I tried to match the lighting in my scene with my reference as close as possible and ask all the time for opinion before I started to render. 

DAY 6 - 7

Finally, I edited the shots in Nuke and added the volume smoke to break up the background. 

Softwares I used:

Challenges ?

Definitely. This project was challenge, especially since it was the first time, I really worked in Zbrush. With only two lesson in ZBrush we recently started learning ZBrush.

The biggest issues that I had was when I imported my mesh from Zbrush back to Maya to create the lowpoly mesh and the UVs. The faces of the mesh were too close, that caused difficulties working with the quatra tool in Maya. I asked my classmates and instructors, but in the end, I solved the problem by using the Zremesher in ZBrush to get a lower vision of the highpoly mesh. In this way I could load this version back in Maya and separate manually the faces. I lost many details, which I had to redo in Zbrush again, but thanks to these issues I already had a lowpoly mesh and learn more about the Zbrush´s tools.

During the render time, I had also some issues with the color spaces and time, but my instructor helped me out fast. I reduce the texture of the teeth in one shot from 8k to 4k to get a faster render time.

 My goal with this project?

In this project I have learned a lot, which was my goal of this project, besides creating a great high detailed asset. The workflow of organic modeling is now so much more familiar to me. This project also gave me the opportunity to use the first-time emissive texture, which can be useful in my future projects.

Planning is always important to get something done and it also helps me to know how much I can do in one week. I like to focus on one item and put more love and details into it.

In the end I really had fun with it and I am excited about my next project.

Thanke you for reading!

I hope you enjoyed the in-depth breakdown of my midterm project. Feel free to give any feedback or advise. - Wish you a great day!


HDR: PolyHaven

Volume Smoke : PIXLVISN resources

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