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Mulan / Starscream

Mulan / Starscream

J Venisha
by JVenisha on 20 Apr 2024 for Rookie Awards 2024

Hi! I'm Venisha I am a 3D modeller studying at 3Dsense media school. These 2 works are completed within my 1 year study.

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This lookdev project was completed in 8 months as part of my 1 year diploma program at 3Dsense media school based on a chinese female warrior "Mulan" that was modelled by Zefeng Yang.


Since many items were from old Chinese culture, I gathered numerous related references to better understand the subject I was modeling. The character's face was also a focal point, so I collected many anatomy references of faces and Asian features for study.


The details were sculpted only after the character was posed. Props like the bow, sword, and quivers were modeled in Maya, while organic prop elements were created in ZBrush. Skin details, such as pores on the face and hands, were added using ZWrap.

XGEN - Hair

For the hair and eyebrows, I used xgen in maya. The curves were placed according to the zbrush hair sculpt I had blocked out previously. 

The feathers and fibers on the scarf were created using xgen interactive groom instead where I generated guides from mesh and used masking and modifiers to control the size and density of hair in the area. The comb function was used the most for the feather to move it into shape.


In Maya, numerous light sources were arranged to produce visually captivating renders. Extra lights were added in close-up shots to highlight specific assets. An HDRI map was also utilized to achieve more natural lighting.


Finally its time to unwrap the character. Displacement maps are baked in zbrush before importing the low poly into substance painter to texture. The face albedo map was edited in Photoshop to apply makeup and decals, enhancing the storytelling aspect.


Hardsurface model based on MDLX Transformers Articulated Figure Series of Starscream, completed within 6 months.


When I started on this project, the Starscream figure was still not released for sale and only a showcase video. I wanted to make the robot joints as believable as possible and hence alot of my reference finding ended up including gundam figures.

I looked up more references to study oil spills and dirt buildup on mechanical parts, ensuring that Starscream's texturing could tell a realistic story.


I optimized the model to the best of my ability while ensuring accuracy in depicting the reference's shape. As I found a front, side and back 2d concept of the model, I started off with importing an image plane of the concept art into maya and start modelling by following the outline. Afterwards, I needed to be mindful of the perspective and 3D landscape because the robot parts and wings are not perpendicular to the ground. And to create a more dynamic and realistic pose, I had to adjust the model accordingly.


Like the lookdev character, my workflow is similar. Starscream was first unwrapped and organised into sections of, eg. head and torso to texture together. As there were similar textures present throughout Starscream's body, I first made a base texture of the different colors and applied them to their respective areas. The finer details like oil spills, dirt, and storytelling damage were individually painted onto specific areas afterwards.


Similarly, many lights were used to set up the scene for various render shots and a hdri map is also used to enhance the lighting's appeal.

Thank You ~

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