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Alvaro Ribeiro worked on statues for Batman: Arkham Knight, The Witcher III, Batman vs Superman and different characters from DC and Marvel. In our interview he talked about the challenges of creating lifelike statues and his marvelous Batman models.
My name is Alvaro Ribeiro and I’m a Brazilian 3D Artist. Since I was a kid, I really liked to draw, so I decided that I wanted to work with art for living. When I left school, I studied cinema and animation at UFMG, a good university here in my city. Although I learned a lot during this time, from cinema history to 2D animation and stop motion, I knew that I wanted to work with creating 3D characters. So I started to watch all tutorials that I could find on the internet and to look at other artists work to learn with them.
This way, I learned 3D modeling by my self and slowly got into the industry. Like most artists, I started with very boring jobs for small companies, modeling houses, objects and simple characters. Today, I focus my work on the collectibles industry. I work with great companies, like Prime1 Studio, Xm Studios and Tsume, with a lot of different licenses, like Batman Arkham Knight, The Witcher III, Batman vs Superman, different characters from DC and Marvel and now on manga characters.
Working on Statues
Working with statues is great! We can focus more on the art it self without worrying to much about some technical things like topology, uv, textures and polycount. But there are a lot of hard points also. A game character, for example, is always moving in the screen and you rarely stop to check all the details of the sculpture. Most times, for games, there are a lot of deformation and collisions going on with the character. But, for the collectibles, the statue will be there so you can look closely to each detail of the character. It is our job to make all parts of the statues perfect, so the collectors can admire it from very close, like a piece of art, and they won’t see any problems. Other hard thing also is to think about production. Most cases, we have to sculpt the character and, when it is done, we have to prepare it for 3D printing and cut it in many small parts, because it is necessary for molding, casting and painting when we talk about making 1000 copies, for example. Some characters are very complex and we have to separate it into 50 parts or more.
The Dark Knight
Since I was a kid I really liked Batman. I had toys and I even used a Batman costume in one of my birthday parties haha. I had the honor to work on Batman from Arkham Knight game as my first project with Prime1. I was nervous, but very excited to work on this project and I knew there were a lot of fans waiting to see a great statue. At the end, the collectors really liked the result and I feel very happy to see this statue being admired all around the world.
When I model my characters I always think about the overall looking first. It is more important to have a good pose and design than having very small details everywhere. Some very simple characters are much better than very detailed ones. But, once the overall shape and design are there, I always do my best to pay attention to the small details. Working with collectibles made me very careful with every inch of the sculpture, because I know people will look very closely to it. Also, working with statues, it is very important to make sure that the statue will look cool from every angle, and it is a big challenge.
Ben Affleck’s Batman
Working on Ben Affleck’s Batman was a big challenge. For this project, I got some 3D files used in the movie, so I had a very good base to start sculpting. As references, I got some very high resolution images from Batman, so it helped a lot to make every detail exactly the same as the movie. Every part of the process has it’s difficulties, but I guess the likeness was the hardest one, as the statue is very big. The real fabric parts are done by a different team, and they did an amazing job!
Posing a character is very hard and I still learning a lot about it. The pose tells a lot about the character’s personality. A powerful and big character, like Darkseid, works very well with a heavy and steady pose. But a quick characters like Flash, looks awesome with a very dynamic pose. The important thing is that the pose must look good in every angle, and that’s the big challenge. Sometimes you make a cool pose, but when you look the statue from the side it is a little weird. Other important point is that we have to think about the scale when choosing a pose. A big statue, like Ben Affleck’s Batman, would take a huge space in collector’s room with a dynamic pose. So, for big statues, we usually do a museum pose.
My favorite Batman is the one from Arkham Knight game. It is very special to me, because it was my first big project for the statue industry. It was a big challenge for me, because I had never worked on such a complex character before, so I had to learn a lot during the process. At the end, the statue was a huge success and I felt very happy when collectors started showing photos from Batman in their collection. For now, I think I worked on enough Batman-related characters haha. I’m looking to work on different characters, from other universes.