Linda Panda: a making of

Digital artist, William Vaughan, walks us through the creation of his adorable character Linda Panda in MODO...

While the majority of the characters I create come from my imagination, I'm always inspired by the thousands of amazing artists whose work can be seen online. Last year I was introduced to an artist by the name of Linda Hong aka Linda Panda and I wanted to create a character based on her work. Below is a short making of that will walk you through my workflow for creating this piece.

Modeling the head

In most cases I jump right into modeling without creating any backdrop images for reference. I prefer to "find the shape” while I model and have found that I can finish the model by the time I would have generated character turn-a-rounds.

To create the character's head, I used the box modeling method, starting with a primitive Cube in MODO. I subdivided the cube and then used my go-to modeling tools which include: Bevel, Element Move and Spin Edge.

Using the box modeling method, the character's head was quickly created using Bevel, Element Move and Spin Edge

Using the box modeling method, the character's head was quickly created using Bevel, Element Move and Spin Edge

Modeling and posing the character

To complete the character I continued box modeling each part playing with the proportions of each component until I was happy with the overall appearance. I used primitive Spheres for the eyes, beveling in the detail of the iris and pupils. I skipped the rigging stage and simply posed the character using the standard Move and Rotate tools. I choose to make the character pigeon toed which I believe added to the cute, child-like feel of the character.

<h5>The Character was posed using the standard Move and Rotate tools in MODO</h5>

The Character was posed using the standard Move and Rotate tools in MODO

Texturing

I wanted to keep the look of the character clean so each surface received a basic Diffuse Color, Specular Amount, and Roughness. A hand painted image map was used for the character's irises to add tertiary details and bring the character to life.

To add color to the face I created a custom Weight Map and used it to mask a Constant. I use this technique on 90% of my character work as it is an extremely quick way to control details on the surface of a mesh and doesn't require external maps.

A WeightMap was used as a Mask to add additional color to the face

A WeightMap was used as a Mask to add additional color to the face

Lighting

To light the scene, I started with one of the presets included in the Flipped Normals' lighting kit and adjusted each light's placement and attributes until I was happy with the final result. MODO's render engine took care of the rest and I was able to produce an image that required zero post work.

Basic 3-Point Light Setup was used to light the scene

Basic 3-Point Light Setup was used to light the scene

3D printing

I was happy with the final results and decided to create a 3D printed version of the character using a 3D Systems Project 660pro, which supports color. Although I have been using 3D printers for over ten years, it never gets old holding something you created on a computer in your hands! If you haven't tried 3D printing yet, I'd highly recommend it. But be forewarned… It's easy to get addicted.

<h5>3D printed version of the character</h5>

3D printed version of the character

I hope you found this making of informative and I look forward to being inspired by one of your creations in the near future!

The finished render

The finished render

Related links

Have a look at more of William's work on his website
Don't forget to check out Tofu the Vegan Zombie
Click here for more MODO tutorials