16 October 2009

Asian Lodge

done in 3ds max and the texture are done after pictures and worked in photoshop

1 June 2009

What's up Doct!

Hi! This my last project that Im working on. Just having fun with the zsphere. It seems I understand better how they work now and as well my sculpting skills in anatomy are upgrading so it is kinda fun. No bugs no unwraps! I will sculpt the body more ... trying to refine it as much as possible than texture the body in the same mood of the head.

Hope you like it :O)

Sam the 3d blogger

4 May 2009

Dog, pig, alien, elf?

Hi this is my last character. Entirely done in zbrush for fun. I made the basemesh with zsphere and I sculpt it. The shader are from the matcap material and I use polypainting to paint it. The render is done in zbrush too.

1 April 2009

Happy April First!

Watch your back today or you will get stab in the back!!! He he maybe not stab but just stick with a paper fish on it. :OP

I'm kinda lucky as I can stay home all day long alone... so no one will do me this stupid but some kinda funny trick!

27 March 2009

Just teapotizing!

Just a little test that I'm doing this week. Ive saw a beautiful render and it was said that the person use mental ray arch design material. These material are optimized for mental ray. I use mental ray a lot in my last project, but never with the expected result. In fact It was like if I have a car with a powerful engine needing Diesel to work properly and I was feeling it with unleaded gas.. No wonder why it doesn't work as well as I wanted.

When you work with mental ray if you want the best result you must use the tool optimized for mental ray. This include the material obviously but also the lights. Mr lights with ray traced shadows are mean to be use for mental ray. Just like the architectural mats... Beside it you don't really have to edit them to make them look good.

The only bad point is that depending on the quality of the render you want and of final gather it take a fair amount of time to render... This one about 400X 300 took about 4 minutes. But in the end you get a very photo realistic render... I guess it all finish where you want to put your priority.

Sam the 3d blogger

25 March 2009

Specular bloom

Hi! Today I will talk about the specular bloom. For those who don't what it is, it is an effect that occur on certain picture were the light hit a white surface or a highly lite surface. The effect look like an emission of light blurred by the object.

Neil Blevins on his tutorial about it say:

''Specular Bloom (also called Diffuse Glow, Bloom, Glow, Ghosts, Flare, Glares) is what we call it when the bright objects in your scene glow. This happens in real photography for a number of different reasons, bright areas can be so bright that the actual emulsion of the film bleeds, bright objects can cause internal reflections inside your camera lens causing lens artifacts from glow to lens flares, the photographer has placed a special "soft filter" over the lens, the photographer has placed vaseline on his lens to give their photo that "soft" look. Simulating this effect in cg is actually pretty straight forward, and helps remove some of that "cg" look from your images.''

As it is said in the last sentences, this is a effect that can be add to improve your render and giving it a more realistic look as our eyes are use to saw this effect in real life and on photos. Personally I think it improve a lot the lighting of a scene. Even if you do a simple scanline renderer it add a lot to the final result. Here are some picture that Ive done with the specular bloom so you can see by yourself what we are talking about.

This picture that Ive done that you already see in a previous post is a scanline render. In this one I use the specular bloom plug in. You can see most of the effect were the light is strong on the brick of the column. You see the blooming effect is blurring the detail as if we were blown by the light.

I prepare also a little render with the effect way to exaggerate. SO here is the infamous teapot in all his glory! I write last night on my facebook status that I was doing tutorial with teapot and a friend of mine answered that I was Teapotizing!! Very funny guy! :O)

The two render are from the same scene and the same camera shot with the same lighting setup. The first is without specular bloom and the second with the effect added. You can definitely see how where the light reach an object more strongly the effect appear. Obviously the effect in not applied correctly here and I could have use it more subtlety but I wanted to show it very clearly.

I use it a lot but we must use it carefully if not it will look to much like an effect and what we want to achieve in using it will be cancel. It is about the same phenomenon as for the filter and effect in photoshop if you use it to much people will notice it and it is bad... You know when people can already tell what filter you have use... But when use correctly people will told you that you did an amazing job with the lighting!!

Now you want to know how to achieve it. In 3ds max you can use two different way to achieve it. The first is by using the specular bloom plug in. You surely can find it easily on the Internet if not try to contact me. It is a nice plug in where you can achieve also 3 more light effect as haze, stocking and glow. They all affect the bright area and the lighting but in different way. Very cool to use, sometimes I use the stocking effect to do fog. You just have to install the plugin in the right folder and then restart 3ds max, hit the 8 button, that give you the environment & effects roll out. Then you go on the effect onglet hit add and then you should be able to add the specular bloom effect. To use it you activate it and you do a render then you will see the effect add at the end. If you use the interactive button then you could now work with the settings to achieve the wanted effect without redoing every time a full render.

If you do not have or find the specular bloom you can still achieve the same result. You just have to use the already install plug in name blur. Do you remind when I said that the effect was a blurring effect? With the blur effect you can blur all your render but it is not want we want. We just want to blur area where the light is very bright when hitting object and surfaces. So you see two onglet, the first is Blur type and the second is pixel selection. Hit the second onglet, so we dont want to affect the whole image as by default but only the light so we unchecked whole image and just check the luminescence box. Now the blurring and bleeding effect will only be achieve on the very bright area regarding how the setting are.

So this is it for the specular bloom effect. I don't really know if you can use it in Maya or other software but I do know that in Maya we got a build in material effect call glow. If I recall well it does about the same if not try to affect the luminescence in the render. I think that there is a place where you can do it but it has been a while since Ive not open Maya!

