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Thiago de Oliveira Aguiar: 3D character artist interview

By 3dtotal staff

Web: www.artstation.com/artist/thiagooliveira (will open in new window)

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Date Added: 8th September 2016

Brazilian 3D character artist Thiago de Oliveira Aguiar discusses his ZBrush creation "Witch" and his inspirations and plans for future cinematics...



3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?

Thiago de Oliveira Aguiar: Hey guys, I'm Thiago, 23-years-old. Born and raised in Jundiaí, Sao Paulo in Brazil. I started studying 3D when I was 18 straight after leaving high school. I took some courses in Melies 3D College in São Paulo, which by the way is an excellent school. I had the pleasure to study with great artists like Igor Catto, Andy Bruning, Caio Fantini and several others. I had to break the studies for two years, and then one year ago I decided that 3D was what I wanted to do in life, so I focused on my studies, always following the great arts from the big names. Now I'm working as a freelancer, and focusing my portfolio to work for games and cinematics.


3dt: Where did you find the inspiration for your latest gallery entry? What's the story behind its creation?

TA: As I was saying, I was following the big forums every single day. I did that every morning, so that was my daily dose of inspiration. I looked at those spotlights and I wanted to be like them, and I set my mind so that the project I was working on wouldn't be finished if I didn't feel it was amazing in every detail. For me, inspiration was so important for the project – we can't get very far without 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?

TA: I used the dead king XSI Softimage, ZBrush, Topogun, Photoshop, xNormal and Marmoset. I think my difficulty was getting over the laziness sometimes. And I see that in other people; we may spend time doing a piece we know isn't perfect, but the laziness speaks louder: it seems easy to get over it but sometimes it's not. During those hours I stopped working on this specific piece and instead worked on another, before finding motivation to focus on this one. We can't finish everything at once.


3dt: Do you normally use this software in your workflow? What other software and plug-ins do you favor?

TA: Actually, I'm not using XSI anymore, so I moved to Maya. For modeling, I just use Maya and ZBrush. I like to open UVs in UVLayout, as it's easy and fast. For the textures, I use Photoshop, and sometimes I use the plugin from xNormal in Photoshop that turns images into Normal maps – it's really useful. For rendering, it depends on the project, in a game project I use Marmoset, or for cinematic or higher render quality I use V-Ray, and for a fast render I like KeyShot.


3dt: What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skillset, and why?
TA: I really want to have a good knowledge of Marvelous Designer – it can be an excellent time saver. But I don't want to use it a lot because I'm afraid to lose the practice of sculpting clothes.

The other one I want to have a better knowledge of is Substance Painter; in my opinion it's the best one for texturing, you can do everything inside it.

3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
TA: My favorites artist are: Rafael Grassetti, Gilberto Magno, Hossein Diba, Caio Fantini, Igor Catto, Danilo Athayde, Alex Oliver and Andy Bruning. Their work is absolutely fantastic, they are an inspiration for me, and I want to be strong enough to study like them, that's why they all rock. And second because I had the luck to meet most of them and see their work live.

3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
TA: I really want to work with cinematics. I'm producing two characters for my portfolio which I hope will be ready by the end of the year, and rendered in a cinematic. Maybe there won't be the time to complete both, but I'm certain that one will be finalized. Maybe a Barbarian is coming.

During the process of this character, I realized that it could have the most beautiful details, but if the proportion wasn't right it would be ugly anyway. Here's a tip I think is essential for the process –always do a proxy of your model. The proxy will definitely show you if you character is or isn't working, and with a few simple adjustments you can fix it, and start
detailing safely.

Related links

Head over to Thiago's ArtStation
Check out Witch in the gallery
Grab a copy of ZBrush Characters and Creatures


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