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Romell Chopraa: character and concept artist interview

By 3dtotal staff

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

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Date Added: 27th September 2016

Senior character artist Romell Chopraa shares the workflow behind his Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe image, and his future plans...



3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
Romell Chopraa: Well, I am Romell Chopraa. Professionally, I am a senior character artist and 3D concept designer. I'm also currently freelancing for the toy and collectible industry, creating concepts for some IPs. Personally, I am always keen to learn different things, and always prefer the out of the box approach to deliver my best to the industry, and for learning of course. I am located in New Delhi, the capital of India.

Fan-art based on a concept sketch from Peter Konig

3dt: Where did you find the inspiration for your latest gallery entry? What's the story behind its creation?
RC: I am honored to receive so much positive response and love for my latest gallery image here on 3dtotal. Thanks to the 3dtotal team. Well, it was a difficult and challenging project overall, but I am glad my art director gave me full liberty to bring my ideas into this work. Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, as the name suggestions, is based on the idea of Deadpool killing the heroes of the marvel universe. Initially, I received a very basic rough sketch which was later transformed into the final pose we wanted to achieve. I must add that was the most formidable process; adding all the decapitated figures around his throne. Comic art and storyline was the only inspiration I had. The story needed to be told with small yet important elements on and around the throne.

Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe for the 3D Printing industry

3dt: What software and plug-ins did you use to create this image? Did you face any difficulties, and how did you overcome them?
RC: I mainly used Maya, ZBrush, Topogun, and Photoshop in the creation of this project. For the figure, I began with nickz's Averagehuman ztl default for the initial blockout process. I used that because the loops are so organized with defined polygroups for each limb. Once the proportions were done, for the next step figure-posing was the most difficult part I experienced, but thanks to the transpose tool in ZBrush, it was made quite easy and efficient at the same time.

When the character was posed, I quickly dynameshed the tool to distribute the volume throughout the mesh for further anatomy details as needed. After the basic anatomy blockout had been done, I used zremesher and Topogun for the final step. This helped me to keep the filesize low without the hassle of organizing topology throughout the mesh.

Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe for the 3D Printing industry

With the unified mesh, the character was all set to go for the UV Master treatment, which is a fast way to get decent UVs onto the model. Finally, I spent some more time on the sculpt refinements and surface details, with noisemaker, insert mesh and manual strokes. This was pretty much the basic workflow I used overall.

3dt: Do you normally use this software in your workflow? What other software and plug-ins do you favor?
RC: This is pretty much the workflow I prefer to use, but sometimes it depends upon the project requirement as well. The deeper I dive into the project, the more new things I add during my process. Regarding software, I use Maya, ZBrush, 3ds Max, Unfold3d, Topogun, UVlayout, KeyShot, Marmoset Toolbag, Substance Painter, and MoI3d. I would strictly favor ZBrush because this is where ideas are blocked out, and where the mesh starts, and this is where it ends as well.

Personal concept study

3dt: Are there any particular techniques that you use often? Or do you like to experiment?
RC: Different techniques are a must to keep you on track, and experimentation is what I always prefer to do. In my organic workflow, I prefer pretty much the same things, but when it comes to hard surface design mock ups, Maya, 3ds Max and ZBrush comes in handy for me to begin with. During the design process, I sculpt initial mock outs with dynamesh, then use Topogun for a basic mesh blockout (or zremesher sometimes), then again if shapes are complex I prefer 3ds Max or Maya, importing back the model into ZBrush for some final touch ups. Or in another case, I use panel loops as they are very helpful in complex geometry creation.

Lucas Bishop 1/6th scale sculpt for XM Studios

3dt: What are your artistic ambitions?
RC: I just want to keep on track with all the industry updates, whether it is any new software or any new technique. But above this, all I want to deliver is something new to the toy and collectible industry in terms of a new line of characters with a story behind them. Hopefully, in my upcoming works you will be able to see what I meant with that. Regarding concepts, I want to develop my own IP in the future. I know it is hard, but nothing comes easy and especially when it comes to art. I am focused on this, and hopefully I will prevail with it.

Lucas Bishop 1/6th scale sculpt for XM Studios

3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
RC: There are no particular tips I have. And honestly, I am very slow and lazy to keep my personal portfolio up to date. To all fellow artists, I would like to share only one thing, always keep yourself ready for upcoming challenges and keep your brain practiced on how to deal with them. Sooner, your own original thoughts would become part of the process, and you would succeed further. But above all, I request all fellow artists to practice traditional sketching on paper (not on an iPad or screen). It would definitely help us all to stick with the roots of thought process and brainstorming.

Fan-art based on a concept from Tom Carruther

3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
RC: Digitally; Krishnamurthy Martin Costa, William Horbottle, Gio Napkil, Alex Huguet, Abner Marin, and Aaron Sims are a few of my favorites when it comes to creating organic forms. Fausto de Martini, Marco Plouffe, and Vitaly Bulgarov, are a few artists I enjoy for their approach with hard surface designs. Traditionally, there are many, but I love Ron Mueck, Stefano Maderno, and Trevor Grove specifically.

Personal take on the version of The Thing from the Fantastic Four universe

3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
RC: Honestly, I will be able to share some highly detailed action figures in my future posts, and some conceptual work based on my own designs for an IP. As I said, it will be a different approach on design and creation.

Related links

Head over to Romell Chopraa's ArtStation
Take a look at the Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe in the gallery
Grab a copy of Beginner's Guide to Character Creation in Maya

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