I find the creative process for character design very satisfactory. I do extensive research on most projects before starting any 3D activity. I applied a different approach in this specific piece of work. I followed an alternative method to trigger imagination, rather than perfection or accuracy in reference. I find this process quite valuable, especially when I want to condense character emotion and essence into simple forms.
Before putting the pen on paper, I think about the feeling and emotion I want to represent with a character. I then make simple strokes that would represent the emotion I'm looking for. I start as most of you, with a block of paper, but instead of using a pencil, I use a pen. By using a pen, I make myself repeat a stroke when I think it does not represent the feeling I'm looking for. The repetition of the stroke refines it, and triggers imagination on each repetition.
I wanted to create a character with elegance and confidence. I also wanted it to have a touch of humor. I took my pen and started doodling curves. I came up with an S form, and right away I was able to imagine different animals from this curve. I thought first of a sea-horse, a serpent, a duck, and a rooster. I chose to make a rooster.
I chose to make a rooster with a twist. A rooster is normally portrait as a representation of masculinity and confidence. I wanted to create a rooster with those and other qualities that would make him unique. I wanted him to look cute and lovely, instead of aggressive and cocky.
The following image shows some sketches of the early design stage. This shows that I was focused on the "S" curve. In this process I came up with the rooster idea, as well as other ideas that triggered other characters and projects.
I began the rooster making the "S" form for of the body. I made the mouth as a separate mesh. The mouth is big and gives him strength. I made him a simple crazy crest. It is simple, and it breaks away the formality and elegance of his body. I gave him small feet to make him look delicate. I added a big eye socket to give him a strong personality. The detail on the neck gives him some elegance. At the end, I tweaked certain parts to accentuate his personality.
Once Rusty was finished, I didn't know what shot angle I wanted for Rusty. So I created his environment first. I made him a barnyard. It takes more time to do all the environment first, and then decide what part of the environment to show. It however, gives you more freedom in experimentation. At the end, I chose from several camera shots the one I like the most. Here is an image showing the barnyard.
Once the barnyard was finished, I made some mountains. Here is a small explanation on how I did them. A similar process can be applied to other objects to make them uneven. I started with a 1 km plane and divided it 10 times. To make the plane, I used the toolbox and I specified there the number of divisions I wanted.
To create the bumps I used a tool called "Jitter". This tool "shakes" the polygons or points selected, making the mesh uneven. I used a "Normal" type of Jitter. "Normal" stands for the type of movement that will be done to the selection. Normal Jitter displaces the polygons along the normal axis of the polygons. This way the polygons will move up and down, but not sideways.
Once I had the bumpy terrain, I realized that I wanted part of that terrain to be flat. I selected the middle points of the plane, and used the "Stretch" tool to flatten the middle area.
I then realized that I wanted the surrounding terrain to look bumpier. With the points still selected, I inverted the selection of points, and applied once again some Normal Jitter.