Sam the 3d blogger

24 March 2009

Slow pc?

Hi! As I was working on the Nick 3d project I was all leaving on my desktop in a folder among a lot of other folder. I had also about 30 files of hi res textures and hi res images and render in this folder. As a result my PC was going very slow at a point that I could even not let open msn or listen to itunes while rendering my character!!

Also my my computer has started to freeze due to unknown cause. It is very irritating to be forced to reboot your computer while you were talking to someone important for you or in the middle of a critical task.

The PC I currently use is not mine... it was lent to me by a close friends because he bought a new one this falls. It already got a lot of stuff in it and it cause the computer to run slowly. He didn't want me to format it because he may need it in the future. I spoke with my friend about my problems and he told me some trick as to not put directly things on the desktop because it use too much of ram. Or just deactivate the software that load automatically when you boot your PC. You know the little icon at the bottom right?? :0)

He gives me a little list of thing that we all should do to keep our PC running smoothly. I guess if you have a mac that could applied too... but I don't know to much about mac...

1. Let your PC boot up completely before opening any applications.

2. Refresh the desktop after closing any application. This will remove any unused files from the RAM.

3. Do not set very large file size images as your wallpaper. Do not keep a wallpaper at all if your PC is low on RAM (less than 64 MB).

4. Do not clutter your Desktop with a lot of shortcuts. Each shortcut on the desktop uses up to 500 bytes of RAM

5. Empty the recycle bin regularly. The files are not really deleted from your hard drive until you empty the recycle bin.

6. Delete the temporary Internet files regularly.

7. Defrag your hard drive once every two months. This will free up a lot of space on your hard drive and rearrange the files so that your applications run faster.

8. Always make two partitions in your hard drive. Install all large Software's (like PSP, Photoshop, 3DS Max etc) in the second partition. Windows uses all the available empty space in C drive as virtual memory when your Computer RAM is full. Keep the C Drive as empty as possible.

9. When installing new Software's disable the option of having a tray icon. The tray icons use up available RAM, and also slow down the booting of your PC. Also disable the option of starting the application automatically when the PC boots. You can disable these options later on also from the Tools or preferences menu in your application.

10. Protect your PC from dust. Dust causes the CPU cooling fan to jam and slow down thereby gradually heating your CPU and affecting the processing speed. Use compressed air to blow out any dust from the CPU. Never use vacuum.

So this is basically what he told me in his last email. Now the computer seem to work way better. Hope that this can be useful for you too. For my next project I will work more properly and with more order.

Sam the 3d blogger


23 March 2009

Monday March 23,, the week that I will gain a job!

Hi fellows blogger!

Another week begin, today I'm pretty joyful as I receive some good news about job opportunity yesterday.
My mom phone me to tell me that my grandmother had a meeting with a woman which is son work for a big video game company here in Quebec city. She told him that I was looking for a job and he told her that they will need a lot of 3d artist soon so we should start posting or resume right now. Needless to say that this is what I should have done if I had not post my resume and portfolio already since last Tuesday :OP

This a company that back in November told me that they should call me at the beginning of 2009... So I had given them time to start their project and to call me, by this time Ive worked on my newest project. But since November I still didn't receive news from them but hope this time Ill get an answer fast.

I am somewhat confident on the new stuff I got on my portfolio. Beside it the Nick 3d project is getting a decent quote on cgtalk. But I'm kinda disappointed for the time it have took me to achieve it didn't turn as spectacular that I expect but it is my most achieve character so far so I guess it is fine like that.

Now I don't know if I will start already a new project... Ive planned to do another character but way much simpler but don't know if it would be more productive to start an environment as it has been three months since the last that Ive done... I'm waiting for extra cash to come and want to buy a new screen, mine is way to dark and cannot be lighten more. This is why my work can seems sometimes to light and with not enough contrast so it kinda bug me to start already a new scene...

But anyway stay tune this week as I will give you update about my getting a job process. I want also to write some more technical article about texture and map and also about lighting and rendering.

Sam the 3d blogger

20 March 2009

Steamnocchio Tutorial !

Hi! Just a little post today as one of my friend send me a link to a very cool tutorial. This is the tutorial of the Steamnocchio by Fabricio Moraes. This picture is his final result. You may have seen it on cgtalk already.

He won
the Individual Image Master Award in CGSociety's 'Steampunk: Myths and Legends' CGChallenge
. This picture is fantastic and beside it when you read the tutorial you see that it is somehow simple to do. I guess it is where talent and skills came in the equation :OP

here is the link to this tutorial by Fabricio Moraes:


I wanted to take a little break from 3d as my latest project is done but seeing this it makes me wants to dive into another project really soon! Very inspiring !!


Sam the 3d blogger

19 March 2009

At least it is done! SO this is the final render of the Nick 3d project. Gosh I tought I will never finish it.... But yeah now it is done :O).

It is not technically perfect. I realize as posting it that Ive made some mistakes and things that I should have done better... But anyway I did learn a lot for this project from the sss skin shader to the normal map in zbrush, rigging and skinning as well as lighting. My next project will inherits from this one for sure.

Usually I post a view with the wire frame on the textured character to show the base mesh topology. It show also where the actual modelling finish and where the normal maps begins. I wanted to do it for this one but except for the main body the mesh is not so low res so I tought whats the point beside looking cool for showing an hi res topology... This one of the mistake I have done I should have not use mesh smooth on the boots and on the arms but I wanted a hi res look and no edgy side on the silhouette.

