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Noelle Wong 2023

Noelle Wong 2023

by noellegwong on 1 Jun 2023 for Rookie Awards 2023

A culmination of my works from Gnomon

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Portrait of Apo Whang-Od

When I first discovered Apo Whang-Od, a centurion who is the oldest and only female mambabatok of her generation, I knew I wanted to create a portrait of her likeness. I wanted to capture all the intricacies of her striking features, which tell her story, history, and culture.

My references of Whang-Od with additional anatomical material.

The Zbrush sculpt of her head and torso. 

While sculpting Whang-Od's face, I struggled with maintaining the feeling of a boney structure under her wrinkles. It required a lot of stepping back and re-examining my sculpt with reference. 

With the sculpt finalized, I began texturing in Mari. I utilized a combination of XYZ fine displacement maps with handmade textures to create Whang-Od's skin.  It wasn't until the first complete render that I felt she was starting to be realized.

After her base head and eyes were finalized, I moved on to modeling accessories, painting her tattoos, grooming her hair, and the overall look development.

Despite the long journey it took to complete this piece, I am very satisfied with how my first completed portrait turned out! A huge thank you to my teacher Tran Ma, who's critiques and guidance not only helped bring this portrait to life, but fostered my growth as an artist. An additional thank you to my teacher Jackson Lukas for his grooming guidance and Miguel Ortega for his help with the final piece's look development.  In the future, I would love to tackle modeling and texturing her hands, complete with more of her iconic tattoos.

Spring Fountain

Tucked away, deep in an ancient forest, the Spring Fountain waits for wary travelers to stumble upon its peaceful sanctuary and to quench their thirst with its healing waters.  This piece is inspired by Jef Wu's 泉 Fountain.

For my second game environment, I wanted to focus on creating detailed organic sculpts, which played well into Jef Wu's nature driven piece.  I am responsible for all aspects, except for the canopy foliage, which is sourced from Megascans.

Thank you to my game environment teacher Jon Arellano for his mentorship throughout the creation of this piece, Anton Napierla for his Unreal technical expertise, and my props teacher Gabe Cervantes for his look development critiques and guidance!


Zbrush sculpts of my trees. 

The trees of Ta Prohm temple were a great reference for seeing how the roots of massive trees interact with their surroundings. Angkor Wat was also a huge reference for the weathering of my stone sculpts and materials.

These materials were developed in Substance Designer.

Kit pieces

Crossing the Desert

A whimsical ship soars across the blazing, hot desert sands to hopefully find a perch in a distant oasis. Wu Fang-Chih designed this amazing ship.

The creation of this piece came in 2 parts: first the modeling of the ship, then the storytelling and design of the environment it would reside in.

When modeling the ship, I learned and experimented with many different techniques to achieve it's unique hard surface, organic qualities. This piece forced me to look beyond the concept art and use my own artistic voice when tackling the abstract parts of the ship's design and realizing them into functional 3D parts.

I initially struggled with presentation for this piece, but finally settled upon a desert with a small oasis in the distance, which the ship would be flying toward.

This was my first time creating a large vista environment. The landscape was generated in Gaea, the foliage, rocks, and textures of the landscape are from Megascans and the palm trees were created in SpeedTree. I had lots of fun using the Ultra Dynamic Sky plugin to achieve a dreamy sunset look.

Thank you to Max Dayan for his guidance in modeling the ship and encouragement to delve more into storytelling with my pieces. And thank you to Anton Napierla for helping me tackle technical aspects of developing the environment.

Abandoned Bike

A bright blue gem of a bike shines brightly from within an abandoned shed. Based on "abandoned warehouse" concept by Susan Lin.

This is my first game environment and first project in Unreal Engine! While I definitely struggled with the game pipeline of baking high poly detail on to low poly meshes and modular kit creation, I found the final outcome to be very gratifying.  After this project I decided to shift my emphasis from characters to game environments.

I am responsible for all aspects. The foliage and materials were sculpted in Zbrush, the kit pieces and props were modeled in Maya. I also created my textures using Substance Painter.

Thank you again to my teachers Jon Arellano and Gabe Cervantes for their guidance with this piece and helping me to push it's development further.

I'm proud of how far I've come over the past 2 years!

Thank you to all of my teachers and classmates. And thank you for taking a look at my work.

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