Hansel & Gretel: A 3D collection from The Rusted Pixel

Hansel and Gretel by Paul McMahon, The Rusted Pixel.

Hansel and Gretel by The Rusted Pixel.

This month, in collaboration with Paul McMahon (also known as The Rusted Pixel), we are releasing two, free custom 3D collections, both inspired by the art of the fairytale. The first collection, based on the castle from Sleeping Beauty, can be found on Adobe Stock here. You can also learn more about the inspiration behind the fairytale itself by visiting our article, Sleeping Beauty: A 3D Collection from The Rusted Pixel.

For the second collection of Hansel & Gretel, we wanted to take a closer look at Paul’s creative history and what has inspired his amazing body of work.

The Hansel and Gretel Collection on Adobe Stock.

Once upon a time…

There are moments in an artist’s life that stand out. For Paul, one is the memory of his mother explaining who created the illustrations in his sister’s picture books — artists —and another is his introduction to Adobe After Effects (AE) and Cinema 4D (C4D). He had been fascinated by 3D and animation throughout his life, and, although he had experimented with 3D software previously, found it too complex and confusing. After watching a few AE tutorials, however, Paul began to grasp the basics of 3D design, and was hooked. Each week, he found himself eager to dive into the next activity, and unlike past experiences, wasn’t intimidated by the tools or tasks.

Paul soon graduated from using 3D models produced by other artists to making his own. Learning to model changed everything; working from scratch — or blending custom creations with models from other sources like Adobe Stock — gave Paul the ability to build elements and environments just as he imagined them.

Topiary Sugary from All the Things by The Rusted Pixel.

There is a playful cheer to Paul’s work, and fans sometimes say they want to “eat” his creations, which Paul considers a high compliment. His 3D world is full of bright, controlled color palettes and vivid hues, which Paul has gravitated toward since he first began to develop his signature style. He loves the challenge of working with these colors — yellow in particular — and the radiance and warmth they give his scenes.

Breakfast time by The Rusted Pixel.

When selecting a palette, Paul often starts with determining the color of the largest object in the scene (usually the background) so he can best gauge how it may impact other assets. Paul then adds color and textures to rest of the elements, working from biggest object to smallest. During this phase of a project, Paul can often make between ten to twenty test renders, swapping out textures until he finds the right balance, which allows the scene to dictate the color story without the constraint of a predetermined concept.

Creating a fairytale adventure

Paul has always been interested in fairytales. Over the years, he has considered making a fairytale-themed work, but once we started to conceptualize these custom collections, the idea seemed like a perfect fit. Not only could the assets and corresponding renders capture the design style Paul was known for, but 2020 felt like the ideal time to escape into the imagination.

The goal for the collection was to develop a unified design sensibility while maintaining enough flexibility to make each asset unique. With Sleeping Beauty, Paul researched real-world locations for overall design inspiration, seeking to balance the hard-edged buildings with thorny, curved brambles and overgrowth. For his structures, Paul drew from the square turrets and flat roof panels found in the historic castles of Romania. Then, to maximize the sugary aspects of Hansel & Gretel, he added organic shapes and blended in a candy-coated color palette, bringing the overall collection and corresponding scene together.

Sleeping Beauty by The Rusted Pixel.

Some of the 3D models in this collection, like the Gingerbread House or Castle Keep, were intended to be used as centerpieces, while others, like the Flag Post or Shortbread Bench, were designed as building blocks. Paul’s intention from the start was to build out these collections with the utmost creative flexibility in mind. By using these assets and/or incorporating others, artists can create their own fairytale, whether that be Hansel & Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, or a story of their own making.

Jack’s Patch by The Rusted Pixel.

The moral of the story

For Paul, 2020 has been the most productive year of his life. Although world events have been a struggle, he has worked on more professional and personal projects this year than ever before. He has created two collaborative motion projects, Rainy Days and Jack’s Patch, both of which demonstrate his talent and evolution as a 3D artist and designer. He has also been working on more workshops and tutorials, always with the goal of helping other creatives to reach for the stars. As he heads into 2021, Paul’s hope is to give back to the community, sharing some of what he has learned along the way, and watching to see what unfolds.

Rainy Days by The Rusted Pixel.

To learn more about Paul McMahon and his work, visit his work here and here.