So this is the end at least for this one. Don't want to work on it anymore. Tomorrow Ill post a version on it on cg talk and on the zbrush central forum. Hope to have some nice crits and comments :OP

ps: just click on the image to see it full size!

Sam the 3d blogger

17 March 2009

Happy St-Patrick day!

Yeah! I'm back in town since yesterday evening. Hope this week will be productive. I work a lot last night to finish the Nick 3d project.... Yeah I know it was supposed to be done about 2 weeks ago... I'm kinda disappointed about it but now it is really about to be finish. I wanted to finish it last Tuesday but my bro came out to soon to take me. Result I didn't had the time to do what I was planning.

Last night have finish the pose and begin to work on the lighting more. It is getting well. I will do the other pass today and tomorrow hopefully I will be able to post it and than to post my resume to company. I definitely need a good job hehe.

Ive done a Leprechaun for the game cake mania last years and I wanted to show it to you as a St-Patricks day gift but instead I will show you Yu Ching Bob... A Japanese Irish sumo who like play bagpipes and drink Sake!

Sam the 3d blogger

12 March 2009


Hi! this is probably my last post here for about about 5 or 6 days. Im going on a little travel this weekend. Im leaving this evening. I will have an access to internet so I may came write a little something in a couple of days who knows!:OP

Regarding the Nick 3d project.... lol it is mainly finish... Just need to redo a beauty shot and do a zdepth + a occulision pass. Composite all them in photoshop to make a beautiful final image! I will do that this afternoon right after this message befor my ride came take me. After that byebye the time consumming project hehe.
I may post the final result befor I leave in a couple of hour.

Ive just met a new friend on twitter. He own a very i
nteresting website where he post video tutorial about modelling and give them for free. Hehe is well-known for helping new artist. His name is Glen Southern. You can check his work at this website:


Go take a look it have a very nice Minotaur tutorial! I was planning to doing one someday maybe I took his way.

Sam the 3d blogger

10 March 2009

How to become a successful 3d artist or how to behave in a videogames company.

It has been awhile since I did not write any article so as promised yesterday its is time to post a new one today!

How to become a successful 3d artist in a video game company or in 3d studio? Or the question could be how to behave in a video game company? Both question are intimately linked. In fact how you manage yourself regarding your work and your relationship with your colleague is what will decide if you will become successful. If your boss will like you and eventually promote you or gives you a better salary.

I guess everyone who wants to work in the field want to become successful. So let assume it. What you should ask yourself now is: How should I behave? If you read my article about how to behave in a 3d school you already got a good piece of the answer. If you don't have read it just go at this link:


In this article I talk about how to behave on a personal and relationship level with colleague in class in a wise way. In fact the way you should work at class is about the same that you should do in enterprise. You should develop good aptitude to work in team at the school and use them in enterprise. You got to develop good relationship with your colleague.

Developing good relationship could be done in a lot of ways like in your personal life. However you should always remember that you are in a business and there to work so you should inform yourself about how the things goes in that company. You got to know what is prohibited and what is socially accept as behavior in that specific company. Walk the walk and talk the talk!

It is always fun to become good friend with coworker because it lighten up the mood and the day pass faster. Try to go eat with them, take your break with them but try not to over impose yourself in the groups in a hard ways. People tend to not like people who do to much. So just be cool and relax and you surely do fine. It may seem obvious but it is critical because what will save your butt when you first start in your first job it is the good relationship you will create with the bosses and your coworkers.

It is crucial because at the beginning you will surely not know all that you need to know to work properly. Many company offer a couple of month or weeks in training with a lower salary and pass this period they consider if they want you or not. But don't worry pass three months if your doing fine usually they keep you and your already working for them after just a couple of weeks. If they don't like you, you will know it way before the end of the probation period.

Than in this period of time they teach you how to work properly but at one point you will need help from your coworker because you don't want to always go ask to your lead for some answer or directives. Don't get me wrong it is always better to ask if you don't know beside not telling anyone and do like if everything is alright.

A guy who use to work at the same studio than me have done that. It is bad because he was a good guy and this is because of the good attitude that he have regarding is colleague and his job that they give him a chance. But at one point his mistake lead to a lot a trouble that other may have to correct instead of doing what they was assigned to.

In video games time equal money always remember that! If i got to redo the job of another person that will cost a lot in time and in money. They fired him after a couple of mistakes. He didn't listen well to directives and understand well. I know a lot of youngster these days have trouble of attention,,, you know the kind who got to take Ritalin to keep them focus... In a company you should always well listen to what your boss is asking you. Bring a notepad with you and take notes of things he want you to do and how he want it. Also he may use your notepad to explain you something if you are more a visual person than an auditive which may probably be if you work as a 3d artist!

Again it is crucial you don't want to go ask three times in a row the same question. And you don't want to redo all your work because you didn't understand or do the correct thing the first time. It is okay if you don't catch what your lead need but than take time to understand and ask the right question. Don't do as if you understand all if it is not the case.

But in the case you don't know in example how to blurry a shadow what do you do? I know it may seem simple but actually it happen to me! I was not so good at lighting in 3ds max ... In this case what I should do is to try to find the solution by myself first. But it doesn't work if after 1 hour I didn't succeed to find how to correct the situation.

After having try to find the solution and not being able I should ask to coworker to help me. Now it is where you find that having good relationship is primordial. The guy or the girl sit next to you has no obligation to help you. If they like you they will be glad to help but if your a real pain in the ass chance are that they don't want to...

