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Character and Creature Design

Character and Creature Design

Rebecca Thomason
by bekichu on 30 May 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

Hello, my name is Rebecca Thomason I am a third year at Flinders University/CDW Studios. I would like to work in pre-production for film. I have a diploma of makeup artistry and would love to work at a studio where I can use my abilities in both practical and digital effects.

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During my third year of studies, one of the electives was Character Design with Alexander Colvin. For the class, we mainly used Maya, Zbrush, and Substance Painter. The process started with Maya where I imported the rough block out into Zbrush for the sculpting of the body and face. Once this process was complete I did the retopology and uv's in Maya, and the texturing in Substance using the UDIM workflow, following a film pipeline. The final renders were done using Arnold including UDIM textures and displacement maps.


The concept art that we used was designed by Ned Rogers

Inspiration and Reference

For the reference and inspiration, i wanted to use realistic images for the texture reference, and for the style, I used a lot of images from the How to train your dragon franchise and the league of legends short films.

The Sculpt

My goal was to give the design a stylized feel while maintaining the muscle forms.


Due to the stylized nature of the character, I followed the normal topology flow as much as possible, altering where needed to fit the proportions of the characters. The topology follows the film restrictions and is all quads. Once the topology is correct the model is then viewed sub-divided and ready for UV's and textures.

Texturing and Xgen

Once I had Uv'd the model I spread all parts across 5 UDIM tiles, with the head, eyes, scales, accessories/clothing, and coin all on separate tiles.

For me texturing is one of my favourite parts of the process. I find the texturing process, especially the skin very similar to special fx makeup, with the added bonus of having an undo button and the ability to edit layers after feedback. Much like makeup or special fx, I gradually build up layers to achieve my desired effect and use different colour and subtle imperfections to achieve the look.


My goal in the holidays is to make a fully working rig for this model with the Maya plugin Advance skeleton and to refine my skills with Xgen to create some fur and more variations in the hair.

Another one of my classes this semester focused on creating a scene based on an image found online. The image I chose to base my room on was by interior design Jellina Detmar. The aim of this project was to follow a film pipeline and create models ready for subdivision, with correct topology, Uv's and to create our own textures. The programs we used for this project were Maya, Zbrush, and Substance Painter. All the items and textures in this scene are my own besides some of the background plants.


Much like any project, I spend a while gathering references and often use Pinterest as a way of saving and gathering references to uses later.



Object Wireframes and Turntables

The couch

Coffee Table

Other Items

Last year one of our assignments was to model a camera from reference images and I chose the Leica M3. 

These are just some Zbrush studies and 'sketches' I have done over the past year.

Orchid Mantis

Irish elk

Horror Dragon

Stylized face

This face was based on another concept by Ned Rogers for a class. I used Dishonoured as a reference for the style, as I liked the planar forms that featured on many of the models. As part of the class, we also had to retopo the face, which was my first attempt at correct topology.

Thank You,

Rebecca Thomason.

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