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Journey of making a three dimensional Illustration

Gup-Shup with Nishigandha I 3D Visualizer

Nishigandha, a Visual Designer and Illustrator from Mumbai talks about her process of generating a three dimensional illustration.


How does one start to visualize a 3D Illustration? What sets the mood and premise for you?

Emotions and the mood of a character and those that the character evokes, are something that hook me to any illustration. So whenever I start any new 3D illustration I look for a mood or emotion that excites me. I either develop a concept based on my own ideas or take a 2D illustration by any of the insanely talented artists that are out there, as an inspiration.

For example, this piece that I created based on Angel Ganev's illustration

Sketching is the first step in the creation of any of my 3D projects. The main purpose behind sketching is to compose all the elements of the illustration, even if the proportions are not that accurate. Apart from this, if I am taking inspiration from a 2D artwork, sketching also helps me figure out the different views of the character and helps me visualize it in three dimensions, and I also decide if I want to add additional elements to the illustration or not, at this stage. So, sketching in 2D is more or less the first step in the process I adapt, It helps me visualize the illustration better.



What's a brief process of making a 3D Illustration for you? Can you take us through the process juxtaposing one of your work?

For any illustration I begin with, I start visualizing characters and then sketching them onto a paper to understand the layout. This needn't be too polished and it's completely okay if you are not too good at sketching as long as you are able to visualize the end product.

For example, When I was making the illustration Dads & Daughters, I had an idea of a dad sitting in his living room, watching the television after a long day's work, but decked up with nail paint as his young daughter is playing with him. So I sketched out the entire illustration first and decided on each and every detail at the sketching stage. Right from the posture and body language of the dad, to the books that were going to be placed on the shelf behind him and the type of wallpaper in the living room.

Another part of this stage is detailing out the background of the character which determines the character’s characteristics and features. This includes determining things like the character’s occupation, hobbies and mannerisms, which helps me figure out the character’s posture, it’s clothing and accessories, etc. Like if I decide my character is in the police force, I start thinking of the accessories which I can give them, like a gun, uniform, or even civilian clothes, if they are undercover. If my character is an athlete, it will determine the shape of their body and posture. This also helps me figure the details in the background.


In this particular illustration, the title of every book in the book shelf was decided keeping in mind the family’s characteristics and personalities. Also I had decided that the mother would be a doctor, which gave me the reason of not including her in the composition, as she was at the hospital attending to an emergency, at the time which the moment in the illustration took place. Also I decide on the illustration style of the characters, like if I want them to be top heavy with broad torsos and slender legs and feet or want the characters to be made up of circular forms.

At this stage, I also have a pretty strong idea of the lighting and the color scheme that I am going to go for; whether I want dramatic lighting with different colored light sources or a bright sunny outdoor setting or maybe an indoor soft lighting scheme. All this depends on the mood that I want to achieve.


Then I begin with the 3D modelling. I start sculpting my character in ZBrush. According to the illustration style I block out the form of the characters and then work on sculpting them. I start with sculpting out the head and the expressions and then sculpt the details of the rest of the body. I also sculpt out the clothes and the various accessories of the characters and pose them in the desired posture.

After I finish sculpting all the characters of the illustration, in ZBrush, I take them to Cinema 4D, where I sculpt the rest of the hard surface elements (like chairs, lamps, etc; elements with a defined geometry; non organic elements) of the illustration along with the background. After the entire composition has been sculpted, I add materials to the sculpt and position my camera, which determines the view of the composition.


After everything is done, I finally light the scene. I enjoy the lighting stage the most as at this stage I can play with the entire mood of the illustration through the various lighting schemes. Basically the lighting just breathes life into your illustration. This is the make or break stage for me, as a really awesome sculpt can be ruined due to bad lighting or an average looking model can be made to look great with the right lighting. In the past I have abandoned a couple of illustrations at this stage simply because the lighting wasn’t working too well for me.

After the entire illustration is ready, it’s time to export, which is the most uncreative and technical stage of the process. At this stage you have to figure out the optimal settings to cut down on exorbitant render times and once you hit the render button it’s plain old fashioned waiting from there.


Once the illustration has been rendered I take it into Photoshop to add highlights and other minute details, after which I color correct the illustration a bit if I want to. Finally the complete piece is ready for posting or to submit to the client.

yaaaayyy!


Gup-Shup with Nishigandha

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