Cartoon and movie characters from childhood are usually remembered in a warm and comforting way. We feel nostalgia and remember what it was like to be a kid. Well, you probably won't feel the same after you see these remakes by Australian designer Wil Hughes. This artist takes characters we all know and love and turns them into creatures fit to be in horror movies, effectively ruining all the good memories we had of cartoon and movie characters.
Wil uses a popular 3D tool called ZBrush to create these models and Keyshot to capture the best-looking screenshots of the model. He makes the characters look more "realistic," but he actually manages to turn them into nightmare fuel. We would not like to meet one of these in a dark alleyway, or anywhere, for that matter. He told Bored Panda: "When I was young, I was really into 3D animation and found digital sculpture in high school and decided to pursue it as a career. Seeing cool character designs by other artists is always inspiring as well as the engagement I receive online."
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We got an interview with Wil and he told us what inspires him to create 3D art: "Often seeing cool character design by other artists is inspiring. On the odd occasion, I’ll have my own ideas that I think would be interestingly represented in 3D, but these are few and far between." Wil also shared what his favorite models are from all the ones he created: "Favourites of mine are Shrek and Finn the human. I think their grotesque style makes them interesting to look at."
"All my artwork is made using a computer and mouse. I basically sculpt using digital clay, to put it simply. When I first started making 3D art, I used a free software called Sculptris. A few years later, I graduated to ZBrush, which is the industry-standard software for sculpting made by the same company, Pixologic," said Wil when asked how he started and what programs he prefers using.
"My favorite part of creating 3D art is the ability to push proportions and exaggerate features when making characters. The possibilities really are endless, which can make it daunting, but when you narrow it down and have a direction, it is satisfying to see concept art or ideas produced in 3D. My least favorite part about 3D is the technical part. Sometimes you have to know technical things about the software or complex materials or how lighting works, for example. Learning these things is not always particularly creative, but is necessary to know to have final images look right or realistic."
Wil told us more about himself and his journey to who he is today: "I grew up in a creative family surrounded by art and music so it has always been there for me. I love creative and philosophical thinking as well as psychology and almost all things mind-related. My journey, like everybody else’s, has been complex and vivid. It has come with its hardships and its blessings. Today, I am not entirely sure who I am, but my circumstances have made whatever writes this answer.
Currently, I am a full-time 3D modeler at a studio called Pixel Zoo, for which I model characters and props. Surprisingly to some, I don’t do any sculpting here. The sculpture is a kind of a niche skill and not particularly necessary to be part of the animation industry."
We asked the artist what other hobbies and interests he has: "Music is a big hobby of mine and was something I wanted to pursue before deciding on 3D art. I play a couple of instruments, mostly for myself, and often create music in my free time."
Wil explains the process behind these models in more detail: "The process starts out with a character in mind, usually one from pop culture. I’ll look up any reference I think would look cool incorporated in the character and then start sculpting and see where it takes me. The sculpture is then painted with color and texture, all of which is done in ZBrush, as mentioned earlier. At this point, the model is more or less finished. It is then lit and rendered (a computation process that calculates all the shadows, lights, and materials on the model). This is done in either ZBrush or Keyshot. That render is then taken into Photoshop to be tweaked and composited to produce the final image. This whole process usually takes 9 to 11 or so hours for me, which is considered fast. I don’t like to spend a lot of time on one thing, so I'll likely end up working the straight 10 hours if I can. The process of making models for an actual animation production is a little different and takes longer."
"I went to university here in Brisbane, Australia to study animation, which covers most things 3D. By this point, I had been sculpting already for a few years and have been doing 3D for a total of maybe 10 years. I am not sure exactly at what point I was good at doing anything. Some may consider my art not so good, so it’s very subjective and difficult to quantify. How long does it take to really be good at anything?"
Wil offers some advice to those who are thinking about getting into 3D design or sculpting: "The first piece of advice I would give to someone starting out is enjoying doing it. That’ll get you far despite what anyone says. When you enjoy something, it’s easier to be enthusiastic and ravenous to learn more information. Other than that; practice, study, and practice more."
"I was featured on Bored Panda a few years ago and the exposure of my artwork basically changed my life. Thank you. I’d like to say thank you to everyone truly for your support and engagement, but remember, depression lives in the past, anxiety in the future. Where better to be than the present? Cheers." What do you think of these models? Which one is your favorite and what character would you like Wil to make in the future? Tell us in the comments and upvote your favorites. Don't forget to go show some love to the artist on his social media!