My name is Grant Warwick and I'm a freelancer modeller / 3D artist in Sydney, Australia. You can view my portfolio here: http://sathe.cgsociety.org/gallery/
This making of will go over the process I used for my entry in the first Digital Apprentice modelling challenge, where I ended up winning 1st place.
After reading carefully through the brief I had a good idea of what I wanted to create. Ever since getting into 3D I have had an idea in my head of this particular model and the competition was the perfect way of getting it out.
After reading through the brief I spent two days drawing out very rough sketches on paper and, using this, began to build proxy geometry in 3ds Max. For people like me, with very basic concept skills, it's a great way of quickly analyzing shape and form (Fig.01).
I was very critical of myself during this phase of the project. It was something I knew I would have to nail as there was the possibility of it becoming an animation tutorial and a key element in the judging process. In Fig.02 I have created the hero joints and limbs, figuring out the best angles for support and manoeuvrability.
It was something I had little experience in, but it felt like a great achievement when I saw that my design worked.
After figuring out the joint system, I then began focusing on curves and silhouette. I am a fan of curvy sports scars and Sci-Fi designs, so this was the most fun part of the competition; designing around the shell I had created.
My biggest inspiration for this image was War of the Worlds. I have read the book twice and also watched the film countless times for the artistic design of the aliens alone. The reveal scene in this film is very harsh and I could definitely see a correlation between it and the competition brief.
Knowing that one of the judges, Giovanni Napkil, single-handedly modelled the tripods and that I would have a chance of winning a video critique with him was huge for me and really got me motivated. Other sources of inspiration were Transformers, Iron Man and Aliens (Fig.03).
I had never designed something this large before and I will admit, I heavily underestimated how challenging it would be. It was a time consuming process as one moment I would be very happy and begin moving on and then later on I would go back and complexly redo something when it wasn't working. I wasted a lot of time doing this, but got used to it very fast (Fig.04).
Part of the redesign process really paid off though. At first it is depressing to hit the delete key, but I was making steady progress forward so this was enough to keep going (Fig.05).
I paid close to attention to the curve flow between each piece and tried to create an even base of hard and curvy surfaces. There were some cars like the Ferrari Enzo and Koenigsegg that really helped me understand this concept.
The head was the hardest part to complete and I scrapped two fully modelled designs before continuing. The idea was to have it break away into two segments, revealing the rocket launchers in battle and protecting them when reloading. On top of this the design also needed to incorporate large stabilizing counter weights as the mech was so high off the ground it could easily become off balanced (Fig.06).
My idea of utilizing jet engine technology to force and stabilize the head can be seen in Fig.07. