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How's Your Heart?
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How's Your Heart?

Hi! I have been thinking about creating an artwork related to traffic lights for some time. Now with the new MeetMat contest, I felt to bring this to life, combining the design with a tender story. I hope you like it :)

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Update - 17 Jan 2024

Haven't we all been there? Longing to voice our deepest emotions when words stumble and fall

So has been Yves, a brilliant inventor who's been in love with Riley for ages.

As the years passed, their love deepened, but Yves feared losing Riley due to their difficulty in verbalizing affection. Determined to bridge the gap, Yves channelled their love into the creation of MAT—Magical Affection Tracker.

With MAT, Yves has been able to mend the relationship with Riley.

MAT's appearance remembers a traffic light as it does its function: red light when emotionally unavailable, yellow light when confused, green light when calm, and gradient when feeling all the things at once.

Initially, Yves painted MAT in green, but the underlying primer layer had not been applied with precision. This imperfection lay beneath the green paint, lightly revealing uneven patches and a less-than-smooth surface. 

As time marched on, MAT began to show signs of wear. Yves, noticing the fading green and the first hints of wear and tear, decided to recolour MAT in yellow.

Yet, the passage of time took its toll, and the yellow paint eventually bore the marks of wear. The internal battery's death and the non-functioning charging base became the catalyst for maintenance. During repairs to address these issues, Yves added external components, exposed wires, electrical zip ties, and electrical tape, leaving hot glue marks here and there to keep the cables in place.

Yves loved so much that put their soul into MAT. With this, they are like an open book to Riley, that can read their emotions at any time. 

Being upfront all the time with their partner caused.. difficult situations. Things haven't always been easy but Yves overcame these moments with a renewed interiority.

Hi, I'm glad to present you with what I envisioned for MAT in the last month.

 This project meant a lot to me, being able to create and mix design elements with a core concept close to my human life experience, is a thing that, I think, led many of us here. Create, communicate, tell a story, and express ourselves in ways and manners that words could never pair.

In this project I made intense use of curves for the realization of many components: cables, led panel lines, weldings, charging base details, electrical zip tie, writings, and head's main mechanism springs. Displacement too was use on multiple areas.

I had to work with a variety of materials and components, so organization was key. 

I struggled in the first place to find a concept to realize. Then an idea💡came up :)

I wanted to make use of the inside of MAT's head space. After some trial and error, I found a proper lightbulb for my advanced table lamp.

Here below are some of the alphas I created in Photoshop. They are not many, as for most I used Substance Painter's standard ones.

And that's a wrap! It's been a long journey since the beginning, and I went through quite a creative process to give shape to what I had in mind. I'm very happy with the outcome, and I hope that in some manner, it can resonate with you as it does for me. 

All the love,


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Update - 14 Jan 2024

And here is the last update. In a few days, I will post the final breakdown. What a ride!

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Update - 5 Jan 2024

Facial expressions update! Each of them has a specific purpose. Don't worry, everything will be explained :)

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Update - 2 Jan 2024

Today I finished with the advanced blockout. Tomorrow it is time for some cable management and then I can start with the soldering, hot glue and refining the last details for Friday! :)

Update - 1 Jan 2024

New Year = New update :) 

Defining the last details. Ready for the rush :)

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Update - 29 Dec 2023

Let's catch up with some updates :) So I spent the last few days away from SP to take some time to create a Lore for MAT. This project is becoming quite significant for me so I stepped back and thought about a story that I will share soon with you :).

Everything except the glass is still in the blockout phase. Be patient, Santa gave me an unexpected flu this year :)

Setting up visually the scale of the various elements to get a more coherent result. 

Creating the story helped me with the design and the reference research.   

Update - 24 Dec 2023

exploring variations

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Update - 17 Dec 2023

First renders to get the look and feel of the glass & hearth. The yellow paint is a placeholder.

Bump map and Hearth albedo created in Photoshop. I will post more about the map creation process in the next few days.