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3D Character Design: A Modern Take on a Medieval Adventurer

Placido Obama Mexia shared a brief breakdown of the Knight project, providing a glimpse of the steps taken to reach the final result.

Placido Obama Mexia is a Senior 3D Character Artist from Spain who is currently working at Firesprite, a PlayStation Studio in Liverpool, the UK. 

The artist has been passionate about video games since childhood, playing Final Fantasy 7 for the first time on PSX, captivated by the cinematic cutscenes. As they grew older, it became clear that they wanted to pursue art in the context of video games, and 3D art seemed like the perfect avenue to explore that passion. 

"My initial exposure to 3ds Max and ZBrush came during my time at a private school in Spain, where I learned the fundamentals necessary to begin modeling. From there, I sought online tutorials to continue honing my skills."

The Knight project was a culmination of Mexia's skills as a 3D character artist where they used Unreal Engine 5 to create a real-time model from scratch without relying on pre-existing assets or scan data. 

The character design originated from ArtStation's Medieval: Back and Forth challenge. Mexia started by gathering references online to "inform the character's aesthetic, blending medieval elements with modern touches, such as a red jacket and cargo pants."

"My primary goal for the head was to achieve realism while utilizing XGen for the hair. I started by referencing facial features and then sculpted the basic shapes from a sphere. For details, I combined manual pore-by-pore work with skin alphas sourced from the internet. Additionally, I followed a tutorial on creating dreadlocks with XGen to achieve the desired hairstyle."

Texturing is one of the artist's favorite steps. Mexia always thoroughly studies references to replicate materials accurately and uses Substance 3D Painter to create textures from scratch, layering them from basic to complex until achieving the desired result in Unreal Engine. 

The most challenging aspect of this project, according to the creator, was dealing with rigging, as it was a skill they hadn't previously mastered. However, the process provided "invaluable learning experiences," and we saw this handsome model in all its glory.

If you also want to learn how to create such projects, Mexia recommends training your eyes to mimic references closely.

"Instead of designing characters from scratch, focus on refining your ability to replicate forms, materials, and details from concepts or references. This approach will better prepare you for the industry where working with concepts is common practice."

Placido Obama Mexia, Character Artist

Interview conducted by Theodore McKenzie

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