In resume, try to be as friendly possible with your coworker and try to listen very well at what is ask to you. In this way you will probably do a fine job. If you got question try to answer it by yourself but if your not able ask a colleague before asking to your boss. In doing it that way, if your job is well done and you don't bother your boss at anytime they will begin to like you and maybe after a couple of month you got an increase in your revenues!

Sam the 3d blogger

9 March 2009

Monday, monday,,,

So good to me,,, Oh Monday morning... LOL

Another weeks begin! This week there is no escape I definitely must finish the Nick 3d project. I didn't succeed at finishing it last Friday because I wanted to redo the skinning and rigging. Ive decided to give me another weeks because anyway I'm going on a trip Friday for three or four day so I didn't want to be bother if a company call me for an interview next Monday!

Anyway stay tune this week because Ive tought about a couple of subject I want to talk you about as how to behave in a company, how to do specular bloom without specular bloom in max and possibly in Maya etc...

Its been awhile since I didn't write a good article but now the inspiration is return. I wanted to write one today but I think I'm mainly going to focus on finish this damn project! :OP I'm so hasty to begin my next project Ive learn a lot whit this one. Ive got some nice idea I want to try. First another character and than a new environment.

Have a nice week and stay tune!

Sam the 3d blogger


7 March 2009

The 3d studio.com

A quick post tonight! Ive just been contact by a website call The 3d studio.com. This is a website a little bit like my blog but more elaborate. They have everything you need when your are a 3d artist from 3d model to buy or sell to tutorial and software. They have a nice selection. They seem to have a very nice affiliate program going for as mush as 20% in commission.

This quote is directly taken from their site. T

''The3dStudio.com is one of the oldest and largest 3D resource sites on the Internet. We have a vast selection of 3D models, textures, tutorials, plugins, scripts, gallery art, and much more for programs such as Autodesk 3ds max, Cinema 4D, LightWave 3D, Softimage|XSI, Maya, Rhinoceros, Sketchup, Strata 3D, trueSpace, Bryce, Carrara, ZBrush, Poser 3D, Vue, XNA Studio, OpenFlight, Second Life, and many others''

dStudio.com" border="0">

I'm happy to be contact directly by an official website shows that my little blog is making is way in the blogosphere slowly but steadily! Last week I've got a mail from a professional recruiter because she saw my two blogs too.

Sam the 3d blogger

6 March 2009

almost finish!

Somehow I manage to do a nice render last night. However talking with a friend about the trouble Ive got regarding rigging and skinning he offer me to take a look at it. I had trouble with the hand and was not able to close them properly and he see why. Also I had trouble with the legs and he found that it was because the clavicul was to much on the side of the legs... These are all stuff that I don't know to much about, at my former studio I was the one modelling the character and he with another guy were the one rigging and skinning so they have much experience in that than me. But it is okay everyone may specialized in wich they like the most.. I understand tought that I may have to do it properly in a next company and it sad when you are not able to put in a nice pose your own character...

My friend specialized himself in animation and he is very good at it. He is also a very good technical guy and a good 3d artist. Go see his portfolio ---->


So this is what it look so far, all textured except for the eyes I kept them for the end. It is not the definitive stance. My friend offers me to do me a nice rigging and I will have to redo the skinning. In definitive I don't think I'm gonna finish it before 5 o'clock, but it will be for the good as the result will be better.

I kinda like the lighting but I will work that a little bit much. I want to add some reddish and more blue color to it... I will also boost a little bit more mental ray as it is at a low setting now. When Ill finish it I will post it on zbrush central and on cgtalk, so you will be please to put some comments and crits as usual! :O)

Sam the 3d blogger

5 March 2009

Just a little update!

Hi! I'm waiting for a render so I figure I could write a little post just too keep you in touch.

Yesterday Ive mainly finish the texture for all the parts except for the eyes which I most redo. I'm still searching for a good material to use... So far it didn't give the realistic look that I want. I will have to go search for tutorial.

Also last night Ive done the rigging and start the skinning
but I encounter some problem and as I said on twitter skinning and rigging is not my favorite parts and the parts where I'm the better at. The whole body seems to be fine but the boots are problematic and the hands.... But for the hands maybe I was just to tired to do them correctly. The trouble with the boots is that they have rigid and smooth part.. So some most be flexible but not be able to deform according to the calf and other according to the foot. Ive tried a lot of different way to skin but with no concluing result so far. But I did realize that I should have separate the hard part in different pieces. So this is what i was doing this afternoon. I finish to separate them in example now the boots are form of a knee pad a shin pad and a shoe. It seem that it will work fine because I will skin the knee pad on the calf at 50% and on the leg at 50% too and the shin pad to the pad at 100% and the shoe to the feet bone at 100 also. So each will move according his one bone without deforming.

It might not be the regular ways... Ive seen some rigging demo that really kick ass but from now as long as I'm able to put it in a nice pose Ill be glad. Remember Ive said that I wanted this project to be finish by Friday afternoon! :OP I'm still in the race but don't know if Ill be able to beat the clock! It still remain the eyes and maybe a belt and a helmet according to the original sketch and the lighting and rendering process... I guess I shouldn't lose time in writing here but anyway I got to change my mind from time to time!

Sam the 3d Blogger


3 March 2009

Coloration almost done!

Yeah at least it is going somewhere now... I work late yesterday on the Nick 3d project I want to finish it very soon! The deadline should be Friday afternoon. I want to apply for a job next week. I think it gonna be a great asset for my portfolio.

Right now it only left the boots to texture. I think I'm gonna do to one for each boot. I kinda like it like this with one with no paint... It give it a used look or like he change part of his outfit from time to time. Ah yes it still left the gaunt but It wont be too long as I didn't generate map for them. I think it will be just a plain leather texture.

