Creating Jinx from Arcane and League of Legends in ZBrush & Toolbag 4

Tatiana Demakina told us about the workflow behind the Jinx project, shared the coloring process in ZBrush, and talked about the importance of studying anatomy.


My name is Tatiana Demakina, I'm an amateur 3D Artist from Ukraine. I am developing my skills by self-studying. In the future, I plan to work in the game industry, so I increase my skills in creating stylized 3D characters. At the moment, I am finishing university and getting a Master's degree at Kherson National Technical University. Mostly, I worked as a freelancer and did small orders, so there was no time to combine study and work. 

The Jinx Project

After watching Arcane by incredible Riot Games, I was seriously inspired and decided to create a character based on the N I X E U's concept (I was hooked on the idea and how emotions are conveyed here). I create 3D models from 2D concepts of different artists and that's how I improve my skills. 

References are very important for all projects because, in order to create a character in a certain style, you need to see how different artists did this hero. Usually, I don't use a lot of references, a couple is enough for me to understand the nature of the model, I can feel it and create them as my imagination tells me.


I created this model starting with the face, then I went to the body. Usually, I immediately make a ready-made full-length model, but it depends on my mood. Even if I remember how everything is done, it is always boring for me to refresh my memory. I always rely on lessons to make my work better. For the creation of the body and face, I always follow this video:


When we create a child's face, we must remember that it is different from an adult's. In the picture you can see that the child's face is puffy, the eyes are larger, the nose is smaller and the head is also larger in comparison with the body.

I always use DynaMesh initially to sculpt basic features. After that, I duplicate the model and apply ZRemesher to do automatic retopology. When I have enough time, I do it myself in Maya.

The next step is to create a high poly model through the projection of details on low poly, I do this using Project All. After that, I add details and go to Polypaint.

When painting, it is necessary to use as pure colors as possible so that the model does not look dirty. Colors should be bright and not mixed. I use this classical painting method in order to convey the naturalness and liveliness of the face.

First, I put on the main shadows and the light to give the model volume, then I take the colors even darker in order to enhance the shadow somewhere, and do makeup. I always use not only colors similar to beige, but also green, purple, and blue to give my face a lively look.

The next step is creating hair. I make a hat for the hair with the help of a mask. I make the basic shape and add strands with the Hair brush. I make a basic shape, connect it with braids, and apply ZRemesher. Аfter that, I add SubDivisions and make small details with the Dаm Standard brush.


To do the tattoos, I followed the concept of the character in the cartoon, I marked the spot of the base shape with a light color, and after that, I added details as an outline in a dark color. On top of the tattoo, I added a pink color so that it would not be knocked out of the total body weight, and so that it would generally look like one element.


The next step is to create clothes. Almost all clothing details can be made in a simple way, through masks. Select part of the clothes through the mask, then use Extrаct, remove the inner part so that only the shape of the clothes remains, and reduce the polygons using ZRemesh, add thickness to the clothes if necessary. After that, I add polygons and folds to the clothes. I use the simplest ways to create clothes in ZBrush, I do not reinvent the wheel, I do everything I can to make it easier for me.

For drawing clothes, I always choose one color and fill them in. With a shade darker than the color, I add where the estimated shadow and light will be. Also with Paint Brush and Alpha 08, I make the texture of the clothes so that it does not look flat and boring.


After everything is done, I move on to the pose of the character, I use the Transpose Master. Positioning is the most difficult and crucial stage. You need to learn anatomy in order to know the correct curves of the body, how the muscles form curves correctly. Sometimes, I put a character in a pose right away, it's hard to work without symmetry later, but the more asymmetrical the character is, the more lively it looks. I mask the parts that need to turn at the joints and where the joints are located.

After I position the character, I reduce the polygons using the Deсimation Master and try to apply different subtools to different parts of the model so that different materials can be applied to them. After that, I group all the parts and export them to OBJ.


I use Marmoset Toolbag 4 for rendering, it is easy to use, and in the final stage, I get a very beautiful picture. I use at least 3 lights to convey the atmosphere. Usually, I use 3 colors for all models: blue, red, and yellow. By making colors brighter, you can convey a certain mood to the character.

I apply additional highlights and SubSurface Scattering to the skin to make the character look alive and not plastic. I don’t make the clothes completely matte so that the feeling that this is still a model and not a drawing, remains. In addition to rendering with textures, I do a white render in order to show details without color.

Finally, I go to Photoshop. I slightly change the color, add highlights and additional details, in this case, it is the hair. 


I sculpt all my models from the very beginning. Since I need to improve my skills, I never take ready-made models, so I start working with blocking from geometric shapes or, in this case, from the head. 

I studied Anatomy at the university, so in this regard, it is easier for me to create models, but I still use some basic anatomical figures, I just find them on the internet. If I don’t find any, I remember the basic proportions of a person. Here are some easy rules to help you master the basics.

The human body is divided into eight parts:

  • Head (from crown to chin).
  • Upper chest (from chin to nipples).
  • Lower chest (nipple to navel).
  • Pelvis (from the navel to the perineum).
  • Upper leg (up to the mid-thigh).
  • Lower leg (up to the knee).
  • Calf muscles.
  • Shin and foot.

More things to remember:

  • The width of the waist is equal to the whole head, for men it is lower than for women;
  • Elbows are at the level of the navel, and fingers reach mid-thigh;
  • The hips are narrower than the shoulders;
  • A woman's torso is rounded, while a man's is trapezoidal and angular;
  • The arm from elbow to fingertips is equal in length to the leg from knee to heel;
  • The neck is not a cylinder and tapers downward, the transition from it to the shoulders should be trapezoidal;
  • Do not forget about the natural curves of the body!

Everything is very simple, it will become automatic with time.

I studied all my creative activities from lessons on YouTube. I usually turn on speed sculpts and just reduce the speed and see what people are doing. These 3D artists helped me: He77ga, DannyMac 3D, YuriyFyr, Follygon.

To develop certain skills, you need to work on yourself a lot and devote a lot of time to creativity. I believe that you always need to focus on your feelings and follow the concept, the most important thing is to start, and the rest will come in the process.

Tatiana Demakina, 3D Artist

Interview conducted by Theodore Nikitin

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