Click Here to view all the amazing entries to Rookie Awards 2024
Dat Matthias Nguyen - Reel 2023
Share  

Dat Matthias Nguyen - Reel 2023

Dat Matthias Nguyen
by Datmatthiasnguyen on 1 Jun 2023 for Rookie Awards 2023

Hello guys, I'm Dat Matthias Nguyen, a former student of PixlVisn, and I like to break down and share 5 of my personal projects for this contest with you.

2 325 0
Round of applause for our sponsors

Hello guys, my name is Dat Matthias Nguyen and with this contest entry, I want to include all of my best personal works I have done for the rookie award.  Let's start with the KTM 125 Duke 2023 motorbike I just recently did.

I wanted to add something new to my reel, showcasing specifically my hard-surface modeling skills for automotive product visualization. Therefore I chose the "KTM 125 Duke 2023" motorbike, which was complex and challenging enough to bring me out of my comfort zone.

The hardest part of this project was to figure out the inner middle section of the bike. It was so complex and I had no knowledge about motorbikes. So I had to gather as many references as I could find on the Internet. Also, there were technical hurdles to overcome later in Unreal Engine 5.

These reference pictures here are only about 30% of the references I used, but these are the most significant ones. I also joined a motorbike group on Facebook and randomly saw someone posting a picture of this motorbike. I asked him to send me some pictures of specific angles, which helped me a lot and I'm thankful for it.

I mainly modeled this motorbike in Maya and used Zbrush to sculpt things, that would have been difficult in Maya. But once I finished this project I found out about another CAD software that now allows me to create this 3D bike 10 times faster and more precisely than before.

The textures for this bike I have created in Substance Painter and I used Photoshop to create the fonts.

Finally, I created the lighting and did the rendering in Unreal Engine 5.

This was the hardest personal hard surface modeling project I had so far and I have learned so much from it. It took me about 2 months in total to finish this and now I will be able to do this much quicker and better.


Another project I have done for this contest is the space ape. This is a sci-fi 3D Character from a concept. I love science fiction and I actually love to do concept art on my own. But with this project, I wanted to challenge myself and tried to bring the character of another concept artist to life.

For this project, I wanted to do a humanoid animal. I found a 2D concept online from Siu Jian, which I liked a lot. The character looked unique and very challenging to me because this character has a lot of hard surface objects.

Gathering a lot of references was essential to get a believable and realistic result.

I tried to capture the character without copying him 100%. I added a cigarette to emphasize the character and to make him more interesting. A small detail with a huge effect, which didn't take me long to do so. 

The back of the character wasn't included in the concept art, so I had to improvise and had a lot of fun with that.

I started to block out the body, then I went for the Midpoly of the body immediately. because I needed that geometry for the next step, which was creating the cloth inside of Marvelous Designer. I could have done the cloth in Zbrush by extracting it from the Body or using the new dynamics feature in Zbrush, but I decided to do the cloth with Marvelous Designer for the most realistic result. Once I had the cloth done, I imported everything back to Zbrush and made some minor changes to the overall shape to match the concept. Then I brought the LowPoly to Maya and did the Retopology and the UV, I grouped the UVs into Texture sets and brought the new LowPoly back to Zbrush for the last 10% of the Detail ( tiny folds, pores, wrinkles, etc ). After this was done, it was time to bake the maps and do the texturing. Later on, I did the hair cards in Maya and manually placed them one by one, which was very tedious to do. I did the textures for the hair cards in Fibershop, a software that I bought on Artstation. The lighting and rendering I did in Unreal Engine. Real-time rendering was super quick.

The hardest challenge of this project:

As I mentioned earlier, the tubes that went in and out of the cloth were very tricky to handle and it caused some problems inside Marvelous Designer. To keep it short, it had something to do with the simulation. But I did some research and was able to fix that problem.

I also had to learn how to render in Unreal Engine and how to do Haircards together in a very short amount of time, because I decided in the very last month to go for game characters instead of movie characters.


This is former American football quarterback, Troy Aikman in 3D. I knew as a rookie I didn't have the skills yet to portray a person 100% accurately, but working towards realism is probably the only way to achieve that someday. So I accepted the challenge and it was a great learning experience.

This time I wanted to do a 3D character of someone I found visually interesting in the real world. Therefore I decided to create a 3D version of Troy Aikman.

The animation you see in this video is from mixamo, which I used to bring the character to life. It's quick and the skinning is not perfect, but it was good enough for the purpose.

I always love to see the things I have created come to life in the end.

Gathering a lot of references was very important to get a good result.

I tried my best to capture the main features of the person, which was very challenging because it was the very first 3D portrait I have ever done.

I had to pay attention to the facial shapes and structure that consists of muscle, bones, and fat. I had to study anatomy a lot and observe the images/references of the person.

I have noticed that his face and hair change a lot in every picture, because of different lighting.

But also his age and body fat percentage alter his appearance.

 I started to block out the body, then I went for the Midpoly of the body immediately. because I needed that geometry for the next step, which was creating the cloth inside of Marvelous Designer. I could have done the cloth in Zbrush by extracting it from the Body or using the new dynamics feature in Zbrush, but I decided to do the cloth with Marvelous Designer for the most realistic result.

Once I had the cloth done, I imported everything back to Zbrush and made some minor changes to the overall shape to match the concept. Then I brought the LowPoly to Maya and did the Retopology and the UV, I grouped the UVs into Texture sets and brought the new LowPoly back to Zbrush for the last 10% of the Detail ( tiny folds, pores, wrinkles, etc ).

After this was done, it was time to bake the maps and do the texturing. Later on, I did the hair in Maya with Xgen.  

I also designed some new outfits for this character to challenge my creativity.


I always wanted to design my own space suit and it was a lot of fun to design this spacesuit. I was mainly inspired by the game "Death Stranding". I wanted to design a spacesuit, that would be fun to use in a game and looks cool.


The hardest challenge here was to design a spacesuit, that would look believable and would look fun to have in a game.


Finally, I want to show you my geisha character. This project to me was all about learning the female human anatomy and the folds anatomy of clothes. I chose to design a geisha myself for this purpose.

The idea was to make every single project different from each other to maximize the learning experience. 

The main challenge of this project was the cloth I made with Marvelous Designer and to light the character properly because it wasn't so easy with that huge umbrella.

I have gathered a lot of references, but I didn't try to copy anything. I wanted to create my own character with its own look. But I took much inspiration from the references.

Optimization: I created this character for games, so I tried to not go over 100k vertices.

I kept the texel density equal-sized.

6 texture sets

I wish all other contenders that have entered the contest the best of luck!


Comments (0)

This project doesn't have any comments yet.