How to do your favourite character justice

Here's how alum Emanuel sculpted his favourite star wars character and what he learnt along the way
nailing a likeness is one of the biggest accomplishments of both a traditional and 3d sculptor. read on to find out how Emanuel did this and much more.
Meet Emanuel Bermudez
Tell us about yourself
My name is Emanuel and I’m from Mexico. I am a 3D character artist, I’m currently working for an independent video game studio.

I started doing 3D art 6 years ago while in uni. A couple of years ago I did a masters at Animum.

I decided to join the Art Heroes likeness program to improve my skills and understanding of facial features. I want to become an international level 3D artist. I knew that if I studied with Art Heroes it would help me to get better faster, there’s a lot to learn but it’s been totally worth it studying here.
How did you feel about your art before studying with us? How has this changed since completing the program?
Definitely far more skillful. When I finished my master I felt confident about my work but I knew there was room for improvement when it came to face anatomy. For example, at the beginning of the year I was working on a project where I was sculpting a female face but it was getting nowhere.

Then the character I worked on during the program was the hardest thing I've done. After the course I got a better understanding about what is believable in a human face and now I am applying everything I’ve learnt and I can definitely see a significant improvement on my skills. However, the learning experience never finishes.
How it started
What's the name of your Project? Where did the idea come from? Why did you choose it?
Ewan McGregor as Obiwan Kenobi. I chose this character because I love Star Wars.

I was born in 1994 and even though I had watched the originals, episode 1 was a big deal for me because of Obi-Wan Kenobi. I had some action figures and his lightsaber, he was my favourite star wars character at that time.

When I found out his series was coming out this year I knew I wanted to make something with this character.
Character Development
What were the main milestones for you?
My most significant milestone was when I put everything together in marmoset.

I had been working on the character for 4 months or so, I had done some tests with the face and the clothing separately, then I made a pose for my Obi-Wan in Zbrush and exported for rendering.

Finally at that moment I said to myself, maybe I won’t get totally the likeness, but I am so happy with what I have accomplished.
"there will always be struggles trying to achieve the character, either technical or artistic there will be problems to solve, that’s when you need to push yourself not to quit. "
Emanuel Bermudez
Art Heroes Student
Challenges
What were your biggest challenges?
The main challenge was to get the true likeness, it might sound obvious, but it was what I had in mind all the way long.

The other one was the hair. I didn’t realise how important that was until I was doing it, I would say it was the key to make my character believable at least for Obi-Wan. It was so hard I almost quit.
How did you overcome challenges?
The main aid in this part was the feedback sessions because I could see not just how to fix my character but to learn from the characters my classmates were doing, what they were getting right, what they were doing wrong, and apply all those things to myproject, that really gave me some direction.
What are your top takeaways from the program?
The thing I enjoyed the most were the one on one sessions, very personalized.

My instructor was Josh Wallace, he didn’t just help me with the technical problems, but he showed me some tricks to make my character even better. It was super inspiring to learn from someone who has the same interest in 3D art as you.
Do you have anything to say to those thinking about joining likeness program?
Everything is passion and discipline to get things done. I always try to find meaning in the things that I do, that’s when I get excited, that’s passion.

You need self discipline, setting a time in the day to work on your character, watch a tutorial, ask for feedback, whatever you need to finish the project.

This is the hardest thing I’ve worked on, I dedicated hours and hours to fixing it, to get it done, I loved it at the beginning, I hated it when I was struggling, but now I feel very satisfied with all my progress and what I learned, it was totally worth it.
What's Next?
where are you taking your skills next?
I’m currently working on a personal project with some friends from work. It's a small video game demo.

It's a story that I wrote and I’m in charge of the art of the game. Right now I’m working on the main character, there’s a long way to go, but I’m super excited to be working on this. I hope we have something to show by the end of the year.
Final Project
Artwork: Emanuel Bermudez
Reference: Ewan McGregor as Obiwan Kenobi
Useful Links
Connect with Rachid on Artstation: emanuelbermudez
Follow Rachid on Instagram: emanbermudez
Editor: Hannah Barmes Healy
Artwork by: Emanuel Bermudez
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