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Oren Leventar shared some techniques, which he uses for the production of cute architectural assets for games.
I would like to start by saying thanks to 80 level for this interview, it gave me the opportunity to take a good look at my work and analyze it.
My name is Oren Leventar. I’m 37 years old and I live and work in Israel.
My main interest at the moment is in creating assets content and environments for animation, VFX and gaming. the creation of worlds is something that always fascinated me.
My journey started at traditional painting, which I still do and love to do this very day. I came across the digital world and the 3D visualisation 7 years ago, and it was an immediate connection. For me, it was a natural transition into the digital world of art.
As a digital artist, I do create a lot of realistic frames in various subjects, but to be honest there is one particular field in this world that have a special place in my heart – Stylized Art. I began exploring it in the latest year an revealed an amazing world of free magical creation. When I come across a stylized creation online, usually a digital drawings made by a gifted artists, I’m excited like a kid in candy shop!
As a 3d artist, I’m always looking for a way to convert a 2d concept into my world, but the real struggle is to keep it fantastic 2d feel. The process I found suitable for the feel I’m looking for is Painting Over. its such a fun and great way to take that technical look of the 3d and to give it that extra style. It feats perfectly to my current goal which is to create a 3d image that look and feel like 2d. to explore that middle area between 3D and 2D.
My work progress is pretty much consistent. I begin with finding an online reference or concept that I like. Unfortunately, I’m not a concept person so I’m beginning with this online search. The next step is to break the chosen image down, understanding its colors, shapes and the feel I want to create.
I use the reference as a background and start modeling its main shapes in a process called Blocking.
I wont carry on the small details or on a certain part of the ref, I just want to get the right composition and structure.
Once I’m happy with the result, I’m moving to the Blocking part and thinking how I would like to style every segment. How do I elaborate each part to give it lively feel and shape.
If we’re dealing with a simple shape, I’ll stick with my traditional modeling software, but if we are handling with a more organic shape, I’ll try different sculpting softwares like ZBrush that definitely can make our life a lot easier when it comes to small details.
When you do a stylized work, it’s important to remember not to over load the scene with many small details, other wise the final result will be unclear from a distance and there for unrealistic and that’s not the outcome I’m looking for.
After finishing converting the blocking shapes into final elements and once I’m done with its spreading, I begin creating textures. most of the textures are hand painted created with Photoshop or painted directly on the models.
My painting process is something I’m developing each and every day by trying different methods and softwares like 3D-Coat and Substance Painter. I create textures by concepts or references and with Photoshop I make it tileable and save it for re-use. many of the elements are painted with generic textures I created, which I change the color and the over all look, I don’t really have to create a new texture for each tiny element I want to paint.
I try to unwrap only the complex element of the scene and paint it over a model only when its necessary to the project, usually a simple mapping and the hand painted is enough to get a pretty good outcome and the lighting completes it.
In my opinion, the best way to create a lighting hierarchy is simply to start with your main light such as the sun or whatever I think will be the strongest light of the scene.
After achieving it, the next step will be Fill Light from the opposite side.
To get a more impressive light affect I’m usually adding a back light to make the scene pop out and so it would be more clear to the eye. With post-production I’m making the light brighter or darker to get the outcome I want.
The post-production process includes elements I take from the 3D software such as:
- Ambient Occlusion
- Element Mask
- …and anything that can help me along the way.
Using Photoshop, I’ll take all my layers and Level or Curve it to make the render pop out.
Then I begin painting over the image to give it less technical feel, a fresher appearance. After that I apply some glow affects, color and contrast affects. It’s mostly an intuitive phase that can last hours of making and deleting, depends on your personal taste, because in the end it’s all about the art.