The cursed pirate was a project that required a lot of back and forth in ideas and modeling. It started of with a doodle / Thumbnail sketch ( lots of em ) on paper to the final render in Maya.
Sometimes i got lost in the look of the character but my friends and teachers were very helpful in giving me feedback, that really kept me focused and on track as to how the final look would be. A lot of time and effort was spent mainly in the idea and concept creation.
The cursed Pirate is a part of a scene ( Death of a Spell ) where two characters are present, but for the purpose of this “ Making of ” I’ll be focusing mainly on the Sea Creature.
First i started to do a lot of scribbles, thumbnailing really helped me in seeing shapes and forms on paper. I sometimes grabbed ideas from even wood patterns and patterns on natural rocks (basically let my mind wander), it was abstract to begin with but as i started penning it down it all came through.
I had my first eureka moment and immediately got on to the modeling stage. This was my first sketch that came through it all. Scanned it and started doing some tweaks in photoshop.
I now had a rough idea in my mind but nothing was concrete,nevertheless i jumped on to doing some rough base mesh in Maya, just to get a feel of how it would look in 3d.
As i kept thumbnailing more, i just realised that it wasn’t exactly what i was going for as it struck me that it looked more cartoony rather than something that would be more believable. So grew another sketch.
And then finally i stuck on to this:
Once the idea and the concept settled down i broke down my character into little fragments of ideas. These let me stay focused on how he should look like in 3d and what the mood of the environment would be . As mentioned below —
Creation of this breakdown led to the creation and making of the Scroll (how ideas and images gel together)
Scroll mainly consisting of making the mental image more visual and more grounded. The Ground work was more or less done and i had a better picture of where i wanted to take my creation and hence came the creation of the Zbrush sculpts:
In Zbrush : The brushes that i used most often in sculpting were the Standard, Inflate ( for fat ) and the Magnify, Move to position fat and drag it around and pinch to give definition to the crustacean parts and give more edge definition. The Barnacles were created by using a circular alpha and using Drag Rect to draw them onto his body.
Polypainting was done to create a base texture for the creature and later on repainted in Photoshop to add more details (will be explained in the later parts). Colours used were mainly Greens ( for a moss like effect and Reds to pop certain fleshy areas out ).
Hints of Purple were added to give a feeling of decayed skin in water. Color spray was used while polypainting to get a good amount of color variation on his body.
Sculpting the mesh in Zbrush caused the mesh to loose its edge flow so went through a process of Retopology.
1. First i exported the lowest level mesh as an .obj
2. Brought it into Maya, then made new fresh edge loops that had a proper flow (also did my best to keep it quads) unwrapped the mesh and then reimported the newly created mesh in Zbrush as a subtool of the higher Sculpted mesh.
3. Subdivided the New Mesh with the same amount of subdivisions as the Sculpted mesh.
4. Now using the Project All Function Reprojected the New Subdivided Mesh on to the Previously Sculpted Mesh.
5. Note: Although this process works, there are times when you could get artifacts on ur new mesh. Solution to this is to store a Morph target first & then use the morph brush to slowly correct the mesh distortions .
Now that i have the new mesh with its Uv’s i extracted the Textures and Normal Maps from Zbrush. The Normal Maps ( Tangent Space ) and Cavity Maps were created within Zbrush using the Zmapper plugin present in Zbrush 3.1
The textures from zbrush had to be worked on in photoshop to add more definition and details to certain areas. I used a mixture of Photo References and sometimes just did hand painted textures.
: Created using images from the web and some parts hand painted. The cavity map was overlayed on this to pop the texture more.
Spec Map : This was the key texture for this model as he was supposed to look slimy and wet. Also had to have a bit of water rolling down on him so as to push the feeling of wetness. Tip you could add a bit of blues to your spec map to give more realism.
The shader used was a basic blinn which was attached to a ramp which gave a bit of redness in areas of darkness ( fake subsurface ). I would have used subsurface material but using blinn gave me a bit more freedom to make changes faster & also wanted to have the renders done quickly so kept it simple.
For the Base a similar approach was used focusing mainly on the spec to get a good moss like texture .
A Beauty (basic render) Occlusion & Zdepth pass were rendered in various passes and then comped together in Photoshop Occlusion was Multiplied with the Beauty pass and The Zdepth was used in Lens blur.
Software used:Maya 2008, ZBrush, Photoshop.
I hope this Tutorial / Making of was helpful to you, and could be of use in your own creations. You can check out my Site at www.rohanoka.com for more images and past/recent work .
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