My first cycle

My first cycle

João Victor Lira Figueiredo
by lira on 9 May 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

This entry marks my first learning cycle. I've been teaching myself 3D art for over a year now. This lonely journey has been wonderfully full of ups and downs. From barely being able to use a Wacom pen to finishing good pieces. I am happy with my progress so far, but next year I'll be twice as good.

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With this project, I challenged myself to sculpt good expressions that could be used as blend shapes. My workflow consisted of sculpting in ZBrush, retopo and UVs in Maya, reprojection and expression sculpts in ZBrush using layers, exporting displacement maps and rendering using Arnold 6. I thought that FACS was a complicated system to apply, I couldn't be more wrong!

The Saber

After studying animal anatomy, I decided to make this saber and add some motion to it. The process was very similar to the last project, jumping between ZBrush and Maya to end up with an asset with good topology and displacement maps to be rendered using Arnold. 

Gun attachment

This asset was quite hard to model at first, but as It developed I could manage the topology and fix the pinching. I wanted to pick something ''simple'' and based on the real world but complex enough so that I could force myself to solve problems in many different scenarios. Only used Maya for this one.


Work inspired by an AWESOME concept by Yerbol Bulentayev.

To finish off, I wanted to take a character through the entire process so that I could fully understand the importance of each step of the pipeline. I based it on a great concept work of this amazing artist called Yerbol Bulentayev. 

My workflow started then in Zbrush, I used my knowledge of human anatomy to blend with the character aspects, then I did retopo and prepared the UDIMS using Maya. In parallel, I designed the clothing using Marvelous, then I retopologized them in Maya using the transfer attributes tool and prepared UVS. After reprojection and some additional sculpting, I moved the assets to Mari to texture them. In Maya, I plugged everything and also did some grooming with Xgen to add more details.

I faced a lot of crashes to get this done and also had to do a lot of troubleshooting. From here on I'll find more ways to optimize my scene for rendering. It was a great little journey.

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