This mentorship experience has solidified my belief that learning from accomplished artists like Ankush is the best and quickest way to improve one's skills.
Rico Bühler is a 3D Character Artist from the beautiful Switzerland.
1,745 Words written by Rico
~8 Minutes to read
My name is Rico Buehler, and I hail from the picturesque city of Lucerne, Switzerland, although I was originally born in London, England. My passion for the game and film industry stems from a deep-rooted love for creating appealing and heroic characters, and I am currently pursuing an entry-level career in character or prop modeling.
As a child, I was always captivated by the vast array of characters that existed within different genres, and I often found myself pondering the question of what makes a character truly interesting. My love for heroes and X-Men comics, as well as more cartoony characters from Nintendo and Capcom, played a major role in shaping my artistic preferences.
This fascination extended to both 2D and 3D characters, and I was particularly impressed by how Street Fighter V flawlessly translated the Street Fighter Alpha sprite characters and art styles into 3D. My admiration for the works of Arnold Tsang, whom I’ve been following since the days of APB, has only added to my passion for character modeling. After witnessing the stunning characters of Overwatch, I was convinced that game development was the industry I wanted to be a part of.
However, I soon realized that most character modeling positions require a significant amount of experience, typically at the senior level. In order to build a solid foundation, I decided to pursue 2D mentorship first and then specialize in 3D. I am determined to keep honing my skills and chasing my dream of creating memorable characters that inspire and excite audiences.
My initial approach to learning was to turn to Google and search for resources on how to draw. Unfortunately, this led me down a rabbit hole of content creators on YouTube and Udemy who were more focused on promoting themselves and their channels rather than teaching the fundamentals of art.
Frustrated by this lack of genuine instruction, I began to search for more serious and reliable approaches to learning. This search eventually led me to online schools and mentors who were able to provide me with the structure and guidance I needed to develop my skills and truly understand the foundations of good art.
As someone who began pursuing art only in the last five years, I had to approach learning differently than someone who had pursued art their entire life. I adapted by listening closely to my mentors and following their teachings, rather than relying solely on my own artistic preferences.
Through my journey, I have come to realize the importance of building a solid foundation in art before moving on to more advanced topics. It involves a deep understanding of the foundational principles and techniques, as well as the constant experimentation and exploration of new styles and methods. I realized that being a good artist goes beyond technical skills; it also involves developing one’s artistic voice and vision. As such, I now approach my art education as a lifelong pursuit, always eager to learn new things and challenge myself.
As an artist, I have come to realize that there is only so much one can learn through self-teaching, videos, and books. To truly grow and improve as an artist, a more serious and structured approach is necessary.
During my search for a reputable school that could provide me with the guidance and mentorship I needed, I came across CGVerse. What caught my attention was the clean and informative layout of their website, as well as their innovative use of Blender for architecture, a practice that sets them apart from other schools still relying on Maya.
I judged CGVerse based on the quality of their students’ work and the portfolios of their instructors. I was pleased to find that the work produced by their students was consistently solid and impressive and that their mentors were accomplished professionals in a range of artistic fields.
While it is true that there are some online schools that may not be reputable or offer high-quality education, it is important to note that many respected online schools exist that offer excellent programs and courses. Unlike traditional schools, online schools provide students with the flexibility to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule. However, this flexibility also requires self-discipline and motivation, as it can be easy to fall behind without the structure of a traditional classroom setting.
The mentorship began with the basics of block-out modeling for the armor, with Ankush emphasizing the importance of completing the character before focusing on the weapon. He explained that while a weapon might be considered a hero prop, it is not as critical as nailing down the character itself.
To optimize our workflow for production, Ankush recommended using a base mesh for the female character. This allowed us to focus our time and energy on areas where we needed the most improvement, rather than wasting time on things we were already proficient at.
As we progressed, we delved into the art of UV mapping. While we didn’t focus too much on this aspect, Ankush stressed the importance of staying true to the original design of the character, which required us to model the desired pose instead of starting with a T-pose.
With the basics completed, we moved on to texturing in Substance Painter. Ankush shared his expertise in painting techniques, showing me how to achieve the desired look for the character. Once we had a satisfactory result in Substance Painter, we proceeded to do some look dev in Marmoset, fine-tuning the lighting and materials to achieve the desired effect.
