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Making of 'The Special One'

By Malanjo
| Your Rating:
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(Score 4.33 out of 5 after 6 Votes)
| Comments 0
Date Added: 9th December 2009
Software used:
Hi there again! Before I start this making of, I want to thank, once again, Lynette and all the 3DTotal team for the invitation to write this article for the 3DTotal website.

I originally started this image 2 years ago, and it was inspired by a real sculpture by Piccinini ( All of this time, until now, the image has been in standby mode in my personal projects folder. Here you can see the work done two years ago (Fig.01).

Fig. 01

The next step was to re-touch the geometry and try other approaches in the design of the character and the mood. My main inspiration came from Lord of the Rings and fantasy art - I really love fantasy art! So this was the starting point for the main subject of the image, and helped with the mood of the character. Here are some of the experiments done during the process of the image (Fig.02 - 03).

Fig. 02
Fig. 03

As you can see from Fig.03, the character does not have the final armour on his body yet. At this point I thought he needed something more fantastic, something more like a special fighter; the "one fighter" of the army, the old guy with a special gift, with a special face (old and damaged, but at the same time with a smile on his face - a self-confident guy!); the special guy with great armour, but at the same time the protected one, like a 00 agent... After these thoughts, I came up with the final model (Fig.04).

Fig. 04

Here I used a couple of special tricks, like the push modifier on the face to pop the big wrinkles out a little (you can use also the Inflat brush in ZBrush for this!), the Clone plug-in, and the path-deform modifier to create the decoration on his cape and on the armour. I also used "scatter" to create a soft fur on the coat.

This was not a linear project - I experimented a lot, changed a lot of things during the production of this image, did a couple of paint-over studies, and tweaked the base light a couple of times, as well the shaders and textures. It was really fun doing this in a digital project, just like in the past when I used to do the same thing but with real paintings or graphic design projects.

Here's the light rig (Fig.05).

Fig. 05

For the coat's fur and the small decorations on the armour, I used a normal map generated in Photoshop with the NVIDIA plug-in. Here are some of the textures and shaders (Fig.06).

Fig. 06

continued on next page >

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