Playlist
September 21st, 2017

When not working on Mill projects, passionate artists across The Mill can often be found participating in creative activities like the Mill NY Photo Club, engaging in events like Learning at Work Week or honing their craft through internal competitions like the annual Mill Modeling Competition.

Open to all Mill artists across studios and disciplines, artists have several months to complete their design before entering their final piece to be judged by their peers. We've asked this year's winning artists to discuss the creative process behind their projects:

Sasha Vinogradova

Sasha Vinogradova | Skull / Birds

Senior Designer, Mill LA

Take us through your creative process of deciding on the concept and approach to your model.

The competition didn't have a theme, and we were told to do whatever we want, which is very inspiring. I was looking for something visually complex but with a concept. After some research, I knew I wanted to build a piece inspired by an awesome artist Kate MacDowell. Her work is beautiful and provocative at the same time.

After some concepting, I decided to make a portrait of a girl with birds dashing from her head; a representation of ideas trying to escape from a person`s mind. I knew I was going for a stylized, sculptural look. To add more interest to the visuals, I picked a translucent material with a light, shining inside.

What programs or tools did you use to create your final piece? 

ZBrush, Substance Painter, Cinema 4D and Arnold

Any insights or learnings after completing the piece to share with other artists? 

I learned a lot, on both the modeling and rendering sides. I also tried Arnold 5 on this project and really liked its SSS material. 

See more of Sasha's work here.



Helen Hsu | Chinese Headpiece

Helen Hsu | Chinese Headpiece

Art Director, Mill LA

Take us through your creative process of deciding on the concept and approach to your model.

As an artist with a Chinese background, I'm always drawn to the abundance of culture and art inspiration. I want to do a piece that showcase the beauty of Chinese elements through my own interpretation. This project is a great way to showcase various techniques, from the human face and the animal/Phoenix to the ornaments. Since I just started learning ZBrush this year, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try out a couple techniques.

Helen Hsu | Chinese Headpiece

What programs or tools did you use to create your final piece?

I ZBrushed most of my elements and made a rough composition there. I then exported things out to Cinema 4D where I finalized my composition and added extra small details. The final look was rendered with Arnold with some small touch up in Photoshop.

Helen Hsu | Chinese Headpiece

Any insights or learnings after completing the piece to share with other artists? 

ZBrush is awesome!

See more of Helen's work here.



Sharlene Lin

Sharlene Lin | Old Toy Robot

VFX Artist, Mill LA

Take us through your creative process of deciding on the concept and approach to your model.

The robot idea was inspired by the Chappie, a character from a movie by the same name, as well as old metal robot toys from the 50s, although I wanted a more modern version. I was also fascinated with old logos and vintage candy tin boxes.

I liked the idea of making a robot, but it was also practical since I had pieces from previous robots. I put a lot of love into making this piece. My main mission was to try and improve my texturing skills while also learning Substance Painter, a tool we are currently still adopting here at The Mill.

What programs or tools did you use to create your final piece?

I used Maya, Substance Painter, and Adobe Photoshop.

Sharlene Lin

Any insights or learnings after completing the piece to share with other artists? 

I learned how to prepare a model with many UV Udims which ended up being many textures that needed to all look and feel alike.  I also learned that concentrating on making good base material setups with smart materials in Painter helped speed up the process.  Learned how to use Substance Painter and understand it more as tool for texturing.  I am not completely done with this project I will complete it further.

See more of Sharlene's work here.