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Making Of 'Papageno The Bird Catcher'

By Alexis Van der Haeghe
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Date Added: 12th February 2010
Software used:
Photoshop, Maya, Mudbox, ZBrush


The lighting was a simple summer afternoon mood. I decided not to go for a dark image so that, thanks to the bright lighting, we could enjoy more of details of the environment and character. That was the main thing here.

So I used mental ray and to achieve the sun light I used an area light which provided soft and correct shadows. Two fill lights were used to bring highlights and I managed three bounces from the sky, ground and tree. I also used an occlusion pass to add some shadow attenuation and realism (Fig.27).

Fig. 27

I pre-composed passes in Digital Fusion. This software helped me to check all passes, matte and occlusion for my scene (Fig.28).

Fig. 28


Once all the passes were set up, I began to compose the final image in Photoshop. I chose to use this software because it allowed me to paint in a lot of details and to really get the results I wanted. I added details in the plumes, and on the character. I mainly painted over with custom brushes, adding details to the face and armor
(Fig.29 - Fig.34).

Fig. 29

Fig. 30

Fig. 31

Fig. 32

Fig. 33

Fig. 34

I also painted the important matte painting, which completed the image by bringing the classical effect of an old master's painting. The little beetle was completely 2D.


There is a lot of symbolization behind this image. I wanted to work with the idea that I'd had at the beginning: having a mix of traditional and modern styles and techniques (both 2D and 3D) to provide contrast in the image and I think I achieved that. Even the two characters are completely different from each other - one is 2D and the other 3D.

Finally after this quite technical analysis, which has hopefully given you a deeper understanding of the creation process behind this piece, this image exists to look at and suggest a fantasy or a dream... (Fig.35).

Thanks for reading the Making Of "Papageno". If you want to look at any of the other images from this series then they can be found on my website: . The latest image is "Chantecler", a character inspired by the play of Edmond Rostand (Cyrano de Bergerac).

Fig. 35

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