Bowl of Lucky Charms cereal sits atop a magazine. It's surrounded by a Bible, box of cereal, coffee, highlighter pens, and a banana


I always enjoyed going down the cereal aisle as a kid. Some of the best cereals like Triples, S'mores Crunch, and Hidden Treasures were among my favorites to look at. Their bright colors and beautiful illustrations captivated my attention. I had no idea how they created and printed the designs but I loved every single one of them.

This project is for Kalos Church's January 2024 sermon series, "Daily Devotions." In the last year I've tried to implement emotional responses in my work. Whether it's a dash of nostalgia or a pinch of familiarity, each project I work on should have a feeling attached to it - positive or negative. With the theme title, I instantly thought of using a morning routine.

Due to time constraints, I only had five days to take the project from concept to final execution, so everything needed to be streamlined. I pulled in a few assets that I previously created and gave them a refresh, but for the most part this project required a set of new items. I tiered each of those assets between necessary and nice-to-have as well as a level of fidelity. Which ones require the most care and what are ways I can quickly create the others?

One of the most important aspects of this project was to create a custom 3d Bible. My personal Bible has beautiful typography with a hierarchy of text for each section of text - the scripture itself, the footnotes, break down sections, and verse references. Since the layout already existed, I decided to create a copy of multiple pages from my Bible. Simply taking photos of it would have been a pain since each page bends into the binding quite dramatically.

Creating each page myself was a large task, but it would provide the ultimate control. Typing and formatting a single page could have easily taken a few hours, but Google Lens came to the rescue in a big way! I took photos from my phone of each section, then ran them through Google Lens to extract the text. There's a handy "send to computer" option that allowed me to seamlessly send the text from my Pixel to my computer's clipboard. This feature alone eliminated at least a day's worth of work.

Google Lens came to the rescue in a big way… There's a handy "send to computer" option that allowed me to seamlessly send the text from my Pixel to my computer's clipboard

After formatting each page, I brought them into Photoshop using linked layers so that if I updated any page in Illustrator, it would automatically update my Photoshop document. The purpose in Photoshop was to blend two pages together to create the bleeding effect that happens on incredibly thin paper. While special Bible highlighters reduce the risk of bleeding, I wanted to go for that authentic look.

With the Photoshop adjustments in place, the pages were brought into Substance Designer to add the paper texture, creases, and mild grunge. I love using Designer to create base materials to paint onto 3d models inside Substance Painter, so adding in some flexibility was key. Each page was put into a switch so that I could easily toggle between each page, or change up the type of material - a Bible isn't a Bible without that gold edging, right?

Flattening the UVs was another important element with the Bible. Instead of pain-stakingly painting the pages around the edges and into the binding of the model, I cut and formed the UVs in a way that forced the texture to do the warp automatically.

Software Used

  • Cinema 4d
  • Substance Designer
  • Substance Painter
  • Rizom UV
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Redshift

If I had more time on the project, one of the things I would have loved to do was deform each of the marbits. Right now they're too perfect and represent an ideal form. It's what you picture when you see it in your mind's eye, but it's far from reality. Actual marbits in Lucky Charms are deformed a bit too much so I would have found a proper balance between the ideal and the real.

Having more assets on hand could have made the project even more fun. I have a collection of fruit from other scenes, but those needed some sprucing up to fit the level of realism I wanted to achieve. There was also a thought to expand outside the kitchen to include more of a morning routine with a hairbrush, makeup, towels etc. It could have given more variety to all the slides (twelve were created in total) by swapping out random elements.

Another thing I would have loved to do is create a full kitchen setup, which would have allowed more versatile camera angles and depth. However, most of the project required a flat, clean setup since text will be displayed over several of the slides. Background elements can be quite distracting so I figured I'd eliminate the idea for the sake of time.