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Art Heroes student to 3D Artist

A deep dive into Alum Irinel's journey from sculpting to baking and all he learnt along the way.
We caught up with Art Heroes Alum, Iriniel, creator of Vi from League of Legends.

Find out what it's like transition from traditional sculpting to digital and how when times get tough you need to rely on your peer community.
Meet Irinel Alexandru Radut
Tell us about yourself
My name is Irinel Alexandru Radut, I live in Bucharest and I am currently working as a Graphic Designer, but also doing some freelance 3D jobs.

Having a background as a traditional artist, more specifically metal-sculptor, I often find myself attracted by all sorts of figure sculptures, abstract or realistic. I love scrap yard metal art, especially kinetic sculptures.

I switched to 3D almost 3 years ago and translating my passion of physical sculpting to 3D sculpting was a natural process to me. Ever since I was a kid, watching different movie animations, I always questioned myself on how they did it and that curiosity is still with me.
How it started
What's the name of your Project? Where did the concept come from? Why did you choose it?
The name of the project is Vi and the concept comes from the amazing and talented concept artist Ian Su (kudos to him for letting me use his concept). He did some skin concepts for the Vi character from League of Legends (gamers will know) and I immediately loved it!

I was drawn by the intricacies and detail in the character design, the silhouette, and the amount of work I knew I had ahead of me. I felt compelled to take on the challenge and go beyond my comfort zone.
Character Development
What were the main milestones for you?
So I guess my main milestones were lessons 1 and 2. In this part of the process, the feedback I got from the instructors helped me tremendously. If it wasn't for their valuable advice, surpassing these stages in the design would have taken much longer.

The three things I learned during these main milestones is to keep an eye on gesture, silhouette and proportions.
"I think my personal takeaway would be not to hesitate to ask for help or advice in a dedicated forum or discord channel or any community that suits your needs and if you encounter any difficult technical problem, just don't give up and remember to HAVE FUN!"

Irinel Alexandru Radut
Art Heroes Student
What were your biggest challenges while working on this project?
Oh, there were so many tough parts I had to tackle in this project, but I mostly struggled with the baking process (even though I love to cook :D).

The hard surface parts were complex enough and I had a few issues here and there, but the baking process was so harsh that at some point I basically wanted to quit. Thanks to Marlon and his quality input, I did manage to fix all the issues.
Challenges
How did you overcome these challenges?
Usually I try to find the answer in this huge online market that we are blessed with nowadays but sometimes it's such a struggle to find the exact tutorial or guide you need.

Follow the Art Heroes mentorship and artists' community, ask questions there! It's so much easier for someone with experience, who surely encounters these problems daily, to help you or to show you various viable situations that you need to check.

I've relearned the UDIMs workflow, being my second time when I approached this process on a character. Also, right now I have a clear map on the things that I need to check before going to the baking process in substance painter: things like facing normals, smooth normals, or overlapping maps in UV layout.
What's Next?
What are your plans for the future?
Well my plan was to make my best portfolio piece so far and I definitely achieved that. And I also started a small collaboration with a student who started an animation course and he wanted to use my model for that. So looking forward to his results!
Final Project
Artwork: Irinel Alexandru Radut
Concept: Ian Su
Useful Links
Connect with Irinel on Artstation: gogi
Follow Irinel on Instagram: radut_irinel_
Browse Ian's character concepts on ArtStation: barkode
Text author: Maria JD
Artwork by: Irinel Alexandru Radut