The Figurama Collectors Team is honored to work alongside some incredibly talented sculptors, concept artists, and painters. It’s important to us that the creators we collaborate with get proper credit for their work. We want our Figuramians to get to know these artists and really grasp the significance of their contributions to the finished product.
Today, we’re excited to share with you an exclusive interview with Artem Ganisor, the sculptor responsible for bringing the lush, detailed world of our Made in Abyss Statue to life.
Made in Abyss Elite Diorama Statue is your first experience with modelling for 3D printing. What made this experience unique or challenging?
Yes, it is my first experience. What made it so unique and challenging is the fact that I had to add all the surface details using geometry instead of a texture like I usually do for an animated production. Regarding the artistic side of the work, it wasn’t easy to find proper shapes for the character’s faces because I only had 2D animation as a reference without detailed shadows for reading their shapes.
You are a character artist who has extensive experience with both realistic figures and more cartoony figures. Did you find it easier or more difficult to sculpt Riko and Reg compared to more realistic characters?
It was a bit easier because I got to avoid a lot of technical stuff and concentrate on pure sculpt, silhouette, and form. When you do characters for animation, especially realistic characters, the process is more technical, even scientific, and not an art at all. I’ve spent more than 5 years designing realistic characters for animation, so this project was an excellent opportunity to just “reset” and focus on the sculpt alone.
Your “Bansai Tree” showcases your skill in sculpting natural elements, such as roots, rock, and terrain. Which part of the Made in Abyss Statue’s terrain was your favorite to sculpt? Which was the most challenging?
My favorite is rocks, for sure. Sculpting rocks reminds me of a meditation process. They are dynamic and static at the same time—and completely without the more technical elements. Most challenging to sculpt was the grass and water. For grass, I made a few different versions but it was hard to find a balance between polygon count, proper style, and user-friendly tools. So I made a bunch of custom brushes in ZBrush and started to play with them to achieve a proper and optimized result. I remodeled the waves 3 or 4 times from scratch. I had to show dynamism with a static object, which is not easy.
Tell us one fun fact about the design process of the Made in Abyss Statue that someone might not know just by looking at the finished product.
The most important thing for me is to plan the entire process before I start sculpting. I always design characters in a symmetrical A Pose. Only after these designs are approved do I pose the characters for the statue itself. Then the details get added. I believe the main reason I use this specific process is my experience with animation. I think for 3D printing, I could probably try a different process in the future.
What sources, music, images, or other elements did you use for inspiration while sculpting the Made in Abyss Statue?
Definitely the Made in Abyss anime. I dug into it sooo deeply and watched the whole series in one day, one episode at a time. Another inspiration is Tekkonkinkreet (steel-reinforced concrete), the anime movie. I found something similar in both these anime, such as the relationships between characters. They aren’t typical romantic relationships but rather based on the connection between two individuals. It helped me fall in love with these characters and finish this sculpt with sparks of inspiration in my soul (which can be really hard to achieve when you do many models every day like a robot!).
What do you hope fans and collectors will most appreciate about your work on Made in Abyss Elite Diorama Statue?
I hope they will appreciate the entire statue, honestly! And I hope that the dynamics and details will make fans of the Made in Abyss anime especially happy.
What inspires you as an artist? What other artists do you look up to?
Movies and music videos inspire me a lot, especially more realistic, artistic movies like Drive, True Detective, or Arrival. I have never been inspired by only one character or element but always by the combination of factors like script, emotions, lighting, environment, space, dynamics, composition, etc. I love it when stories are “invisible” but “readable.” For example, in Drive you can “hear” the dialogue between characters, even when they keep silent. You know what they are thinking and feeling. Taking into consideration all these characteristics, you probably know that I’m a huge fan of concept artists like Thomas Dubois and Mark Kolobaev.