Meet the artist: SkullArtBasuru

SkullArtBasuru’s work is a true testament to how art knows no boundaries and the fact that you don’t need any artistic education to make brilliant artworks that touch the soul. In this article, we get some rare insights in the mind and process of a brilliant 3D artist.

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@enter.artPUBLISHED 25TH MAY 2022

Great art takes time, and one artist who knows this very well is SkullArtBasuru AKA Basuru. His 3D artworks are some of the most intricate on enter.art, and behind each work there are countless hours and huge amounts of data - carefully compiled into stunning pieces of dynamic art. When visiting his collections on enter.art, A Loveletter To Human Anatomy, The Gift and The Skullart Collection, you’re bound to be mesmerized by the truthful and yet stunningly artistic depiction of the human body and divine sculptures. 

“Even though I work in a purely technical world, one thing I have realized and learned is that there is Art in everything.”

In this article, we get to the core of Basuru’s creations, from what inspires his works, to exactly how they are created. Basuru’s work is a true testament to how art knows no boundaries and the fact that you don’t need any artistic education to make brilliant artworks that touch the soul. All it takes is the will to create and the patience to learn how to work your tools. If you’ve ever wanted to dabble in 3D art, grab a pen and paper and get ready to take notes, as we’re about to take a deep dive into the intricate process of Basuru’s creations. 

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Fulfillment - A Love Letter To Human Anatomy, currently available on first-hand sale. Visit the link to see the full animation.


Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I'm Basuru, a software engineer by day and a self-taught 3D artist by night. I’m based in Sri Lanka, a small island filled with rich culture and heavenly sights.

I haven't specifically studied art or any theories related to it, but I love to see everything from an artistic perspective, which I believe has helped me so far. Even though I work in a purely technical world, one thing I have realized and learned is that there is Art in everything. From creating a piece of software by adding lines of code to digitally sculpting or painting a 3D object pixel by pixel. Art is in everything. And I have made it my life's mission to seek it out.

Most of my work is based on subjects of the divine and occult, but it's not limited to that. I like to explore and design anything that has a significant value or a story to tell.

How did you get into art?

Ever since I was a kid I was interested in "all things computers”. But my interest in art peaked when I saw the magic of computer games. The environments and the characters generated genuine interest in me to create computer generated art on my own. But In order to do so, I needed to learn more about art, so I started learning how to draw. Which I failed hysterically. But that didn't stop me from learning more about 3D art and creating small artworks. As time went by, the requirements of my personal life changed a bit and I changed my focus to programming and working full time towards that end.

But ever since the pandemic, the free time I had expanded ten-fold. And the first thought that crossed my mind was to resume my long-term passion. So I created an Instagram page and posted some of the earlier works I found in my library, and got positive feedback from my friends and the community.

After posting the first set of works, I was stricken with finding an identity for myself. Since there are oceans full of artists, I wanted to create something unique to stand out. At the same time, I was looking into digital sculpting. So after realizing "What better way to start learning sculpting, than to start from the very basics", I chose a human skull to sculpt. The end result was better than I expected. While learning the startling features of human anatomy, I fell in love with it. That was the tipping point for me to choose anatomy for most of my work.

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Being Alive - A Love Letter To Human Anatomy, currently available on first-hand sale. Visit the link to see the full animation.


Can you tell us a bit about your approach to creation?

Almost all my creations are purely in 3D space. Even though the output sometimes seems like a simple 10-20 second animation or a static image, they are a result of a complex and lengthy workflow.

Creating NFTs is not purely about monetization when it comes to my work. But with that said, rushing to create an NFT and being hasty with areas that may or may not be visible to the viewer is not acceptable. Every piece of work is carefully crafted, colored to pixel-level accuracy, and rigged professionally. So it's deeply personal and meaningful other than its value.

The process starts with a concept. Most concepts are derived from day-to-day life experiences of us human beings. Once the concept is done, there is a bit of a review process to evaluate the expandability of the work as a series. Then the concept is put through the implementation phase, which starts off by getting the basic assets ready.

If the assets are not ready or not prepared then, those will be created (sculpted) first. 

The go-to software to achieve all of this is Blender. It is a free, fully open-source yet very advanced and industry-standard software powerhouse. From traditional 3D modeling to sculpting, texturing, rigging, animation and rendering life-like designs.

When sculpting, one of the main focus areas is the real-life accuracy and the details of the models. This is achieved by precise sculpting techniques with various brushes. 

And then, the detailed elements are added later with Alpha maps. Sometimes these models start from a few thousand polygons and expand into more than fifty million polygons.

