Pedro Damasceno did a breakdown of his Pokeball Interior project and shared a few tutorials that can help improve painting skills.
Hello everyone, my name is Pedro Damasceno, I’m a 3D Artist from Brazil. I graduated in Digital Game Design and during the course, I had contact with all stages of game development from 3D and game design to technical art and programming. What made me think about working in the game industry was the Brazilian indie games and I got into the 3D world because I love games, arts, and culture. I am currently a freelance 3D artist and have worked for companies like Rogue Snail, SkullFish, Gaz Games, Airstrafe Interactive, Tiny Talisman Games, Doppio Games, and Strangely Compelling Multimedia.
Pokeball Interior: Inspiration
I've been following James McDonald's work for a while and have always been a big fan of his style. This Pokemon project was ideal for the moment we are living in, because of the COVID stuff. I also grew up having so much fun with the game, and being able to remember those moments made the quarantine a lot easier.
Speaking of other sources of inspiration, I'm on a "re-discover" journey right now, but some of the great references are Ghibli Films, some Pixel artists like Dan Fessler, Pixpil, Saint11 and of course Brazilian culture, mainly from Minas Gerais.
Modeling in Blender
For modeling, I used Blender. My first goal was to get the camera configuration aligned with the concept, as it helps a lot figuring out the proportions and relations between the 3D and the original 2D drawing. I added the concept as a background image to make the process easier.
In addition to the intimate and cute design, there are some elements of composition in the concept that contribute to the Cozy/Comfy feeling. With the help of some friends, I was able to understand and replicate some of them. For example, most lines are curved and the straight lines are slightly rotated, removing the feeling of a clean/serious place.
Everything was made with the old fashioned poly-by-poly modeling, no fancy tools. However, as every object is rotated at least a bit it was becoming hard to model. To help with that, I used instances (Alt+D in Blender) so I could still edit everything while axis-aligned and using modifiers such as mirror with no hassle.
As for the Pokemon center, modeling was more difficult, because I couldn't do a freestyle model. I had to think through Tiles. My modeling was guided by my texture, so before modeling, I created a tileset and kept the ratio of 1 Tile in Blender to 1 Pixel of texture when modeling. The most important tool at that time was Snap to Increment with absolute grid snap.
Remember that creating instances using Alt + D is also very useful for modular modeling.
And I recommend playing with the Sprytile addon a lot!
As I only modeled simple props that did not have complex shapes, I worked with low-polys and a stack of modifiers in Blender. This is a non-destructive modeling process, so it was not necessary to retopologize the models. I managed to reuse all the meshes.
For the pokemon center, it was very important to maintain the relationship between the tiles and pixels of texture. In Blender, we have the option to snap by Pixel and it was very important during the process to avoid Pixel distortion in the model.
Like in modeling, I try to follow a certain process when painting. I follow at least 6 steps: Base Color, Ambient Occlusion, Shadow, Light, Rendering (Material), Details.
- Base color: These are the colors without the influence of lighting, here I already try to separate some faces through the colors.
- Ambient Occlusion: It is how exposed an object is to ambient light, that is, it occurs in contact areas of objects.
- Shadow / Light: I choose the position of a light and paint with that in mind.
- Rendering: This is where I differentiate between materials and their behavior with respect to reflection/absorption of light.
- Details: I put color variations and imperfection details on the surface.
I am not going to extend it, but I would like to mention some content that can help you study this theme more in-depth! See the videos below and this fantastic guide provided by 80 Level.
The project was designed for Sketchfab which is an excellent platform, so I had some limitations regarding Shaders. My goal was to bring a bit of Line Art and an illustration style to the project, so I wanted to add outlines to the 3D model. For that I had to reproduce the shader "manually", that is, I duplicated my mesh and inverted the normals by turning on BackFace Culling.