Reza Abedi: Sending Messages Through Characters

Reza Abedi: Sending Messages Through Characters

Reza Abedi teaches us the way to send messages through characters created with the help of modern tools.

Reza Abedi from Iran gave a thorough breakdown of a production process behind his amazing ‘Smile At All Ages‘ project. The artist talked modeling, clothing, materials and other milestones. The work is not just an ordinary piece for the portfolio – it was created to send one particular message: “…Laughing is the first thing that we must keep in mind. Honestly, there is always something in life, but how great would it be if we could just forget it all with a simple laugh.”



I am Reza Abedi from Iran. I have been working in the industry since 2007. In 2012 I went to Brazil, São Paulo to study Animation & 3D in Axis/Gnomon School of Visual Effect. Before I went to Axis/Gnomon, I was never interested in character modeling and anatomy and most of my work was logo animations, architectural rendering and working as an animator and video editor for advertising company.

I started to learn Maya and Zbrush at my School and for the last year I have been trying to get better at creating game characters. I’m currently working as a character artist for Streamline Studios in Kuala Lumpur and of course I am still learning and I have a long way to go towards reaching my Goals


Smile At All Ages 

Smile at all ages is a message – I created this image to remind everyone that laughing is the first thing that we must keep in mind. Honestly, there is always something in life, but how great would it be if we could just forget it all with a simple laugh. I know sometimes it’s really tough but it’s not impossible. I started modeling his head with a Basemesh I already had and built up the features and expression. I use the Standard, DamStandard, Clay Buildup and Move brushes to take the model from its primary to the secondary form. I really don’t want to go crazy in this level, which I think is the most important, and add a lot of details to the model, in my opinion the most important part is this level


A Sense of Realism

I projected the tertiary form in to MARI based on some photo scans and then imported it back to ZBrush. There are two ways to apply this map on to the model. Firstly you can import it as an alpha map and mask it with alpha and use Inflate. Or you can import the map as a diffuse texture and make the alpha, bring it in displacement and play with the intensity value; then apply the displacement (make sure the Texture map is on).

I personally prefer to use the second method. After I applied the displacement, I added some extra detail with the Dam_Standard brush and some organic brushes I already had. To give the character a sense of realism I used ZBrush’s FiberMesh feature to create the hair, eyebrows, and stubble.

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I made the woolen jumper in Marvelous Designer and imported it back to ZBrush to add some extra details using the Noise Maker and Tileable texture. I also used FiberMesh here to give a more realistic look to the jumper. To add texture to the woolen jumper I used Quixel DDO and I put the export target to V-Ray (sRGB)


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Back to MARI to texture the head. I made a DiffuseMap and SpecMap based on photo references, as well as other texturing techniques such as a BumbMap – which I made in Photoshop with High Pass based on diffuse map. I exported the DisplacementMap and NormalMap from ZBrush. For the skin material I used VRay BumpMtl node in MAYA and applied to the head, I put the VRay BlendMtl inside the base material.

Inside the VRayBlendMtl I used VRay FastSSS2Mtl into the base material and VRayMtl into Coat material for the reflection. I used the Diffuse Map inside the Sub-Surface Color and for the Scatter color I used the same map and changed the color gain. The BumpMtl in VRayFastSSS2 should be the same as VRayMtl (Reflection).


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I used just one V-Ray Dome light and inside the Dome Tex I used the HDRi map, I used V-Ray and no GI.



Reza Abedi, 3D Character Artist at Streamline Studios

Interview conducted by Artyom Sergeev

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