Once the sculpting is done, these models go through a process called "retopologizing''. Oftentimes the output of the original sculpt is exponentially more demanding for any system to handle. If put in layman's terms, The Human Anatomy model contains more than 200 million polygons, that is about 10 - 15 gigabytes of data. That amount of data alone cannot be handled by consumer PCs. So these models should be optimized into something that a small-scale PC could handle, because more polygons mean more time spent calculating them during rendering. That's where the retopologizing process comes in. It's where all those 150 million polygons are re-evaluated into something small for about 1000 - 10000 polygons. This process can be either manual or automatic. One con about this process is that once it is done, all the high-quality details you added disappear. But those can be brought back in various forms.

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The Gift Of Love - The gift, currently available on first-hand sale. Visit the link to see the full animation.


Once the above process is completed, the model is now ready for UV unwrapping, texturing and rigging. The next step is to UV unwrap the model. That’s where we put seams around the edges of the model and try to represent the 3D object in a 2D plane so that it can be used as a map to paint on. This process can also be automatic but doing this manually can yield better results.

The next part is to texture the model. This is where truly experimental and artistic thoughts are put in play, as colors can give various meanings. When choosing a color palette, there are several things to consider, one of which is the level of attraction a viewer may present towards the art. The other thing is how much of an area the color will fill in the entire piece. The go-to color palette for me is dark colors with a hint of gold. Gold can be considered as a color that fills space, because of the reflectivity of the material, it can create a sense of glow and light. Another important step is to make the texture look decayed, jagged, bruised and scratched, to simulate real life-like features.  

Once texturing is finished, the next step is to rig the model. Rigging should be used only when it's absolutely necessary. Even though it sounds exciting and easy, it's not.

It's where some sort of controls are added to the model so that it can be moved along the XYZ axials. This is a complex process of continuously experimenting and tweaking elements and sections so that a control point won't move an unnecessary part in the model.

After all of the above steps, the model is now ready for presentation. This is where the concept created earlier comes to use. This phase carries an avalanche of tweaks and guesswork. Usually, the decision to go for a video or a single image is taken at this step.

On occasions, the total number or items in a scene becomes too much to handle and it increases the time to render. If this happens it's a wise option to go for an image render. But if the end result does not correspond with the concept and the story that it tries to portray, then a video animation is worth the huge render time.

Once the final render is completed, the image or video needs to be post-processed with some color grading. The easiest and quickest way to experiment with this is to use a color look up table (LUT for short). These are pre-made color profiles that can bring an unseen side of the artwork to life and sometimes can yield jaw-droppingly beautiful results by mixing one or more LUTs with different shades or opacity levels.

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Growth - The Skull Art Collection, only available per offer on the second-hand market.


You focus a lot on anatomy in your pieces, both in your Skulls and your newest collection - can you tell us a bit about that?

I have an eternal love for skulls and bones, the primary reason being that those are the things that keep us straight (literally speaking) and each bone in any creature is unique with its own functionality and feature set. Those are the things that attracted me initially. But the more I started sculpting them and playing with them, the more I realized that it can be a powerful tool to showcase an idea. 

How did you get into NFTs, and what inspired you to be a part of the space?

Initially I was skeptical about publishing my work online, since I at that time heavily believed that only famous artists get attention. But ever since NFTs were introduced to the world, I felt like it gave every artist a unique opportunity to showcase their work to the world and be a part of a movement.

Since NFTs are a part of blockchain technology, it has the ability to explosively expose artworks to a large population, and the communities are actively looking for fresh and interesting pieces to buy and share. It not only gives the artist an incentive, but also motivation to keep going. Especially if you are living in a country where selling art cannot financially support you as a living or has a population with minimal interest in art.

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Gift of Wisdom - The Gift, currently available on the second-hand market. Visit the link to see the full animation.


What are your plans for the coming times as a creator?

Currently, the most attention is given to "A Love Letter to Human Anatomy" and "The Gift" series. I like to think of myself as a traditionally slow artist. So I might not jump straight into the newest trends. As creativity takes time, I like to take it slow and explore an idea before moving to another.

In the future, I'm planning to create several works related to history, politics, and of course, occult-based. 

And of course, a lot of free stuff will drop too.


Get sneak peaks of the creative process and teasers of exciting new works on Basuru's social media, and make sure to stop by his profile on enter.art to enjoy his brilliant works as full animations:

https://www.enter.art/artist/skullartbasuru

https://www.instagram.com/skullartbasuru/

https://twitter.com/basurukusal

https://www.behance.net/skullartbasuru

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