I finally got around to painting the 3D squirrel sculpt I’ve been working on yesterday. It did not take as long as the sculpting process had and was quite relaxing. I used a program called 3D Coat to paint directly on the 3D model.
After I had UV mapped a low poly version of the detailed sculpted mesh and baked the normals and ambient occlusion onto separate image layers I blocked in the main colours using a colour concept painting I made earlier for the palette.
I had decided to use a different low poly base mesh for the UV unwrapping and bake process after learning more about fixing mesh errors. Making it low poly and quad based made the UV unwrapping process a lot easier and faster. I was quite surprised how well the normal map details of the high resolution mesh transferred to the lower resolution base mesh for the texturing.
Here are 3 stages of the colouring. For the last stage I edited the ambient occlusion layer using Affinity Photo by using a gradient map to blend the colour better and I made the eye irises larger. I added a little bit of specular shine to the eyes, the inside of the ears and the nose as well.
I’ve also made this video for most of the early painting process.
When I had finished the painting in 3D Coat I exported the model and textures for Blender and did some image renders. I tried some 3 point lighting and different HDRI environment backgrounds.
As a bonus for those of you who have been keeping up with my blog post series on this I’ve included a download PDF of my personal learning notes for using 3D Coat. I made them using a program called Treesheets.
Going forward with this personal project I might make some accessories for him and put him in different lighting and environment scenarios for more 3D art practice.
I think I’ve learned a lot from doing this project and if I had to change how I did anything it would be how I did the fur detail when I was sculpting it. That almost made me go mad and was really time consuming. I’d probably use fur alpha brushes in the future.