3DTutorials: Please, tell us a bit about yourself like: what are you, what are you engaged in?
Pablo Castaño Norkus: Well, where do i start? My name is Pablo Castaño Norkus, i'm 36 years old, i'm married and I have 2 wonderful kids, i live in Buenos Aires and I´m a freelance 3D Designer and concept artist. I also a musician and a VFX and Motion Graphic artist for TV productions. Regarding 3D I'm self taught. I started learning at the age of 14 years old and i still study every day thanks to the Internet.
3DTutorials: How many years of experience do you have in the field?
Pablo Castaño Norkus: I've been doing freelance work since 2009. In that time I was working in web development during the day and in 3D stuff at night. 4 years ago i quite my developers work to fully dedicate to 3D and Motion Graphics. I really feel that making that jump was the right thing to do, now i´m more happy than ever chasing my dream in the 3D industry.
3DTutorials: What was the requirement for creating this model?
Pablo Castaño Norkus: Brain Bot was a personal project, his predecessor (Beasty Bot) came out really fast and got a fair amount of attention in social media so the next natural step was to make a more complex and visually appealing character. The most acclaimed aspect of Beasty Bot was the amount of details so I make the head of Brain Bot transparent in order to experiment with details inside it. Another aspect that i wanted to aboard was the hit of a story for the character. Just put a bold in his hand is enough to trigger the imagination of the viewers, you won´t believe the stuff that i´ve heard about that bolt!!!
3DTutorials: Please, tell what render did you use?
Pablo Castaño Norkus: The image was rendered in Keyshot Pro in 4K resolution (it took about 3 hours to finish), once I had all the render passes i used Photoshop to get all together for the final texturing, decals and background compositing.
3DTutorials: What software and plug-ins did you use to create this model?
Pablo Castaño Norkus: I started in 3Ds Max making a bunch of little mechanical parts, then i made a Insert Multimesh brush in zBrush. When i finished the base structure i used that IMM brush (and others that i've downloaded for free) to detail the head of the robot. At that time the Bridge function between zBrush and Keyshot wasn't a variable yet so i exported groups of pieces to Keyshot, then Photoshop, the After Effects for the final color adjustments.
3DTutorials: Did you use any references?
Pablo Castaño Norkus: Well...yes and no. I use references all the time for creating the small pieces of the kitbashing sets. For me, this is not only a practice exercise in 3Ds Max and low poly modeling but also a study on forms. I came to the conclusion that Sci Fi form design can be classified in 2 "shape" groups:
The "organic" shapes, or particular shapes or pieces made for that model (you can see those forms in the frame of the Brain Bot face). This shapes and pieces hardly can be reuse in another project.
And the Mechanical Shapes: Tubes, bolts, grids, etc. You can use this pieces in multiple projects without losing originality.
The way in which you combine this things can separate a great from a poor design. I use a very simple way to expand my shape language effortless, I have a 13000 images folder that include all kind of design stuff, pictures of engines, planes, industrial machinery, etc. I use this folder as a slideshow in my desktop background so my brain is getting and processing design information all the time. So I didn't use a direct reference but and bunch of indirect ones.
3DTutorials: What part was the most laborious?
Pablo Castaño Norkus: Ohhh!!!! passing from zBrush to Keyshot!!!! I made like 90 groups of objects (merging them in zbrush) and export then to .obj files, then in keyshot i had to import the 90 obj...one...by...one. A few weeks later the Bridge functionality came out. I think that every step of the process in laborious in one way or another but its such a pleasure work in projects like this that is ok to spend lots of time on it.
3DTutorials: Do you prefer procedural texturing or not?
Pablo Castaño Norkus: It depends on the project, but I'm not a huge fan of making Uvs for my models. Procedural texturing its awesome for avoiding that. As i said it depends, if im working on a concept art i rather do my materials in keyshot and my texturing in photoshop. If I have to animate the scene in Vray I use traditional texturing in 3Ds Max and if I´m making a model for a game I like to use Substance Painter with procedural texturing.
3DTutorials: And the last question what new work we should be expecting from you soon?
Pablo Castaño Norkus: Currently I have a handful of ongoing projects, I'm writing my third tutorial for 3DArtist Magazine UK. I´m also waiting for the release of a Playstation game for which a did a few Sci Fi props (maybe next year). Regarding personal projects I'm releasing a series of Kitbash Sets and Texture sets on Gumroad. I´m also modeling a new Mech following the subjects of the Soviet Lost Cosmonauts Conspiracy Theory but with a personal twist. Of course I keep learning new softwares and techniques, the future is uncertain, rich and full of fun for 3D artists, we must be open to it, we must learn all the time, we have to keep working and doing cool stuff. Some people say that art is a useless thing, I think that the world without art is a dead and a sad place to live on.