Ask me anything about my art or working with Blender and sculpting in Blender. #AMA

Daniel Orji
Sep 15, 2018

Hello, I'm Daniel. A CG artist from Nigeria. I specialise in character modeling and sometimes environments. 

I began sometime in 2016, and I have worked till this time. It's been fun all the way. I'm learning everyday, the learning never stops.

I'd be pleased to answer questions concerning my art, tips and hints for working with blender or sculpting in blender.

You can contact me and see my works

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What kind of projects are you working on now?
Sep 14, 6:02PM EDT1

Presently, I am working on an environment scene, I'm almost finished, just some touch ups here and there, in a day or two, I'll put it online. Hope you love it!

Here's one place I'll post


Last edited @ Sep 15, 12:45PM EDT.
Sep 15, 12:44PM EDT0
What is your creating process like?
Sep 14, 3:41AM EDT1

Okay... Great question there.

  • Before I sculpt, I start with a concept , this can either be a mental picture in my head or a representation on paper or on screen. At this stage I study what I want to create, looking for details about the concept, things to better my knowledge of it 
  • After I begin sculpting, I start from simple shapes like a cube or sphere, to form the foundations. E.g. For a face, I'll begin manipulating the shape to look like a head. 
  • I then move and begin adding details once the base of what I want to sculpt is achieved. Like here I begin adding eyes, noses, ears etc
  • Once that's done, I go in for minute details, slight folds, creases, wrinkles etc. These kind of stuff adds the icing on the cake, and less is definitely more at this stage 
  • After that  I add skin colours to the sculpture, if I want to, at this level I add clothes, hair, accessories etc.
  • Finally I add lights to the scene and render it, that means I put it through a process where the computer, transforms that sculpture in a three dimensional form to a picture form(2D)
Sep 14, 4:01PM EDT0
How did you learn how to sculpt in Blender? What do you do to build your skills?
Sep 14, 2:13AM EDT1

Here are my main sources, I'll answer your questions at once

  • YouTube Tutorials: So many topics from the user interface to animation. There's a whole lot of knowledge there.  It takes some patience to find what you want sometimes but it's worth it.
  • Articles: i usually reference them on topics that may not be unique to 3D, for instance, lighting and composition, I've gotten a huge wealth of advice from articles written by sculptors, photographers, painters, sketch artists etc. These address issues that I feel doesn't even need to be in a video form
  • Pictures: The primary source has been Pinterest, I underestimated it at first but now it's just wonderful. I get lots of hand drawn references that show me where to place features on a character, the relation of body features. At times, I get references of what we call facial planes, which are simply images of the face that use simple shapes like squares to ease drawing and sculpting. I have a library of these things to quickly reference anatomy and tips for sculpting.
  • Online forums, Facebook Groups: the impact is tremendous, if I kept my works to myself! I wouldn't have gotten the criticisms I got. Those aided me in a challenging way. It also exposed other artists works, So I do learn from others too. It can be harsh but it's good.
Sep 14, 3:41PM EDT0
What types of projects would you like to do with your talent?
Sep 13, 10:24PM EDT0

Game projects, indie or studio based. Working on RPGs, First-person shooters, strategy and combat games. I plan these as my skills improve.

 Movies(Animated or not). If such an opportunity is given it would be great to work with the movie crew and cast. Very nice and it poses as a chance to learn much.

I wouldn't even mind using my talent in educational fields. It's a learning process altogether.

Sep 14, 2:53PM EDT0
Why do you enjoy creating in Blender? What other programs do you use?
Sep 13, 9:51PM EDT1

Uhm... That's probably because the  first software I used to get serious with computer graphics, I tried older ones some time before Blender, but didn't go far.

Also it's free and powerful, there are features both present and upcoming that will make it rival other packages.

With tutorials, patience and passion anyone can use it

Answering your second question, for now I don't use any other 3D software for my works. I plan that for later, Zbrush, Substance Painter and Marvellous Designer are softwares I'd like to try my hands on too. Though I use Photoshop to composite my pieces, but that's just by the way 

Sep 14, 2:41PM EDT0
What is important in environment artistry?
Sep 13, 6:35PM EDT1

In my opinion, one of the most important things is appeal - the sum of the work.

