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Interview with Jian Xu


By Richard Tilbury

Web: http://xjgd4321.cgsociety.org/gallery/ (will open in new window)
Email: moc.liamtoh@ux.naij

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Date Added: 28th March 2012
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Can you tell us a little about your occupation and background and how you came to be where you are now?

Hi, I am very pleased to be interviewed by 3DTotal. I have worked in the CG industry for ten years as a 3D artist and I'm currently the art director and founder of UDA Shanghai China.

Many of your characters have very realistic skin. How do you go about creating it and what kind of set up do you use in Max?

Thanks. To start I will search for a lot of references online or take photos myself, and observe details which are helpful for creating the texture. I also do many test renders to try to perfect a good quality skin effect.

What type of material setup do you employ and what are the maps you use to build the skin texture?

When I make skin I usually use a mental ray SSS material. I use three maps for the texturing: one for overall Diffuse coloration, one for Bump and a third one for the overall specular weight.

There is a mixture of work in your portfolio, from realistic through to caricature and cartoon. What do you feel are the most challenging aspects to each of the three styles?

Different styles have different challenges. A realistic style for me is the most challenging, because

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everybody knows how humans look. Any small inaccuracies are instantly recognized and cause the work to appear unrealistic. I therefore have to know the structure and texture of the subject very well.

Doing caricatures is also a very interesting style. The most challenging part is deciding how to exaggerate your character, and yet still allow people to realize who it is. I don't only need to decide on the characteristics to exaggerate, but the lighting, camera and textures all add to the caricature appearance as well and make the image more fun.

When doing a cartoon image I think the design is important. Good design leads to successful work. Normally cartoon styles are pure with no need to emphasize specific details.

What guidelines would you offer anyone wishing to model realistic humans, considering how much anatomy varies from person to person? And what do you feel are the crucial things to get right?

I think when making models of realistic humans you should closely follow references - the closer the better. I don't think you need to consider anatomy too much during the early stages, but more the exact integral shape. After that you can focus on some of the details.

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