Making of 'Europa'


I have found myself being fascinated by creating work on mythical and legendary characters, for as long as I can remember. I was always fascinated by paintings of great artists while I was studying at Art College. Even though I may not be using traditional art supplies, such as brushes and watercolour or oil paints, I always aim to create a similar effect utilising 3D graphic techniques. 3D characters are similar to that of fairy tales, in that they are waiting for the magic spell to be removed, as if they are waiting for the 3D animation artist to remove the spell... Wouldn't this ability be the true charm of 3D animation?

Europa is a princess who has succumbed to the seductions of Zeus, who has been turned into a bull. I have carried out research on images of jewellery from websites and home shopping catalogues and drawn some sketches. Because Europa is in a relationship with a bull, I have created ornaments that are inspired by images of, or are at least indications of, a bull (e.g. brooches that have the shape of a bull's head, and a crown that symbolizes Taurus).

After creating a body and a corolla for the head, I created rough images of clothing and ornaments, using Photoshop, on a nude rendering. Except for the image of Europa and the corolla, everything else is a rough sketch in the image below


Personally, I prefer to execute modelling and texturing simultaneously. I find that texturing can change the subtle complexion of the face, therefore I like working on the modelling process after applying basic textures and creating facial structures. This allows me to maintain the basic facial images that I originally intended. Moreover, this minimizes the modelling data quantity as facial features, such as moles, pimples and fine wrinkles, can be expressed with texturing. Also, you can save time modelling by texturing simultaneously. The next step is to create the textures of the skin. The impression of texture is just as important as the skin colour.

  • Diffuse: Applies tone of colour into modelling.
  • Bump: Gives emphasis to pimples, pores, wrinkles, moles, etc.
  • Specular: Provides moist texture of the skin. Too much will make the skin too shiny, whereas too little will make the skin too dry.
  • Lip: Shows more wrinkles and glossy spots. In order to ease the control, I created separate mapping to be applied.

Eyes are composed of two layers of hemisphere. The inner eye ball makes the pupil look 3-dimensional and serves a critical role to determine the ideal eye colour. The outer layer, such as the cornea, serves a role to reflect the images. Because I selected V-ray as my renderer, I applied Vray HDRI on the environment map.

  1. Before HDRI is applied.
  2. After HDRI is applied. Reflective features enable eyes to twinkle better.

Textures on ornaments were created using 3DTotal Textures. Its organised genre allows an easy scan of desired texture and the quality is considered to be great as well. I have utilised this program to mix and match the textures to create the ideal texture that I was looking for.


Here is the final light set up for the image and the next step is to render.


At last, I have come up with the final rendering by completing all the steps of production. Even though the final renderings were similar to the tentative sketches, I found myself a little discontent with the final product. I believe that having too many ornaments served as a distraction and this has contributed to the rather disappointing results. In particular, I found the ear flaps did not serve any purpose and so I decided to eliminate them.

You can see in the next image, are rendered with wireframe and monotone.

Finished Image

And here is the final image. Thanks for reading and I hope this making of has been of some use.


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