April 13, 2024


Hey everybody, my title is Beau Chapman, and I’m a 19-year-old 3D artist based mostly in Austin, Texas. Blender has been my passion since I used to be 10 years previous once I was first launched to model 2.70 of the software program. Ever since then, I have been engaged on completely different initiatives and honing my creative model.

At present, I’ve no plans to work within the trade and hope to maintain 3D as a software I can make the most of to precise myself in a productive manner.


My model has been underneath improvement for the final 9 years and can proceed to vary over time. Proper now, nonetheless, I draw plenty of inspiration from enjoyable compositions, colours, and settings. Many instances, this ends in a cell-shaded/non-photorealistic scene, and there’s undoubtedly a powerful affect from Studio Ghibli and the lo-fi model (examples beneath).

(Still from Spirited Away)

(Nonetheless from Spirited Away)

(Lo-fi piece by Andrea Jovanovic)

(Lo-fi piece by Andrea Jovanovic)

This specific scene was carried out for a bunch at my college that gathers artists to develop works round a particular theme after which sells prints of these works in help of a non-profit. The theme for this work was “Nurture the Soul,” and my purpose was to depict a second of peaceable solitude.


Nearly all the work for this scene was carried out in Blender. The very first thing I did after developing with the concept for my scene was to have a look at colour schemes. I made a decision on the favored pink, purple, and orange tones you see in lots of lo-fi works.


After that, I wanted to determine on a location, a step I’d usually get caught on prior to now. It is immensely troublesome to conjure up a location out of skinny air, and I usually battle with mixing reference photos to create a single scene. However fortunately, there is no such thing as a scarcity of places right here on Earth, and with Google Road View, you may virtually at all times discover one thing that matches your wishes.

I wished to implement Japanese structure, so I dropped down into Osaka, Japan, and began wanting by means of the streets and alleyways, looking for a location I preferred. Finally, I discovered the angle above.


Now I used to be virtually prepared to start modeling this scene. The problem was that it is practically unattainable to line up Blender’s digicam with this precise angle, in any other case, you would be caught tweaking focal lengths and rotations for hours. I used the free software program FSpy to assist determine all these calculations for me.

Merely enter some axes and focal factors, and your work is finished. Blender has an exterior add-on that means that you can import FSpy extensions and arrange the orientation and focal lengths for you, so that is what I did.

General, this course of saves many hours, and I’d advocate it in case you are trying to mannequin off of a reference picture on this method. I started modeling by blocking out the principle shapes.

Simply utilizing primary cubes, cylinders, and spheres to generate meshes that I’d use to assist outline my colour tones and lighting scheme. Nothing too superior right here, it is so simple as it appears to be like.


This level in improvement is often reserved for organising lighting. Lighting is certainly one of, if not an important elements of making a scene. It may be a difference-maker and can repair sloppy modeling and supplies.

Nonetheless, the approach I am utilizing for materials renders most of my lighting decisions incorrectly. Cell shading in Blender EEVEE successfully decides the lighting for you, although it requires some mild supply for it to perform correctly. This is the straightforward node setup for the white colours. 

The lighting itself is not truly purple and blue, however the materials is compelled to these colour tones regardless. The Shade Ramp node decides the edge for which elements of a mesh will likely be purple (areas that obtain much less direct mild) and which will likely be blue (areas that obtain extra). Setting the ramp sort to ‘fixed’ makes this a tough cutoff and creates that cell-shaded look.

It is vital to notice that every materials needs to be tweaked to your specs since you may’t depend on lighting and shadow calculations to be carried out for you. Right here is an instance of one of many barely extra complicated supplies with the identical idea.

You’ll be able to see I added extra dimensions to the cell shading, and I combined it with a diffuse node to create some extra noticeable lighting interplay afterward once I add avenue lamps. This is identical approach used on the principle character to create highlights on the face and hair. Placing the steadiness between fully cell-shaded and realism is tough and is one thing I am nonetheless working to good.


Lighting did not must be sophisticated for this scene because it was basically being ‘faked’. Nonetheless, there are some vital issues to get proper.

Right here is the scene with full cell shading, and no mild sources allowed to work together.

You’ll be able to see it appears to be like boring and darkish. To not fear, I can add in some lighting and diffuse results to the character and to the poles to spice it up.

This was an older model of the scene, and I toned it down for the ultimate reduce, however you may see the impact that letting some mild bounce off the objects within the scene could have whereas nonetheless sustaining its cell-shaded really feel. The lights on this scene are simply 4 level lamps (on the road lights and within the doorway) and a spot lamp (positioned behind the character for the rim lighting), however they make a world of distinction.

With the lighting and primary supplies arrange, I can add the character and fill the scene with particulars. A fast overview of some primary parts is summarized beneath.


The clouds are sculpted spheres utilizing the snake hook software to get the form I wished, and utilizing cell shading for the supplies.


The wires have been added by including in a single vertex with a pores and skin modifier and constantly extruding alongside the traces within the reference picture.

The remainder of the small particulars have been added utilizing primary shapes. It was vital so as to add simply sufficient complexity that the scene was attention-grabbing to have a look at, however not an excessive amount of that it might be overwhelming. It is essential for composition functions that one leaves decently sized empty areas for the attention to relaxation, which is why I opted to go away lots of the partitions clean. Positioning element all through a scene is simply as vital as nailing the amount of element.


The character was edited from a base mesh downloaded from Mixamo. They supply nice rigged characters which can be simple to pose, however usually do not match my precise wishes, so I edit the mesh fairly closely.

After all of the items have been in place, I rendered, did some easy colour correction, and known as it carried out!

RENDER – Deep Breaths

Thanks a lot for studying this. I hope you discovered one thing helpful!

Have a pleasant day!

In regards to the Artist


Beau Chapman, a 3D artist in Austin, TX. He’s at present a scholar on the College of Texas at Austin.