Jesus Fernandez C is a Costa Rican 3D artist working in the industry and creating free tutorials and assets, with a penchant for all things furry! Learn more...
3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
Jesus Fernandez C:
I am a 3D artist from Costa Rica, a beautiful country in Central America. I have 9 years working in many different areas of 3D, from archiviz to animation, and now videogames and short films. I decided to study animation and 3D when I was 15 years old. I can remember my teachers saying to me that I should think about a different career (there was just one college that had animation here in Costa Rica) and most of the people do the entry exams for one of the best colleges in Costa Rica, but I decided that I did not want that for me. That really angered my teachers. After that I went to college and started studying animation, spending two years in college, but having to drop out early.
A week after I received an email asking me for me portfolio, and a company here decided to hire me. I started work doing videogames for a casino, a really curious job. We had to do everything from the 2D concept and illustrations, to 3D rigs and animations for the slot machines. I had the pleasure to work with a lot of talented artists that helped me grow (I was 20 years old when they decided to hire me).
This one was the first test with Redshift and hair, the idea was to make a weekly furry creature but after that I went for timothy and took more time
I have been always interested in how things look, the details of shading and lighting. I didn't even know the meaning of look dev back then. I was doing some freelance work for the archviz industry, and after that I migrated to environments as I live here surrounded by nature, and I decided to explore that field in 3D. The tropical environment is so hard to get right in a render, so I was always taking pictures of textures, leaves, bark, and I have almost a full HD of these pictures.
So, I decided to make a new piece that took a lot of planning work, and the final result received great responses. That piece was "Forgotten Forest.” Then began the rain of freelance jobs, after I put my page online, and I have been working making models for studios, environments, and this last year a lot of hair grooming tutorials. I think I am transitioning more to the character/environment field, and mostly towards hair grooming after the Timothy work.
3dt: What's the story behind your latest gallery entry? Where did the idea come from? What were you trying to achieve with it?
When I decided to make my latest artwork, it was because I needed to test myself, to know my limitations over a big task that was on the horizon: I was going to be a dad. I did it for my little boy and to be sure that I could do a high-quality work that could sustain both of us. Right now, Julian is almost 3 years old, and he's an amazing little guy!
He always supports me when I'm working, and loves my furry creatures, especially the Water Buffalo (concept is from Shaun Tan), although he says that it is a cow, and that he is angry because a little girl wakes him up and it's saying: "Muumuu look!" It has been almost a year from the water buffalo project (that I never finished…) and he still asks me to show it to him. I had to put the photo on favorites on my phone so I can have quick access to the image, mostly when he is about to fall sleep and asks me for the buffalo one last time.
So, I was wondering, how to repeat that amazing feeling and to test myself again trying to make my little boy proud, and while testing Redshift
I discover the amazing hair shader that they have, so I thought, why not?!
My latest complete image! (It's really hard to keep up-to-date with the projects)
Well Julian has this little mouse that I bought one year ago. It's a toy that came with a book and the mouse's name is Timoteo: it was a series of magazines with stories from different farm animals, published by a newspaper here in Costa Rica. He loved it for months, and every time I was with him we would have to call over Timoteo to come with us because he was/is "my best friend” – even today he likes to sleep with him some times.
Each time my son sees a mouse in a cartoon or photos he says "Look dad, that's Timoteo!" (and Jerry, he loves Jerry). So, I decided to work on a stuffed toy, to show it to him, and a reloaded version of Timoteo. (I'm not a fan of the design of the real toy, ha.)
3dt: What software and plug-ins did you use to create this image? Did you face any difficulties, and how did you overcome them?
This image was done with Maya
using Xgen and Redshift. I have been trying to find a GPU renderer that adjusts to my needs. I tried Octane but it wasn't comfortable enough for me, so I decided to jump to Redshift and I really love it. It just feels natural with my workflow. And from my tests, I could see that the hair shader is one of the most powerful and user friendly out there, even more than the Arnold shader. I have always been a technical guy, but sometimes that same technical stuff slows me down to get to that final artistic result.
For this project, I was wondering how to test the GPU rendering. In fact, I was already using Redshift a lot, and bought a GTX 1080 from NVidia for this purpose. When I decided on Redshift, it was mostly because of the quality of work from people like Jean-Michel Bihorel, and how easy to use it looked. Also, that it is really focused on production and not archviz is a bonus. It's quite easy to set up; the materials are great and it takes a lot less effort to get a good result. I feel that the beauty of the render is again in the hands of the artist instead of the technical stuff.
Some light tests that I always like to do to see if the grooming works
3dt: Do you use any other software, either for work or personal projects?
Yes, I tend to use a lot of software. I don't like to stick with just one (just my main software) but I have to use Spine
on my work for 2D animations. I love the blend color and the brightness with Pen Tool Sai. For modeling I use both Maya and ZBrush (I still love to do the blocking in Maya with box modeling) and Marvelous designer for cloth.) For nature, Xfrog, Paint FX, Speedtree and Onyx are great. For rendering I started with good old mental ray, using it for five years before migrating to Maxwell Render for a while, and then V-Ray. Now I'm mostly using the render system most suitable for the project. For my own projects I use Redshift, and for work V-Ray, and for some freelance work lately: Arnold Render. I compose with After Effects, and I have to learn NUKE but I don't have a lot of time.
3dt: Do you have any tips or techniques that other artists may not be aware of?
That's a hard one. I think that the answer would be yes and no. I really like to try new things and research new methods from everybody. I always think that all artists have something to teach and something to learn. Most of my tricks come from my work where you have to achieve your result from start to finish, so you have to adjust all your workflows to fit, while achieving good results. The capacity to learn and change in this field is a must right now with many amazing artists showing techniques and tips.
The latest work that I'm doing for a 3D World tutorial
Lately I have been doing streams of my work on twitch, and also uploading them to my channel on YouTube. Some of the responses there about my workflow are mostly on my basic box modelling workflow in Maya, where I like to set the composition really simple and easy. After that would be grooming: fur is a hard one to get right, but with care and references you can analyze the results and try to keep things accurate. For Timothy for example, I went to the museum and the zoo twice to get close to all kinds of furs, and not just look on the internet. It's a great tool but there's no comparison with the feeling of actually being there, looking at all the details that real life can give us.
Right now I'm working on a series of streams. I am not going to say tutorials because they are not, focusing on showing my process from basic modelling and setting, up to the final render, all on twitch and You tube, so everybody can see me struggle and trying to fix all my mistakes ha.
You can follow me on Youtube here.
And here is my Twitch
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One of this images I need to finish, based on the work of the amazing Shaun Taun