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I wanted to make some unusual fish to better place the viewer in an alien planet so after some browsing I found a very cool thread of sea creatures photos at a concept art forum. I selected some that grabbed my attention and that I thought would suit the image well; specially since I wasn't looking to replicate them but rather make them my own. Let's begin with the spinney looking fish.

First for all 3 fish I created an image background to use as a template in Modeler. I placed those images in the corresponding view port. Since these are just reference images and I'm not looking for a perfect match I didn't need top and front images, I just used the side views, besides, finding those images would have been near impossible. I started by once again plotting flat polygons and tracing the features of the fish. I didn't worry about the twisted tail too much, this will get fixed after the UV's are laid out (fig 9). After I was happy with the flat mesh I extruded it and began the sculpting process. There is nothing special in particular in the sculpting of this fish, I just moved cv's to achieve the shape I was after, I used different tools like "Taper" for the tail "Magnet" for pushing and pulling groups of cv's with different falloff settings and the "Move" tool to move single cv's; basically use whatever tools you have at your disposal to sculpt the mesh. (fig 10)

Fig. 09
Fig. 10

Sometimes I like to isolate part of the mesh I'm working on in a different layer and then merge it with the rest of the mesh. In this case I selected the top row of polys and the bottom row of polys, the ones that make the fins, and shaped those in separate layers, (fig 11) that way if I didn't like what I had done I would just start that particular shape over without reverting or opening an older version of the mesh, btw, always save incrementally in case something happens, I usually save a new increment version when I think a "big" change has been done. When I was happy with the dorsal fins I created the mouth by making a series of extrusions with "supershift" but if you have LW 8.5 it was replaced with "multishift" which is essentially the same with some added features like being able to save a multishift session and apply it later on to some other geometry. Figure 12 shows the finished mesh.

Fig. 11
Fig. 12

With the black fish on the bottom of the image I started using the box modeling technique, the shape of the fish lend itself for this type of modeling. Figure 13-19 shows the sculpting process of this fish.

Fig. 13
Fig. 14

Fig. 15
Fig. 16

Fig. 17
Fig. 18

Fig. 19

For the creature seen outside of the viewport I approached it in a similar fashion but the reference image on this one is in a 3/4 perspective view, so I kinda sculpted it as I went along without worrying about accuracy. I created a box with a few divisions (fig 20) and then converted it to a subdiv surface by simply hitting the "Tab" key"

Fig. 20

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