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The making of Happy Birthday!

By Lin Zhang

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Date Added: 26th March 2014
Software used:
3ds Max, ZBrush
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We are delighted to bring you the making of the incredible 3D image, Happy Birthday! by Lin Zhang, created using Maya, 3ds Max, ZBrush, V-Ray and Photoshop.


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Happy Birthday! was inspired by the memories of my childhood. I was always a troublemaker for my parents when it came to birthday celebrations. For this image I decided to use Japanese and US comics as inspiration for extraordinary and exaggerated expressions, and as a reference to create a believable-looking image. I hope this image reminds people of their childhoods and of the colorful lives we lead.

Step 1: Preparation

Firstly, I spent a lot of time collecting references and figuring out the composition. This was a big step, although I see so many people ignore it. It's during this stage that the more well-prepared you are, the better chance of a success you have – it's much like building a solid foundation for a great construction.

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Step 2: Modeling and lighting

After establishing the initial composition, I made some simple models for a lighting test to so I could gauge the overall atmosphere. I then adjusted the camera's position to determine the composition.
I continued to adjust the camera during future stages, so this was just the first level of adjustments.

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Step 3: Character model

All the models were made in Maya and ZBrush. Because the image is focused around the notion of wind, every character's face was very important, and I had to pay careful attention to the various details in the clothing and body. It all required great patience and careful observation.

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
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(ID: 280911, pid: 0) Strob on Fri, 13 June 2014 4:06pm
wow! Very powerful image! I woul d like to see an animation of it. Hope to find a link to Lin Zhang new portfolio since cghub is dead... To answer Eodeo, Maya was probably used just because the artist was more familiar with it but 3ds Max has more tools, power and ease of use when it comes to modeling.
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(ID: 265131, pid: 0) Eodeo on Tue, 01 April 2014 3:30am
What are advantages to modeling in Maya? I guess it has some to do it there and then transfer everything in Max.
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