This year has been very fruitful in the aspect of 3D expression, with numerous highlights and features from my mother forum ZBrush Central, as well as other great forums such as CG society, 3D total, CG+ and others. It has also been another year in which I’ve learned (again) the hard way about much more important things, and that fulfillment doesn’t lie in either rewards or recognition, but in being true to one’s inner self, more so finding time and space to discover it.

Snoke got his asymmetrical topology in 3D Coat – double the time double the fun! I’ve thrown in the progress images of the sculpt as well.

Creating an accurate ear with ZBrush Imagine an ear as a flat thin surface of paper, if you crumple that paper the forms on the back will still reflect what is on the front – the same rule applies to a human ear – test by touching the front with your index finger and the back with your thumb (hope you have fingers and an ear), with exception that the features in the back are not as prominent as those in the front, but as you will find for every peak there is a valley.
Due to my dissatisfaction in not doing it right, and not to waste time on matching the back to fit the front, or completely abandoning the back as is mostly the case from what I’ve seen from others even on triple A games and movies – I’ve came up with this shortcut which doesn’t only give and accurate relationship between the front and the back of the ear, but also renders correct SSS in software like Keyshot.

A friend for Kylo. A speed sculpt from a sphere to loosen up form the technicality of Kylo in game model.
Plus some ideas for a connected story – a face behind the mask, and the brain behind the mask

In game Kylo Ren I took this project further and created an in game version; low poly cages with 3D-Coat, baked high poly information with xNormal, textured with Substance Painter and lastly real time rendered in Marmoset Toolbag 2. Original model was created with ZBrush.

Discworld’s Moist Von Lipwig, a new one to take a break from the work. Work in progress.

Abby Normal A new work in progress, ZBrush primitives as starting points…stay tuned for updates.

After quite some time I found it in my heart to create another Discworld character. This is my interpretation, and was a bumpy road having created a face I didn’t really see fit, and after meeting someone on my vacation and feeling she is a perfect match for Mrs. Evande Cake, redoing it and wrapping it finally up. Hope you enjoy :)

Something different for a nice change – a sculpt in Super Sculpey polymer clay, preceded and inspired by picking tooth-like stones at the beach, for which the clay mandible as a stand idea arose.

A new fun project I’ve started in my free time, a Seinfeld Curse of Monkey island crossover. I always felt there are some similarities between the characters, so making it happen :)

A single day portrait of Jiddu Krishnamurti. ZBrush + 3D coat topo + Keyshot render. Thanks to texturing.xyz for letting me test the displacement maps

Finished the “Star Wars: TFA” Fan art project. Hope you enjoy :)

Software used: ZBrush, 3D-Coat, 3Ds Max, Keyshot

Got a chance to meet my two heroes this year at Reboot Develop in Split. Patrice Desilets is an inspiration and an eye opener for so many things in my life, and signed this picture of me climbing a church tower (with a quick paintover). Tim Schafer really enjoyed the shirt with a fan art of Glottis I made for him :) Easily the best 4 days I have had this year, thanks to Finder for taking me with them to present Wacoms and Zbrush, to marvelously unique people I’ve had a pleasure to meet, and to everyone making Reboot Develop happen!

Some new characters, some old with a face lift :)

Thanks to Daniel Knight for this interview – we’ve covered a lot about 3d and non 3D, so be sure to check it out :)

http://www.trollbridge.film/single-post/2016/03/08/Interviewing-Dmitrij-Lepp%C3%A9e-Horse-Modeller

To find out more about the project visit http://www.trollbridge.film/
follow on https://twitter.com/snowgumfilms
or like on https://www.facebook.com/snowgumfilms/?fref=ts

A model created as a step by step tutorial for Vidi magazine. Full tutorial in Croatian is now available in digital format and can be found free at Vidi website: http://vidilab.com/how-to/1552-zbrush-stvaranje-3d-lika-za-igru-ili-cinematic

FN-2187 Modeled in ZBrush with help of 3dsMax and 3d-Coat, with render in Keyshot. With some progress images.

Full resolution 5000 X 6000 here: http://leppee.deviantart.com/art/FN-2187-586893145

First work of 2016 – Rey. The same approach as Adam Driver / Kylo Ren (one post below).

Had some fun today with this caricature, I know Norman Rockwell would have loved Adam’s face as do I :)

I’ve found a fair amount of artists nowadays are influenced by the realism and details ideal, predominant in entertainment industry (for reasons of regular people (consumers) being more easily identified with the world they are used to (reality), and capitalism saw it’s a good thing to nurture to make money, but not really be creative unless we’re talking about creative banking), and since it certainly is a hard working thing to make something close to real, I think anyone starting in portraiture should ask themselves the question “Why should I do it this way, and why should realism be a goal?”.
The way I see it, it’s 3d scanning or photography, not a job for the artist finding about herself or himself, but a job for a technician – to my discovering not any different from a mindless factory worker accepting they have to pay the bills. There is no personal input, no “you” in creating a copy of reality (it’s a good exercise but perhaps not the best end goal to have).

My advice, if you really discover that you love people to their soul and just need to make a portrait is to discard the constraints of a base mesh – the same as you would draw or sculpt a portrait in clay you wouldn’t use a single head and then tweak it to make each new portrait – forget about putting your model over image references and slowly adjusting it to match, it’s something that you can train anyone to do, but rather get a feel for people and express your connection to them – in that way your own style will surface, most likely will not be popular as currently realism is among the masses, but you will know why you are doing it and it will certainly make you fulfilled to work on something of your own, that isn’t dependent on the idea of not getting enough likes or a job. This is how you learn and discover things independently, no matter that they have already been discovered before – that’s natural but you need to discover it yourself, not believe what others tell you. Being under constant fear of copyright law and always trying to produce something “original” isn’t natural because we are all people, and we all are influenced by something that exists in nature – just that companies put IP and C and TM marks on their work so they can steal your freedom and sell it to you. In the end you can always do the detailing carbon copy on a job if there aren’t any other prospects at the time.

And doing it for the popularity sake, accepting trends because you see a potential to get a large following will make you anxious and not fulfilled in the long run, because your satisfaction will depend on the outside factors (whether someone likes you and your work), and not on yourself.

An artist is someone who is psychologically independent, constantly making a better world in whatever field, one who isn’t influenced by the norm of what is “better”, but is on a personal journey to find out what everything means and whether or not “better” is something to strive for at all. I’m afraid making a wow factor, through superficiality and simulation of real isn’t really making a world any better for anyone or making you a better human being.

I am not of “Stan Lee” persuasion where it’s felt that entertainment industry is a good thing because people need escapes and their minds wowed and diverted from their awful lives of sitting in an office and paying bills, I am more inclined to feeling that there is a solution to the life problem so there is no need for escapes.

But don’t trust me, discover for yourself.