From 2D Illustration to 3D Render with Milivoj Popovic

On ArtStation Learning, Milivoj Popovic’s series demonstrates how he uses ZBrush to create his goblin character, pulling directly from 2D reference. He walks through all the essential modeling skills required to create a character, from base mesh and facial sculpting to hard surface accessories. Follow along his entire process in both sculpting and texturing.

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Milivoj Popovic has an MA in Sculpting and teaches at Art Academy in Split. He is a co-owner and senior artist at the award-winning Prime Render Studios. Many of the short films he has worked on have been recognized with international awards and most notably,  the Oscar-qualifying Animated Eye award at Aspen Shortsfest and the Jury Award at Annecy Film Festival.  You can find his work published in many publications, such as Ballistic Publishing Expose Series, InCG Magazine, and Animation Magazine.

In this interview, he shares more on his experience and advice on how to improve as an artist.


Behind the course:

My course is based on concept art by Emir Durmisevic. I saw this image a few years back and always wanted to take it into 3D. I like these quirky, underdog characters that just seem a bit out of place so I was immediately drawn to it! The visual language and the forms he uses are very clear so I knew this would be a good theme for a tutorial. You want those who watch the tutorial to be able to follow along on their own and understand the process easily.

Most memorable learning experience:

I had a great teacher of modern art when I was getting my MA in Sculpting called Blazenka Perica. She really opened my eyes and deepened my understanding of what art is. In my opinion, the modern school system (from the industrial revolution onward) does more damage than benefit to kids and young adults, with their mindless repetitive games (what they like to call learning) punishing mistakes with bad grades, standardization, etc.. But, every once in a while a teacher like her comes around and that is a great thing. I will always be grateful to her for what she taught me.

1 piece of advice:

Don’t dream to work in big studios, dream to work at great studios. A great studio is not the one with the most revenue, biggest games and richest CEO- it’s the one that values you and your talent the most. Don’t become a content making machine. Having said that, the most important skill you can have to an employer is not your speed or skill- it’s your ability to solve problems and think on your feet! This will make you irreplaceable.

How to practice:

I would often give my students the most simplest of forms to sculpt. You can become a master sculptor just by sculpting an apple your whole life.

This is not just a cool thing to say- it is true. Don’t start with some crazy complex projects thinking that is how you will learn the most. No, quite the opposite. Take a simple form and try to really master it- push it as far as you can. Sculpt 20 apples, a 100 apples, you will learn so much and you will not get overwhelmed and lost in the process, wasting so much time trying to figure out why the head you sculpted looks horrible.

I would love to invite everybody reading to check out my course “From 2D Illustration to 3D Render“! I take things nice and slow. In the end, you will have

an awesome sculpt to show off and you might have a laugh or two along the way!

ArtStation Learning courses are included in all ArtStation premium subscriptions. Find out more >

See more of Milivoj’s work here.

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About the author

Sierra is the Editor of ArtStation Magazine.