Flint Kuijkens - Creature Artist & 3D Generalist

Flint Kuijkens - Creature Artist & 3D Generalist

Flint Kuijkens
by flintkuijkens on 1 Jun 2022 for Rookie Awards 2022

Welcome to my entry for the Rookies Award 2022! I like to share with you my 3D generalist showreel which I created this year with a focus on creatures. I'm also diving deeper into a couple of projects I'm really proud of!

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Showreel 2022

This is my latest Creature Artist & 3D Generalist showreel. My interests as a 3D generalist reach different aspects, such as layout and lighting, but I am specializing in creature modeling and grooming.

A big project that I was a part of was our graduating film, where I created a 3D butterfly, extended 3D scans with ZBrush, and did a lot of layout work. The Film is called 'Eos' and can be found in Film of the Year - Visual Effects.


During my internship, I had some free time. I decided to dedicate this time to sculpt an animal that would need some fur. I've had a couple of projects with Yeti grooming but I wanted to try out grooming in Houdini. After some browsing the internet I landed on the Okapi, also known as the forest giraffe. This creature only lives in the wild in the rainforest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is directly family of the giraffe. Beginning this project I wasn't aware of the challenges of short fur. After collecting a bunch of references I started sculpting.

First I had to retopologize the mesh in Maya to then go and hand paint the creature in Substance Painter. Grooming in Houdini was actually pretty fun! It gave me much more control and therefore I could get more realistic detail in the fur. Soon I became aware of the struggle with short fur, it was hard to find the sweet spot between the fur length and the density. Because of the short fur, I needed much more strands to cover the skin, but that did mean that my performance went down. 

Layout & lighting
When I was working on the groom, I thought about ways to show off my project. I became inspired by The Lion King (2019) and wanted to create a scene that would feel like it could be a deleted scene from the film. I watched the 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight' scene a couple of times and started to concept my layout. I wanted to create a location that would feel like the edge of a jungle, to stay true to the environment of the Okapi in the wild.


Maarten Verhoeven gave a masterclass in ZBrush at the academy. I was looking forward to dive more into ZBrush for months. Within his masterclass, it was the goal to sculpt a Kaiju. But I ended up taking a little different take on the assignment.

The sculpting of the creature was so much fun. It was really liberating to get tips & tricks from someone with a lot of ZBrush experience. He learnt me so many simple tricks on how to approach a sculpt. 

My concept was pretty clear... I wanted to make a crab that has a giant eye as a defense mechanism. I've created 3D eyes before, but I needed to have high details this time because of the close-up shots I wanted to make. I tried hand sculpting before but that wasn't that great to get the perfect realistic eye I wanted. The best way to create a realistic eye was to find an iris that I liked and create an alpha pass for it. I dragged the alpha pass in ZBrush so I could create a bump that would match my texture for the eye.


During our third year at the Netherlands Film Academy, a couple of students and me were inspired by the feature films 'Extraction (2020)' and 'Attraction (2017)'. The fight scenes were well choreographed and amazing to watch. We wanted to create a short film / trailer with a fight scene, where we combined CG with live-action. We were able to resume our goal in our final year. The Film is called 'SOLON' and can be found in Film of the Year - Visual Effects.

I was responsible for the concept, sculpting, retopology, textures, and lookdev of the creature. 

Thank you!

I want to thank my classmates, some of them I can even call close friends right now, for the last couple of years learning and teaching each other. I also want to thank the consultants that really helped and pushed my work to the next level. 

If you have any questions about my work, please do not hesitate to contact me! :)

[email protected]

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