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Prowler of the Emberlands
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Prowler of the Emberlands

Alexandra Brak
by AlexandraBrak and benzdomi on 6 Jan 2023

Here's a comprehensive breakdown of my very first demoreel sculpture that I crafted while studying at PIXL VISN. I hope you find it informative and enjoyable!

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Prowler of the Emberlands

My first attempt at male anatomy was creating a model for my modeling class at PixlVisn. The process was so enjoyable that I decided to continue refining it by adding textures and hair. During this time, Dominik Benz reached out to me and proposed working together on my wolf model. Our collaboration was a success as Dominik handled the environment, lighting, rendering, compositing, and lookdev. He demonstrated exceptional talent in creating an amazing environment that perfectly complemented the wolf character. His attention to detail in lighting and rendering truly brought the project to life. To further enhance the project, we brought in Niyazi Ertut as the rigger and animator. He was instrumental in bringing our wolf model to life. He helped us achieve realistic movements and expressions for the character. It was amazing to see how he transformed the static model into a fully animated creature.  

Working on this project was truly a pleasure, not only because I had the opportunity to learn new programs such as Marvelous Designer and Xgen in Maya, but also because of the incredible teamwork with Dominik Benz and Niyazi Ertut. Their dedication and expertise helped bring the wolf to life and made this project a success. I am grateful for the opportunity to work alongside such talented individuals and look forward to future collaborations.

Credits:

Domenik Benz : Enviroment, Lighting, Lookdev, Rendering, Compositing                              Niyazi Ertut: Animation, Rigging                                                                                                        Alexandra Brak: Modeling, Texturing, Grooming, Conzept art

Breakdown

References

The concept for my creation emerged straight from the depths of my imagination, and I sketched it out to bring it to life. My passion for fantasy fueled my creativity, and I let my mind wander to bring forth a unique and fantastical creation. To aid my creative process, I created a reference board that served as a wellspring of inspiration and helped guide my vision.  I am grateful for the opportunity to express myself through my artwork and will continue to strive for even greater heights of creative expression.

First Drawings

Final Conzept Art

Reference Board

Modeling

At the outset, I struggled a bit with nailing down the precise anatomy of my character. However, with the guidance of our esteemed modeling instructor, James Schauf, I was able to achieve significant growth and learning. This character presented itself as a daunting challenge, but I viewed it as an opportunity to showcase my proficiency in anatomy, whether it be the musculature or the skeletal system.

In the midst of all this, I grappled with which direction to take with the character's stylization. Initially, I wanted to lean towards a more angular aesthetic, but I eventually decided to focus on creating realistic skin textures. 

Assets: Mushroom

Before

After

Turntable

Details

Hands and Feets

From a distance, it may be difficult to notice that the hands and feet of my 3D character only have four fingers. Despite the challenge of making it look realistic, I am pleased with the final result. I focused on creating a design that drew little attention to the missing finger and instead worked on developing a believable anatomy with attention to detail in the musculature and skeletal system.

Face

Before I had created a stylized version that had sharp edges and lacked the natural details of a real wolf. However, I knew that to create a more believable and realistic model, I needed to refine the design. To achieve this, I spent time researching and gathering references of real wolf skulls to use as a guide for the redesign. As I began implementing these details into the model, I could see how the added naturalism made it more compelling and believable. The edges became smoother, and the overall structure became more accurate. The final version was a vast improvement from the stylized version, with added details that gave it a more natural and realistic feel. The before-and-after comparison shows how important it is to research and use references when creating 3D models to ensure a high level of accuracy and detail.

Before

After

Bones

Creating the skeleton for my 3D character was a challenging task that required a lot of effort and attention to detail. I needed to find quality references from multiple angles to ensure accuracy, and even then, I had to revise and adjust the skeleton several times to align it with the character's movements and musculature. Despite the difficulties, I am overjoyed of the final result, which is a well-crafted, anatomically correct character that can move and interact with its environment in a believable way.

Typology

Maya's quad tool was an essential tool for creating the typology of my 3D wolf character. With this tool, I was able to craft the various parts of the wolf's body and ensure that each quad was evenly distributed and flowed smoothly. It took some practice to master, but once I got the hang of it, I was able to create a realistic and detailed typology that gave the wolf its distinct shape and form.

In addition to creating a detailed typology, I also made sure to structure it in a way that would make it easy to rig. I focused on creating clean topology with good edge flow, which would allow for smooth deformation and realistic movement when animated. With proper rigging, my 3D wolf character could come to life and move with fluidity and ease. So, I kept the rigging process in mind while using the Maya quad tool to ensure that the resulting typology would be optimal for rigging.

Clothes

Creating pants for my 3D wolf character was a fun challenge. I decided to use Marvelous Designer to achieve a realistic look. However, my first attempt with the laces didn't quite work out as planned. After struggling to get it right and searching for tutorials on YouTube, I realized that there weren't many helpful resources available for this particular task. So, I made the decision to simplify the design and make it more efficient, without sacrificing the overall look and feel of the pants. In the end, I was pleased with the results and glad that I found a solution that worked for me

Before

After

Texturing

As I wrapped up the process of modeling my character, I dove headfirst into the exciting world of texturing, which I found to be extremely enjoyable. This is where my imagination truly took flight! I spent hours scouring the internet for references, devouring every tutorial and video I could find. From Jhill to Flippnormals, I absorbed everything I could to master Substance Painter and bring my vision to life.

My character was designed to exist in a fiery, volcanic landscape, so I knew his skin had to be dark to withstand the scorching sun. But I didn't want him to look too grungy - I wanted him to maintain a sense of elegance and grace, even in such harsh conditions. It was a delicate balance, but with some experimentation and a lot of passion, and I'm thrilled with how it turned out.

Grooming

Diving into the world of Xgen for the first time was both quite challenging. Despite its many powerful features, the software can be stubborn. But, determined to master the tool, I turned to YouTube for guidance and stumbled upon a channel with an instructor who explained every tool in Xgen in a way that was easy to follow and even enjoyable.

I learned that achieving a natural look required careful attention to detail, such as considering the direction, length, and density of hair strands. By using a combination of creative problem-solving and persistence, I finally achieved the desired result.

To create good fur, it's important to pay attention to the direction and length of the hair strands, as well as their density. The hair should also have a natural flow and movement. Taking these factors into consideration can help create a realistic and visually appealing fur effect.

To give the fur to my colleague, Dominik Benz, was definitely a big challenge. Despite my best efforts, Xgen proved to be quite stubborn, and no matter what we did, it seemed like we just couldn't get it to work.

We spent countless hours troubleshooting and trying different approaches, but nothing seemed to work. However, we were determined to find a solution, and we kept at it until we finally figured out what was causing the issues.

Through this experience, I learned a lot about the importance of persistence, patience, and collaboration. It also taught me the value of problem-solving skills and how to apply them effectively. In the end, we were able to achieve our goal, and the final result was definitely worth all the effort we put in.

UV's

As I was working on the UVs for my 3D model, I realized just how important proper UV mapping is. It was challenging to optimize the layout for efficient use of texture space while minimizing distortion and stretching. But once I got the hang of it, I saw how a well-designed UV layout can make texturing easier and more efficient. It also improves the overall quality of the final output by ensuring that textures are accurately applied without any visual issues. UV mapping may be a tedious process, but it's a necessary one that requires attention to detail and patience to get it just right.

Softwares


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