Little Bear: A Stylized 3D Character Workflow by Mariia Hunenko

3d artwork
Mariia Hunenko
3D Character Artist

Little bear!

Hi! I'm Mariia Hunenko, a 3D character artist focusing on stylized art, including hand-painted and PBR textures. Currently, I'm freelancing and working on personal projects, but I'm also open to job offers. The model I created was based on the original concept by Cai Lei.


So how do you start a project?

Firstly, it's crucial to choose a concept! Everyone can select what they like and what will complement their portfolio. When choosing a concept, consider your skill level: opting for a too challenging option may lead to a loss of motivation. Throughout the process, I gather additional references in PureRef.


To begin, I define the basic shapes using a minimal number of polygons. This helps capture overall proportions and establishes a foundation for adding details. For this, I use ZBrush. Then, I progressively add detail and enhance the clarity of shapes.

3d artwork(Image credit: Mariia Hunenko)

Retopology of the Model.

This stage is done manually in Blender. A useful tip is to utilize the built-in F2 addon for efficiently adding and placing polygons.

3d artwork(Image credit: Mariia Hunenko)


I use the UVLayout program to create a UV. This program makes it easy to unwrap and pack UVs. In my work, I used 4 texture sets (face, weapon, details, and clothing).

3d artwork(Image credit: Mariia Hunenko)


Accurate naming of High Poly and Low Poly is essential at this stage. Subsequently, I used Marmoset Toolbag 4 to bake AO, Normal, Curvature, and ID maps.

3d artwork(Image credit: Mariia Hunenko)

Character Rigging and Posing:

For rigging, I utilize Blender, in which I position the character in a pose. It's important to choose the right camera angle and perspective to match the pose with the reference.

Idle Animation

I used Blender and a pre-made rig to create a simple animation.

Final Render of Everything in Marmoset Toolbag 4.

For this, I created the materials, applied the previously created textures, set up three light points, and added rim lights according to the reference. Basically, that's all!

3d artwork(Image credit: Mariia Hunenko)

3d artwork(Image credit: Mariia Hunenko)

The process of characters creation is incredibly fulfilling. It's not just about the technical aspects; it's a journey of storytelling, emotion, and expressing my artistic vision through the 3D modeling!

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Mariia Hunenko
3D Character Artist
Mariia Hunenko is a skilled 3D character artist with a focus on stylized art, encompassing both hand-painted and PBR textures.