A spider robot, I had the idea to use a power port as a mouth and thought it would be cute to have him begging for food. I imagined it was old prototype consumer technology from a near distant future that its inventor hung onto for many years, fixing it as needed. Well worn & loved.
Update - 25 Nov 2022
Wireframe and Maps
Had a blast texturing this little guy; thanks for stopping by!
To the judges: full disclosure I started working as a part-time contract 3d modeler in July. I don't know if this disqualifies me or not; either way, no hard feelings I just felt like making a cute robot.
Update - 20 Nov 2022
Day 8 & 9 UV layout and first pass in substance
I used 16 total UDIMs for the body plus a texture set each for the Transmissive and emissive materials. Just wanted to show progress on the texturing; I usually take my textures into a rendering engine mid-way through the process to make sure everything is looking ok. There's still a ways to go on the texturing, but I'm happy with the initial look development.
Day 7 Shader Work USB Cable Modeling
I like to set up dummy shaders as I'm working. The advantage of doing this is that I have a good idea of what values to pivot my roughness and base color values around when I get to substance painter. I started playing around with color and landed on a soft white with a warm gray color palette. It's not as punchy as the orange I used to help visualize the design, but I wanted it to feel a bit vintage. For the texturing, I intend on beating this little guy up realistically but keeping it mostly intact. I want it to feel like an outdated consumer product used by a careful owner. I want it to feel a little clumsy and well-loved. I think the off-white will help to show the scuff and dirt I'm planning on adding while recalling vintage tech to tug on the nostalgia strings a little bit. Just a bit more modeling this time on the USB cable; I added a bit more detail to this piece because it will sit at the focal point. Throughout the modeling process, I ended up rotating the different panels off by fractions of a percentage point to make it feel more manufactured; adding subtle imperfections can help with the realism.
I'm starting on UV unwrapping today and hope to have the UDIM layouts done by EOD tomorrow. I plan on separating the UDIMs out by materials; I'm thinking of 4 4k udims for the off-white plastic 2 for the grey and rubber, and 1 for the metal. I'll separate out the transmissive glass into another material because it requires different maps. I have an idea for the scene I want to set him in, but I'm not 100% sure I will get this finished. I want to give myself some time in substance painter and possibly hop into substance designer to design interesting height maps for the plastic textures.
Day 3,4,5,6 Modeling Continued
Over the next few days, I continued to refine the model and tried to work out the specifics of how the leg could work. And continued to build up the Sub-D model. At this point, I got an idea of how I would pose the character. I decided it would be running low on charge and approaching its owner to plug it in like a pet would beg for food.
I needed to ensure the character would have the range of motion necessary. I decided to add a tiny USB c port where the mouth would be. For the eyes, I used the instancing trick on an aperture with a radial array controlled by an empty - this way, I could pose the eyes. I knew I wouldn't have time to rig this, so I ensured everything would be poseable for the final 3d illustration.
The modeling is mostly complete at this phase. I'm busy at work, so I won't have much time over the next few days. There are some things I may have done differently, but I'm overall happy with how everything is flowing. I made some edits to the shapes on the last day - mostly fixing some of the few unforgivable modeling sins haha.
Day 2 Modeling
On Day 2, I worked a bit on modeling the legs; the only thing interesting to note here was that I used collection instances to build out the legs that way, I could preview how the modeling changes were effecting the overall silhouette and interacting with the entire model at once. Ensuring I had clearance where I needed it. I'm lucky enough to have started my first 3D gig as a contract modeler this year, but I could only work on this for a few hours a day.
Day 1 Concept and Rough Block In
I got a late start but still wanted a chance to participate in the challenge. I'm not 100% certain I'll finish by the deadline, but I wanted to work on a cute robot for fun. I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to push myself to complete an entire pipeline project on a tight deadline.
I knew I wanted to create a cute spider robot that was grounded in reality. I started by utilizing midjourney to help with visualization. It's a really good service to help brainstorm ideas, but it never really gives you what you want. I find it's good for throwing a bit of randomness into what I would have otherwise created. After about 10 minutes of prompting, I landed on this image to start iterating off of. There are several things I do not like about it, but the screen on the top of the head gave me an idea.
The next stage was 3D sketching and block-out. I didn't spend much time here due to the deadline and decided to keep the process fluid and iterative as I worked on the model. For the sketching, I used Zbrush to warp a few primitives and booleaned everything together. Nothing special here just 20-30 minutes of iterating on the primary shapes. I then sent it to Blender and further refined it. I used more booleans in blender and quadremesher(zremesher in blender) to get some quad topology to begin working with. I decided early on that I wanted to use sub-D modeling and orient this toward a VFX workflow rather than games.
Here is the result of the day one block out. I decided to start working on the head and cutting in the panel lines early to ensure everything would flow together. I keep a lot of backups while I'm working so even though it's a destructive process it's easy to A:B possible outcomes.