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Making Of 'Captain Bonecrusher'

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
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Hello, my name is Luis Arizaga. First of all, I would like to thank Lynette and the 3DTotal team for inviting me to create the making of 'Captain Bonecrusher' for the 3DTotal website.

Introduction - The Original Idea & Character Concept

I usually start with lots of research that I have been collecting over time. My idea for this piece was to create a future mercenary belonging to a group of warriors where people have assimilated cyborg technology. His body and clothing had to reflect all of these elements.

I firstly developed the character by drawing the concept, since both proportions and a character's silhouette are key factors in character creation (Fig.01 - concept).

Fig. 01


I used the traditional method of polygon modelling with simple geometric forms, using move, vertex, cut edges, and so on, creating a basic model which I felt defined the right body proportions. I then improved each part with more detail in certain areas. I usually start with the head first and then work on the body - this way I achieve a better idea of my creation. I also had to constantly keep in mind the kind of character I was trying to create, and the polygon topology I created was important since it was very useful for achieving a pose even when not animated (Fig.02 - head render test; Fig.03 - arm and body render test).

Fig. 02

Fig. 03

I spent quite a lot of time with the mechanical arm since it's a very important part of the body. The arm was inspired in Katsuhiro Otomo's design for Tetsuo in Akira (Fig.04 - Tetsuo's arm reference © Katsuhiro Otomo; Fig.05 - arm render test).

Fig. 04
Fig. 05

I created the pose using Daniel Maritinez's fast "rig" system (, which you can use to turn a biped into bones. From here I modelled the clothing and weapons in accordance with the pose, moving into ZBrush to correct some parts of the body's anatomy - very quickly - for the final pose (Fig.06). ZBrush is a very good tool for any modelling work.

Fig. 06

I then did a quick simulation of cloth falling with the character's trousers, leaving a fixed row of vertexes which were subjected by the belt. After doing this, I modelled the belt over the top. I did the same thing for the flag, but added a wind element which worked over the simulation, and I then turned the planes of simulation, which I was interested in, into geometry by stopping and collapsing them in the modifier stack (Fig.07 - basic model without materials).

Fig. 07

I used the basic Max tools to unfold the UVs. Good UV-mapping was important because it allowed me to work with programmes in which I could paint the textures directly over the 3D model, as well as giving me the opportunity to use image editors without causing too much trouble.


For the texturing stage of creation, I took some pictures as references and painted the textures manually using Photoshop's default brushes, or new brushes of my own creation (Fig.08). In this way, I gave my work a personal style. For the ripped parts of the cloth, I painted maps in greyscale for the material's opacity map (a strong black gives more definition and is what you see in the render) (Fig.09 - cloth map).

Fig. 08

continued on next page >

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