Jasmin Habezai-Fekri shared some very interesting insights on her workflow and approach to colorful stylized 3d miniatures. Plus there’s a little guide on how to present these things in Sketchfab.
My name is Jasmin Habezai-Fekri and I am a 3D Environment Artist from Cologne, Germany. I was introduced into 3D modeling about 2 years ago, when I found Blender 3D on Steam and started to dive into it more and learn the basics with the help of YouTube. At first I focused on low poly modeling with simple coloured materials, but since last year, I started getting more into digital painting and found my passion for hand painted texturing. I really enjoy creating whimsical scenes with vibrant colour palettes and cute designs. I get heavily inspired by games like Animal Crossing, since I really like the cute, colourful and low poly aesthetic of it. Currently I am working as a freelancer and soon I will attend the Cologne Game Lab university to study Digital Games with a focus on Game Arts. As soon as I realized that I could start a career in Game Arts, I decided to further my practices and get to know more about creating Art for Games.
Low poly scenes
Since I found my passion for the handpainted style, I keep on working on different personal projects where I either recreate concepts from concept artists into 3D or bring my own ideas to life. One of my first projects were modeling and texturing Catherine Unger’s concepts, which helped me a lot to practise my workflow. It’s an amazing practise to bring 2D concepts into the 3D space, since I have to reimagine the whole scene from all angles and not just the one viewpoint given from the concept.
While translating concepts into 3D, I learned a lot about colours, shapes and composition. It’s amazing to basically learn from your favourite artists and then apply that knowledge to your work.
I like to keep advancing into more complex scenes and challenge my skillset. My newest project, the Chameleon House, is based on Memesu’s concept.
Memesu’s concept, Artstation Link
Memesu’s work inspired me a lot in many aspects.The incorporation of the chameleons main body shapes that transitions into a colorful laboratory is a really interesting approach of a building design. The colours work especially well together and convey the whimsical feeling to the environment. It also offered a big variety in different materials, which I always like to practise and get out of my comfort zone. I decided that I want to get as close as possible to the design of the concept but at the same time, I wanted to give the various materials more detail and basically recreate the scene in my handpainted style.
I use Blender 3D for the modeling part. First, I start with a rough blockout, where I get the main shapes of the scene into place. In this case, it was the house with big elements like the head, tail, main body, legs and the mountain. After the first blockout, I start to polish every object and try to get the proportions right in relation to all the different objects within the scene. This part takes the longest, since I really focus on keeping the polycount low as possible but at the same time I don’t want the shapes to look too blocky or not rounded. Within the whole process the head, body and tail went through various changes, which were necessary if you compare the first and final Blockout. The smallest details, like the grass, foliage or LED Lights were added in the very end of the whole modeling process to avoid losing focus on the main objective!
Blockout comparison from first stage to last stage
For the texturing part I also use Blender. Blender has a great texture painter, that has similarities to 3D coat. It’s really easy to use and makes the workflow more pleasant, since I don’t need to swap between programs and can easily fix seams and colours. I hand paint all of my textures without the use of AO or Normal maps. Personally I feel like it’s a great practise and opportunity for me to learn how different materials react to light and improve my digital painting skills.
I start with blocking out the main colours of the all objects. After that, I move onto different materials and hand paint each one individually.
Early Blockout of the main colours
For example when I painted the wooden roof, I drew the rough lines out of each wooden plank and then moved onto colouring those shapes into the three main colours: Blue, Turquoise and Green. Afterwards I started to shade each plank darker on the top and lighter on the bottom to emulate light. In the end, I add details like wood grain and strong highlights.
Process of the wooden roof
When painting handpainted stylized materials, you have to study how each material reacts to light influence. I usually study real life materials and adapt the look into a more simplified and painterly style. It is important to keep in mind how different materials look. Even though it’s stylized, it should make sense and materials should be recognizable and get identified as metal, wood or glass.
I followed this rule especially when it’s about painting metal. Metal can be easily identified through its very strong highlights and rough edges, where the light his hitting the surface.
In the end, it all boils down to keeping in mind each material’s significant elements and their relation to light.
Main materials in the scene: Stone, Metal, Wood, Glass/Liquid
I mostly render and present my models with Sketchfab. Sketchfab offers a lot of freedom when it is about the light set up, Material settings and Post Processing effects. I decided to light up this scene with a 3 point light setup and an environment light box.
All my 3 directional light sources emit a yellowish light, that should emulate sunlight from all sides of the scene. I only leave ‘Cast Shadows’ on one of the sources on, so I don’t get any shadow/light issues.
Light setup in Sketchfab
I set up two main Materials for this model: Glowing glass objects and General objects.In the Material settings, I only change the roughness to either 0 or 100 depending on the material. For the glass parts of the scene I made use of the roughness settings, so you can see a slightly more glassy look to the tail and Ink tubes.
To get a nice glow through the bloom settings of the Post processing effects, I set the emission of the Glass Material to 0.1.
The main filters I like to use to round up the whole scene are SSAO and Bloom as mentioned before. Bloom gives a really fantasy looking feel to the emitting parts of the model and make them pop more. I really like to use it, since it puts a bigger emphasis on specific parts of a scene and draws the viewer’s eye to it.
Post Processing filter Settings
I always try to keep my models as optimized and low poly as possible, since it’s important to me to keep an efficient workflow, that can be used for making in-game assets and environments. Many parts of the Chameleon house are modular and were used on different parts of the Scene. Especially the wooden planks on the roof were assembled of a flat texture, that could be made tileable for an actual game. I modeled and textured four different planks, that I placed around the house to give the roof more variety and depth. The windows were also reused on different parts of the house. Technically you could build with these assets a smaller version of the chameleon house or create other buildings, that resemble it.
Modular Assets of the Chameleon House
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