Batman v. Predator

Alejandro Pereira, a film and animated series production artist, spends his hours away from the grind working on two of his passions; 3D modeling and traditional sculpture.

And judging by the work he turns out, those are hours well spent.

Pereira's 3D printed statues are finely detailed and expressive, and it's little wonder that they're so evocative. Pereira counts among his professional projects work for such animation giants as Marvel, DC, Disney-Pixar and Universal Studios.

"I started sculpting traditionally almost at the same time that I started to learn 3D," Pereira said. "I started sculpting in a traditional way because I was a collector without the money to build my collection. So I decided to make my own figures. I studied anatomy and traditional sculpting in a self-taught way while I was learning to use the interface of generalist 3D programs."

Taking his artistic inspiration from comic books, Pereira has arrived at a formula to give his work a realistic edge.

"The most important things for me in the figure are the face, the action and hands," he said. "You can make a character with incredible anatomy, realistic textures and incredible details, but if the pose or face don´t work, the figure will look dead."

According to Pereira, his childhood fascination with comic books provides a reference point to allow him to create his dynamically-posed pieces. He says his work is also informed by his admiration for, and collaboration with, his mentor, Erick Sosa, the lead designer for Kotobukiya, a Japanese producer of original model kits.

Pereira says when it comes to 3D models and sculpture, the devil is in the details.

"The important thing you should know before adding detail is what scale will be used when printing the figure," he says. "If it will print in a 1/4 scale the details show without problems. If the statue is on a smaller scale, then perhaps there is no sense in making it very detailed. Try to visualize on screen the actual size of the figure in order to see how it should work."

He works, using ZBrush software, by first developing a "master" which is essentially an original, which is then iterated to create a finished product used to make the molds for final production. As the later copies all come from the "master," Pereira said some fine details are lost in each version and he adds that about 10% of the detail is lost by the time the final version is complete.

Looking at the level of detail present in the final models, it becomes difficult to imagine that any detail is lost.