3D character artist Andre Souza enjoys medieval fantasy and aims to create both realistic and stylistic characters with ZBrush and 3ds Max. Find out more…
3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
My name is Andre Souza and I'm a character artist from Brazil. I've been working as a freelancer in the CG industry since 2014, but my first contact with 3D was back in 1995 with the Soul Edge game, introduced to me by a friend. The cinematic intro made me think for the first time that I should be involved with that in some way.
But it was only in 2001, when I bought a magazine with interviews about "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within” that I saw this as a reality for me. Since then, I've been doing 3D as a hobbyist, until 2014 when I decided to make a living out of it.
The Kid Buu I did for a Dragon Ball speed sculpt mini challenge
3dt: Tell us about your art: Your style, themes, genre, and some of the favorite projects you have worked on.
I try to keep a realistic style in my characters, but I also like something more stylized like Joe Madureira's drawings. I'm planning to try something like that soon in a personal project. And I don't like just characters; I like to create complete scenes with environments and lights, everything telling a story. I just choose to focus on characters for my career because that is what I like the most.
The theme that I enjoy is medieval fantasy. I bring that from the RPGs I played when I was a teenager. I also like space fiction and want to try that someday. The gender I prefer to model is the female. I love the challenge of trying to achieve the perfect softness and curves ,even when they are strong women. My favorite project so far is Kid Buu. It started as a Dragon Ball speed sculpt challenge in a Brazilian Facebook group called ZBrush Grupo de Estudos. I liked how things were going and decided to finish it properly.
Some images of Buu from ZBrush
3dt: Can you describe your typical workflow, and the software/hardware you normally use when creating your artwork?
I use ZBrush and 3ds Max for modeling. I started as a modeler years before the launch of ZBrush, so I believe that the traditional methods of modeling are very important in the workflow of any modeler. As incredible as ZBrush is, sometimes it is not the best tool to do the job, and when that happens I use 3ds Max. Though of course, if you are doing modeling, especially characters, ZBrush is an invaluable tool. I can't imagine my workflow without it.
In my workflow, if I am doing a job for a client, I start with a base mesh of my own in ZBrush, because time is crucial. Sometimes I have to switch to 3ds Max to make some adjustments that are easier to do there, and then switch back to ZBrush, and I keeping doing this until I get the job done.
If I'm working on a personal project or study, I force myself to do everything from scratch. So for a character, I start from a sphere and build all the shape from it. This helps to keep practicing the basics again and again and have a better understanding of human anatomy.
Personal project of the X-Man Archangel intended for print
3dt: What inspires you?
So many things inspire me. Soundtracks from movies and games, games, the work of fellow artists, and especially life itself. When I go out, I like to watch people interacting with each other, the scenarios, and then transfer all of that to a different world. Sometimes it is a medieval fantasy world, sometimes it is a sci-fi. This leaves my mind spinning with ideas for stories. And then from these stories I create characters and sometimes one of them comes to life in 3D. Because I need that, I need a story behind a character, so it can make sense to me and doesn't look just like an empty shell.
Personal project of an alien bust
Some images of the Alien from ZBrush
3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
I believe that personal projects are a good way to keep your portfolio up-to-date. In personal projects you can show your vision and everything you can do. And of course, never stop studying; never feel comfortable with what you have achieved so far.
A character I did for Eclipse Miniatures
3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
The artists that inspire me the most are Kris Costa, Fausto de Martini, and Alex Oliver. I remember how determined I was to create characters after seeing Kris Costa's interview about his short movie, SenzAAzione, in the Digital Designer magazine. Thinking backwards, I think it was at that moment that I decided to focus on characters. Sometime after that I saw his work again, alongside with Fausto's in the Machine Flesh contest of the same magazine.
Many years later, I saw the sculptures of Alex Oliver in a forum and man, I was tremendously shocked. I had to ask myself if someday I would be able to do something like that. I almost gave up CG at that time. But every time I looked at those sculptures I felt more inspired and motivated to go on, so I did it.
Of course there are many more artists whose work I admire. Victor Hugo Souza, Rafael Souza, Rafael Grasseti, Gilberto Magno, Bernardo Cruzeiro, Adam Skutt, Glauco Longhi, Alessandro Baldasseroni, Natalia Freitas, Victor Hugo Queiroz, Pedro Conti, and this list goes on and on. And of course I can't forget the paintings and sculptures of the masters.
A digital reproduction of the Flintlock pistols of George Washington
3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
Well, right now I am focused on improving the way I tell a story through my characters, so you can expect a lot of them from me. I'm enjoying working with characters for printing, but I'd also like to work with games someday, so I'll dedicate myself to learning the character pipeline for games too.
Andre Souza's website
Andre on Facebook
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