A spooky skull on a spooky slugbody. Tools used: Zbrush, Photoshop, Unreal 4.

2017 update: I gave this image a slight makeover as I felt it was a bit too vibrant and colorful to match the subject. Hit the link below to view the old version!

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Wednesday, May 11th, 2016 Art Blog Tags: , , , No Comments

The watchbreaker


The watchbreaker (i wont apologize for that pun) is a fishlike apparition that will visit in the depth of night to ruin any valuable mechanical heirloom such as pocket watches by meticulously and carefully disassembling and breaking them to make it seem like a century of erosion and weathering took place overnight.

Just a quick illustration, took me something like 6 hours in Photoshop. I’m having tons of fun just stumbling into photoshop, blotting down some rough shapes and coercing these into a finished image. It’s like a personal journey of discovery as I had no idea what this would turn into until being about halfway. I know it’s not a smart or recommendable way of working as it’s almost a stream of consciousness type of approach, like doodling while on the phone, but it’s too much fun to want to work smarter :-) I realize things like framing, composition and perspective suffer with this approach so i’ll try to be just slightly more thoughtful about these in the future.

Saturday, April 6th, 2013 Art Blog Tags: , , No Comments

Inca Priestess


I just finished this 3d character. I tried to make her look like an Inca or Mayan priestess. I think she turned out quite okay although I still feel like there are things to improve. Maybe I’ll get back to it later but for now I feel like I spent too long already.
You are looking at a composition of renders of the high poly model posed in Zbrush. A low poly model doesn’t exist yet, for this character I just wanted to learn Zbrush and create some nice renders.
This is my first serious sculpt in Zbrush. I already got acquainted with it’s compeditor, Mudbox, while working on the Turtletank. Now that I’ve spent some serious time with both tools I can safely say I much prefer Zbrush over Mudbox, despite it’s quirky interface.

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011 Art Blog Tags: , , 1 Comment

The demon deer in action!

The demon deer rendered in a dungeon environment.

Alright, as promised in my recent Dead Demonic Deer post, I made a render of the character in an action pose. Creating the render took me two evenings of work, one creating the pose and environment and another creating the lighting and atmospherics. It’s a 3ds Max Mental Ray render with basic GI and Final Illumination settings. The Depth of Field effect was made in Photoshop based on a Z-depth render pass. Except for some color tweaks, the whole thing looks the way it came out of the renderer, which took about half an hour.

Going to bed now, it’s 3:50 and I have to go to work tomorrow morning :-P

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010 Art Blog Tags: , , No Comments

The Dead Demonic Deer

The character from all sides

The handpainted diffuse texture. This little guy started out as a quick test after playing the game Torchlight, I felt the graphics in that game looked very appealing while being simple at the same time. All the models and environments were textured with just diffuse textures to be complimented with some nice lighting. This is pretty rare nowadays as most games sport a whole array of more advanced textures such as specular, normal, parallax and emissive maps brought together with complex shaders. The developers chose to use a much simpler and maybe even dated approach to texturing their game. Using normal and specular maps has been standard practice for almost ten years. Applying merely a diffuse texture is something that reminds me of those early 3d games which, in all honesty, looked pretty crappy. However, they took the risk, and instead of creating a game that looks dated, they managed to give it a beautiful handpainted look. To me it looks more appealing than many games that do utilize modern shader tech.

So, I set out to create a character that would look cool while being nothing more than a few triangles with some diffuse colors slapped on. In the end, I quite underestimated the amount of work that goes into creating a convincing handpainted diffuse texture. I figured I would be able to create this guy in two evenings: one modeling, one texturing. The first part worked just okay, the second… not so much. I think it must’ve taken me more than 5 or 6 evenings to get to this point. After texturing this guy I have even more appreciation for the Torchlight modelers: creating a handpainted seamless diffuse texture is difficult and hard work!

Creating seamless handpainted textures is getting easier now that many tools start to support 3d painting: 3ds Max 2011, Mudbox 2011 and Photoshop CS4 all offer the possibility to directly paint on the 3d model. Of course Maxon Bodypaint offered this functionality for a long time now. Unfortunately, whichever tool you choose, to me it always feels a bit finicky. None of the aforementioned tools offer the amount of control and options that you have when painting in just two dimensions in Photoshop. Also, painting across UV seams is never as seamless as you would hope, regardless of how good your UV’s are. For me, the tools are a good way of “roughing out” the initial diffuse, after which I will detail it in Photoshop the traditional way. That’s how I did this guy as well, it was very helpful for his muscle definition and his tattoo.

I still want to create a nice render of the deer in a cool pose, I will add that to this post later on.

Update: the render is done!

Saturday, July 10th, 2010 Art Blog Tags: , 1 Comment

A dragon


image (opens in new window)

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010 Art Blog Tags: , , No Comments

First steps into sculpting

Just finished this shield model done with Mudbox, a new tool to me.  The first two images are renders made in Mudbox.  The third is a lowpoly mesh (300 triangles) in the Unreal 3 engine. The model has a diffuse, specular, parallax and normal map on it. It took me just under 4 days to make, which included learning Mudbox. Sculpting is good fun though, I’m looking forward to do more of it in the future!

Friday, April 23rd, 2010 Art Blog Tags: , , 2 Comments

New illustration


I just finished this illustration: a cute little elf lighting a candle. Not a whole lot of thought went into it. I just sat down, started, and some time later this was the result. I didn’t stop to think about composition, perspective, lighting, originality or theme. For me it was just an exercise in having fun with painting, sometimes the fun gets lost when focusing too much on technicalities.

Hit the thumb for a larger view or this link for the full size image.

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 Art Blog Tags: , , No Comments

Red Riding Hood

I thought i’d get started with some of my older work. These date back to 2005, which will probably be my oldest work you will find on this site. I made these as part of a school assignment. We had to visualise, through any medium of choice, our own interpretation of the classic fairytale Red Riding Hood.

I’m rarely happy with older work, but I still found these to be quite endearing.

Saturday, January 16th, 2010 Art Blog Tags: , , No Comments

Greetings, dear visitor!

I'm Jeroen Backx, a 3d artist with a focus on videogames. I am currently the art director at Sticky Studios in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

You can contact me for questions, suggestions, business or anything else at:

jeroen [at]