With his guidance and support, I was able to make significant progress in a relatively short amount of time, and I feel confident in my abilities as an artist moving forward.
My mentorship experience was nothing short of excellent. I felt privileged and honored to have Ankush Khare as my mentor, who provided invaluable guidance and support throughout the process. Whenever I felt discouraged or overwhelmed, Ankush was always there to lift my spirits and remind me of my strengths.
Ankush’s artistic prowess and technical knowledge were truly impressive. He stressed the importance of not only mastering technical skills but also being able to translate one’s ideas into a finished product that accurately reflects the initial concept. His emphasis on the power of illustration was particularly enlightening, and it helped me understand the role of art in visual storytelling.
In addition to his artistic insights, Ankush also taught me various technical skills, including box modeling, uving, Zbrush techniques, and substance painter texturing. We were able to accomplish an incredible amount together, and I could see my skills improve rapidly under his tutelage.
This mentorship experience has solidified my belief that learning from accomplished artists like Ankush is the best and quickest way to improve one’s skills. The personalized guidance and support offered through mentorship cannot be replicated through online courses or tutorials. The opportunity to work closely with a mentor who understands your artistic vision and can guide you toward realizing it is truly invaluable.
As someone who has been through the process of pursuing a career in the art industry, I understand the importance of investing in one’s education. While it may seem tempting to opt for cheaper alternatives or to try to teach oneself through online tutorials and resources, the truth is that the growth and progress that one can achieve through a high-quality educational program are unparalleled.
That’s why, as someone who has experienced the benefits firsthand, I highly recommend CGVerse as an online school for artists. While some may balk at the cost of their programs, I can confidently say that the money will be well spent. CGVerse offers a level of professionalism and expertise that is hard to find elsewhere, with mentors and instructors who are leaders in their respective fields.
One thing that really sets CGVerse apart, in my opinion, is their commitment to helping students get their foot in the door of the industry. Students learn not just the technical skills needed to create great art, but also the professional skills and networking savvy that can help them land jobs and advance their careers. I have never seen another online school that offers this level of support and guidance for its students.
Personally, I can attest to the fact that CGVerse has helped me tremendously in setting up my portfolio and LinkedIn profile. The skills and knowledge I gained through their programs have been invaluable, and I feel confident in my ability to pursue a successful career in the art industry thanks in part to their guidance. So if you’re serious about pursuing a career as an artist and want to invest in yourself and your future, I would highly recommend considering CGVerse.
My next steps definitely involve reaching out for various interviews and finalizing the presentation of the second project that I started with Ankush after completing my dragon. We spent approximately more than half of the 4 months on the dragon, which is why we also created an orc bust. I can’t wait to share the bust with you as soon as possible. Now that my last project as a prop and creature artist has concluded, I will be applying to several studios. Through CGVerse, I was able to confirm for myself that creature design is precisely the right path for me. Therefore, I am now specifically seeking a position as a creature artist, whether it’s for games, films, or 3D printing.
Simultaneously, I will continue to work diligently on honing my skills. There is still so much to learn, and my self-discovery has inspired me to keep pushing forward. I need to learn much more about various types of anatomy, whether it’s human, animal, or insect. For my next personal project, I will be tackling an Engineer from the movies Prometheus and Alien: Covenant.
In this project, I will strive to implement everything I’ve learned from Ankush to the best of my ability and undoubtedly push myself even further. The primary focus will be on sculpting in ZBrush. I might turn it into a game-ready version or a 3D print-ready version, possibly both depending on the amount of private time I’ll have. I am excited about my future as an artist and curious about all that lies ahead.
As a conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude once again to Ankush and Christopher. Without both of you, I wouldn’t have recognized and gained confidence in my own abilities for a long time.
Thank you CGVerse!
(Before the mentorship)
Old Man 2D Head Study
In order to gain a thorough understanding of facial anatomy for my character designs, I engage in head studies. This involves utilizing Ron Lemen’s head construction method.
Though it may not be visible, there is a crafted structure beneath the pencil drawing, which I typically create using a blue pencil. By following this process, I’m able to achieve greater precision and accuracy in my character depictions.
Old Man 3D Head Study