Who is Bernhard van der Horst?
My name is Bernhard van der Horst and I specialize in 3D models, leaning towards dark fantasy, horror, and science fiction creatures and character model creation. I started learning 3D art and everything it entails about 7 years ago after feeling stuck in the wrong jobs. I am very happy I made the choice.
What inspired you to start creating 3D models?
At first, it was purely to find a job I wouldn't hate. But I certainly did not know I'd fall in love with it. Initial learning was steep, and I hated it, but then suddenly I found myself enjoying the field a lot, and I still do to this day. These days, my main passion is creating things that don't exist and seeing them come to life through animation.
What software programs do you use for your 3D modeling work, and why do you prefer them?
Zbrush is the best sculpting app on the market. While Blender has sculpting too, it struggles to deal with hundreds of millions of polygons, which ZBrush is built for. ZBrush has tons of really powerful but easy-to-use features, and the sculpting experience is just a joy.
Maya: This is my main DCC application. If I had started learning 3D right now for the first time, I would have opted for Blender instead, which these days is amazing. But I will only switch to Blender if I don't have a studio paying for my Maya subscription anymore. Anyway, I know Maya very well, I love the gesture-based hotbox workflow, the animation tools are top-class, UV editing and unwrapping is the best out there, Quad Draw is superb for retopology, and so on. The modeling toolkit is not bad. Not as good as Blender these days, but I know it well and can do everything I need to do.
Marmoset Toolbag: I use this for baking normal, AO, etc. maps. Nothing comes close to Marmoset in terms of baking options, speed, and power. It's also a nice presentation tool, though I mostly use Redshift to do final renders from within Maya.
Substance/Adobe Painter is a brilliant texturing application, easy to use, powerful, and one of my favorite parts of the whole process.
Can you share any tips or advice for aspiring 3D designers?
Practice, practice, and one more time - practice. Every day. You will feel incompetent for a time and be disheartened, but everyone has to go through this Valley of the Incompetency. Always look at references. Occasionally compare your work to that of your favorite artists side by side (this is not to copy them, but to judge quality). It will be painful, but it will push you to get better faster.
What challenges do you face when creating 3D models?
Most of the time, it takes technical know-how and time. It takes time to improve.
How do you ensure that your 3D models are optimized for performance, especially in game development or VR/AR applications?
The models I sell on CGTrader and other marketplaces are not game-ready; they are all high-poly kit-bash creatures and character parts to quickly concept, design, and build creatures to then do a final refining pass on, retopologize, UV unwrap, bake, and texture. When it comes to my studio job as a senior creature artist, I simply stick to the poly and texture budget decided upon by the technical art team and get my models to the required specifications when retopologizing and texturing.
Can you tell us about a specific project you are particularly proud of?
This character was mainly an attempt to push myself and get noticed for a better job. It worked, and I enjoyed the process immensely:
What sets your 3D models apart from those created by other designers?
This is something that, in my opinion, needs to be explained from the viewpoint of the customers. Yet, based on the numerous comments I receive, I believe people appreciate the level of detail in my models.
Can you tell us about any upcoming projects or new models that you are currently working on?
I have recently completed the DEMON series, the last part of which is DEMON : Legs. The first three parts were Heads, Torsos, and Arms. Together, they amount to about 200 high detail high quality creature/character parts with over 700 blendshapes, to quickly build monsters. I can't stop playing around with it, and it is so easy to come up with unique new designs by cycling through all the different meshes, especially in Zbrush (though I do provide OBJs of all my packs for other software). Right now I am on a short hiatus, but I am also planning what will be next. I have quite a list of packs I want to make, and notable ideas on there are the Dragon/Reptile pack, the Undead/Skeletal pack, and the female version of DEMON, all in kitbash form.
Do you have any long-term goals or aspirations as a 3D designer?
I want to find time to start making fully-animated CG music videos for a certain project, long term.
What are your favorite aspects of using CGTrader as a platform for selling your 3D models?
CGTrader’s platform is easy and straight-forward to use, with good features and a large user base.
Do you have any messages for the CGTrader community?
I would like to thank all those who have bought and continue to buy my packs. It makes it all worth the effort.
Can you share any success stories or testimonials from satisfied customers who have purchased your models?
Here is a small sample of some reviews of my models.
"A ton of content and super detailed! This artist's packs are always amazing and worth the purchase. Great addition to your tool kit."
" Awesome Kit - lots of model variation and detail. Saves a massive amount from having to prototype / base mesh from scratch."
"I just purchased this, and WOW. Amazingly detailed and filled with variation Truly incredible and professional work! Kudos, Bernhard!"
What are the tendencies of 3D market in your country - The United Kingdom? Is it popular?
My models are global-oriented. It does OK in the UK, where I live. My main market is North America though. Europe and Asia as well. The southern hemisphere is a much smaller market.