3D Character Design Year 2

3D Character Design – Zbrush Workflow

Before using ZBrush, I started off with experimenting some of the brushes to morph and sculpt meshes, in this example and as my first attempts, I started off by trying to mold the hair with only one sphere. It came out with a very gelatinous effect

As someone who’s never used Zbrush before, I decided to begin the project by experimenting different brushes in order to create the skull. Since the model was going to be stylised, I referenced Zbrush’s default anime head template in order to understand the dimensions for the head and it’s facial features. I started off with a sphere and used the move, clay build up and the smooth brushes in order to get a basic shape of the head and a general idea of the facial features.

Once again, I tried to model the hair but then I shifted focus onto the facial features.

This took several attempts to try out and eventually, as I was falling behind the schedule I decided to settle with a rough but general idea of the skull and started working on the body until I could figure out how to implement details to the face and the eyes. However, because I wasn’t satisfied with the facial features, I scrapped the face and only kept a simple head shape until later in the project.

Modelling the body

For the body, I created the limbs and chest using the imperatives brush. At this point, the head, neck and body were separate in order to not disrupt the workflow. The shapes I used here were mainly spheres and once again, I used the general move and the move topology tool to morph the body into shape.

This was the hardest and longest part of the workflow as I had to pay close attention to the anatomy, even if it’s stylised Maki still needs to a hold a humanoid shape and if there were any mistakes in her anatomy, her form would look strange and unrealistic, especially when it comes to animating her.

So I continued to build her body up, using the dam standard and clay build up brush to add details and muscle to her limbs. Maki’s body has an hourglass form so I continued to adjusted Maki’s hips and waist size using the move topology tool. The feet were originally a concern as I wanted to give Maki some socks. however, with feedback, I was able to easily texture in some long socks later in the project and that I didn’t have to model out the feet outline if socks were going to be used. This is how I created a stable blockout for Maki’s model.

Very basic blockout of body – Finished

Remodelling Maki’s Face

 Going back to Maki’s face, after learning more of Zbrush’s interface and it’s brushes, I came back to redo parts of the face. To start off, I sculpted out a more detailed shape for Mimi’s head and then finished off by carving the facial features into the skull.

I used the imperative brush to add in the eyes then sculpted around the eyes so that the face would form around the irises. Then I created the stylised eye lids using the imperatives tool, using the move tool to form the thin layers. Eventually, I also learnt how to adjust the amount of detail on the model by increasing the subdivision levels. This helped incredibly when it came to sculpting the mouth and the nose shape.

As mentioned before, I decided to give Maki an anime look to her style – this was implemented through her face and overall simplistic appearance. A lot of detail would be implemented through the texturing process.

Modelling Maki’s Hair

After finishing the face, I started Maki’s hair. This process required a lot of trial and error as shown from the previous screenshots.

Originally made with one sphere mesh, the texture looked too smooth and circular which goes against her design.

However, after experimenting with the imperatives brush, the opportunity arose to continue pursuing a more stylised approach; As modelling each hair strand would not only disrupt the stylisation but also take too long, especially when it came to retapology later on.

The stylised hair also helped fix the issues when it came to shaping her cheeks.

I created the scalp using a separate sphere and sculpted the hair around the head, using the move tool to morph the meshes shape. This is the same technique I implemented for the buns. As for her hair strands and her fringe, I’d bring in different spheres and continue to shape them around the head and the hair blockout.

Final touches to the body

Once I was finished with the model, I dyna meshed the parts together. This essentially merges all the imperative meshes together and allows me to continue adding more detail to help get a better understanding on the model’s anatomy. This was the part where I also made final changes to the models form by using the damn standard tool to further etch out the muscles and bone structure.

sculpted out the knees and muscle lines in the stomach, chest and arms

Making Clothes

After making the final changes to the model’s anatomy, I started creating the clothes using the masking and extract tools. Since I was making a kimono, however, I decided to keep the Hanari (the fabric that connects to the collar) separate from the kimono part itself. This way, I can adjust the fabric of the kimono whilst not disrupting the collar. For the sleeves, I extended them out and adjusted them by adding more clay to make the fabric loose and thicker, implying through her design that shes still unmarried as long sleeved kimonos are worn by unmarried young women or girls. The obi (belt around the kimono) was made once again by using the extract method and adjusted so that it tightly wrapped around Maki’s stomach.

