Freelance Brazilian character artist Gustavo Medeiros shares some of his ZBrush skull and creature anatomy ZBrush studies, and his inspirations and workflow...
3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
My name is Gustavo, I'm 22, and I started drawing when I was a kid. I've always loved everything about art. I have a background in traditional arts like drawing, sculpting, and photography, and now I am a 3D character artist currently living in Brazil, studying every day to reach my main objective of working in the big game industry.
Sketch based on Vinod Ram's concept art
3dt: What was the workflow behind your latest gallery image? Where did the idea come from?
I started in ZBrush
from a sphere until the high-poly, after that I searched for good references about lighting and then I made a lot of light tests until I reached a good result. Then I started to think about interesting shaders to apply to the model, I tried to do something that was reminiscent of a rough traditional sculpture with shape variations and fingerprints. My idea was to make a series of sketches, one per week and my last gallery image is one of these sketches.
3dt: What challenges did the image present? Did you learn something new?
The challenge in this project was translating the concept art from 2D to 3D, and to do something with a bit of tertiary details like pores, veins, and things like that because I wanted to do something more rough, like a traditional art, and I tried to do some storytelling with the light. I checked a lot of references about lighting and composition to do a good final image. I learned more about composition, lighting, shaders, and Arnold
A Harry Potter forest creature based on a Paul Catling concept
3dt: Do you use any other software, either for work or personal projects?
Yes, I usually use ZBrush and Maya
to do the modeling of characters for game and cinematic production, with Substance Painter
and 3D Coat
for texturing – both of these gives you a lot of freedom to create your own materials, and good results for hand painted stuff. Marmoset Toolbag
presents the game models, and in this project I used Arnold renderer to create a shader for the final image of my work, and Photoshop
for post production, adjusting a few things like color correction and things like that!
A study that I did to learn more about skulls variations,structure, and ethnicities
3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
Sometimes it is too hard to keep the portfolio up-to-date, because we make professional work and it is good, but it leaves us without any time to produce personal work. Personal work is too important in challenging yourself to learn new things. Before starting every personal work you need to define your main challenge, if doing this you're going to improve your art and your personal portfolio. It's important to show what you love to do. If you have game characters in your portfolio, you're going to take professional work related to it, if you have cartoon characters you're going to take professional work related to that. If you are working on an interesting professional project it is good to update your portfolio, to show that you are working on something cool and show that you are a good professional.
Modeling based on concept art of one of the masters, Carlos Huante
3dt: Are you a member of any social media groups? Any favorite hashtags you check on a daily basis?
Yes, Facebook has a lot of art groups, the best for me is 10k hours, thye have a lot of good artists that post every day, giving feedback and things like that, I have an amazing group with some friends where we share good stuff, and study together every day, giving feedback, and this is maintained so each of us is inspired to produce every day. I don't usually check hashtags but I follow a lot of artists on Facebook and Instagram.
3dt: How important is the recognition of your peers?
For me it is important because I am a freelancer, and to be recognized means to me a good flow of work. If you don't show your work, posting on Facebook groups, forums, and art websites, how is the work going to appear? It is positive when you post your work on Facebook groups and a lot of people like it and share it! But the most important thing is to study to reach your goals and your dream job, to be the best artist you can and share your work!
One of Harry Potter's creature, a forest giant.Concept art by Adam Brockbank
3dt: What are your artistic ambitions?
My artistic ambition now is to study a lot of anatomy, sculpting, and everything about the game character art workflow, to reach my main objective of working within the AAA game industry. But I want to grow as an artist in general: I love sculpture, drawing, painting, and photography – I love to be involved with art!
3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
When I was studying drawing to be a possible concept artist, I did a workshop about traditional sculpture with Glauco Longhi, He inspired me a lot with his work and after that I started to research sculpture and 3D, and one of the first 3D work that I saw was the Raptor by Rafael Grassetti, and he inspired me to start to study 3D and to be a Character Artist. So, my main influences are Rafael Grassetti, Glauco Longhi, Igor Catto, Bruno Camara, Gilberto Magno, Danilo Athayde, Frank Tzeng, Rafa Souza, Marc Brunet, Simon Lee, Karl Kopinski, and Adam Skutt.
Sketch based on Roman Bondarenko's concept art
3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
I'm going to focus on character modeling for games, and post a project soon. I'm also going to go back to studying anatomy hard for a big project in the near future.
Head over to Gustavo Medeiros' ArtStation
Check out Gustavo's studies blog
Pre-order Beginner's Guide to ZBrush now!