Niklas Schulte Osthoff - First Steps into the Creative Realm

Niklas Schulte Osthoff - First Steps into the Creative Realm

by NickSO on 1 Jun 2023 for Rookie Awards 2023

Introducing my Early VFX Works: A Collection of First Projects. Although I am still in the process of developing my portfolio as a VFX student, I am excited to share my initial creations that mark the beginning of my journey.

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Greetings everyone!

I am thrilled to be a part of The Rookie Awards 2023. As a current student at the PIXLVISN Arts academy, I am committed to refining my skills and immersing myself in the realm of visual effects and design.

While I am still in the early stages of my journey, I am filled with enthusiasm and determination to create a remarkable portfolio that showcases my passion and growth. I cannot wait to start working on my demo reel and share my best projects with the world in the upcoming months.

For this year's entry, I am excited to present my latest creations, projects that encapsulate my evolving artistic style and technical prowess. It has been an incredible experience pushing my own limits and learning a lot along the way.

Cyborg Head

Introducing my first project: a study of facial human anatomy and the basics of subsurface shading and texturing. My focus was to gain a better understanding of the intricacies of facial anatomy and to explore the techniques of subsurface scattering shading. Through this project, I aimed to capture the realistic depth and texture of human skin.

Softwares used: Maya, ZBrush, Substance Painter, Houdini
Render: Arnold for Maya

With my goal in mind, I made a deliberate choice to avoid working with Projections and instead focused on exploring the intricacies of various components of the human face. Given my one-week deadline for this project, I intentionally decided against sculpting the likeness of a specific actor or real-life individual.


For texturing I used Substance Painter. Starting with different solid colors to imitate muscles, bones and depth under the surface. Afterwards I added the first layer of skin color to blend everything together. 

Finishing up with adding veins and vessels to the dermis before blending it with another layer of skin color for the epidermis.

Beauty, Specular, SSS, Coat, Sheen


To groom the character's hair, I created separate guide groom nodes for each hair section. To achieve a natural look, I used pre-sculpted ZBrush geometry to assist in shaping the guides. Then, I added a hairgen node for each guide groom, adjusting factors like thickness, length, and frizz to introduce variation.

Abnormal Goldfish

For this project I focused on shading. My goal was to get a good understanding of shading within Arnold. For that reason I chose a creature that has not only SSS and Transmission, but also other interesting effects that require a deep dive into the understanding of different shading techniques.

Work in Progress (WIP) - Since this project was a part of my education as a student, I had a limited time frame of one week. However, I believe there is room for improvement and further learning on this project, so I plan to continue refining and working on it in the future.

Softwares used: Maya, Substance Painter
Render: Arnold for Maya 

Kriss Vector Gen 2

I started this project to learn more about hardsurface modeling and texturing. It was my first personal project, and I found the process very enjoyable. As a result, I really got a good understanding of working close to reference.

Softwares used: Maya, Substance Painter
Render: Arnold for Maya


To ensure a faithful representation of the real-life reference, I dedicated significant time to gathering images and information about the weapon, its various components, and overall mechanism.

Thank you all for taking the time to read and view my entry. It was an enjoyable experience to revisit these projects and reflect on the focus and lessons learned throughout each one.


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