Finally, the skirt. This was the hardest part of the kimono as I couldn’t use the extract technique since the skirt is so loose and rounded. So what I did here was that I used a sphere mesh and modelled out the skirt, creating a tube by essentially using the sculpting tool to cut out the insides of the mesh.

Lastly, using peer feedback, I continued to model around the legs and hips in order for the mesh to simulate cloth without being too thick. Here I added some finishing touches by adding cuts into the fabric using the sculpting tool whilst was also adding some final adjustments to the skirt by making sure that the skirt clung against her knees.

After finishing the clothes, I decided to work on the hands. At first, I was trying to use imperatives to model the fingers one by one, however, they always turned out anatomically incorrect by being too thick or the hands not be in proportion with the fingers. So instead, I used a preset Zbrush model to replace the blockouts – this helped save a lot of time on the project and it means that when animating them, the movements will look natural.

The reason why I cut the eye cloth from the final model was mainly because it would interfere with the hair, especially during the retopology process. Whilst in the future, I would like to add a cloth to her model in further iterations for now, the focus was to keep the time management consistent with the schedule. To still imply that she’s blind, her eye textures will have a painted fog effect to them.

High Poly showcase

Covered up any fabric holes in order to not disrupt the flow of retapologising the cloth later on.

After adding the final touches to the model and the clothes, I  used the zremesher to merge all the parts together into one singular mesh. It’s also useful in reducing the polycount as well as generating new toplogy for the entire model, cleaning up the mesh for decimation process.

Decimating the model was the final step of the workflow. The process meant reducing the polygon count to a suitable level for Maya which meant the first step in making the model “game ready”.

3D Character Design Year 2

3D Character Design – Introduction

Character Backstory: Who is she?

2D character design was one of the main skills I developed through research, finding sources of inspirations, sketching out different designs and finally developing a detailed backstory for them. In this project, I decided to create a character based in the Edo period and Japan’s culture surrounding Yurei, a supernatural phenomenon documented in different stories during that time. The main source of inspiration for this character design comes from the video game: Like A Dragon Ishin, a Yakuza JRPG spinoff set in the Bakamatsu period (The late years of Edo). The character designs in the game reflect their counterparts from the franchise but in terms of personalities they kept the original personalities of the real life people the characters are based off of.

Since I’ve already made a non-cannon character for the Yakuza franchise, Mimi, I wanted to try and redesign her in order for her to fit with the Ishin universe.

Originally, her character was going to be a housekeeper or a shrine maiden but after researching superstition culture at the time, Mimi’s design went for a more darker horror approach. So I changed her personality, character backstory and name from her counterpart: naming her Maki Akimoto.

Historically in the Bakamatsu period, society became turbulent as there was a social, political and economic debate about whether to open the boarders to foreigners. The country was split in half and assassinations between the two political sides weren’t uncommon. This also meant that people were much more paranoid and skeptical which plays a large part in Maki’s backstory.

Maki’s family owned an Inari shrine near the Tosa region. Their shrine was often known for bringing good luck and protection to the town, often providing exorcism or cleansing services for those who need it.

They also sold good luck charms and would hold ceremonies / funerals for the townsfolk. Maki’s the youngest of three older siblings and doesn’t know too much about the outside world as she was never allowed to go outside for her own safety.

One day, she fell in love with one of the patrons who happened to be secretly part of the Tosa loyalist party. Eventually the two agreed to marry each other and travel around the country however, those dreams quickly fell short.

After her partner left for the week, several bodies were discovered in different areas in Tosa. Whilst people would normally suspect these murders to be part of the long list of political assassinations, their bodies were disfigured beyond repair and the victims were long time investors of the Akimoto shrine. And so out of sheer paranoia and panic, the townfolk burned down the shrine, trapping the family members along with it. No survivors came out of the fire and Maki died at the age of 25, just days before she was supposed to get married.

