Making Of 'Colossus'

Colossus is one of my favorite X-MEN characters, I felt that he was left aside too much in the movies, so it would be a good idea to explore his potential a bit more, so I decided to make a nice image of him.

I first thought, that it would be nice to make an action scene, but I came with the idea of a more contrasting scene,
of the big massive hero but in a more relaxed pose, in the middle of a fire, like he was very calm in the middle of the chaos, confident that nothing could harm him in that situation. That was the main idea about this image.

This model started a long time ago as an anatomy study, I then intended to make the Juggernaut who is an unstoppable red giant, but in the middle of the process I finally decided to turn him into Colossus. I tweaked a lot with the proportions and remodeled the head and finally came up with the final model as you can see here.

As for the topology, I tried to avoidleaving any triangles and n-gons in the modelling of all the organic deformable objects, so I tried to make Colossus, an all quad model. Some parts that do not deform, like the back of the head, I did'nt care to much about making them quads so I left them, either as tris or n-gons, but I tried to avoid it anyway. I think it's better to leave a n-gon than a tri, they deform better in my opinion. You should really avoid them in the joint areas, it is better to buse them on a non-deformable part of the model or eliminate them if you can. Check the wireframe below.

Modelling process

The modeling process time is hard to tell, as I said it started this as a study of anatomy and topology, so I tweaked a lot with this model, before I realized what it would become, the pipes models are from another old project, and were modeled by my work colleague Marcelo Leal, I just duplicated them and modified the disposal of the pipes and retextured them for this project. I usually don't use other guys models in my personal projects, but I wanted to see if the pipes were going to work, I intended to rebuild them later, but they worked so nice, that I thought they were not a problem, and as he gave me permission, well I did not care too much, thanks Max!

Well, I then modeled his pants. I started the model with the legs geometry, then I cut the pants geometry where there was meant to be a seam. To make the pockets and seams,I extruded some of this part to make the volume and then rigged the pants with the Skin Wrap modifier from 3dsmax8. I used the legs geometry as the controller of the pants. The Skin wrap modifier is a skin tool that picks geometry to deform another geometry that is close enough for deforming. It is vertex distance based. It works for several purposes, but here I used it to deform the cloth. Look how the legs are inside the pants. The legs vertex deforms the pants vertex.

The next thing I modeled was the wires hanging all over the place. It was very fast to make them, a couple of days. I used the top/bottom shader from 3dsmax to make the upper part of the cables dirty, as dust deposited.
I created some broken and ripped wires to give it a more chaotic look. I modeled the wires from splines and turned them to geometry later for editing. I did not care about the end tip of the wires, as you can see in the wires, there is no connectors of the wires to the ceiling or walls as I intended not to show them. This saved me some time too.

You will see that I did not care about lot's of thing that were not intended to appear in the final image, I saved a lot of time not doing a complete scene. You can see here the front and left view that I left many parts aside, and concentrated on the things that really matter for the picture and left the things that will not show at the end.

The ripped wall if a simple plane geometry that I used soft-selection to model the hole, I subdivided the ripped boarder and created more geometry and information so it could look like ripped metal. Then I used the shell
modifier to give it depth. I used a more reflective and shiny metal in the border of the hole because it should
look like new metal, contrasting to the outside old and rusty metal. You can see this area highlighted in red
in the previous figure.


I used the Total Textures collection for the environment, and it proved to be a wise decision, because I found exactly what I was looking for the several parts of the scene. I mixed some of the maps in Photoshop and created the shading for the wall and pipes very fast.

The pants was photographed with my digital camera and painted over and retouched in Photoshop.

And finally I rigged the model with the Skeleton Rig by Brad Nobble, which I find a very nice rig and production proven in one of my latest works which I animated 5 different characters in the same scene without a problem. Give it a try if you like.

Here is the final rendered version of the X-Men character Colosus.

You can download the animation by visiting:

I Hope this has been helpful and I thank you for reading this article.

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