`Meet Mat` is Back - The 3D Digital Painting Contest
Mecha Esp3ON

Mecha Esp3ON

Luca Vinci
by LucaVCG on 7 Aug 2023

Hello everyone! I'm pleased to present you my second personal project! This is one that really digs deep into my childhood passions: Pokémon, robots, cats and trading card games! If you like at least one of those things, please go on and meet Mecha Espeon, a robotic version of my favorite Eveelution!

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I worked on this subject focusing on having fun, pushing my limits and trying to improve as much as possible.

Original concept by Xezeno 1/ Marcus Hii.

I'm responsible for all 3D aspects, in particular I tried to give more space to modeling and light study.

Right here, some of the final renders of the finished model and the full breakout of the project.


I started thinking about this project when one of my teachers at BigRock (Noctunia aka Tessa) told me: "You should definitely add some sort of mecha to your portfolio!".

I was kinda worried about it, because I am not exactly into the "big robots" thing, but I started searching for a subject, asking myself which type of robots I liked the most.

I ended up focusing on the "Horizon Zero Dawn" style. I loved the game and I widely appreciated the machine-animal combination. In particular, the design of the "Sawtooth" captured me: an enormous, feral and sharp feline full of cables, red lights  and fuel tanks.

I was committed to work on a robot, but I wanted to make something peculiar. I always loved the Pokémon brand since I've known it. To be honest, one of the reasons why I started studying computer graphics was the will to recreate my own version of my favorite monsters. So I started wondering if it was possible to mix robots and pokémon, and I ended up choosing Espeon, one of my favorite Eveelution, as the subject of my experiment.

It was at this point that I met (and fell in love with) Xezeno's art. This concept artist focuses on showing what pokémon would look like if they belonged to the Monster Hunter universe, or a sci-fi futuristic scenario (and vice versa). His way of mixing these worlds really captures the observer, and his art is very inspiring: that's why I decided to transpose his Espeon's reinterpretation into a full 3D model.

Please, go check this artist's works on his socials, you can find him as Marcus Hii / Xezeno / Xezeno 1. You will surely like it!

Here you can see the "Eveelution" of the high poly model. I worked mainly in Nomad Sculpt, with a final polishing fase in Z Brush.

Next step: I imported it to Maya to work on a low poly version, and started creating UV maps.

I ended up this phase organizing UVs in a clear disposition, dividing them into 12 UDIMs, all sharing the same texel density.

The baking in Substance Painter required some more attention because, even matching high poly and low poly meshes by name, the normal maps were afflicted by some artifacts. So I applied a technique suggested by my teacher  Micmant during his masterclass about how to obtain a perfect bake.

(Thank you Mich!) =D

I exported from Maya another version of my model (both for HP and LP),  putting some animation keys on each mesh to obtain an exploded. I then imported it to Substance and baked only normal maps: doing so it was possible to avoid contacts between cages. Then I transferred those maps to the not exploded version, to bake the remaining maps.

After that I started to paint textures in Substance, exporting 5 different types of maps, that I connected to a material in my Maya scene through hypershade.

In the end I worked in Arnold, setting lights and cameras, rendering the final shots that you can see down here.

It has been a blast working on this subject, I really think I will miss it.

Thank you very much for reading until now, I hope you liked my project!

see you at the next project!

Ciao Ciao!

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