CG generalist at One More Production in Paris, Ludovic LIEME, discusses the workflow and inspirations behind his 'Fox Tale' gallery entry...
3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
Hi there! I'm Ludovic LIEME, a CG artist who has just finished school. I love CG, mangas and candies. I'm currently working at One More Production, in Paris, as a CG generalist. I was originally formed to be a production's assistant, but I lost my way during my course.
3dt: Where did you find the inspiration for your latest gallery entry? What's the story behind its creation?
So my latest gallery entry, Fox Tale, was done for my new demo-reel to find a job. As all my old reels had an animal in it, I wanted to keep that little ritual. It's been a long time since I wanted to create a fox, so it was the perfect timing to do it. First, I wanted to create the fox only, but when I finally did finish the fur of this little fellow, I couldn't resist to create an environment to go with it. I don't really know how to draw, but I had a pretty clear image in my head, so I gathered some references and go for it!
3dt: What software and plug-ins did you use to create this image? Did you face any difficulties, and how did you overcome them?
For the software and plug-ins, I use 3ds Max
for the fox and the environment modeling. MARI
for fur creation. V-Ray
for the rendering and compositing. The biggest difficulties I faced were the fur shading and the final scene management. Vrayhairmtl sometime can be really tricky to set up. I had to tweak my shader for the final scene because of the specific lighting setup that I had for the scene. At the end, I've decided to go for a matte fur shader whereas in my first scene, the fur was shiny. For the scene, I had to separate it into many parts and worked on them separately during the rendering step. There was a lot to deal with; the fox fur, grass generation with Ornatrix, some flowers generated with V-Ray proxy, displace on trees, SSS, GI, environment fog… (this is where I miss a little the Maya render layer). But if you keep it organized, and clean, it's (almost) manageable like any other scene.
3dt: Do you normally use this software in your workflow? What other software and plug-ins do you favor?
3ds Max, MARI, Ornatrix, and V-Ray are part of my main workflow. But sometimes, it depends on the image that I have to create; I also use ZBrush as a model sculpting and blocking soft. It's really useful for creating a rapid base for my character's model. And also use Photoshop for quick compositing when I don't have the strength to open NUKE.
3dt: Are there any particular techniques that you use often? Or do you like to experiment?
I like to sculpt a lot of my models in ZBrush and then retopologize it in 3ds Max. It helps me to keep trying to improve my edgeflow creation without thinking about the shape.
For my final images, I like to have a different point of view from people – I know they will tell me the truth whatever they will see. It has been the best way that I have improved all my images (even if it means that you have to rework a big part of your image).
3dt: What are your artistic ambitions?
As a CG artist, there are LOTS of things that we can discover and that what I love in it. There are always new software, new methods, new artists, and so on… The sky might not be the limit. I want to learn as much as possible, keep my mind open and push myself as far as I can get. There is too much awesomeness in the artistic world; you have to stay focused and always push harder if you don't want to drown.
3dt: What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skillset, and why?
I would like to try the next generation painting software, MARI is one of these but Substance Painter and the Quixel Suite seem to be mind blowing.
3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
My portfolio and reel are the hardest thing to keep updated, but if you don't do it nobody else will do it for you, so one advice, kick your butt out of that bed and GO working! (What!? You're still reading!?) Jokes aside, try to find a topic/subject that will motivate you (first look at what you love and artists that make your heart beat). Then choose a deadline, and keep it. And if you don't have any inspiration, go outside; the world is the biggest references/inspiration source EVER (after Google image of course).
3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
I call them my "Papa” (Daddys in French): Vitorugo, Carlos Ortega Elizade, PointPusher, Pedro Conti, and a lot more! The main reason I love those artist is because of their cartoonish style! Really inspiring!
3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
I'm currently working on a tutorial for a little furry character; I can't say too much about it but the image will be on the internet in the next few months. See you in a while!
Head over to Ludovic's ArtStation
Check out Fox Tale in the gallery
Grab a copy ZBrush Characters & Creatures