Out of revenge, grief and anger , her eldest sister came back as a vengeful spirit along with her younger sibling. The shrine was eventually rebuilt by the spirits as a safe haven for other Yokai and Yurei and since then they lure in victims to sacrifice for the kitsune.

Maki over the years – Alt versions of her ghost form. First sketch shown was before she met her partner.

As a Yurei, Maki is the least dangerous one out of the shrine family, tricking her victims by scaring them into submission. Due to the circumstances of her death, she covers her eyes with a beautiful silk cloth and she gets upset if anyone were to try and remove it. The only way for her to move on is for her to be reunited with her lost love. She doesn’t have a cognitive awareness of the things her eldest sister actually does.

With this knowledge, several design sketches were created:

Original concept art – I wanted to experiment and see which style (face and hair) would suit her best given her personality and backstory. The experimentations included what type of eyes to give her and various hair styles.

Maki’s hair, whilst messy, is still kept up neatly in buns in order to prevent her hair from brushing against her face. Her kimono is loose and ragged, emphasizing her ghostly appearance.

Using lighter colours in her clothes gives Maki a ghostly complexion as well as symbolising purity, life and elegance. Her appearance is based off of the Yuki-Onna also known as the snow woman, whos seen as motherly but dangerous, fitting with with Maki’s personality.

Portrait of Yuki-Onna

By white to the colour scheme, this would help contrast with any blood stains that could get onto her clothes. It creates a perfect difference in her purity and her family’s violent nature.

The base 2D design used for the character model – although when translating into 3D the eyes were more softer and the Kimono patterns changed slightly.

The Kimono also has a continuous Koi pattern that occasionally moves depending on her mood. The Koi pattern was chosen in remembrance of her partner’s love for Koi fish. And finally, her makeshift eye cover that was ripped from the ends of her kimono as protection.

A moodboard was also made in order to get a better understanding on where her design ideas came from.

However, here I will go more in depth on why I picked a particular stylised option.

With my 2D art, a lot of it is based off the anime art style:

This style was developed from consuming anime and playing video games, my main inspiration also including Vocaloid due to their use of various models and characters over the years.

So I thought, by giving this character a stylised design and as someone who hasn’t had much experience in 3D sculpting, that this meant that I could to understand and develop my 3D modelling skills with a style I was most familiar with. In addition to this, having that contrast between a cute style and a dark backstory gives the character much more intrigue by going against the conventional but slightly overused realistic horror style; instead choosing a cute, innocent look.

From a games design perspective, giving her the cute but bold anime style means that she’s not a threat to the player but rather a guide or a helpful NPC, maybe even an protagonist to her own side story. In a game, her story could revolve around trying to find her lost loved one in order to pass on and as a reward the player gets her eye cover to boost their defense etc.

And with these designs, I started to translate her 2D design into 3D.

Post Production and VFX Year 2

Post Production and VFX References and Asset Lists


Kamiyama, Y. (2017) Cutlery [Media] (Original Version) Available at: [Accessed 5/10/2022.]

Tanabe, R. and Kusunoki, T. (2021) Cutlery | Kanade & Mafuyu (English Subbed) [Media] (In-Game Cover version) Available at: [Accessed 5/10/2022.]

Music Videos (Inspirations)

(All screenshots and GIFS were taken directly from the music video and were edited using Adobe Express)

DECO*27 (2014). DECO*27 – 弱虫モンブラン feat. GUMI. [Video] Available at: [Accessed 21/10/2022].

DECO*27 (2019). DECO*27 – 乙女解剖 feat. 初音ミク. [Video]. Available at: [Accessed 21/10/2022].

柊キライ (2020). Bocca della Verità / Hiiragi Kirai feat. flower. [Video] Available at: [Accessed 22/10/2022].

Karin’s Channel (2017). Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone – [PV] ‘from Y to Y’ (Romaji/English Subs). [Video] Available at: [Accessed 14/12/2022].

