hand-sculpted and procedural

No scan data, no photo-sourced textures. Rendered in Cycles.  




Initial sculpt, retopology, shape keys, sculpted pore and wrinkle detailing, hard surface modeling: eyes & jewellery, UV unwrapping, surfacing: utility texture baking, skin colour painting, skin material, specular variation & subsurface scattering zones, eye, jewellery & face paint materials, cloth modeling, simulation & materials (excluded in final renders), grooming & groom materials, lighting, compositing & rendering.

GROOMING | Facial + body vellus hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, moustache, beard, goatee, sideburns and scalp hair and bun in layers.
Reaching towards realism with a combination of the groom, vertex groups, weight painting and procedural accents.
HARD SURFACE | Modeled and sculpted glass and prayer beads, utilising an array of blender’s modifiers and procedural texturing treatments.
SURFACING | SKIN: Built up with hand-sculpted pore and wrinkle detail, hand-painting, procedural blemishes and subsurface scattering zones.
EYES: Pairing modeling with procedural materials to create the sclera, iris, pupil and meniscus.

sculpt & groom

sculpted pore and wrinkle detailing of skin and face paint, skin utility texture baking


retopology of bust followed by UV unwrapping


The culture and asceticism of the Sadhus has been of long-time interest and inspiration to me.   I created this 3D portrait of Vijay Nund in my best effort to portray his humanity, spirituality and his physical beauty, with deep respect and with no commercial interest. As a piece of artwork, this is my attempt at a representation of the likeness of Vijay Nund, however likeness is a challenging journey and this is but one artistic interpretation. 

I first discovered Vijay Nund in Joey L’s photojournalistic “Holy Men” series and in the accompanying documentary; BEYOND; directed by Cale Glendening, in Varanasi, India; and their work has been of significant inspiration and reference (links below).

graphite drawing | 2011


  1. Marzia Franceschini, Indian Sadhu praying in Pushkar, India, 
  2. Joey L., Portrait of Baba Nondo Somendrah, Varanasi, India,
  4. BEYOND Opening title, Directed by Cale Glendening, Varanasi, India,, Photograph by Joey L.  
  5. Stephan Vanfleteren, photograph from Surf Tribe,
  6. Joey L., Ascetic priest Baba Vijay Nund rows a boat along the Ganges River, Varanasi, India,
  7. Brian Hodges, featured in Behold, The Beauty Of Pushkar’s Holy Men by Mallika Rao,
  8. Yulia Serdobintseva, Japa mala, Prayer beads made from the seeds of the rudraksha tree,


Sadhu is the first realistic 3D portrait I have created (in Blender 2.93 – 3.2), following the HUMAN: Realistic Portrait Creation with Blender course by Kent Trammell, in his creation of Colin at CG Cookie. I’m ever grateful for Kent Trammell’s incredible masterclasses and expert workflow – I enjoyed every step of the journey and discovered a true passion for 3D portraiture while creating this piece.

HUMAN: Realistic Portrait Creation with Blender course:

VIEW | project on cgcookie

Background Image: own 35mm film photograph


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