Here a shot that I made before going to bed just for the fun to see how it looks with more dramatics lighting.

So stay tune, As I will surely post other render and show the lighting and composition process. And Oh yeah I still forgot about the rigging thing.... Like unwrapping uv's it is something that I so much like.... Irony...:OP

Sam the 3d blogger

2 March 2009

Good Morning!

Hi! So this my first march post today. Soon it will be a month that I'm posting on this post :O) time goes fast!

To begin the week in beauty I got a news from the 3d world magazine. It seem that Pixar may start to works on a sequel to the famous Monster inc movie. According to my source.... (The 3d world magazine forum on facebook :OP) Director Pete Docter has announced that he may return to the city of \"Monstropolis\" for a sequel to “Monsters Inc\". Since Docter is preoccupied with the most recent Pixar film \"UP\" and with release approaching, he was proud to mention that there may be a possible 2013 release of Monster Inc 2.

Here it is what seem to be the next Logo of the movie... apparently.

Also my friend Martin Kearney just post today on Facebook a tutorial about the pelting tool. It is not himself who done it but Ive decided to put it on my blog as it could help a lot of people who are struggling at unwrapping uvs.

As for me today I will continue the Nick 3d project a little this afternoon and will try to come out with some more complete render of it for tomorrow. But today I got to study for my kung fu test this evening so I'm a little bit stress, but it will surely go fine.

Stay tune for more developments by the week.

Sam The 3d Blogger

28 February 2009

small updates on the Nick 3d project..

HI! Today it is my Drink & Draw day so I will not have time to work as much as I want on it but I did a lot yesterday. Right now the shoulders pad and the neck armor part are textured and I work a lot the material so it look real. It is the main goal I attempt to achieve here. I want it to look real and not a cartoon. At the beginning I draw by myself some of the detail and color it with flat color in photoshop but it give that cartoon look that I didn't wanted. So I dig in my cg textures bank and found nice metal material.

The ligthing is a basic three point light that I will optimize but I think it already look cool on the character. So Next step is the arms and than I will finish by the boots. They are complexe so it would take some times too. I so much want him finish by next week. It been too much time am on it including all the head process.

So that's all for today! Have a nice week-end everybody!

ps: Just click on the picture to see a full size one!

Sam The 3d Blogger


26 February 2009

A Quick Post

Just a little post here to talk you about my new amazon shop call ''Sam The 3d Blogger aShop '' you can directly go in by this link:


or just see beside this post at the top right of the blog the links and a carousel of some of the featured products. You can also scroll down to the bottom to see the my favorite square in which I briefly describe some good product for beginners in 3d. Ive select cheap item because we do not have a lot of money to spend when we begin.

Ive put in my brand new aShop a selection of some of the most well known and best quoted Book and DVD about 3d arts, animation and video games. In example you could see the famous Richards Williams ''Animator's survival kit'' a must have book for wanna be animators as well as seasoned ones.

So feel free to check. I will update it regularly. It is
an amazon affiliate aShop so there is no fear to have. It works like amazon do usually with shopping cart and their payment system.

Mike Alexander Newel one of the creator and moderator of the facebook forum ''3D world- the magazine for 3d artists'' which is affiliate with the ''3dworld'' magazine, just sent me by mail some picture of what will be the new Pixar film ''UP''. The render looks cool even thought it is difficult to overcome ''Wall-E'' who just win the Oscar for the best animation picture this week.

Take a look!

Sam The 3d Blogger

Update on the Nick 3d Project

Hi Yesterday I didn't post because I was very busy working on the texture for my character. It is going fine in my opinion. It took me awhile to figure out which color use and what should be the concept for it as the original sketch is monochrome. At first I wanted him to have a more retro look and style with light color but it turn out more dark and aggressive but kinda cool. I have mainly work on the torso yet and on the legs. The arms should not take to longer to texture as I know now which color and how to do to texture them.

Just click on the image if you want to see it full size.

I use photo reference for the most part of the texture. Then I overlay the cavity map and the normal map generate by zbrush on the top of the colored layer. But in top of that I also put the normal map and the cavity map in the bump map slot. When I put it in multiply in the color map it give more a sens of volume and light that you don't have to draw by yourself necessary. Also It give along with the UV map indications where the details of the sculpt

Sam The 3d Blogger

24 February 2009

Sad stories

Hi fellow Blogger!

Today I would like to talk about something that make me kinda sad... Remember a couple of weeks ago Ive wrote a series of article about what to put and what not to put on a proper demo reel for a 3d artist? Ive also done an article about how to behave in a 3d classroom. If you didn't read it before just go down right to the blog archives section and you will find them there.

I want to talk about it because I receive news in the last days about two of my former classmate back in the times. Both of them sadly never got the chance to work in the industries, video game or movies. They were both talented and dedicated student so why do they never get to work in the field? This was a question I ask myself and speak with other colleague and friend in front of a beer.

In fact one of them was my co-locator last year and I saw him work on his animation almost everyday. The other use to send me his stuff so I can help him or give him a good advice. I even get to his home to show him some of the coolest stuff to know in Zbrush and in 3ds max.

What make me sad the most is that the one I help with Zbrush was as good as me at school and was very brilliant and a quick learner, which I never be. I heard that he give up. After three years of hardworking he is giving up his dream of working in a video game company as a 3d artist. The one who were my co-locator and a close friend as not giving up yet and stay focus on his dream to become a 3d animator but still he is struggling to achieving it.