Karin’s Channel (2017). Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone – [PV] “Interviewer” (Romaji/English Subs). [Video] Available at: [Accessed 12/10/2022].

Karin’s Channel (2017). Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone – [PV] “Two-Sided Lovers” (Romaji/English/Español Subs). [Video] Available at: [Accessed 12/10/2022].

Karin’s Channel (2017). Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone – [PV] ‘Time Machine’ (Romaji/English Subs). [Video] Available at: [Accessed 12/10/22].

WeirdCat (2021). Project sekai || Lost one’s weeping 3DMV [eng subs]. [Video] Available at: [Accessed 05/11/2022].

Asset List

Nessuvia. (2021). Nishikiyama Akira version. 2 (Y0) by Nessuvia on DeviantArt. [Model]. Available at: [Accessed on: 10/11/2022].

RGG Studio. (2015). Yakuza 0 [Video game and Model]. SEGA: Tokyo, Japan. Available at: [Accessed on: 20/11/2022]

Mimi model made from VROID studio

pixiv inc. (2020). Vroid Studio [Software]. Available at: [Accessed on: 10/10/2022]

laanita. (2017). Lily by (laanita) . [Found Asset] Available at: [Accessed 10/11/2022].

Gajk.Mv. (2020). flowers with the vase by (Gajk.Mv). [Found Asset] Available at: [Accessed 10/11/2022].

tgiorgianni. (2020). Pancakes by (tgiorgianni). [Found Asset] Available at: [Accessed 10/11/2022].

ditovirnantio. (2020). Salmon Nigiri Sushi by (ditovirnantio). [Found Asset] Available at: [Accessed 10/11/2022].

m31odyr. (2022). Small Wooden Kitchen Table by (m31odyr). [Found Asset] Available at: [Accessed 10/11/2022].

shuvalov.di. (2021). Chair by (shuvalov.di). [Found Asset] Available at: [Accessed 20/11/2022].

Zab. (2019). Bone by (@lixyco). [Found Asset] Available at: [Accessed 20/11/2022].

Teixeira, M. (2022). Sliding Window by (@miguelteixeira.11). [Found Asset] Available at: [Accessed 10/11/2022].

Medeiros, V. (2020). Plate by (@valumlab). [Found Asset] Available at: [Accessed 20/11/2022].

Falxxx (2022). Long Table by (Falxxx). [Found Asset] Available at: [Accessed 10/11/2022].

Citrus (2021). Japanese Pudding by (@citrusfriendd). [Found Asset] Available at: [Accessed 10/11/2022].

Razavi, S. (2019). strawberry Cake by (@sia7ash). [Found Asset] Available at: [Accessed 10/11/2022].

ddd. (2021). Strawberry Cake by (@endonoriko). [Found Asset] Available at: [Accessed 10/11/2022].

Any 2D textures / assets were made in PAINT TOOL SAI.

Extra Referencing

Template Supply. (2020). Free anime storyboard template [Image] Available at: [Accessed 25/09/2022].

Documentation / Tutorials (n.d.). Create a Mesh Particle Effect in Niagara. [online] Available at: [Accessed 01/11/2022] (n.d.). Create a Ribbon Effect in Niagara. [online] Available at: [Accessed 04/12/2022].

Aspland, M. (2022). How To Make Rain | Niagara Rain Particle System – Unreal Engine Tutorial. [Video] Available at: [Accessed 04/12/2022].

TORA_V4. (2019). How Does the ‘Two Sided/Faced Lovers’ PV in Project DIVA Work? [Video] Available at: [04/12/2022].

3D Character Design Year 2

3D Character Design References

Video tutorials

Kreuter, D. (2020). [#01] Anime Character 3D Modeling Tutorial 2020 – Collecting ReferenceYouTube. Available at: [Accessed 06/10/2022].

Henriet, M. (2021). Creating Clothes In Zbrush! [Video] Available at: [Accessed 19/11/2022].

Screenshots from Videos

R3D Gaming. (2013). Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F – Opening Cutscenes {Full 1080p HD}. [Video] Available at: [Accessed 09/10/2022].

