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Creating Characters for League of Legends in ZBrush & Maya

Thibaut Granet shared some experiences acquired during working on the Fortiche and RIOT Games' animated series, discussed the workflow, and talked about the importance of understanding the art style of concept artists.


My name is Thibaut Granet, I'm a 3D Character Artist living in Paris, loving neat shapes and hand-painted texturing.

I started working for video game companies on small projects, and, after some time, I got the chance to join Fortiche Production, which has a strong artistic direction and a vision that appeals to me; working there on RIOT Games projects like K/DA, RISE, and ARCANE animated series was such an amazing opportunity, people at Fortiche are insanely skilled at every step of production, and I really learned a lot from them!

Right now I'm going to do more freelance work, some with AXIS studio, I'm really glad to collaborate with them too!

I have done my studies at ISART Digital in Paris doing a game-oriented cursus, but I was also super interested in 2D animation, so I took night classes but of course, I learned a lot of things from the internet, forums, tutorials, and friends. My workflow really came up with work experiences, from games and animations, problem-solving, and accumulated knowledge.

Sources of Inspiration

I think I got influenced a lot by anime aesthetics, I love how pure, dynamic, and abstract they can be. But of course, the main inspiration when I adapt a concept is a concept itself and the artist's work, it teaches me a lot and improves my personal work too.

Regarding references: I try to collect a lot of relevant references for a particular project. Regarding my last work based on Lena Sayaphoum, it's based on one concept but I used a lot of her other artworks trying to get her style and how her shapes might correspond from one angle to another, especially for the face. It's one of the things I like the most in 3D sculpting from a concept: trying to get a good retranscription from 2D, trying to get the same folds and silhouette while keeping it good-looking from different angles.

Working on Human Anatomy

It was a hard lesson to learn not to go too soon into details, it's very tempting in ZBrush, and sometimes if your foundation is not good enough it will take way more time to try to fix it than just start over again. Regarding human anatomy, I think I got some good basic knowledge of it from drawing, study, and some tutorials like Grassetti, but most importantly, I use a lot of references (photos, closeup of some areas or shapes I'm looking for, écorchés, etc).

Here is an example of my first blocking, figuring the flow of the folds and proportions. and the result after a lot of time cleaning, refining shapes, etc:

Working on Details

My sculpts are actually quite simple; it's really about aesthetics, grading things, and leading the viewer's eyes. Some parts would take longer to do in ZBrush than in Maya; so I use a lot of GoZ for blocking and adjusting things, also, I try to keep the same topology and UV for all similar parts at least until I bring asymmetry and I try to get my subDiv1 with quite a low density to get better control of the shapes.

Retopology and Artstyle

Retopology really depends on the purpose, I'm not going to sculpt the same folds and retopology depending on it if it's gonna be animated. I keep in mind rigging and how things should move, and technical requirements in mind from the start, but if it's just for a still or figurine-like sculpt I can allow myself to be more artistically driven. It might be hard to decide when it's over especially on personal work, I always try to do my best in a given time, and getting the best looking shapes for every camera angle.

I think a lot of my art style came from my personal tastes and my drawing skills, I often struggle with some shapes in 3D, and to resolve it, I take it back to traditional drawing to get the right flow, to deconstruct it. I think I really apply what I learn from 2D about composition rhythm and hierarchization.    


Working at Fortiche was really challenging, the attention to detail and function is really high, but it's no big secret. I just tried my best to learn from my mistakes and to be up to the task.

On a personal side, I will try to develop more my personal work and release more things in the near future, trying to do figurines, I also would love to do music videos and indie games.

Thibaut Granet, 3D Character Artist

Interview conducted by Ellie Harisova

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