Join Ryan Kittleson for an in-depth discussion in this video Refining a concept, part of Digital Creature Creation in ZBrush, Photoshop, and Maya.
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The next step is to take your best idea from all the doodles and get more specific. We are not dealing with skin texture or hairstyles yet. It's still very basic. At this phase you'll be arranging the limbs and the other major shapes. Now is the time to experiment with various proportions making some parts bigger and smaller, moving legs forward and backward, playing with the various limb thicknesses. It's still very loose and simple drawing here. You'll be doing several pages of variations of this round of the design process as well.
Out of all the brainstorming sketches that I did, I like the ones that are going in the direction of this four-legged critter with its tail looped over its head. Now that I have a very basic idea of where I'm going, I need to start thinking more specifically about it. I need to understand the world that it lives in and how it behaves. If the creature is part of a story that is already been written, you will need to take into account the role that the creature takes in the story. For this course, it's more up to my imagination. When you start sketching, ask yourself questions about where and how the creature lives.
Your answers will help in form the design. What kind of habitat does the creature live in? Does it chase prey or evade predators? What does it eat and how does it catch it? Imagining where your creature will actually live, will add believability to your design. For this course, I actually brought several different concepts to this moderately refined point. I wanted to make the best creature that I could so I made lots of types of creatures. This gives me lots of options from which to choose and when designing having a variety to choose from is always better.
Whatever the case, you'll probably work with writers, directors, and other artists to refine a design that works just right. The design that we are doing in this course was chosen because it features several different anatomy types in one creature. I want to show techniques for making different kinds of scaly, leathery, bony, and smooth skin. I also want to show muscle and joint anatomy along with common anatomical features like eyes and teeth. For those reasons, I chose this Dewhopper design.
I imagine the Dewhopper to be carnivore and a hunter, yet it's also small like a squirrel so it needs to be able to run and hide when larger predators are around. I imagined a dry desert where water is scarce. I imagine that it lures insects with a drop of sticky liquid that it can excrete at the tip of its tail. Insects think that it is a drop of dew and come up for a drink. The creature can then lunger the insects to capture it. The best design for a particular project isn't necessarily the one that looks the coolest.
You have to consider how it fits into the production that it's a part of. You don't want a minor character to have a look that upstages the main characters. As artists and sculptors, we often want to give creatures huge muscles and big fangs, but often the creatures placed in a story calls for a more subtle approach. The main thing to remember at this stage is to give yourself lots of ideas to work with. Don't get stuck on just one idea no matter how much you feel it to be right. A good designer is always coming up with variations and alternatives to any design.
When you have a good set of ideas to choose from, you'll be able to finally tell which one works best for your character.
- Brainstorming and refining a character concept
- Installing custom brushes
- Optimizing tablet settings
- Posing the ZSpheres in ZBrush
- Sculpting muscles and midsize shapes
- Working with DynaMesh
- Using GoZ between ZBrush and Maya
- Creating topology for animation
- Sculpting fine detail
- Cleaning up a mesh in Maya
- Creating the UV layout
- Lighting and shading
- Painting texture maps
- Posing with Transpose tools in ZBrush
- Batch rendering a turntable animation