Iranian Artist Makes Childhood Cartoons 3D and It’s HypnotizingBy Taylor M
Hossein Diba is an Iranian artist currently based in Istanbul, Turkey. He’s been getting attention for his characters in video games, movies, and 3D printing. That’s because his work is incredibly detailed, right down to the realistic hairs he creates on a computer. We noticed that Hossein has been recreating our favorite cartoons in a whole new way, too. How does he do it? The process is complex, and involves modeling and sculpting by hand, and then texturing and shading on a screen for the final look. He uses programs like 3ds Max, ZBrush, and Photoshop. According to Hossein: “I particularly enjoy creating likeness portraits with facial expressions, and it is in these pieces I do my best at the time to achieve a realistic result with emotion.” See his best take on classic toons, next!
Mario — Super Mario
We first got to know Mario as a simple character on our screens. He jumped around and captured coins and mushrooms, and always tried to save the princess. He didn’t always succeed, but that was probably our fault. We had the controller, after all.
Here, Hossein managed to bring Mario to life in 3D. But his version is ultrarealistic, showing the decades that have passed. The wrinkles on his face and grey stubble show the character’s true age. After all these years, it’s a-him, Mario!
Grandpa Simpson — The Simpsons
After three decades, The Simpsons is still going strong. Grandpa Simpson can claim part of that success. He ranted and raved. He explained things in his own way that made sense in his own mind. We didn’t always get it. But we still loved him!
Here, Abe has elderly skin in incredible detail. Hossein was able to sculpt those folds by hand, and then he made it into a digital image. His glasses even show magnification. It’s a masterpiece! Gramps would be proud, and then he would forget.
Woody — Toy Story
In Toy Story, Woody was a classic figurine. He was surprised to meet space hero Buzz Lightyear in the toy box. They had very different styles, and at times, tension. Spoiler alert: Eventually, they became friends. We were happy to see it!
Here, the new Woody is a handsome man. Hossein made this cowboy rugged as you would expect in the old West. He is wearing all the right clothes: A cowhide vest, a yellow shirt, a red hankie, and a ten-gallon hat. Yee-haw!
Pickle Rick — Rick And Morty
On Rick And Morty, Rick is a brilliant scientist. People are the puzzle to him, but he doesn’t respect therapy. Once, he got out of family therapy by turning himself into a pickle. His wife was unhappy, but we had a laugh.
The digital pickle here is actually pretty terrifying. On the show, it was a cute animation in 2D. But with all this texture and that manic expression, we might just stay away today. We’re definitely not going to take a bite.
Homer — The Simpsons
Homer Simpson was the patriarch of our favorite yellow family. He worked at a nuclear facility, which might lead you to believe he was smart. But as it turned out, most of his work was pushing buttons and eating donuts. D’oh!
At first glance, the fleshy, realistic Homer looks different than what we might expect. But maybe we are too used to him as a simple, yellow man. Hossein saw what we couldn’t see. He’s a world-renowned character artist, after all.
Popeye the Sailor Man — Popeye
Popeye is a classic cartoon that first appeared in 1929. The strongman stayed around for almost a century. Why was he so strong? Every week, he sang us the answer: “I’m Popeye the sailor man. I’m strong to the finich cause I eats me spinach. I’m Popeye the sailor man.”
Hossein’s version of Popeye is instantly recognizable. Even though the cartoon is vintage now, most of us will understand this face right away. More than anything, the extreme cleft chin is the giveaway. The pipe and the hat confirm it!
Sideshow Bob — The Simpsons
Of all the characters on The Simpsons, Side Show Bob was the most murderous. He always had a nefarious plot on his mind. But for whatever reason, folks allowed him around. Voiced by Kelsey Grammer, Bob was terrifying and unforgettable.
And that’s how we feel today. Bob’s face is spot-on, but that’s not the most impressive part of the art. Hossein managed to create red, textured hair. The entire image is haunting as a whole. We hate it, and yet we love it.
Mr. Potato — Toy Story
Mr. Potato Head was featured in all four movies of the Toy Story franchise. Voiced by comedian Don Rickles, he was an amusing 3D version of the classic toy. Here, Hossein created a more human version. This time, his features aren’t detachable.
This version of Mr. Potato Head is a real man, not a toy. The shape of his ears and mustache are just like the figurine. The hat is accurate, too. If this toy ever comes to life, we will expect this look.
Ralph — The Simpsons
For decades, Ralph Wiggum was a staple on The Simpsons. The son of Police Chief Wiggum, he is a classmate of Lisa. We actually enjoyed his strange behavior. Something was wrong with him, but we never knew quite what, somehow.
Here, Ralph is considerably less yellow. 3D Ralph is a normal-looking boy doing a normal activity: Picking his nose. We all did it at one point in life. In fact, some of us still do. It’s not a crime — yet.
