This is Rogelio the Rat, he spends his time doing pretty normal rat stuff. He lives in the walls by day and scavenges food and resources in the house and yard by night.
Rogelio is usually pretty careful and methodical in his approach to Scavenging but has become more reckless recently. The owner of this house is at the end of his rope and the other shoe is about to drop. He's bought enough mousetraps to stop the bubonic plague and has set the bait as best as he could. It's an obvious trap, but Rogelio is a bit of a rebel and it's not about the the cheese, it's about sending a message.
Here are some more pictures with tamer lighting for clarity. I wanted the character to work well from any distance, as I knew I wanted to shoot him from pretty close up in my final main render. A lot of time was spent in look-dev making sure that the materials and fur work and read correctly in Arnold. I was not aiming for a 'Realistic' but more of a 'photographic' look instead. Which allowed me to have an almost realistic level of detail but also to worry more about things looking good rather than realistic. I followed the same philosophy in the character's design. He doesn't really look that much like a rat once you start pointing things out about him, but he does look rat-like and is perhaps what rats would have looked like if they had evolved to be a bit more intelligent. The important thing was that he looked believable in the environment that he lives in, and I think I achieved that.
I tried to stick to a pretty plain color palette for the environment since Rogelio uses a lot of grays and browns and other plain colors that can easily be overshadowed. I knew that i could make it pop later through lighting.
I modeled furniture with designs dating back a couple of decades to make the environment feel more lived in and timeless. Most assets are pretty normal basic furniture of their type but they ended up working pretty nicely as a whole.
The most challenging aspect of the project by far was the lighting and scene composition, let's just say that there's a reason why there are entire professions dedicated to only doing that. It took me a few days, but with a lot of trial and error I managed to get it to look like something I could be proud of. letting the Moonlight through the window work as a primary light source and having the oil lamp on the table work as a secondary warm light gave the scene a nice balance of colors.
I poured my heart and soul into this project and i hope that shows.