OK So I'm asking myself what makes good guys and good artists to never had the chance to work in the field...? I'm figuring that I must do little research and investigate it. Of course it have social and economical reason to it. In example my ex co-locator just had about a month ago an interview for a job as a 3d artist for a local TV network but due to the slowing economy they finally decided to resign the assignment. The other never get more than two interview in three years... Company always answering him that they will contact him when they will have new position to fill up.

But at the other side I had a couple of interview in three years and I had two job in the field and I know other former classmate who were successful in finding a job in the industry.

It all lead me to think about the fact that why do they not having a lot of interview which should resulting in obtaining the jobs? I may seem to repeat myself but where I'm going is that maybe their demo reel is not enough efficient. Because as said in a previous article, a demo reel is the contact
card you give to employers. Having figured it out, I ask my two friend to show me what they were sending to potential employers.

When I saw their demo reel I knew it was the problem right away. They obviously didn't had read my article before :OP I'm just kidding, but I'm serious at the same times. Obviously I didn't have a blog back in the day so they could not have read it before, but they had the same teachers as me so no excuses! In fact they have a lot of mistakes that I've already pinpoint such as bad choice of soundtracks, not really respecting the ''sandwich effect'', the character were not in a nice pose. Both they had mix animation and modelling in the same demo which I'm not to fan of. But the thing that almost make me cry is that their demo reel was almost the same that the first they have done three years ago!

Let me explain myself. If your demo was kicking ass or rocking your sock off it is cool, but chance are that a three years old demo reel is way to dated now. Put you in the place of a employer and you receiving a demo reel labelled 2006 or 2007... Are you jumping all around the place saying wow so cool a vintage demo, I absolutely need this guy?? NO! Or sadder, the employer remember himself to have seen your demo back in time when he was with his ex-wife... Or maybe he was a fan of the song you use at this time but not anymore :OP OK so let be serious. You applying for a jobs as a 3d artist in the same company and for the same job you already applied one year ago. Fine! It is not prohibited in fact it show that you really are interested in that company. However the people who receive the demo remember your reel and realise that you just put one or two new thing in it after one year! They will ask themselves some questions as: Do he have the time to put some new stuff? Is he lazy? Is he really slow so he cannot have enough time to make a brand new demo reel? is he so proud of his stuff he want to show us again even after a year? That stuff was cool back in the time but not anymore.... It also make them think that maybe your not so motivate to work in the field because you didn't put the effort to make a new demo reel. Maybe you are lacking of consistency and do not manage well your time...

S.O.L (slice of life) here :OP. One day a couple years ago I receive an email from a company asking me and other people to send them our demo reel, resume etc.. before the 31 august. Ive done what they said because I wanted the job. Unfortunately they were needing someone with a lot more experience than me but they like my new stuff and ask me to reapply when a new job offer will show. The case happen a month later, but I had only one new thing to show from the previous time. I applied and never got answered back.

A couple of weeks later the college were I took my 3d class was organizing a meeting with people from the industry that work as human resources and recruiters from the leading company here in Quebec city. I was invited even tough Ive already finish my class since eighth months ago. Ive saw the woman I used to communicate and already had an interview with but she seem to be shy or not interested to talk with me. But she was very funny and cool with the graduated students. In fact a lot of the student from this year were hired before having finish their class. I was a little mad and my teacher ask me why . I told him that she didn't seem to be interested in me (professionally :OP) anymore! I didn't know but three or four days later I went to the college to take news and talk to my teacher and he told me that she contact him and when he ask about me she told him that I had not enough new interesting stuff to show. I can tell you I was angry! I was frame by newly graduate kids.

One month ago my stuff were great and now not enough good to be hire! The fact is that the new student jump on the market with brand new and fresh demo reel so this is what caught their eyes before they remember that I was waiting for my time.

The moral of this story is that you should at least always produce new stuff to show even if you are working at a full time job to pay your bills. If you do that and always applying with new stuff than you will begin to stand out of the crowd and they will think that your motivate, you like doing your stuff, you want to work and that you are a hard worker who never fear to rework or surpass him. This is all good positive attitude to have. The kind of attitude that employers like and research in many domain. In fact the first to get a job in my classroom was a guy that after one month the class was finish not finding job yet, decided to quit is new job as a cook in a fast food just to concentrate on building a brand new demo reel. He work alone at his demo reel for a month and came out with a totally new demo that impress the employer. They tell him that they never knew he could came out with so much amazing new stuff in such an amount of time and hire him!

Finally I should add that even when working consistently and updating regularly your demo reel you should not put your first thing in it. In example you don't want to put your first Zbrush head if it sucks! Nor even your first walking cycle... You don't want to apply for a character modelling job if you just have model one character in your entire life and put it in your demo. We got a saying in french about that who basically mean that a good worker or artisan should redo his work at least one hundred times... before he get really good at it.

23 February 2009

normal map done!

Hi! Ive worked on the normal map and cavity map for my Nick 3d Project today. I think it is looking good so far taking in account that it doesn't have texture and real material on it. Tonight after the Kung Fu class I will start the color process but I still don't know yet I to color it... Take a look!

Sam The 3D Blogger

22 February 2009

Mental Ray Or Vray??

Humm,,, a fellow twitter friend ask me which renderer I use and which one I prefer? Personally I use mental ray and the default scanline renderer in max. I think both could give good result. Take a look at these two image. The first is a mental ray generated image and the second a render done with the default scanline renderer.

