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This is a project I did for my degree at Escape Studios. The concept was based on a tutorial by Linus Rosenqvist, but I wanted to take it a bit further by including functioning legs. This was not as simple as I thought and turned into a really fun research project into vellum, kineFX and procedural animation inside Houdini.
Beyond that, I was responsible for shooting the footage, camera tracking, lighting, modelling, texturing, rendering, and compositing. This entry will mostly focus on the Houdini side of things as that's what I find most interesting.
I included a little bonus breakdown at the end of a bear groom I did just to show that I can do a normal fur simulation as well as weird little creatures.
The Final Product
The Making Of
The modelling of the skin and muscle was done with a procedural VDB workflow, the bones were created from their kineFX rig. I played around a lot with the fat/muscle distribution to get a satisfying result.
I'm not an animator so I used a procedural animation workflow to automatically make the creature stand and walk with the only manual control being drawing a line to represent the path.
In the simulation the bones drive the leg movement, the muscles drive the tentacle movement, and the skin flops around accordingly. This was tricky to get right - if the stiffness was too high it would look like a rigid object and if it was too low it would flop around way too much.
I used a damp map on the cloth to be able to transfer some of the grime on the creature to the cloth in texturing.
The textures were based off an excellent texture pack by texture artist Marco Tomaselli. I modified it a bit and added in scabs over the body to make the creature look more horrifying. Because I rendered this in Redshift I used Redshift's fantastic Maxon noise to add some more detail to the roughness. I shot an HDRI while on set to make lighting the shot a lot easier.
I shot the footage myself and tracked it in 3DEqualizer. The only things I really needed to do with with the footage in comp was get rid of the tracking markers and mask out the door in the first shot.
And finally, here's a look at the compositing process ending with the final colour grade.
Bonus Bear Groom
This was a project I did just as a learning exercise. I had a free bear model that, quite frankly, looked like a free bear model and I wanted to see if I could jazz it up by adding fur to it.
Manipulating the groom with different attributes was very important to the final look. The attributes I painted on included fur density, fur length, clump density, clump tightness, clump noise, and various masks.
My workflow here was to create a solid guide groom and then introduce noise firstly on the big clumps, then on the small clumps, and finally some noise per strand.
Thanks for checking this out!