Endless Sea Project Spreads Awareness of Marine Plastic Pollution

Posted on June 20, 2019 by Michael Nisbet


Artist Felipe Mayer from Notan Studio based in São Paulo, Brazil recently shared an eye-catching project you may have seen on Top Row at ZBrushCentral. The Brazilian artist helped create a stunning visual for the Mar Sem Fim organization to bring awareness to the increasing plastic pollution that is harming marine life in our planet’s oceans. Felipe was kind enough to share the details of his project and tell us a bit about his art and how ZBrush has made an impact.

Hello Felipe, thank you for sharing your recent work. It looks amazing! How did you get started in 3D?

I started my career almost 10 years ago, when I was an art director trying to improve some key visuals with crazy ideas. I started studying 3D illustration to solve some of those pieces that I created back in the days. 3D totally got me and I focused my efforts to expand my knowledge by doing some courses related to the area, from traditional sculpture to animation (which I discovered was not really for me.) ZBrush has always been a source of inspiration to me. I remember being in love with Simon Blanc’s No More Wine project. It was one of the first contacts I had with the software and when I discovered that there was such an intuitive tool for organic modeling, it became clear to me that I had to dive in and learn some tricks of this program. This source of inspiration and all the good stuff produced by amazing ZBrush artists has never failed to impact me, and let’s face it, ZBrush is always involved in the coolest projects of the industry.

Tell us about the Endless Sea project

Mar Sem Fim” is currently a digital portal that houses all the material produced by João Lara Mesquita, a musician, journalist and photographer who is passionate about all matters related to the marine environment. Founding member of an NGO linked to the SOS Mata Atlântica Foundation, which since 1990 has been active in depollution. He is the author of a series of 90 documentaries that were broadcast for two years on public TV channels here in Brazil. Since 2015 he has been diagnosed with a rare type of cancer that prevents him from navigating, but not from continuing his fight by articulating winning movements in favor of the marine environment, such as the campaign I had the pleasure to contribute to. We looked for a way to visually represent the impact of plastic on marine life, plastic straws are only a gateway to this issue´s awareness, it is crazy to think that such a small and expendable object that is used in giant volumes has a significant impact on the health of the oceans. According to the World Economic Forum, there are 150 million metric tons of plastic in the oceans and if we continue in this rhythm in 2050 we will have more plastic than fish in the seas.

How did ZBrush play a role in bringing this project to life?

ZBrush was a key tool for us to make this illustration, first using the see-through tool and simple forms modeled with DynaMesh we could block the main shapes of the fish with ease. Then, we determined some loops, separating them into different Polygroups to be able to use ZRemesher more efficiently. With this base ready, I usually send the model to Modo where I make some adjustments in the mesh, if necessary, and mark the UV seams. I then return to ZBrush and with the UV Master plugin I open the UVs. In my opinion the mesh is very well relaxed with this tool, so useful! Then I only go back to Modo to organize the UVs. With Spotlight and some photos, I project a basis to model the details and paint the textures, which are then improved by hand in ZBrush and Photoshop respectively. At this stage, I have the fish with the textures ready and tested materials through some preview renders. After that, I return to the ZBrush with the low res meshes so that all the fish could be shaped in to form a cup, using the basic transpose tools.

That´s it! I hope you have enjoyed the final result and that this theme becomes more relevant in our day to day, the complete project is available at Behance I can’t forget to mention that Young & Rubican Brazil was the agency that invited us here at Notan Studio to create these images and that I created with the help of the whole team and Raphael Perroni who helped us by modeling a base for the octopus.