William Fiorentini is a student at ESMA Toulouse, France. In this article he discusses his recent work and how he overcomes creative blocks.


Today we will talk about my recent entry for The Rookies Award of 2020. Once more, this year I decided to take part to the contest. This contest is an opportunity to gain in exposure from other artists and especially from people in the industry. So for this entry I wanted to show the work I did during the year. As I had the time and motivation to actually make more projects that I had in mind.

As a student who's still in school to learn CG, I wanted to be focus more on personal projects and work on the categories that I enjoy working on the most. In this case I wanted to practice modeling and texturing/look-dev. Now let me show you my work.

Doing a realistic object first is a must-do if you want to practice modeling and texturing, recreating a real world asset is important to get a job in the industry.

Why My Demoreel?

I chose my reel to show all my work in one support, the reel was for me, the easiest way to show all my projects in one page.

Followed by more images and breakdowns related to the art shown in the reel. This  is also a presentation of your own profile, what can you do? What do you do? What do you like? Why did you choose this project over this one? etc.

All the projects on my reel are personal projects made in the course of the year during my free time. I was lucky enough to have good schedules during the weeks and I managed to find time and motivation to make these projects from start to finish. Your reel is one of the best way to present your art to other people alongside your website/portfolio.

About My Work

Now let’s talk about the actual work put in there. As you can see in my reel, I put 3 projects, all being personal ones.

Starting with the camera Nikon D3300, I wanted to focus more on the hard surface aspect of an asset, this object is actually something that I have at home, so it was easier for me to get the references and all. Doing a realistic object first is a must-do if you want to practice modeling and texturing, recreating a real world asset is important to get a job in the industry.

The chance of having the object in your hands is a big advantage in making it, your reference being your own property at home can help you with the shapes and texturing. You can see your object in all the possible angles.

Every assets have their own story, all the scratches, dirt, dust, wears.. are here for a reason and when I made the camera I didn’t want it to be too clean or too dirty, I wanted to have a good balance between both, the camera is an object you should be taking care of, but can’t be hidden from all the dust and dirt spreading in the environment.

Albedo map (mixed between procedural Renderman nodes and Mari)

Adjusting your textures is a critical part, finding the right balance between dirty and clean, this will show the refinement in your workflow and how you see the asset.

Next, we have the rhino, started from a simple a 1 hour speed sculpt into an entire finished asset, textured and rendered. I’ve made an article about this project. After the camera, it was time for me to move on to another project, but this time I wanted to practice my organic modeling skills, I’ve never done a proper creature or any organic model before.

(Not mentioning all the scrapped projects made during the years before).

Once again, my reference was a realistic creature from the real world, the idea of making a creature was always in my mind, and the rhino was on my top list, not because it’s one my favorite animal but it's also a magnificent creature.

Finally we have the French Operator, this was the final project done this year to complete my reel, as I didn’t know if I had enough time to start and finish another project. I wanted to focus on the quality of my reel over quantity, hard working and focusing on the right amount of personal projects rather than rushing and doing 15 projects a year.

For this one, I combined both hard surface and organic modeling as this was my last project before making my reel and start applying for internships for this Summer.

I’m not good at making portraits in 3D, and it’s one of the most difficult part to do, make a realistic believable portrait. For this project, I wanted to make a face, with a little bit of hard surface modeling stuff on it, so searching for soldiers, operators, firefighters, samurais, etc.. were the best guesses to me. I ended up choosing a French operator from the GIGN, which is the elite force of France, this is also a homage to my father.

These 3 projects are the ones I’ve made the most 3D progress on. Working and practicing on the departments that I wanted to work in was my goal of this year as I wanted to make a more specialized reel. Plus this was the last year for me to get an internship for school before the final year.

1 Year of Progress

Since last year I was struggling to figure out what I liked the most in 3D, I didn’t know if it was either Modelling, or Texturing, or Lighting, etc. But days after days, I started looking at other students' portfolios like Clément Feuillet and Timothée Maron, and started working.

