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Making of 'Prince NyTael'

By Malanjo
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Date Added: 9th December 2009
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Hi there, my name is Malanjo and I'm from Portugal (Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro), and I want to thanks to Lynette Clee and the 3DTotal team for inviting me to create this making of.

This is the 1st of 6 characters that I'm creating to apply to Blur Studio (Venice, California).  By the way, I wish to also give thanks to Laurent Pierlot and to Alessandro Baldessorini (from Blur Studio) for their personal opinions during the execution of this project.  Thanks guys!

Okay, let's go!

Concept and Idea

So, the goal was to create something like a fantasy monster or an alien - not an "ordinary" alien or monster but one with fur; something visually strong and demanding of respect, whilst at the same time giving the sensation of relaxation and security.  Technically speaking, the goal was to achieve a character for film (high poly), with everything organised (modelling, UVs, texturing, low system and machine-consuming, etc...), but I also wanted to put him in a pose so as to achieve something dynamic.

After a search on the Internet I found some references, such as from the game "Asura", and I used these sketches and paintings to help create the final mood:

(Note: Sorry but I don't know the names of the authors of this paintings; if someone recognises them, please e-mail me!)

With this project, it was necessary for me to make my own sketches, as follows:



Before modelling, I always do some research for music (related to the subject matter) in order to get into the mood of the project.  It's also a great way to keep my mind open to another great art form: music!  So, for "food" for the right side of the brain I chose mainly the OST of "The 300", the OST of "The Passion of Christ" and a little bit of Sigur Rós just to chill out at times of stress.

So, I started with the modelling of the head, working around on the overall form and then looking at the small details (a principle of drawing!).  If I have a cool head, the rest of the body comes out easily with time and work.
As you can see here, I did a base mesh (poly by poly modelling, trying to work always with dynamic shapes and curves to achieve good harmony in the character), and then I modelled the rest of the shapes in ZBrush.

After the modelling of the head - not the final one but the one on which I could start work (I'm always moving on the form of the character, like in life drawing, trying to achieve the best shapes and relate them all!), I started blocking the body of the character, defining proportions and the pose (as you can see here, I used a biped pose before like in real sculpting; I always try to take an approach with real world methods which I think is because of my Fine Art education which was the main jump for me to start in the CG world!).

And here's the final base mesh of the model.  This is almost the final base mesh because, as I said earlier, at this stage I never close any part of the model; I'm always playing around when I can.  For example, as you can see from the feet, they are not the final feet of the final image, just like the left arm - no glove there!
Keeping the modelling as simple as possible is a good way to keep good health with the rest of the project (file usage, UVW layouts, texturing, render, rigging, animation, etc.).  Like a good friend of mine says, "We are working with pixels!"  It is not necessary to have everything modelled; a good normal map or displacement map, in most cases, is our best friend!  For sure, it depends of the main subject of the project you are doing, but having everything organised and playing around with the K.I.S.S. rule (Keep It Sweet and Simple) is a good method!


continued on next page >

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