Wednesday, November 29, 2023
HomeAnimationsBehind the Scenes: Kokeshi Dolls

Behind the Scenes: Kokeshi Dolls


Hello everybody! My identify is Verica Hupe, and I am a 3D artist presently residing in the USA. For the previous a number of years, I’ve principally achieved rendering and meeting of premade 3D fashions.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t till I took the Polygon Runway 3D Illustration course final summer season that I lastly began creating my very own 3D fashions and diving deeper into stylized and low poly modeling. Due to the Polygon Runway and Blender group, I’ve developed an entire new ardour for Blender software program and studying extra about 3D.


I discovered about kokeshi dolls a number of years in the past once I seen loads of illustrators and vector artists on-line including a extra trendy spin on these historically picket small Japanese dolls. I fully fell in love with the concept of them.

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Most influential to my end result was in all probability the art work of Natalia Linnik, who has achieved an entire palette of vibrant chibi-like kokeshi designs. I tried to do one thing related however in my very own fashion utilizing 3D. I’ve additionally at all times been in awe of Japan’s picturesque views, normally consisting of loads of sakura bushes and snowy Fuji or its sister mountains within the background.


For instance, right here I began by creating my foremost “actors”, that are spherical cubes that I subdivided. Then, I duplicated and solidified elements of their foremost mesh to show them into hair and outfits. This course of may be very repetitive, as I additionally needed to create the belts and hair for the opposite two dolls.

For extra detailed gadgets, reminiscent of ropes, I used a screw modifier formed onto a curve. Retaining most of my modifiers lively as a substitute of making use of them additionally helped me to remain disciplined. This fashion, I used to be extra more likely to adapt to the modifier’s conduct than to resort to the next polycount within the scene.

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As soon as I settled on creating my three kokeshi dolls, I acquired the concept to make use of the identical quantity for different components too, like three mountains, three tea cups, and three sakura blossoms scattered across the platform. This provided consistency in design that I believed viewers would aesthetically take pleasure in.


I continued constructing the scene by using extra repetition and deriving new particulars from present meshes and primitives.

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For instance, the mountains are easy triangulated planes formed utilizing proportional enhancing after which copied as linked duplicates with variations in rotations and scale solely.

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The platform consists of an array of easy planes which might be solidified and beveled for a stylized look, whereas the tea set is modeled from primitives with solidify the place relevant.

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My objective with this workflow was so as to add sufficient particulars whereas preserving them quite simple in nature.


Essentially the most fascinating a part of the scene might be the sakura blossoms that introduced it to life, prompting me to show this piece into an animation. For this, I modeled a small set of flowers after which used a particle system to align them on the branches. My first intuition was to make use of the hair particle system, however I did not like that I had to decide on between a decrease rely of flowers or having them collide by means of one another on account of their form.

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So, I went with the timed emitter particles as a substitute, and with a number of settings tweaked, my sakura began blossoming and popping flowers into the scene as in the event that they had been naturally blooming and shifting on the tree. This methodology offered me with 240 frames of blossoming animation that I actually appreciated for my undertaking.


As with all the pieces else, I attempted to maintain my texture and shading system quite simple to protect the stylized look of the scene. For this, I used a seamless flower sample from a vector inventory and rapidly hand-painted some cheek blush on the dolls’ faces.

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Since I wasn’t going for an advanced lighting setup, my shaders seemed flatter than I most popular. So as to add extra depth to my supplies, I used the combined shader with an added Ambient Occlusion impact in Cycles. I utilized the identical shading system to many of the different props and components as properly.

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As for the lights, I at all times begin with one spherical Ambient gentle from the entrance and one from the highest of my foremost mannequin to convey them into view and assist me manage my scene. Nevertheless, since I had different components within the scene, reminiscent of mountains within the again and sakura overlaying the perimeters and high, international illumination wasn’t coming by means of. To handle this, I added a number of level lights round these components to make them stand out higher.

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Because the scene was turning into crowded, I used depth of discipline within the digicam settings to visually separate the primary components from the background/secondary components for the viewer.


Since I had already animated the sakura blossoms and baked within the animation from the particle system, I wished to make the scene extra fascinating by rotating the dolls throughout these 240 frames. To attain this, I parented the dolls to their respective spherical stands and rotated them 45 levels every manner and again, mimicking a music field conduct.

Lastly, for the animation render settings, I restricted the scene to 160 samples per body and used the Optix denoiser in Cycles. For nonetheless renders and sweetness pictures, I elevated the variety of samples to 1000 or extra.


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You may watch the ultimate animation at this hyperlink:

That is how my Kokeshi dolls undertaking got here to life. I hope you loved studying about my course of, and I’m very grateful for the chance to share it right here!

Concerning the Artist

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Verica Hupe aka “V. (3dlint)”,
a contract 3D artists from the USA. At the moment engaged on advancing her 3D expertise and serving to others on their very own inventive journeys.                                                                              



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