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Making Of 'The Majestic'

By Don Dixon
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Date Added: 9th December 2009
Software used:
3ds Max, Photoshop
450_tid_BestBudsFinal.jpg
This piece was created for the strange behavior competition for CGTALK.com I just began a new job at Greengrass studios in Dallas Texas. I work with a driven group, who in fact are the reason this piece was made in the first place. They jumped on it and inspired all of us to enter. It was that creative energy that got me pumped. So then became the task of coming up with that "great" idea. Usually if I am sketching a creature or weird alien I take a bunch of animals and pretend to throw them in a microwave and see what comes out of it. Many artist do that and have used that analogy. But for this I wanted something a little softer, fun yet still strange. So I was watching Rush Hour on TV, great flick! Anyway it got me thinking of all the old buddy cop flicks, two guys from different worlds, working together, when all signs point to the fact these guys don't match up. So don't ask why but a worm riding a fish like a cowboy rides his horse just popped in my head. That's all I needed, now came the task of actually doing it.

I first began with some preliminary sketches just really rough and quick, just to get a idea of possible compositions, the first plan was to make it look like the scene in Pixar's Finding Nemo with Crush the sea turtle where all the turtles are riding the current, I wanted speed and high velocity, ( I completely went the other way LOL) But at least my head was somewhere, and I had and idea of where I wanted to go.

450_tid_Sketches.jpg
The next issue was 2d or 3d? I am not a strong 3d modeler so I shied away from it, but was willing to give it a go. I decided that a hybrid of 2d with 3d was the way to go for me. Now I flew through this, I made a quick and dirty 3d fish and worm, just enough to give me a base so I could paint in Photoshop. As you can see I went through many versions playing with composition elements and color. The main 3d render served as my base and using different layer styles in Photoshop I got the look I was going for. I had somewhat of a finished piece and didn't know where to go from there. My fellow Green grass co-workers suggested pushing the 3d more so I did.

450_tid_BadFishmodel.jpg
The first attempt at pushing the model was a disaster, it looked scary, but the way I work is trial and error, I would work on it, step away and come back and see what popped out at me. Back in my days in art school we always stepped away from our drawings and came back to them to look at them with fresh eyes. So I pushed it further every night after work until it began to take shape.

450_tid_TrialandError.jpg

The materials I tried to keep simple, I knew I wanted a painted map in Photoshop and I wanted to use displacement maps in 3d studio max instead of a bump map. The fish and worm both have color and displacement maps, and are translucent shaders. The damn eyes just would not give me the reflection I needed, I am an impatient artist and I also reminded myself that that would be a issue I can fake in Photoshop. Which is exactly what I did.

450_tid_Maps.jpg
The fish drool is also a Photoshop addition as well as the Background worm hair, and the shark gang. I feel funny writing how I did this because there really was no set method, it was a lot of having fun and trying and experimenting with new things. I actually feel more comfortable telling people that. Don't be afraid to go in and completely mess around with your work, take it into Photoshop and change the hue, just for the hell of it! Change camera angles for new perspectives. ( that was suggested by a fellow employee, I kept what I had lol ) But the point is try and look at it in a different way every time.

450_tid_Passes.jpg
I am honored to get front page and won award of excellence from 3dTotal.com and to be recognized by people in my field. There are some great things coming very soon from myself and the rest of us at Greengrass Studios.

450_tid_BestBudsFinal.jpg

 
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