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How to Create a Battle-Scarred Girl with a Katana in Blender

Kirill Rybachok has shared with us the creation process of the Girl with Katana. This project marks his first attempt at using GeoNodes to create hair, which yielded excellent results.

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Hello everyone. My name is Kirill Rybachok. I am 22 years old and I am a 3D artist with about 3 years of experience. My acquaintance with 3D began when I was still in school. I was fond of drawing since childhood and it was interesting for me to try myself in 3D.

My first program was with ZBrush, but our first acquaintance did not work out. I opened the program, got scared of the interface, splashed the sphere for 15 minutes, and left. After that, I forgot about 3D for several years and returned to it already at the time when I was studying at the university. But then, I was already more motivated, because I needed to decide on my future profession.

I have always been attracted to character creation and game development, so without thinking for a long time, my choice fell to creating characters for games. Just like a few years ago, I started with ZBrush. My first course was an introduction to ZBrush. I spent about a month on it and began to feel more confident in 3D, although my models left much to be desired. Next, I took courses on creating game characters for games.

My first 3D model:

Ratten Reich

I made my models in my free time and uploaded them to various open 3D modeling groups. Half a year later, to my surprise, I received a letter from the indie company MetalAdlerStudio and was offered to join their team as a 3D Character artist. I did not refuse this offer and started working after the test task.

My 3D characters for Ratten Reich:

For a long time, I worked for free, with pure enthusiasm. Later, we tried our hand at Kickstarter. There was a long preparation with materials for the presentation. And we started our company on Kickstarter. Our goal was not very high, but it would help our team to continue development. A month has passed for the Kickstarter company… And we managed to exceed the result we needed by 3 times!

Ratten Reich in Kickstarter.

Image Credit: Ratten Reich

It was a great achievement for our indie company and we continued the development with burning eyes.

At the same time, I studied at the university, and during my studies, I managed to get an internship at an IT company in the 3D graphics department. I successfully completed my internship and probation period and became an employee of the 3D department at the junior position.

At the moment, I have more than 2 years of experience in the company, and I have learned a lot of new things, from creating game equipment and props to creating a building and other environments for games.

I received a lot of information for studying 3D graphics from open sources. There is a lot of useful information on any topic on YouTube.

At the moment, I have experience working in such 3D packages as ZBrush, Maya, 3DMax, Blender, Marmoset Toolbag, 3DCoat, Substance 3D Painter, and Marvelous Designer. I also have experience working with the Unity and Unreal Engine game engines.

The most interesting direction for me, as well as a few years ago, remains the creation of 3D characters for games, although I have enough experience in working with hard surface models.

About The Girl with Katana Project

I would like to tell you a little about my latest work in the portfolio "Girl with katana."

The creation of this model appeared spontaneously. I just wanted to practice creating hair in Blender. And I went to get the references! Here are the references that I relied on in the process of creating the model.


It didn't take me much time for the whole model, about 2 weeks in my free time.

To create a high-poly model, I used a basic female model from ZBrush.

High-poly model from ZBrush:

To create clothes, I used Marvelous Designer and relied on these references. Later, I added stockings for more detail.

Cloth creation in Marvelous Designer:

Retopology was not carried out for this model because it was not planned as a game-ready model, but rather for the practice of creating hair and renders. Therefore, I used the lower sections for UV.

I did the adjustment of the smoothing groups and the creation of the UV map in Blender because, in my experience, this 3D package is the most convenient and flexible.

I baked textures by high-poly models from ZBrush in ZBrush itself using Multi Map Exporter.

Then I moved on to the texturing process.

To create the skin, I used XYZ textures, using WrapX. After that, I performed manual refinement of textures in Substance 3D Painter.

I also did make-up based on references.

After creating the textures of the skin and clothes, I realized that the model looked too boring, and I decided to add more story to the character by adding blood splashes on the clothing and skin, as well as bruises on the exposed parts of the body. In this way, I wanted to achieve the effect that the girl was in a bloody battle from which she emerged victorious!

Substance 3D Painter project:

To enhance the effect "after a battle", I decided to add a katana to it. The creation process itself is no different from creating assets for games. I made a high-poly model, based on it a low-poly model, a UV map, baking, and textures!


To create a fabric material in Blender, I used a standard set of PBR textures and fur.

Blender material:

Now to the most interesting thing — the hair!

I spent quite a lot of time creating them because it was the first time I worked with Geometry Nodes in Blender. YouTube videos helped me a lot.

Useful videos:

Blender hair full walkthrough by smay.

Based on the references, I created splines on the basis of which I generated hair based on GeoNodes.

Hairs references:

Splines setup for hairs:

Geometry Nodes setup for main hairs:

I started creating hair again three times because I was not satisfied with the result. But after analyzing the references, I still managed to create the right volume and shape of the hair.

To create the necessary details, I also used free custom GeoNodes.

For lighting, I used the classic arrangement of light based on three sources, but I added a couple of additional ones.

Render scene:

Post-processing and here is our final result!

If you like my short article, check my social media: ArtStation, Instagram, Behance, and LinkedIn.

Kirill Rybachok, 3D Artist

Interview conducted by Gloria Levine

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Comments 1

  • Anonymous user

    Damn that's incredible, how much work and skill it did require I wonder...


    Anonymous user

    ·a month ago·

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