Making Of 'Caribbean Mermaid'
Hello everyone! I'd like to share with you the workflow I used to make this mermaid, from the modeling to the texturing and then the final rendering. The idea of doing this mermaid came when a friend showed me the book Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You and I was fascinated by the colors and shapes. The interesting thing about all this was that when I started modeling I posted some updates on my blog, and soon after that Tony DiTerlizzi (the author of the original image), contacted me asking if he could post them on his blog (http://diterlizzi.com/home/a-masterful-friday-fan-art). I was very glad he enjoyed my work as I'm a big fan of his! Okay, on we go with the Making Of.
Because of its elaborate silhouette, I decided to do poly by poly modeling, most of the time in side view and adjusting it in the other views. At the beginning I wanted to follow the true proportions of the mermaid and then give her my personal touch (Fig.01).
When I looked at the drawing, I came up with a question: how would I do her hair? The way I found easiet was to use NURBS. I drew with Curves in side view and used the option to extrude the menu surface. The cool thing about this is that it allowed me to set the thickness of each end, so I left the base thicker and the top thinner (Fig.02).
After finishing my base mesh I went on to the next step. I decided to map it before taking the model into ZBrush, because then I would be able to use some textures to assist me with the modeling (Fig.03).
With my base mesh ready I imported all the parts of it into ZBrush as subtools. To facilitate this process of sending the mesh to ZBrush, I sometimes use the GoZbrush option (Fig.04).
I started the modeling process by defining the best ways to add details to the body. The brushes that I use most often are Move, Standard, Clay Tubes, Inflate, Flatten, Slash and Pinch (Fig.05).
For some parts like the hair I created some alphas in Photoshop based on my mapping. I imported them in ZBrush alpha and used them as a mask. Then I went to Deformation and used the Inflate tool to sculpt the mesh based on the mask (Fig.06).
After a lot of work, I finished the modeling part in ZBrush (Fig.07 - 08).
Textures and Shaders
To make the texture I used the Polypaint option in ZBrush. To get an accurate color reference I put the image of the concept in the spotlight and painted on the base model only. Then I picked colors and painted according to the reference (Fig.09).
Once I'd finished with Polypaint I started to export the textures: Diffuse, Normal map and Displacement. I used these to create my other maps in Photoshop (Fig.10).
After finishing my textures, I returned to Maya to configure and set up my shaders. For most parts of the model I used the Maya's misss fast skin shader in mental ray. For the eye and collar I used a default Maya phong material (Fig.11).
Render and Composition
To illuminate my scene, I used an image in the hdr option Image Basing Lighting in mental ray, and added a blue color to contrast with the orange light of the collar.
For lighting of the collar I used a point light with Linear Decay Rate (Fig.12).
I did the render in three simple steps: diffuse illumination, then the light of the collar, and finally occlusion (Fig.13).
With these steps completed, I assembled them in layers in Photoshop and did some color corrections. After some adjustments I then finished off the model (Fig.14 - 16).
For the video I used the same steps and I did the composition in After Effects - you can see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T55shVKjl38&feature;=player_embedded
I hope you enjoyed this Making Of - until next time!