KamJPCH. (2016). 【初音ミク】Hand in Hand【Project DIVA Future Tone】. [Video] Available at: [Accessed 12/10/2022].


Polycount. (2019). [Image] Topologised Head Available at: [Accessed 23/11/2022].

Kirill, K. (n.a.) [Image] Lighting for skin Available at: [Accessed 10/01/2023].

Topology Guides. (2020.). Modeling a Human Hand. [Image] Available at: [Accessed 27/11/2022].

 A History of Japan (n.d.). Yukionna • . A History . . of Japan . 日本歴史. [Image] Available at: [Accessed 14/10/2022].

Ernst, D. (2020). Japan’s Most Stunning Inari Shrines. [Image] Bokksu. Available at: [Accessed 14/10/2022].

Bailey, D. (2022). Like a Dragon: Ishin is a remake of the lost Yakuza game, out in February. [Image] gamesradar. Available at: [Accessed 04/10/2022].

Castelot, O. (2022). Why Yakuza Games Are Now Called like a Dragon. [Image] Available at: [Accessed 04/10/2022].

Faulkner, J. (n.d.). Are Kiryu and Majima in Like a Dragon: Ishin? [Image] Available at: [Accessed 04/10/2022].

Images / Screenshots from Padlet

Catherine Wiki. (n.d.). Digital Scans of Venus Mode Art Book. [online] Available at: [Accessed 09/10/2022].

Soejima, S. (2011) Catherine Visual & Scenario Collection Venus Mode.
ASCII Media Works. Tokyo, Japan.

Soejima, S. (2019) Catherine: Full Body Official Visual & Scenario Collection VENUS TRINITY Kadokawa. Tokyo, Japan.

Persona Central. (2017.). Qatherine Concept Art [Image] Available at: [Accessed 08/10/2022].

Nyxus (2019). Catherine Full Body Heart’s Desire Premium Edition. [Image] Available at: [Accessed 08/10/2022].

Bricker, T. (2019). Fushimi Inari Shrine: Small Inari figures [Image] Available at: [Accessed 08/10/2022].

GhostWire: Tokyo Wiki. (n.d.). Shiromuku. [Image] Available at: [Accessed 09/10/2022].

PlayStation.Blog. (2022). (For Southeast Asia) Like a Dragon: Ishin! Kiwami. [Image] Available at: [Accessed 08/10/2022].

GameSpot. (2022.). Like a Dragon: Ishin! Official Announcement Trailer | State of Play September 2022. [Video] Available at: [Accessed 07/10/2022]

Project DIVA Wiki. (2020.). MEIKO Yukata Style. [Image] Available at: [Accessed 09/10/2022]

ふしみいなりガイド. (2021). Fushimi Inari Shrines. [Image] Available at: [Accessed 08/10/2022].

andybor. (2018.). Kuon screenshots, images and pictures. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Jan. 2023].

Catherine Wiki. (n.d.). Katherine McBride. [Image] Available at: [Accessed 09/10/2022].

Reggy (2017). Catherine: Full Body High-res Screenshots, Game Overview. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 09/10/2022].

Catherine Wiki. (n.d.). Catherine. [Image] Available at: [Accessed 09/10/2022].

Hachi. (2014). 結ンデ開イテ羅刹ト骸 (Musunde Hiraite Rasetsu to Mukuro). [Image] Available at: [Accessed 09/10/2022].

Video Games

Crypton Future Media (2016). Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X [Video Game]. SEGA. Tokyo, Japan.

Atlus (2019). Catherine: Full Body [Video Game]. SEGA. Tokyo, Japan.

Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio (2023). Like a Dragon Ishin! [Video Game]. SEGA. Tokyo, Japan. Available at: [Accessed 20/12/2022]

FromSoftware Inc. (2004) Kuon [Video Game]. FromSoftware Inc. Tokyo, Japan.

Tango Gameworks (2022) Ghostwire: Tokyo [Video Game]. Bethesda Softworks. Maryland, United States.

Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio (2005). Yakuza (Ryū ga Gotoku) [Video Game]. SEGA: Tokyo.