Joe Gardner — Soul
Middle school music teacher Joe Gardner is one of the main characters in Soul. Joe plays piano with the Dorothea Williams Quartet, but disaster strikes on the way to a gig. He falls into a manhole on his way to the show. Then, he falls into a coma!
His soul leaves his body and he goes on a new adventure. Along the way, he looks a lot like this. Hossein’s human version looks like a friendly fellow. We would jazz lessons from him. Doo wop, dooby doo. Boo bop!
Rick — Rick And Morty
On Rick and Morty, Rick is a real smartypants. His IQ is over 300, even 500. On the show, he is supposed to be the smartest man on earth. Yet somehow, he can’t figure out other people. That remains a struggle, and it’s funny to watch.
Here, the humanized version peers back at us. All the simple lines have been transformed into vivid wrinkles and hairs — blue hair, to be exact. It’s spiky, just like the original. He’s even got a slight unibrow. It’s the Rick we know and love, even if he doesn’t love us back.
Peter Griffin — Family Guy
On Family Guy, Peter Griffin is the head of his household. Physically, he is a large man with short brown hair and a cleft in his chin. His typical uniform is a white dress shirt with green pants. He never forgets his glasses.
Peter here looks just the part. On a personal level, he is pretty lazy and rude. Sometimes, he can be arrogant, short-tempered, and stubborn. Combined with the fact he is dimwitted, it’s a toxic combo. But we don’t have to live with him. Lois does!
Jessica Rabbit — Who Framed Roger Rabbit
In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Jessica Rabbit is the curviest gal in Toon Town. Sure, she’s a fictional character. But fans wish she were real. Long before Kim Kardashian took the world by storm, Roger Rabbit’s cartoon wife was an icon.
Jessica here has all the right lines and proportions. We love her flowing red hair and enchanting green eyes. Her pink sequined dress fits just right. Her makeup is just like the movie, too. In summary, Jess is a goddess.
Buzz Lightyear — Toy Story
In Toy Story, Buzz Lightyear was one of two main characters. Unlike Woody, he was ultra-modern as a spaceman action figure. He had wings and a helmet, plus a special laser. Throughout the movie, he had a catchphrase: “To infinity and beyond!”
Here, Hossein focused a lot on the high tech of the space gear. Buzz has a suit like a transformer, and it looks worn. That’s because he is a toy with real-life wear and tear. Action figures look that way after a while if they’re worth their weight in plastic.
Ned Flanders — The Simpsons
Ned Flanders is the Simpson family’s religious neighbor. He is a well-meaning and totally good-natured person. Physically, he has an impressive six-pack. But as a conservative man, he rarely shows it. What we typically see is his signature mustache and glasses.
Here, we see Ned as Homer may have seen him in the year. The cartoon version had simple lines, but more has been developed by our artist. Instead of the beady pupils from the show, Flanders now has turquoise baby blues. Aren’t they lovely?
Elastigirl — The Incredibles
In The Incredibles, Helen Parr is known as Elastigirl. The name is no accident: She is an elastic and stretchy superhero who can stretch her body to unbelievable lengths. In the movie, she is married to Mr. Incredible and the mother of three children: Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack.
Now in a more detailed portrait, we see Elastigirl as she might appear in real life. She has a thin nose and a sweet smile. Her brown eyes are a warm color, just like her hair. Red is a good color on her, as it turns out.
Genie — Aladdin
We loved Jasmine and Jafar. But most agree the genie was the standout character in Aladdin. Voiced by the late Robin Williams, he made us laugh and he made us cry. Ten thousand years gave him a real crick in the neck, but we still never had a friend like him.
We’re delighted with this version. The genie is incredibly lifelike. Thanks to Hossein’s expertise, his exaggerated jaw has become more realistic. His beard is twisted just so. We are glad his skin is still vivid blue. That’s his best feature!
Milhouse — The Simpsons
On The Simpsons, Milhouse is Bart’s best friend. He is hard to miss in the crowd of yellow kids. He’s a nearsighted nerd with glasses and blue hair. As a result, he has pretty thick spectacles. Here, Hossein recreated these distinctive features.
As he gazes at us, we gaze back. Do you have a crush on him yet? Lisa never really returned his affection. But as he once explained: “Milhouse: If it’s the blue hair and the schnoz you’re digging, I’ve got plenty more cousins.”
Luigi — Super Mario
Now, it’s time for the other half of the famous video game duo. Luigi is Mario’s fraternal twin brother, and he wears a green uniform. He is tall and thin. He has a pretty cool mustache, too. Fans are divided on their favorite brother. But do we really have to choose?
Good news, friends. You do not have to choose! Here, you can admire Luigi as much as you already enjoyed his brother. He’s got piercing blue eyes and a mustache to envy. It’s twisted upwards, just like the game. We love the look!
Bluto — Popeye
Every character needs a rival, and Popeye is no exception. The sailor was harassed by Bluto throughout the show. He had an intimidating, deep voice and he liked to trick the other characters. In a way, he was a bully. And he hated spinach!