Both images are interesting. Some may prefer the mental ray one and other the scanline. Personally I prefer the mental ray one. I think it kinda give that clean and photo realistic look to the picture. I remember when Ive finish this picture people at work prefer the right one (the scanline one) They said the image as more personality to it. I think you can achieve great result in scanline, you can even fake global illumination but it is more difficult to get that pelicular effect as in mental ray. You really got to work the light and the shadows to do it. Here is a picture that I'm proud of entirely done in scanline.
But enough talking about my work. Is v-ray good? Of what I heard it is more easier to get a photo realistic image with v-ray. Some even say it work better and that it is more easy to set a good render than with mental ray. I may not tell it myself but it is the subject to this post. I want to know which renderer you use and why. I'm planning to use v-ray as it have a really good reputation but doesn't it worth the purchase or may I continue with mental ray?

here is a link to a forum on it but I want to hear from you here to get some action! :


a link where you can download a demo version v-ray:


Sam The 3d Blogger

Good Sunday Morning!

Hi everyone! Just a little word to takes everybody who follow me directly or by rss. I'm about to reach the 1000 page impressions since a start this blog. I am pretty happy of it, that show it is beginning to grow! The week-end I'm never to much into 3d arts but this week Ill try to write a good article by day so you can enjoy it more.

Right now on the Nick 3d Project except for little things to correct and the belt to do in zbrush, I'm almost done with the sculpting. Next stage will be to generate the normal map for all the pieces and maybe reexport all the low subdivision in 3ds max if needed. Originally I planned to use the original meshes of 3ds max but I don't know yet if the mesh is not to different now... I should have use the store morph target button. In this way he should have remain the same. What happen with zbrush is that if you subdivide the mesh and you got the smooth button on the way the algorithm works is that it smooth also the first subdivision. The result is that when you came back in example from the 6Th level to the first it kinda smooth the mesh in reverse to... Don't know really why but it is what it do. So Zbrush have now the store morph target...
If any have question on how Ive modelled some details please feel free to ask. Ill may do a small tutorial or video to show how I do it this week.

Here is an other project that Ive done in November 2007. It is a warhammer priest. Ive done it with a reference sketch that Ive found on the warhammeronline site. It is the first model that I heavily use Zbrush to put detail on the mesh. I kinda use the same technique as for the Nick 3d project. I used separated piece so I could put more detail in each one and each pieces have their own texture. Also As I'm not so good at rigging it is easier in this way to put it in a cool stance. However at this time I was using Maya
and my computer doesn't want to generate the render for the character because it was to heavy so I manage to put all the pieces together in Zbrush and do a Zbrush render. Now I'm using 3ds max and the normal map seems to work better and easier in 3ds max for me so I will be able to do a nice render in mental ray.

So that's it for now I may send you some update this afternoon on the Nick 3d project. Stay tune and thanks again for the following!

Sam The 3d Blogger

20 February 2009

Nick 3D Project is going fine!

Hi everybody! So today I work a lot on the Nick 3d project. I have almost done the zbrush sculpting part. So far I think it looks cool. It is the first time that I use zbrush to add so much detail on a character or object. Usually zbrush would crash but don't know why with this one nothing happen yet so I'm touching woods. Each part are separated sub tools that I will do a normal map and a cavity map of them. The sub tool are approximately 400 000 to 600 000 each so I could put a good amount of details on them. As you can see the left side is not yet sculpted but It is because I'm just gonna duplicate the rigth part and mirror them before exporting them to 3ds max.

It has been awhile since I didn't post anything on the zbrush forum because I
got no time to do zbrush model and I was not so proud of the works done but I think I gonna try with it to see if it got any good feedback. As usual crit's and comment's are welcome here too so don't be shy to post a comment below! I put back the concept here so you can easily see where I'm going. It is not perfectly similar but I had to go with the flow and let myself express in the process.

Sam The 3d Blogger

some update!

As promised! Just took a render view in zbrush of what Ive done so far. I'm getting pretty excited, if I manage to have all the details to get visible in the normal map the final render will be so cool. But so Far it is what Ive done best in Zbrush. I should have take it in way before. Anyway As I'm looking to it I see how I could improve it but I'm so tired now,, I make a mistake I erase what I had done on the arms they were looking cool too.... But it never hurt to restart often you only get better!

Sam The 3d Blogger

19 February 2009

Zbrush at Least! Nick 3d project

Hi! Sorry I didnt put really a lot of stuff since tuesday on the blog but I had the visit of unexpected guess hehe. However I manage to finish all the uv of the Nick 3d character this afternoon. Now Im beginning the Zbrush and normal map phase. Here a render of what the total armor/suite look in Zbrush. Hope to get some more screen shot until tomorow.

18 February 2009

Cake Mania: In The Mix!

Good Morning!

This morning I receive a email from a friend of mine giving me a link to the review of a game we both work on. The game is call ''Cake Mania: In The Mix!'' Maybe you already heard about it if you got young daughter's or nieces. Here is the link to some review of the game:


The grade for the graphics are not excellent but decent. I mainly work on the pre-rendered scene interiors and on the character modelling. The Doctor , the penguin, the sumo, the alien human head etc. Ive done I think 17 character for the games but they are not all still in the game ! :OP Once you get use to modelled character it goes well in fast. Usually I was starting with the same base mesh depending on the morphology of the character. Often it was the Doctor`s mesh that I use.

Sam The 3d Blogger

17 February 2009

Rick Baker the Monster makers!

Ive just tumbled upon the Rick Baker Zbrush Thread. He is doing a wolfman. I think it is done by now but you can watch the evolution at this link:


For those who don't know him is one of the best in the special effects artist in Hollywood and in the world. Now he use zbrush as well as traditional medium to achieve his goal. He is a master in zbrush! For those who like zbrush I strongly recommend you to follow his work.

