Rookie Awards 2024 - Open for Entries!
Snow leopard / Girl with red paint

Snow leopard / Girl with red paint

Linda Petersen
by LindaPetersen and dinolucca on 20 Apr 2024 for Rookie Awards 2024

Two of my demo reel projects : Snow leopard (modeling,texturing,shading,grooming) Girl with red paint (all aspects)

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Hey everyone! 

I am super excited to enter The Rookies this year. I just finished my 18-month journey at Pixlvisn Media Arts Academy, where I studied 3D and visual effects. 

I've got a real passion for characters and creatures, and I especially enjoy sculpting, grooming, texturing, and shading. 

There's something about exploring anatomy, biology, and science while doing my research for projects that really excites me. Can't wait to share my projects and learn from all of you!

                                                      Snow leopard in the mountains 

The snow leopard project was the first of my two demo reel projects.
After 12 months of studying 3D and visual effects at Pixlvisn it was time to start working on the demoreel.

This project was a team effort and took us approximately 3 months to complete.

Because grooming had been super  interesting and inspiring to me, I wanted to work on that interesting animal and recreate it in 3d. 

Working in a team was really motivating and helped me with time management. My responsibilities included modeling, texturing, shading, and grooming the snow leopard, while my project partner, Dino Lucca, handled lighting, rendering, comp, and post-production.

At the beginning of modeling the snow leopard, finding and organizing references was a crucial step, as it is for every project.

Researching and gathering references for creatures is honestly my favorite part of any project. I love blending my interest in biology with my passion for art.

Surprisingly, I could not find even one image of a snow leopard without fur. So I had to combine muscle references from different big cats and guess the body fat distribution and muscle mass. It was important to me to get the anatomy right, so I tried to sculpt the muscles as accurately as possible.

Continuing on to the next step, I decided on a pose. Preferring not to rig, Imade a ZSphere rig in ZBrush, followed by retopology in Maya, UV mapping, and exporting the model for grooming in Houdini.

During this process, fur references played an important role to observe flow direction and nuances such as clumps, curling, frizz, and thickness.

I worked with many different guide grooms (perhaps too many in hindsight), categorized by length, thickness, and frizz. I went back and forth between Maya and Houdini to check my outcome in the render. Especially challenging was achieving subtle clumping and a soft, fuzzy feeling.

If I were to restart this project today, I would have aimed to use fewer guide grooms and work with a lower density of guides to ensure better fur simulation performance. However, since we rendered the model without the intention of animation, it sufficed for that point in time.

I textured in Substance Painter and reused the textures for the snow leopard, partly for the fur. I spent quite some time on shading as well, as it gives the asset its final touch.

For me, this project has been an awesome experience in teamwork and collaboration. Working with a team kept me motivated and focused on meeting our deadline, and I learned a lot along the way.

It was my first deep dive into grooming, and it got me really excited about pursuing grooming as a profession.

                                                                         Girl with red paint

For my second demo project, I drew inspiration from a 2D character concept by Noel Dagnon.

The idea of bringing a stylized artwork to life in 3D intrigued me greatly, making it an ideal project to showcase sculpting, grooming, texturing, and shading skills. 

It took me approximately three months to complete, during which I was responsible for all aspects of the project.

The goal was to honor the essence of Noel Dagnon's original artwork while allowing for personal creative expression. 

I  collected references to match the style and essence of the concept, envisioning a character embodying mixed ethnic heritage with distinctive albino hair.

References included facial features resembling the character, albino hair, dreadlocks, along with references for head and neck anatomy, clothing, teeth, and eyes.

 Alot of effort went into sculpting and I paid close attention to small details on the surface. By using ZBrush's ZSpheres, the pose could be adjusted quickly and easily . 

Utilizing various brushes and alphas helped streamline the process for me.

I manually retopologized the model to ensure a clean edge flow and sufficient topology in key areas. Once that was done, I laid out the UVs and exported the model to Houdini for grooming.

I went back and forth exporting a lot between Houdini and Maya until I was satisfied with how the hair looked and felt.

Getting the dreadlocks right was tricky, but i managed to get to the desired result by adding curling to the hair but also the guides, also by adding frizz and clump variations.

 For texturing I used Substance Painter, tweaking and adjusting the textures as I went along.

Shading in Maya was all about making the skin look realistic, especially the pale albino skin. It took a lot of time to achieve the right skin texture and coloring. 

I experimented with various lighting setups to set the mood.
I'm not a lighting artist, but I really enjoyed that part of the project because lighting can make a big impact and totally change the feeling of the output.

Rendering with arnold was done in layers to give me control over the final look of the assets, background, and volume.

After rendering, I went to post-processing in nuke for some final touches.

  here you can take a look at a part of my lighting and comp progress:

Thank you so much for checking out my project breakdowns!
It's been a pleasure sharing my insights and learning moments with you. 

I am excited to keep improving with new projects and to always learning something new and interesting .
Cheers !

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