80 Level Digest: Best Character Breakdowns of 2022

To celebrate the upcoming 2023, we've collected some of the best characters that inspired us over the past year.

December is traditionally a time when everybody looks back and sums up the year – and we are no exception. During 2022, we've covered a myriad of wonderful works created by our readers and we are thankful for your feedback and your eagerness to share your experience.

To celebrate the upcoming 2023 and, most importantly, thank all of the fantastic artists that were featured on our website, we've decided to recap the highlights of the passing year and collected some of the best breakdowns artists shared on 80 Level in 2022.

Let's start our celebratory series with the best character art breakdowns of 2022. Whether you search for inspirational ideas for your own projects or just wish to enjoy beautiful works created by other artists – our today's collection fits all.

Let's get started!

Our list opens with Luis Omar and his version of Vi, a hotheaded and fearless character from Netflix's Arcane, made using Maya, ZBrush, Substance 3D Painter, and Marmoset Toolbag. The 3D portrait can be easily named one of the best Arcane-inspired fan art pieces and in his breakdown, Omar revealed a couple of secrets about how he achieved this incredible result. For instance, the artist shared his modeling and texturing workflow and gave some useful tips on how to bring a nice photographic feeling to renders.

Next up is one more wonderful recreation of another Arcane character – fans' beloved Jinx. The portrait was created by 3D Character Artist at XM Studios Joshua Gouw/Wu who achieved an extremely-realistic look of the character using Maya, Substance 3D Painter, Marvelous Designer, and Arnold.

In the breakdown, the artist thoroughly explained how Jinx's face and outfit were sculpted giving plenty of useful tips along the way, shared how he achieved the perfect balance between the girl's dark-colored eye shadow and eyebags and her pale skin, and talked about the importance of final presentation and what he did to represent the character the best way possible.

This breakdown will not only be useful for Character Artists who seek advice and inspiration, but also for those who wish to learn how game characters are being created at AAA studios. In this interview, Techland's Lead Character Concept Artist Katarzyna Bech, Lead 3D Character Artist Dominik Wasienko, and Animation Director Dawid Lubryka described the full process behind the character creation for the studio's latest title, Dying Light 2 Stay Human, – from the concept stage to animation.

The artists shared the goals they had for the game's characters, explained how the description from the narration team influences their workflow, and spoke about the difference in production processes behind main characters and secondary NPCs. You can learn more by checking out the full interview.

The next project we would like to mention is Romain Chauliac's realistic portrait of Sathoshi Nakamoto made with Maya, ZBrush, Arnold, XGen, and Wrap3D. In the article, Chauliac talks about the R&D phase, describes the modeling process in ZBrush and Maya paying special attention to how realistic face details were created, and shared what he believes is a key point when working on a long difficult project.

Our next pick is Claudia Luehl's version of the Roman goddess Diana. In our interview with the artist, Luehl shared the extensive breakdown of the entire project thoroughly explaining modeling and texturing processes, talked about using XGen for grooming and the challenges behind it, and shared her approach to rendering.

Next up, we have a project created by Senior Creature Modeler Enrique Mateo-Sagasta that he made using ZBrush, Maya, and Arnold. In his breakdown, the artist shared the secrets behind making interesting facial expressions and detailed the process of making believable skin. In addition, Mateo-Sagasta spoke about hair creation sharing useful techniques that help achieve likeliness and giving tips that can help you define the hairstyle of your character.

Luana Bueno's breakdown will be a great read for those who wish to create hand-painted characters. In our interview with the artist, Bueno shared some tips on how to speed up your sculpting workflow, spoke about things that are important when working on a game character, and talked about small details that can affect the whole atmosphere of an artwork.

In addition, Bueno shared a number of videos where she demonstrated the entire process of character creation, so you can not only read but also see how the artist works and get a better understanding of the things described in the artice.

Almost any Character Artist at one point has to deal with hair creation and our next pick – Guellor Maweja's breakdown of creating the real-time afro – might be helpful in your way of learning how to make hair for your characters. In this article, Maweja covers a number of topics related to creating the afro hairstyle including the tools he uses tips and tricks that can help people tackle such a hairstyle. The advice that the artist shared can also be applied to other complex or simple hairstyles so the breakdown is definitely worth checking out.

Adarsh Shetty's Oasis project can be rightfully considered one of the most stunning and elaborate art pieces. We were lucky to have a chat with the artist and learn how the project was created. Shetty shared an enormous detailed breakdown where he spoke about the process of learning the subject's anatomy, explained his modeling and texturing workflows, and gave advice on realistic hair creation. In addition, the artist discussed how the accessories were made and gave a detailed explanation of the rendering process.

Our next pick is a breakdown by artists who worked on Netflix's Love, Death + Robots episode Mason's Rats. In the article, Axis Studios' Sebastian Deredas and Peter Nowacki detailed the production process behind the character's outfit explaining how the clothes were textured in Substance 3D Painter, how shaders for clothes were set up in Arnold, and how a groom for clothes and different details was created. The artists also shared their workflow behind the character's skin and discussed the main challenges during the production.

Last but not least is the article written by CFX Artist Jonathan Coetzer who shares a short tutorial in basic character groom workflow in Houdini 19. In his tutorial, the artist demonstrates all aspects of the grooming process – from attribute painting and grouping to guide processes and shading – giving clear step-by-step instructions on every stage of hair creation.

These were our favorite characters of the passing year. Do you agree with our picks? Did we miss a great character or two? What was your favorite character art-related project in 2022?

Share your opinions in the comments and don't forget to join our Reddit page and our Telegram channel, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, where we share breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.

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