According to the imdb.net, he was the first recipient for the Oscar for best make-up for the movie
''An American werewolf in London''. I got the DVD of this movie, this is so cool. The transformation of the hero in a wolf sequence is truly spectacular!

Here a list of the most famous movies he work for:

  • The Wolf Man (2009) (post-production) (special makeup effects)
  • X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) (special makeup effects consultant)
  • The Ring Two (2005) (special makeup effects artist)
  • Cursed (2005) (special makeup effects artist) (special makeup effects creator) (special makeup effects designer)
  • Hellboy (2004) (special makeup effects artist)
  • Planet of the Apes (2001) (makeup artist) (special makeup effects designer and creator)
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) (special makeup effects)
  • Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000) (special makeup effects)
  • The Frighteners (1996) (special makeup artist: The Judge)
  • Batman Forever (1995) (special makeup designer and creator)
  • Wolf (1994) (special makeup effects)
  • Harry and the Hendersons (1987) (makeup artist)
  • Thriller (1983) (V) (special makeup effects creator) (special makeup effects design)
  • The Howling (1981) (special makeup effects consultant)

As you can see he work on a lot of werewolf and beast-man movies! He also love gorillas. Here is a link to an interview with Rick Baker for Zbrush.

Sam The 3d Blogger

How to use zsphere in Zbrush to do a cute and scary little character!

Hi this morning I didn't know what to talk about as I have no upgrade to show on the infamous Nick 3d project except dull UV unwrap... which are not even finish yet. I have to kick my butt to do it this afternoon :OP

So I take a look to my portfolio blog and came across this little fella that I did in February 2007. So this is two years ago. Ive done it in zbrush 2 at this time. Have done it near the Valentine's Day and I wanted to do a cute little character to give to a girlfriend but it turn up a little weird :OP

This little rabitosaurus like I call it is entirely done in zbrush 2 with zsphere. The materials and the render are from zbrush too. At this time I was experimenting with the power of rendering within zbrush because I didn't know how to do normal map yet.
Now that I know it kinda give me an idea... I could redo something the same but with normal map and fast skin shader. It could be very cool.

When I saw it Ive said to myself that I could do a little tutorial to explain a little bit about the zsphere, one of the most powerful tool of zbrush. When Ive open my zbrush I saw a button name movie. In this panel you could create turntable which I already know and you can record yourself too so you can make little tutorial :OP.

So this is a little movie showing how to model with zsphere. Don't know why it is so fast.... It is not me who is that fast in modelling... But it is a quicktime movie so I guess you can go frame by frame to see it properly. It is just a little doodle it take me 10 minute to produce. If you like it I could do better stuff in the future. If you got any question on how to do the same according to zsphere or the movie in itself dont be shy and post a comment!

16 February 2009

3ds max or Maya?

Oh my ! This weekend was cool but I was not in my best shape at all! I was not feeling good and yesterday I pass it on the couch watching TV and drinking hot water with lemon. So I dd int work on the Nick 3d project as I planned to do. But the base mesh modelling is pretty much done I think I gonna start to unwrap the UV's this afternoon, but I'm not to exiting about it. I hate unwrapping. Usually I only do planar or automatic mapping and use mix map material. I think it work well for me but you cannot really use it for character... Here is a example of what this technique can do.

If you have seen my portfolio blog you may have already seen it. Believe it or not, It have few UV's that have been properly unwrap in this picture. About 98% of the modeling are planar mapping or automatic or face camera mapping. It is possible to achieve nice result even if it suck at some place... Like in the roof, but I could easily fix that.

The way it works is that you put your base texture and you try to fit the UV proportionally with the tiling. Obviously you want the texture to be proportional to the object. In example in the roof I wanted about one feet wide planks so I scale the UV's so it fit what I needed. Then in the diffuse slot you use a mix as modifier. If you are in 3ds max like in my case you will have a black rectangle and a white one. One will be your first texture and the other a second texture that you will put on the first with a mask.

Concretely in this picture it is what Ive done with the white wall. I first put a cement or plaster texture, than I organized the UV's the best way possible until it look good. After that I use a second texture to add some dirt on the wall, but remember you got to have an opacity mask. It is like in Photoshop, its a image file in black and white. The black will not be affect and the white will affect the result. So what it do its that in my first slot I got the plaster diffuse and the second I got a dirt texture and I got a mask. Where the mask is black the plaster texture will be show and where there is the white the dirt will be visible. You could also place a 50% grey image and it should make a multiplier effect on the resulting diffuse.

What is cool with that technique its that you could organize the UV's according each level of texture or mask as well. The first texture could have is own UV's set and then the second texture have UV on a second channel than the mask is on a third channel and all UV could be completely different. And you could add as much level of mask and texture as you want or you need to achieve what you want. This way you could do awesome materials for your scene, taking in account that you still have the other material option to use as the normal map the bump map, the specular etc... In this picture It was the first time that I was trying to do grass and I definitely use this technique and I love the result. it is like a game you try everything you think will do well until it look cool. In fact it is what I like the most in the 3d process, texturing and ligthing when all start to looking great!

As I have said I primary work only in 3ds max now and zbrush for normal map, but you could use the same technique with Maya but I think it is a little bit more complicated to connect all channel material.

3ds max
or Maya software?? Which one you think is the better 3d software? Which one do you prefer? I want some interaction on my blog he he. I want fight! And please tell us why you like one more than the other that will be good!

Sam The 3d Blogger