My name is Hasan Bajramovic and I would love to walk you through the creation process of my latest work, Katsumoto. I had a lot of fun making this image and I learned a lot along the way. Hopefully you will be able to gain something from this article.
Thoughts and ideas about creating this image began some time ago during my studies. I was always fascinated by Japanese culture, Samurai warriors and their ways. Their discipline and strength is unmatched (totally sounds like something from a kung fu movie!) plus they look really cool. I really wanted to go with a more artistic approach, making this image look like an old and forgotten photograph that has been re-mastered and brought to life.
I found my inspiration in the work of T. Enami (Enami Nobukuni, 1859 - 1929) who was a Japanese photographer from the Meiji period. His photographs are a huge source of inspiration for me and if you haven't seen his work already, just go to: www.t-enami.org
During the creation of this image I ran into several conceptual and technical problems. There is no easy fix for any of these and the only thing you can do is to just go back to the drawing board and do it again until it looks right. Believe me when I say that I know it's hard to stay motivated and keep working on something when you keep on running into problems. Just stay at it, have fun and in the end it will pay off.
Before you even start opening your favorite 3D app it's really important to gather all the references that you will need to build up your concept. I can't stress how important it is to have some sort of a concept that will guide you through and give you a general idea of where you're going with your work. This will save you a lot of time later on once things start getting complicated. Try to stay organized as much as you can!
It was really important to understand the structure of the armor so I spent some time finding all the necessary images (Fig.01). Finding references about all the knots that had to be tied (like the ones on the chest and shoulder plates) was the hardest. Luckily I was able to find some videos on YouTube and these were really helpful.
Looking into samurai names was also important so I went to Wikipedia and found a list of samurai names. Katsumoto, which is a Japanese family name meaning "victorious", really stood out to me.