UX Designer exceeds the Digital Double Benchmark first time around

Meet Ilaria Tiozzo, a multidisciplinary artist who has worked in UX Design for the past 8 years.
Read on to learn more about Ilaria's Art Heroes journey and how she managed to ace the Likeness Program in 12 weeks with her David Lynch sculpt.
Meet Ilaria Tiozzo
Tell us about yourself
My name is Ilaria Tiozzo, I’m originally from Italy but live in Sweden.

I used to work with 3D modeling many years ago, specifically with architectural visualizations, but have been mostly been focusing on visual and UX design for the past 10 years.

A few months ago I bought an iPad and tested sculpting with Nomad app and since then I fell in love with digital sculpting! Although I am at the very beginning of this journey, I’m really passionate about character design and my goal with the Likeness and Facial Anatomy program was to take my skills to the next level, get better at Zbrush and learn everything about face anatomy to improve my ability to sculpt realistic portraits.
How it started
What's the name of your Project? Where did the idea come from? Why did you choose it?
For my likeness project, I decided to sculpt a portrait of director David Lynch.
When I was a kid I got very impressed (and maybe slightly traumatised :D) by the tv series “Twin Peaks”, so I decided to do a tribute to its creator.

Besides liking Lynch’s movies, I think he has a very interesting personality. I particularly like that fact that he’s a multidisciplinary artist, not only a director, but also a painter, sculptor, photographer and musician. This is really inspiring to me as an artist.

In addition to that, my goal for this course was to challenge myself as much as possible and learn to sculpt complex anatomy aspects, such as wrinkles on elderly people’s skin. Also, he has very interesting hair, which I was sure would be a good way to practice grooming.
Character Development
What were the main milestones for you?
Honestly, pretty much every step in the process felt like a milestone, since everything was pretty new to me. But there were a few moments that were particularly significant, and that made me very motivated to continue on my work.

In the early stage, the first time I realised that my sculpt was going in the right direction and I was actually starting to see some likeness. Also, when I managed to get the porosity working, which was something that felt very difficult to achieve at first. Then, the first time I did a render in Marmoset and saw my character come to life. And lastly, adding hair and rendering for the first time in Arnold.

To improve my piece, I found the Q&A sessions to be extremely useful. Getting the chance to get feedback, and also ask questions to Fareed was really priceless. I could immediately see big improvements when implementing the suggested changes after the sessions.
"Don’t hesitate to ask for help. The instructors and the community are there to help you with feedback and support."

Ilaria Tiozzo
Art Heroes Student
What were your biggest challenges while working on this project? What did you struggle with?
When I started this course I didn’t know much about realistic character development.
I had done some traditional sculpting before, and also had some experience with sculpting on the iPad, but that was pretty much it. So I didn't feel particularly strong with my anatomy and sculpting skills, but it was actually the technical side that I was mostly clueless about.

Even though I used to work with 3D modelling in the past, that was a very long time ago and the workflow was completely different. For example, I never used Zbrush before, so I had to learn the basics of the tool. The first day I felt so overwhelmed I was almost sure I wouldn’t make it!

Slowly but surely, I got more and more familiar with Zbrush. But later on I had quite a lot of issues with getting to know Marmoset first, and then Maya and Xgen later.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I tried to keep an open mind and think that whatever I was going to be able to achieve at the end of this course, it would still be a big improvement from what I could do before starting.

So basically I tried to put my perfectionist side on hold and just enjoy the process!
Also, whenever I felt I got stuck on something, I asked for tips from Fareed or to my squad. That was really helpful.

When it comes to Zbrush, after a couple of days of work, things got definitely smoother and I was actually surprised at how nicely my sculpture was coming along. That gave me a lot more confidence and got me in the right mindset to focus on moving on with the project.

As far as the technical aspect is concerned, I still feel like there’s a lot to learn and I definitely still struggle with a lot of things. But I am amazed by how much I managed to learn in such a short amount of time, so that keeps my motivation up.
What's Next?
What was your main takeaway from the program?
One of the most important things I learned, that I didn’t expect, was the importance of getting good references. Spend as much time as needed to search for good reference images for your character from the beginning. This will make your life easier in all stages of the process.

Another essential thing I learned is to not aim at perfection from the start. That will only get you stuck with the risk of losing your motivation. Don’t be afraid to move on to the next stage, you can always go back to tweak things that you’ve already done and work on continuous improvements.
Final Project
Artwork: Ilaria Tiozzo
Reference: David Lynch
Useful Links
Follow Ilaria on Instagram:rana_grama
Learn With Us
Explore relevant programs and up your level
Make an appealing and production-fit character in 6 weeks
Learn the basics of ZBrush to bring any level of complexity on board
Text author: Hannah Barmes Healy
Artwork by: Ilaria Tiozzo
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