Fan art is a labour of love, in which artists pay tribute to their favourite characters, comics, films, franchises and more. It's a community full of reverence and appreciation for the 3D art it contributes to, and which produces some truly inspirational work.
We've found some brilliant examples of what can be created when inspired by movies (see our pick of the best 3D movies here) or characters from comic books. This article rounds them up and includes insights from the artists who made them. For even more inspiration, see our roundup of the best 3D art.
Click the icon in the top right of each image to enlarge it.
01. Venom(opens in new tab)
Franco Carlesimo, who made this Venom character, has been creating fan art for as long as he can remember. "I was introduced to comics as a kid and used to copy or do my interpretations of all the characters I liked." His Artstation (opens in new tab) is full of incredible art covering a range of characters.
02. Spider-Man(opens in new tab)
Carlesimo also created this incredible Spider-Man. "In 3D you have to try to make it look cool from several angles. I always try to have at least three good angles to look at it," says Carlesimo of his process.
03. Storm(opens in new tab)
The recipe for great fan art, according to Victor Hugo Queiroz (opens in new tab), who created this image of X-Men's Storm, is a respect for the source material and an acknowledgment of the technical challenge that it presents. "Fan art can be a tricky subject because it's kind of easy to get positive feedback from the fanbase, which sometimes makes you less exigent about the quality of your work," he explains.
When it comes to capturing the attention of the industry, Queiroz stresses the importance of remembering that not everyone will recognise the source of your inspiration. "Not all recruiters watched that anime that you loved back in the '90s," he adds. It's important to make sure that your work is captivating, whether the viewer knows the source material or not."
04. Superman(opens in new tab)
This personal project by Richie Mason (opens in new tab) depicts Superman facing off against Green Lantern. Mason has always loved comic books and the characters that inhabit them, and so was driven to create his own versions of them.
05. Super Sons(opens in new tab)
This fan art by Eduardo Silva (opens in new tab) is based on DC Universe Rebirth cover, illustrated by super-talented artist Jorge Jiménez (opens in new tab). "This cover has a great action scene with the characters in very dynamic poses and good elements to compose the base. The goal now was to make this illustration a statue that works from all angles," says Silva.
"The biggest challenge was to make a simple light that would work from some angles and also in the 360," he continues. "After doing a lot of tests I found a setup that pleased me, something that brightened the scene but had hard and soft shadows at the same time, helping to make the scene more dramatic."
06. Spider-Gwen(opens in new tab)
The goal of this Spider-Gwen fan art by Silva was to produce a statue with human proportions. Throughout the fan art development process, Silva pays close attention to the essential characteristics of the character he is working on: "the anatomy, accessories, environment in which this character lives, and what kind of story I’m trying to tell. Generally I try to make the characters as faithful as possible while respecting the original creation, adapting only what doesn’t work so well in 3D."
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