Take a nature scene for example, the assets needed like leaves, flowers, trees etc. are gradually getting faster to make(model), that means it makes the process easier, this doesn't mean environment art is easier than character art, I won't make that comparison.

What I'm trying to say is, since the creating of the necessary assets to fill the environments are comfortable to make, it gives more room for artistic display.

A realistic nature environment for example may not be appealing to the eyes because the lighting is dull and boring or the contents aren't arranged in a way that stirs the viewers interest, in short, the composition is off. It could even be that the colour scheme is misued or abused. I particularly had these issues, I'm working so my next works won't lack appeal.

I just want to say, great lighting, brilliant use of colour in various hues, at different saturation levels and values, good composition make environments have an interesting appeal, that's what I picture to be very important in any environment scene.

Sep 14, 2:31PM EDT0
Why do you enjoy being a character artist?
Sep 13, 5:03PM EDT1

Mainly two

It's fun, you know, looking at a concept art for instance, maybe on paper or digital, then taking that concept and reproducing it in 3D is like giving it life, the life  in that drawing now interpreted in three dimensional form. I enjoy it so much. It's like I have powers haha

Secondly, I find studying about the human form very interesting, It makes me appreciate its wonderful design brought thy a great designer. It is very cool to me, I get to focus on how I can shape this to my taste whether it's in term of emotion or otherwise. Character art is all about character in a work

Sep 13, 5:47PM EDT0
Why is digital art so appealing to you?
Sep 13, 3:53PM EDT1

I love your curiosity, it's mainly because it's the way I know, in other words it's my default medium to use to showcase my art.

Drawing and painting may be things I love but it's the digital side of art that came through for me. I've used computers as long as I can remember and I am used to doing most things on it, it's no surprise I love my art on it too.

I first started with Photoshop, at the time I used it mainly for editing photos and adding some cool effects. However I wanted to be able to create things in 3D space, that's how I began Blender. It's been fun and it's still so much appealing

Sep 13, 5:33PM EDT0
In your opinion what makes a great character artist?
Sep 13, 1:50PM EDT1

Great question, I'll list just one paramount attribute.

As the name implies, CHARACTER

The ability for character artist to portray works with a lot of character is an art in of itself.

Sometimes I see works that make you feel what the artist feels, works that the emotion in them makes it more than just pixels on the screen. It passes a message. That I believe is one of the hallmarks of a great character artist. 

Because of this, I'm going to structure my future works to include just that, "character".  I want my future works to be natural so they can be related to.

Sep 13, 5:25PM EDT0
What challenges have you faced on your journey to becoming a character artist?
Sep 13, 12:29PM EDT1
  • Learning: I must say this is a sweet one, a challenge isn't always something bad, I find the push to constantly change and spice things up is something that's gonna remain through out my journey. We learn everyday so I can't say I'm there yet, I learn and will always have to.
  • Another challenge is the need to create works that are very artistic, I try and make certain that my upcoming works are better than my previous ones. I try my best to involve artistic elements in ways I know how. I wouldn't only want to create' technical' pieces but pieces that even if they are simplistic in nature, they carry lots of artistic elements. 
  • Money and good hardware is quite an issue at the moment, My current PC is okay so to say but lacks in many areas and when I move into bigger productions, I'll need an overhaul. My work currently needs more money being brought in, now I know money is a function of my skill so gradually as I improve I'll get as I need. Nevertheless it's still a challenge.

Thanks for the question

Sep 13, 5:15PM EDT0
What mistakes did you make when you first started sculpting in Blender?
Sep 13, 10:37AM EDT1

Mistakes! Mistakes!! Mistakes!!!

We all make them. Here are my top 3.

Sculpting : Yep, you read that right,

Wait! what's that? Someone's face? Good, let me sculpt that.

That's what I did for some months, sculpting without much observation or attention to details. In other words, I didn't know anatomy.  Take the face for example, generally speaking, the face is (5) eyes wide, the ears come between the eyes and the bottom of the nose,in males, the brow ridge is more prominent than in females, the ends of the mouth match the position of the iris. These kinds of tips make the difference between a realistic and nonrealistic face. It's such tips for the : face, body etc that make the difference. In brief, know anatomy. 

