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A Fauntastical Creature

A Fauntastical Creature

by Kaiten on 15 May 2024 for Rookie Awards 2024

Hey there! I'm Noah, a 3D artist always looking to push my skills further. This project is my chance to explore the power of texturing by creating a truly unique Faun with a Celtic flair.

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 Hey everyone, I'm Noah, an aspiring Texturing & Shading artist with a burning passion for the VFX industry! I'm currently improving my skills at PIXLVISN media arts academy in their 18-month program, actively building my demo reel.

This project is actually my very first piece for the demo reel! This project you see before you is actually my very first piece for the demo reel! In just under two months, I've brought this mystical Faun to life, with the amazing base sculpt provided by the talented Niyazi Selimoglu. My goal for this was all about making this Faun feel like it could step out of the screen.

While there are a few finishing touches on some accessories and clothes yet to come (stay tuned!), I'm excited to share the texturing journey with you all. Let me know what you think!

One of my previous projects highlighted the importance of a clear vision from the start. This time, for "The Hole Project," I'm taking a proactive approach to ensure a focused and successful outcome.

First up, gathering inspiration! Scouring the web for Faun references from other artists. These will fuel the creation of a dedicated Miro board, keeping my vision organized and clear.

As I start on creating a Celtic Faun, I know the importance of a solid foundation. That's why I'm diving headfirst into reference gathering!

I'm scouting the internet – everything from goat horns for a starting point, to skin textures and even details like pores. Finding references for wear and tear, like paint and dirt, will help me build a believable creature like it would come straight out of the forest.

Using a 3D model you did not model yourself can be a bit of a battle! Sometimes, the topology isn't the optimal for you plans in texturing and needs some tweaks.

In this case I did need to adjust the topology at the tips of the horns to make them nice and sharp.

The Faun's eyes are windows to its soul, and I wanted them to be as captivating and realistic as possible. Knowing I needed to up my game, I turned to the incredible tutorials of Tom Newbury. His expertise in creating realistic eyes in 3D was invaluable!

The groundwork has been laid – a sculpted 3D model awaits its transformation. This is where I truly come alive as an artist: the texturing phase.

Painting the Faun's Tale: Skin & XYZ Textures

For the Celtic Faun's head, I started with a solid foundation – the incredible XYZ texture library. These high-resolution textures provided a fantastic base, capturing the natural skin detail I craved. 

To archive a even more realistic look the utility maps helped a lot. These handy tools, like the hemoglobin and melanin masks, allowed me to tell a story through the Faun's skin. Since this creature hails from the forest, I envisioned it facing the cold. So, I used the maps to paint rosy cheeks and a touch of pink on the nose, hinting at the crisp forest air.

The Faun wouldn't be complete without its most iconic feature – the majestic horns.

A close look at real horns reveals a fascinating structure, almost reminiscent of wood grain. This became the foundation for the texture, adding a touch of realism and intrigue.

 They wouldn't look interesting without a few battle scars. Rough patches, chipped edges, and subtle variations in color tell a tale of past encounters.

Nature rarely paints with a single brush. I incorporated subtle color variations, with hints of red and green adding depth and visual interest to the horns.

The transition between the horns and the skin proved to be a real challenge. Blurring masks weren't cutting it, and even exploring a "cutaneous horn" approach had limitations.

Thankfully, I wasn't alone in this journey, my fellow artists and mentors offered contrasting advice. Some, wanting a grounded creature, pushed for ultra-realistic textures. Others, embracing the mystical, encouraged creative freedom.

The Faun's horns demanded realism. My mentors offered contrasting advice, but my heart desired a creature grounded in nature. Using meticulous detail, I'm crafting textures that capture the intricate beauty of the natural world, with a touch of fantasy in it.

he horns' tricky transition got a surprise solution! Forget blurring masks, peeled fingernail skin became my muse. With blurred RGB maps, I'm achieving a realistic, layered look that blends seamlessly with the Faun's skin.

Next comes the stage of defining details. While fur might not be the main focus, there's still magic in those subtle touches.

For the Faun, this means meticulously crafting the peach fuzz. This fine layer of hair adds a touch of realism and depth, hinting at the creature's connection to the natural world. And of course the eyes wood look weird without eyelashes, so those had to be done as well.

These details might be small, but they play a crucial role in bringing the Faun to life.

The Faun's form is complete, but it needs life! Enter the art of shading. Here, I'll manipulate light and shadow to create depth and realism.

Mari's powerful tools come into play, especially the creation of custom RGB masks. Each color channel controls a different aspect of the shading, like Horn damages , The Skinpaint, or areas of high spec.

This texturing journey has been a rollercoaster of challenges and triumphs. There have been moments of frustration, but also moments of immense satisfaction as I bring the Faun to life, texture by texture. Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting project!

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