Hossein has created a 3D version that is incredibly unlikable. But in a way, that’s the point. Bluto has large forearms and a tiny head. His one gold tooth glints at us aggressively. Generally, we don’t judge a book by its cover. Today is an exception!
Charlie Brown — Snoopy
Charlie Brown is the main character of Peanuts, the most famous newspaper comic since Garfield. We learned life lessons from this lovable but sad character. Success often eluded him, and Lucy bullied him. Our hearts went out to him, but what could we do?
Very little, that’s what. But now, we can develop more empathy for the character. He looks like a real boy in this portrait, thanks to Hossein. We see his single curl and he is wearing that familiar yellow shirt. Charlie, we are rooting for you!
Krusty The Clown — The Simpsons
His real name was Herschel Shmoikel Pinchas Yerucham Krustofsky. We knew him as Krusty The Clown on The Simpsons. With such a long name, we understand why he adopted a stage name. As Krusty, he starred on Bart, Lisa, and Maggie’s favorite TV show.
It’s hard to imagine the colorful man in real life. But Hossein has kept all the pigment and added some dimension to help us out. We see his blue hair standing up on both sides, a red nose, and a blue bowtie. Here, he had green eyes. Looks like Krusty, all right.
Peter Parker — Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
Peter Parker was an unlikely hero. As the back story goes, he was bitten by a radioactive spider. Back then, he was just a regular teen. But when he gained superhuman strength and the ability to cling to walls, he became Spider-Man.
This is the superhero who once told us that great power means great responsibility. It looks like Hossein took that seriously when he made 3D Pete. Here, Spiderman looks handsome, not dorky. We bet he’d be proud, if he were real at all.
Marge — The Simpsons
Marge is the wife of Homer Simpson, and she deserves some credit. It’s not easy to be married to such a silly man, but she manages to do it. Known for her signature blue hair, she’s instantly recognizable among the women of Springfield. Here she is, alive in 3D.
It’s a close-up today, and we can’t see the full height of her hair. That’s a big part of her look. But today, Hossein is showing us an underappreciated aspect of Mrs. Simpson. Namely, she has the most lovely eyes. Why didn’t we notice before?
Carl — Up
In Up, Carl Fredricksen was an old and cranky balloon salesman. At the start of the film, he is retired and widowed. The character is voiced by actor Ed Asner. In 3D, they actually look a bit alike. Don’t they?
The artist did an excellent job capturing the emotion of the character on a human face. He looks grouchy, just as he should. His hair, eyebrows, and glasses look just like the film. And we love the detail of the tweed. Nice blazer, Hossein!
Apu — The Simpsons
Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is a key character in the Simpsons universe. The Indian immigrant runs the Kwik-E-Mart in town, and his service makes it a popular destination. He is known for his catchphrase: “Thank you, come again”. Don’t mind if we do, Apu!
In the series, Apu had a small jaw and a big smile. He had a little mustache, too. We see the combination here in 3D. It all offers a new perspective on the character. We can now picture him in our neighborhood, too.
Stinky Pete — Toy Story
Stinky Pete was a character you may recall from Toy Story 2. He is a vintage toy, with an old-fashioned pull-string. He looks like a prospector and he came with his very own pickaxe and gold pan. Pete is proud he is still in his box, mint condition.
Spoiler alert: Later in the movie, he ends up betraying the other toys. We won’t say why or how. But he had his justifications, and he made his decisions. Here, we see the face of that man if he were real. Look into his eyes. Do you trust Pete?
Mr. Burns — The Simpsons
There’s no doubt about it: Mr. Burns is the most evil and devious character on The Simpsons. He openly greedy. He owns the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant and lets out toxic waste. At all times, Smithers is by his side.
Smithers, for whatever reason, is desperately in love with his boss. Viewers have never understood that crush. We say this is a face from our nightmare. Mr. Burns is terrifying in 3D. We’ve had enough, and we’re going to keep scrolling.
Bart — The Simpsons
At the tender age of ten, Bart is a total trickster. He constantly gets in trouble at school and finds himself in detention. No matter how many times he is forced to write on the chalkboard, he never learns. As he says: Ay, caramba!
Bart is now in 3D, thanks to Hossein. Here, he created the boy with human hair. That was a challenge, in a way. Bart’s hair always looked animated as an extension of his head. Here, we see how it might actually look. Ay, caramba!
Olive Oyl — Popeye
Olive Oyl was the longtime love of Popeye. She was tall and gangly, and she actually had pretty big feet. The animators never tried to make her glamorous. But the love between Popeye and Olive was so much more than that.
In the cartoon, this character wore her hair tied back. This modern version honors her hairstyle of choice. Her outfit is straight out of the cartoon, too. Finally, she’s got that sweet little smile. Popeye’s girl has come to life. Isn’t she endearing?