3D character and creature modeler Arik Newman offers theoretical advice for improving your work, talks about his latest crocodile character, and shares work from his portfolio...
3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
Hi, my name is Arik Newman and I live in Israel, currently working as a freelanc 3D artist. Since I was kid I was fascinated by art. When I was young I used to draw in my notebook at school and draw on walls with acrylic; monsters, demons, elves and all kinds of fantasy creatures inspired by Brian Fraud. I started my journey into 3D back in 2004 after seeing Toy Story
and Ice Age
. I was so impressed by the graphics, and then I understood that people earn money from art and that lead me to attending short courses where I was first introduced to the 3D world, graduating at the end of 2004. At some point I realized that modeling is the equivalent to sketching in 3D, and decided to focus in that area.
3dt: What's the story behind your latest gallery entry? Where did the idea come from? What were you trying to achieve with it?
I search the internet for cool concepts and I like to collect tons of concepts that inspire me. Since the concept is not my own imagination, I don't really have a back story for him, but he looks like a sea captain that sails with his crew on a huge ship to locations where he can find the next treasure with lots of gold and coins. With this work I tried to practice areas that I feel I need to get better at, such as texturing, shading, lighting and compositing, and overall how to produce beautiful images in high quality for galleries.
3dt: What software and plug-ins did you use to create this image? Did you face any difficulties, and how did you overcome them?
I used ZBrush
to create the model and all the elements that accompany my croc base-model. I love the fact that KeyShot
now has the bridge, so I don't have to do the tedious work of UVs, even though ZBrush has UV Master. KeyShot is fast and very intuitive. I saw before this work many artists doing amazing work with this program, and I thought why not give it a try. I think, like everyone else, how can I save time? How can I practice a lot on many aspects? That lead me to pick KeyShot for my recent work.
was used for comp, but I just did color correction with that and added an AO pass on Multiply, nothing fancy. The real difficulty was I found this croc concept, and at first I thought that this looks difficult, and I'm not quite sure I can do that, or maybe I can but I'm not sure how good this is going to be. Even though it seemed hard, I decided to jump into the deep water and try – the only failure I have is if I don't try!
3dt: Do you use any other software, either for work or personal projects?
I usually use Maya as my primary program for all aspects from modeling, look dev, lighting, rigging and rendering using V-Ray or mental ray. When it comes to character work I try to stick with ZBrush and sometimes do retopology inside of Maya. I use Photoshop for texturing, editing, and compositing my final image. KeyShot for rendering my work in ZBrush. I tend to use it a lot lately in my personal work as it's very fast and intuitive, and with the bridge it saves me a lot of time to save all my SubTools as OBJs, different maps and names, and go back and forth from Photoshop and Maya afterwards. I want to learn Substance Painter in the near future, it seems like a very powerful program.
3dt: Do you have any tips or techniques that other artists may not be aware of?
My tips will be more about spiritual perspective rather than technical issues about how to do this or that. First of all, don't let others tell you what you can achieve or not! The only limit is what you decide is your limit! Stay productive and produce as much as you can! After a while, you will see the progress.
Don't jump too quickly from piece to piece, give everything you have on every piece! Don't get stuck too much on every piece! You need to learn to let it go, even if it's not perfect, after a period of time it will be perfect. Try new techniques, new software, and evolve with the new standards and technology.
3dt: What are your artistic ambitions?
Well, first of all I wish I could work as character artist in a big studio where I can grow and learn, and do what I do best. My bigger dream would be a position at Blizzard Entrainment as character artist. The first games that got me were Warcraft
, and they do exactly what I like in the best quality that I know. I would also love to work for ILM, Weta, Framestore, MPC, or any other great studio who create cinema blockbusters.
3dt: Are you a member of any social media groups? Any favorite hashtags you check on a daily basis?
Yes, I am a member of a couple groups on Facebook, and I try to interact, like, and appreciate other work as much as I like others to interact with me. It drives me to produce more artwork and get to know amazing artists all around the world. Who knows, one day I might find myself working with someone I knew from Facebook. I used to post my artworks on Ten Thousand Hours and Pixologic groups, and sometimes others as well to get more exposure
3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
I try to produce art all the time on a daily basis. I stay motivated by using Pinterest to collect hundreds of concepts that I find on the web from Behance, ArtStation, Deviantart, 3dtotal, and Google searches. I found Pinterest very friendly, fast and organized for my needs. This way I get inspired all the time, and already have something ready for my next model.
3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
I used to purchase all of Brian Fraud books, and I used them as reference and inspiration before I started to learn 3D. I like other artists as well such as Giger, Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Dali, and many others. For 2D, I like Creature Box, Brett Bean, Justin Rodrigues, Max Grecke, Denis Zilber, Pedro Perez, Randy Bishop, Carlos Huante, and Dave Rapoza.
For digital, when I started to learn 3D, I was inspired by Fausto De Martini and Vitaly Bulgarov, and Furio Tedeschi for hard surfacing – they do incredible work! For organic, there are so many amazing artists but I think I especially like Alex Oliver Sculpts, Damien Candarele, and Rafael Grassetti, because they do amazing monsters and creatures that inspire me to do the same.
3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
I think I will stick to more stylized and cartoon artworks, such as my recent piece. Mostly, I like to create evil characters and creatures such as monsters, orcs and crocs! I recently discovered that I like to stylize my characters, and bigger shapes are more important than details. I also found that many studios are looking for stylized characters and stylized creatures. I used to think that stylized is much easier, but it's not; there are a lot of difficulties in this area, such as how to create appealing characters and how to capture the likeness of the character. I will try to combine stylized characters with more realistic textures for my future work.
Head over to Arik Newman's ArtStation
"Crocodile Pirate" in the gallery
Take a look at "ZBrush Characters & Creatures"