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Character Bust 'Hairy Harry'

Character Bust 'Hairy Harry'

Cameron Gibson-Tilley
by CameronGT on 17 May 2024 for Rookie Awards 2024

Inspired by the amazing Pavel Hristov's artwork and then injected with more inspiration from Love Death & Robots 'Bad Travelling' episode. I sought to create a personal project where I could push my sculpting and texturing, learn new skills and experiment with a hybrid of realism and stylization.

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In 2023, during semester breaks I decided to take on a little personal project focusing entirely on the head and face to try and push my skills further.

I was inspired by the amazing artist Pavel Hristov ( and initially was going for a 1 to 1 match. However, at the time I had recently just watched Love, Death & Robots episode 'Bad Travelling'. I was immediately taken back by the artstyle and so an amalgamation of both Pavel's style and the art direction of 'Bad Travelling' became my cornerstone for this project.

Here is that result!

Initially this project was going in a very different direction where I ended up. Here is my first pass, I think you can pinpoint the exact moment that I saw the 'Bad Travelling' episode and everything changed from there. 

Followed by a test render of an alternative expression.

I would like to mention that the eyes were purchased from the awesome Jared Chavez ( Initially, colourful array of blues and yellows, I dialled them down and tried to bring some sorrow into them. Adjusting the base colour overall in both iris and scelera and adding a lot more veins to get closer towards that hazel brown in the reference.

Now it was texturing time! I love texturing, especially anything organic. All maps were hand painted as I seem to enjoy the pain and I was very particular about details. Utilizing a variety of cross polarized references of skin studying the vascular system and learning about moles, etc.

I did use some scan data in the end for some added height.

Unfortunately, my PC at the time was on its last legs so I only have some of the files but here are some of the maps!

After texturing was 'complete' (there was still a lot of back and forth and adjusting, from substance to maya I started applying my textures and adding in some of that nice scan data height.

From there, I started playing with the lighting. I'm not a fan of beauty lighting, I love it to be dramatic even if it means sometimes obscuring your work.  The end result and capturing a mood is what I always try to aim towards.

Moving onto grooming! Once I get everything in I will do some finalized lighting.

This project was taken up with the intention of focusing on head modelling but also to dive into Xgen for the first time. 
What followed was a few days of learning the basics, before moving to expressions and masking.
Here are some of the guide curves. They were seperated into different layers for example:
Main hair, moustasche, eyelashes, stubble, eyebrows, ear hair, nostril hair, peach fuzz and peculiar mole hairs.

Unfortunately I dont have the file anymore to be able to go back and show the retopology process or to show wireframes and all the maps created due to that PC failing the day after I did some of my final Beauty renders. 

Nevertheless, this is where the project concluded. It was a really fun journey, I got to sculpt, texture, light and render a project where I learnt so many new things and was free to experiment. I applied a lot of the lessons I learned at uni and through online resources like the wonderful JHill, Flipped Normals and Kris Costa.

I'm excited to look back on old projects like this and show my progression since.

Thanks for checking out my entry into the VFX category. I also took part in a class at the end of 2024 for Creature Design, I would love for you to check it out!

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