And this is when I began searching for objects to reproduce from the real world. Modelling was my main skill, since this is one of the first step on a pipeline, I find it satisfying to model an object or a character, moving the vertices and edges to get the shapes right and to have a good topology. So after that I can texture it without any problem since I knew how to model.

Following the courses at ESMA was already a big thing and thanks to my teachers I’ve been learning a lot but I wanted to push my knowledge even further beyond, I looked after professional portfolios like Andrew Hodgson’s one, I started watching his streams and see how he models his asset for production, his portfolio delivers a ton of cool tips on how to model and UV a model, so you should check it out here.

That’s not it, I spent my nights and weekends trying to push my skills to the top even though I have a lot to do but my motivation for CG never stopped growing and that’s what made me keeping forward and working, days after days. Sometimes you have to make choices in your life so that you can keep focusing on what you love, if you have a passion and you want to make it your job or make a living from it, you have to choose what to do, because there’s always a way to your dream.

Here are some advice:

  • Never stop asking for feedback on your work! I’ve seen too many people being afraid of asking for feedback and that’s not the way it should be, everyone is different and I understand some people might be harsh on you but have to take out the negativity and take only the positive in, there always a good feedback to take. But showing your work and asking for advice on your work is the way to go, because sometimes your eye can get lost on your work so you don’t have the same vision of your own project as before. Take your time, ask your family, friends, colleagues, classmates, if they can give any feedback on your work, this will help a lot.
  • Let your eyes rest, take a break! You’ve been working on a project for so long that your eyes can’t see where it’s good or where it’s bad, take a break. Go out, do something else than working on your computer. This can go from a couple hours to a couple days, then comeback with a new, fresh and clean vision on your work and you’re ready to go.
  • Start by looking for references! If you’re planning on doing a realistic asset from the real world, then your first task is to search for references, you don’t start by modelling, you’ll go straight to the wall. Gather enough references, like different camera angles, different textures, different lighting scenes, etc. The more you have, the better.
  • Take your time! You don’t have to rush your project, especially when you’re working on a personal project besides school/work. You don’t have to rush things out. The more time you spend on it, the better it will be.
  • Focus on what you have to do! This works with pretty much everything, if you love photography, drawing, painting, 3D, sport, music, reading, etc. this means if you have a passion in your heart, focus on what you love. You love your passion that much, and you want to make a living out of it, then go for it, if you’re a student attending a CG school, focus on your study and family, the rests comes after. Because school isn’t infinite, so one day you’ll finish school and you will be ready to dive into the professional world that isn’t as clean as it seems.

What drives you is your motivation for your passion. Take the time, learn more and more, don’t block your knowledge by attending only the courses, watch tutorials, breakdowns of movies/TV shows, ask professional artists to have feedback, ask questions on Facebook, Artstation and LinkedIn to make contacts with people with the same passion as you.

Concentrate on your passion, spend time with your family and the people that you love, your best friends, that you can count on. People come and go but deep down you know that motivation is the key to success, don’t let negative thoughts put you down, you have a dream and make sure to do everything to make your dream comes true.

My Inspiration

Here you can find some of the people who helped me throughout the year or where I got the inspiration from. Starting from students/hobbyists to freelancers/artists working in the industry.

A lot of people coming in my mind, but I can’t mention everyone because the list is pretty much infinite.

The Forge

If you’re searching for people to help you out with your projects I can only tell you to join The Forge’s Discord, it's one of the best CG community you can find online, this groups all kind of artists ready to help you getting better.

All I can say is that, they’ve all been an amazing help and without them I wouldn’t be here, this is why I’m very thankful to them.

CLICK HERE TO GET ACCESS TO THE SERVER: https://discord.gg/uG3W7jg

With that said, this is the end of the article, I hope I helped you getting some of your thoughts sorted out, if you have any question or anything, feel free to contact me here: [email protected] or social media:

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