Mickael Lelievre, aka Abby, talks to us about his latest gallery entry created with ZBrush, working on an animation for TAT Production in France, and his growth as an artist...
3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
My name is Mickeal Lelievre and my nickname/alias is AbbY. I've been working as a modeling artist for more than 4 years in the 3D animation industry. I started as a junior modeler at TAT Production in 2012 on the TV show "The Jungle Bunch”. This year I became a senior modeler on the movie of the "Jungle Bunch”, for the same company/studio that I worked for in the summer. All of these projects are created in Toulouse in France, and that is where I live too.
BatBadass a speed sculpt but finally a finished project
3dt: Where did you find the inspiration for your latest gallery entry? What's the story behind its creation?
For my latest personal work, I took inspiration from a creation by Nivanh Chanthara; I follow his work on Facebook, Instagram and so on. He is really talented and I told myself that one day I would turn one of his sketches into a 3D model.
It was a challenge for me, and I'm happy he liked my take on it, and he shared my interpretation which was the ultimate reward. This model allowed me to work on my hard surface techniques with ZBrush, along with accomplishing a complex personal project.
It was for a challenge, I really like this character Dakuan from Ninja Scroll
3dt: What software and plug-ins did you use to create this image? Did you face any difficulties, and how did you overcome them?
was my main modeling and texturing tool, then BPR for rendering, and finally Photoshop for the compositing. The difficulties I faced were mostly in ZBrush. Some volumes can be hard to visualize, and sometimes figuring them out despite the sketches can be tricky. The transition between hard surface and cloth wasn't easy either. For the cloth is used "Bridge Curve” (see tutorial
) and for the hard surface I used my usual tools like Dynamesh, Slice Curve, and Zremesh, the Marco Plouffe
3dt: Do you normally use this software in your workflow? What other software and plug-ins do you favor?
Yes, I simply adore ZBrush. When I have spare time I eat, drink and dream ZBrush. It's a complex and very complete software – every time I use it I learn something. Watching a lot of tutorials and testing the new techniques I learn through them is part of my practice. When I watch Zsummits, I discover new ways to use the software; this way I can go on testing, creating, making mistakes and trying again. I do work a lot with 3ds Max and V-Ray too, but I can't nourish my thirst for creativity with them, as ZBrush is much more flexible.
I wanted to do a NinjaTurtle, but a sea one
3dt: Are there any particular techniques that you use often? Or do you like to experiment?
Recently I have been practicing on hard surfaces, but I do like to try myself out on sculpting organic volumes, objects and so on. I've developed a lot of habits in ZBrush, but as I said previously I'm very curious about the way artists work, and how they get to the amazing results they do, and so then I try to pick up their own ways and sometimes keep them.
You can see the original sketch on my ArtStation, from a very simple sketch
3dt: What are your artistic ambitions?
To be a character designer or be a part of a project that uses ZBrush as major software so it would be included in the earliest stages of the pipeline. I would love to be able to link personal and professional work, participate on videogame cinematics, or work for prestigious names as Blizzard, Blur, Ubisoft, Unit and even reach for Pixar and Dreamworks.
3dt: What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skillset, and why?
There are many software I want to try out: Marvelous Designer, Substance, Quixel, Mari and especially KeyShot. These software would allow me to increase the quality and control over my 3D models, my textures and my final rendering. KeyShot gives birth to impressive rendered images. So yes, I have a lot to look forward to and it's uplifting!
3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
Well, from time to time I do speed sculpts, and most of the time I start off with a chest/torso.
Sometimes I delete it and go out gardening, if it's not the right time or spirit, it doesn't matter I'll have another go tomorrow. When it works, it can stay a speed sculpt or it can evolve into something more. This way many of my try outs turn out to become some of my final projects. All of this is fed by the fact that looking at 2D and 3D projects from other people inspires me, gives me an itch, and it has to come out of my head on paper and 3D. I have quite a few W.I.P that sometimes stay as such even though not all of them will.
I really enjoy sculpting fish
3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
There are many, and my top list often changes and just keeps getting longer! Marco Plouffe, Furio Tedechi, Vitaly Bulgarov for the 3D hard surface work; their art talks for itselves. Rafael Grassetti, Cyril Roquelaine, JB Vendamme for the study of organic 3D; they have incredible knowledge of anatomy and their portfolios are pieces of art. Nivanh Chanthara, Juanjo Guarnido and Barbucci/Canepa are my favorite 2D artists.
I mixed a character like Venom and a real tarantula named Black Trapdoor
3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
I'm currently working on a robotic torso, a fish and a few other things too. And you will soon have the opportunity to watch "The Jungle Bunch” at the theater – it's coming out in summer 2017, I worked on it as lead set modeler.
Check out Mickael Lelievre's official site
Mickael on ArtStation
Grab a copy of ZBrush Characters & Creatures