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    How to Make a Planet Explorer With ZBrush

    A planet explorer that wears an exoskeleton on top of his spacesuit that helps him in planets with high gravitational force. The exosuit automatically fits the astronaut's body thanks to his electronic joints.

    The excellent artwork, Exsolar, is created by Alberto Nicolini, a freelance concept artist and 3D modeler from Italy. In this interview, Alberto told us how he made the artwork and his experience of being an outstanding artist.

    Exsolar © Alberto Nicolini

    Exsolar © Alberto Nicolini

    Alberto Nicolini

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi Alberto, thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you give us a brief introduction about yourself?

    Alberto: Hello everyone, it's a pleasure for me to be part of this event, and I hope my Exsolar work can be useful to someone during this contest. There's not much to say about me, I'm an Italian concept artist and 3D modeler, at the moment I'm working as a freelancer from home.

    Fox Renderfarm: As a freelance concept artist and 3D modeler, do you think 2D art skills help you a lot in 3D art developing?

    Alberto: I think they can surely help you out to quickly solve problems at early stages or maybe to finalize the final image, but I think you can achieve great results without them as well.

    Fox Renderfarm: How long did you take to finish the work, Exsolar?

    Alberto: It's really hard to tell, because I worked on it during my spare time, but for sure it took me more than two weeks.

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you introduce how you make the modeling and realistic texturing?

    Alberto: I have used ZBrush as the main program for the modeling, starting from a rough block-out of the shapes and then a quick render and paint over to define better the overall design.

    Exsolar - Modeling

    After this I made the clothing in Marvelous Designer.

    Exsolar -Marvelous Designer

    And back again to ZBrush to define and detail all the exosuit parts and the pose of the character.

    Marvelous Designer-ZBrush

    The texturing I made it's procedural so I didn't use any UV maps, but everything was obtained thanks to the material editor in Keyshot.

    Marvelous Designer

    Fox Renderfarm: How did you make the perfect coloring and lighting?

    Alberto: In Keyshot, I've tried to set up my ideal lighting and coloring, adding some light sources and modifying the hue of a basic HDRI. I prefer to make most of the work about the light and color inside the rendering program, so I don't have to adjust it that much in Photoshop and make just a slight color correction.

    Exsolar - Render

    Render

    final image - Exsolar

    Final Image

    Fox Renderfarm: Among all the projects you’ve done, which project do you feel proudest and would you share with us how you make it?

    Alberto: I don't have a favourite project, but I'd like to share with you the "Lake Nymph" because it came from a sketch I drew after a nightmare. My process it's almost the same for every project, but I can share with you some images taken in different parts of it.

    Lake Nymph

    Lake Nymph

    Lake Nymph

    Lake-Nymph

    Lake-Nymph

    Lake-Nymph

    Lake-Nymph

    Lake Nymph

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s your pipeline of 3D art?

    Alberto: It depends from time to time, but I always start from quick sketches on paper or in Photoshop. After that I collect all the references that can be needed throughout the project, they can be images from other artists, photos of real life details, movie shots or just whatever gives me inspiration or ideas for the project. Then there is the modeling process, it starts from the block-out of the main shapes until the detailing phase. As I mentioned before I use ZBrush as the modeling tool, but it happens that sometimes I use different programs, depending on my needs. During the modeling phase I always like to do fast overpaints that help me to solve problems or just to check if I'm going in the right direction. When I'm happy with the modeling I pass to the rendering phase where I set up lights, textures, materials and composition. Finally I make the last touches in Photoshop, with color correction and overpaint if needed.

    Fox Renderfarm: The composition, lighting and coloring of your works are fantastic, how do you enhance your good sense?

    Alberto: I think that developing a good eye it's probably an endless process for an artist, of course looking to other artists’ works help out, as it is watching movie and video games, but I think the most important thing is to go outside and take a deeper look to what is around us in the real an daily life.

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you briefly tell us your educational and work experience along your CG journey?

    Alberto: I have studied New Technologies of Art at the Academy of Fine Arts of Milano, where I've discovered for the first time ZBrush during an academic course, it was suddenly love. Thanks to that I discovered digital art, so I signed up for a two years master in advanced digital arts. I started to work just after my degree but in a different field and doing concept art just in my spare time. After quitting my job , two years ago, I became a full time freelance artist.

    Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you want to share with the CG enthusiasts?

    Alberto: I think the most important thing above all the others is having fun and enjoying your projects. I take this opportunity to thanks again Fox Renderfarm and to wish everyone good luck for this amazing contest!

    "As 2020 is a difficult year, we will all be explorers to seek hope in 2021. The explorer can be a traveler looking for a mysterious place, a spacecraft roaming through the Milky Way, or a doctor researching the vaccine. Please create your 3D render, show the explorer in your mind and explore your possibilities."

    More info: https://www.foxrenderfarm.com/fgt3d-explorer-challenge.html

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