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Rishi Raj: 3D character modeler interview

By 3dtotal staff

Web: https://www.artstation.com/rishi (will open in new window)

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Date Added: 8th June 2018

Indian 3D character modeler Rishi Raj has worked in the VFX and Animation industries for 7 years, and shares some of his knowledge and portfolio...



3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
Rishi Raj: Hi! My name is Rishi Raj. I am a 3D Character Artist from Lucknow, India. I have been working professionally in the VFX and Animation industry for 7 years. I was always passionate about art and enjoyed reading stories. I also had a huge collection of Indian comics that I used to read a lot. As I grew I got interested in visualizing stories and creating characters. I usually work on stylised/cartoon animated movies. Currently I am on vacation and enjoying the time off for a few months. Before, I have worked in different parts of the world like Dubai, New Zealand, Ireland. And now most probably I will be moving again to a different country.


3dt: Tell us about your art: Your style, themes, genre, and some of the favorite projects you have worked on.
RR: Initially I was more inspired by the hyper realistic models. But over the years, I found out cartoon characters can not only be fun, but can be very challenging. It's the simple shapes that make it harder to make a character more appealing. Disney characters do justice to the simple styled characters.

One of the best projects I have worked on is "Mosley.” It is an animated movie from Huhu Studios, New Zealand. I worked on a few main characters in the movie. I met lot of amazing talents there including Kirby Atkins who is the director of this movie. The movie is scheduled to release early next year.



3dt: Can you describe your typical workflow, and the software/hardware you normally use when creating your artwork?
RR: Asus Rog Gr8 2 can easily handle all the complex works I put it through. ZBrush, Maya, and Arnold are pretty much the softwares that I regularly use. I keep jumping from one platform to another for different strengths they have. I always start with my own base mesh. Maya is my main tool for poly modeling. All the other things like proportion adjustment or details I mainly use ZBrush. For UVs I try to use ZBrush but end up fixing a few things in Maya. I am not fond of texturing, so I use polypaint in ZBrush for my personal models. It's more fun to paint on high-res models in ZBrush. For retopology I use Maya, it is very interactive and fast.

When it comes to posing my characters I use Maya. I create a very rough rig and quickly pose it then refine it in ZBrush. For concept creation ZBrush's dynamesh and zspheres prove to be very useful. For rendering I like Arnold. It gives me accurate realistic results.


3dt: What inspires you?
RR: My source of inspiration generally comes from good stories. I watch lots of TV shows and movies to get inspired. The good thing is that I can get easily inspired from small things. Every artist draws his inspiration from different things. Music is also a great source of inspiration. While working, there is always music playing in the background. Some great stories from TED talks are also something that inspires me.


3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
RR: I try to add 2-3 finished characters per year when working on my portfolio full-time. I believe in quality over quantity. In each of my characters I try to learn a particular set of skills. I also like to keep the characters I create different from one another. Although speed sculpts are a fun way to practice and unwind, I don't include them in my portfolio. One other thing to keep in mind is the transition of the characters from a 2D concept to a 3D model shows the skill of the artist, and how well he can interpret the design. I can only say to upcoming artists to not rush anything, take your sweet time to study and learn. Enjoy the art; appreciate the talent we all have.


3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
RR: The list is long. But I will name a few here. Glenn Kean is one of my favorite artists. There is so much life in his sketches. He was the character designer and animator in one of my favorite movies "Tangled.” Rapunzel was a delight to watch. Each and every frame of her was amazing. The shapes were simple yet conveyed the exact emotion needed in the shots. Another favorite artist is Sze Jones. She is a 3D/2D artist. Her models were the reason I got interested in characters. I like the subtlety in her models.


3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
RR: Presently I am on vacation. I'm brainstorming a project though which will help fellow artists and beginners alike. I hope to get it on tracks soon. Meanwhile, I hope to get inspired, create more characters, learn more skills and help young artists. I am also planning to release a few video tutorials of my workflow.


Related links

Rishi Raj's website
Rishi on Instagram
Grab a copy of Ultimate Concept Art Career Guide


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