Nicole Kleinman
Environment Artist

Film Demo Reel

Italian Villa Environment

Winter & Summer Semester of 2023

Modeled in Maya and Houdini. Textured in Substance Painter and Substance Designer. Rendered in Renderman. Composited in Nuke.

Wire Frame 

Base Color

Modeled After
"Campobasso Evening"
By: Evgeny Lushpin

I was asked to find a reference image of an environment and recreate it in 3D. This included modeling, texturing, layout, lighting, and rendering. Throughout this process, I gained a better understanding of the subtleties of shading and the importance of proceduralism. For example, I created a procedural texture for the plaster, cobblestone, and roof tiles for efficiency and consistency. To take these elements further, I added several layers in Substance Painter that would add wear and manually added different modeled stones and tiles to break up patterns. 

Student Car

Summer & Fall Semester of 2023

Modeled in Maya & Zbrush. Textured in Substance Painter. Rendered in Renderman.

Wire Frame 

Base Color

For BYU’s short film Student Accomplice, I was tasked with modeling and shading the main car that our characters would be driving. Since I had a hero prop, I was trusted to meet deadlines, work closely with different departments, and find creative solutions to problems. 

The car would be seen from every angle, including the interior, so I had to make sure that all the details fit together. When modeling, I broke things down as if it were a puzzle, making sure every component had a purpose and place to fit. To convey the right amount of detail in the shading, I spent quality time strolling through parking lots and taking reference pictures to recreate from. This car took months of iteration, weekly feedback from the art director, communication between rigging, previs, and lighting, as well as personal discipline.

City Environment

Summer & Fall Semester of 2023

Modeled in Maya. Textured in Substance Painter & Substance Designer. Rendered in Renderman.

Wire Frame 

Base Color

I’m on the environment team for BYU’s short film Student Accomplice. I was tasked with layout for our A and B sequences. I modeled a dozen buildings for this street corner and textured half of them. We had the challenge of making things look appealing from far away and close up.

To shade the city efficiently, I created a brick tool using Substance Designer. I learned how to create and expose parameters to aid our team in making artistic decisions with variants. This includes changing the color, size, shape, scale, and grunge of different bricks.


Fall Semester of 2022

Modeled in Maya. Shaded in Substance Painter. Rendered in Renderman. Composited in Nuke.

Wire Frame 

Base Color

This assignment was to create and composite a CG object into a photograph. I decided to do an antique grinder in honor of my Nana who makes delicious cranberry relish with it every Thanksgiving. I had to set up my composition in real life and create my own HDRI using a 360 camera. To make my scene feel realistic, I had to match the lighting and camera to my original photo. My observation skills were heightened as I was constantly referencing my object and original photo for a seamless composite.

Mushroom House

Winter Semester of 2023

Modeled in Maya. Sculpted in Zbrush.

Sculpted After
Unknown Artist

Previously, my experience was primarily box modeling in Maya. I wanted to learn how to create more organic models, and sculpting in Zbrush was the best tool to achieve that. I was able to understand different tools to add organic layers, how to re-topologize, and ultimately how to produce quality models customized to the demands of an art director. 


Fall Semester of 2021

Modeled in Maya. Textured in Substance Painter. Sculpted in Zbrush. Rendered in Arnold

I was tasked to create an interesting 3D composition. I chose to have a hero object, a typewriter. I spent most of my time modeling the intricate details of the antique typewriter, using my own personal typewriter as a reference. If I were to go back in time, I would have spent more time on elements in the textures, so my scene really told a solid story.

Update: I am currently re-doing this scene. I’m strengthening the composition by adding additional components and using Zbrush to add more detail and story to my models. The next step will be to add layers in the texture to lend to the mood.