Thinking it was so hard:This is kind of before sculpting but I'll add it still.

I recall telling a friend once that sculpting was my worst area and that I hated it. How wrong I was, it's common knowledge nowadays that if you don't love something you won't do it well, it was limiting because I refused to learn for a while, I wanted to try doing things another way. 

I tried that "other way" it wasn't favourable, later I found myself downloading sculpting tutorials.

Hating Criticisms: I had some professionals criticize my work and most of the time I thought, "what would it take to please you?" Or " why must you always hate on my work? " .

Little did I know they were pointing out ways my work could be massively improved on. The time I got the hang of it I tried not to make the same error twice. Criticisms are still helping me today.

Last edited @ Sep 13, 4:17PM EDT.
Sep 13, 4:03PM EDT0
Where would you like to see yourself as an artist in the next 5 years?
Sep 13, 9:32AM EDT1

In the next five years...I envision

  • Having a great working relationship with game/movie studios. I really look forward to partnering with seasoned artists on a project of a grand scale. 
  • Sharing this knowledge with others through a blog or a website. Who knows... Even a YouTube channel. That would be fun and challenging at the same time.
  • A huge improvement over my current skill level, this is I need to also flow into other softwares too, Zbrush, Substance Painter and the likes of them. 
  • Creating striking characters and appealing environments not just with technical skill this time but with a thorough understanding of artistic concepts like lighting, composition, mood etc. I aim to make my works captivating with a lot of emotion and attraction to it. That's why I frequently study how light after used to change the mood, how objects are arrayed in a scene to bring out the main focus, how colour, saturation and different values help in bringing out feelings in a piece.

In short, I am placing myself in the mind that many will come to appreciate my work and that my  improved skills will be used in various ways to my benefit myself and those around me.

Sep 13, 3:18PM EDT0
What companies would you enjoy working for? Are there any games, shows, etc. that would be a dream job to work on?
Sep 13, 4:34AM EDT1

Yes, It would be lovely to work for Crytek, Netherrealm studios, or creative Assembly, the makers of Crysis, Injustice and Total war series respectively. They are many more but those I chose 'cause I love those games.

I'll also add that I will also love to work with game/movie studios here in my home country. We're still yet to have a very robust gaming industry in Nigeria, though there is a lot of talent. I find that most indigenous games are browser based, now this isn't bad in any way but I'd want a case where there are studios/companies that make offline games too.

To the second question, I think my answer would be quite similar, future projects by the companies I mentioned would give me great joy if I work with them. Imagine me, working as one of the character artists on the next strategy or combat game that's something.

For movies, I don't have any particular studio in mind but a service to any movie studio would be of great benefit for my career. Plus It would be fun altogether. 

These I hope to achieve as Improve my skills. I don't see myself as being there yet

Sep 13, 6:58AM EDT0
What are your career plans?
Sep 13, 2:32AM EDT1

Good one! 

I'll start by saying that what fueled my drive to begin learning about 3D software was my absolute love for games, I always love playing them and I still do.

So, that's seen in my passion for sculpting characters and doing environments, though on a small scale now.

I plan to work with both indigenous and/or foreign studios. A work as a character artist in a studio will really aid in 

  • Learning how to work with deadlines
  • Working with and learning from the team, not just on my area of specialty but on other aspects as well.

Though I love games,I'd love to work with movie studios too.

For now I can say I'm gaining some ground in forwarding that vision, I've gotten myself into some indigenous studios here and I'm currently partnering with one.

Sep 13, 4:30AM EDT0
What makes your work stand out from others?
Sep 12, 7:43PM EDT1

Thank you for that question.

I'll answer it this way, there are lots of talented artists out there who dish out amazing works, what I do, in my own little way, is simply to create art from what I love.

I always try to make my works come from either my imagination or where I draw inspiration from. 

I also know that I'm not the only one doing this, so in answer to your question, what makes it stand out or special is because I created them myself. 

I also don't mean that in an egotistical way but rather I say so to mean each work I create is something original drawn from my imagination or from nature.

As such I can't sincerely say my work is so special that there is none like it but I would simply say it's special because I personally created them and as such reflect on my personality in a way.

Thanks again

Sep 12, 8:18PM EDT0
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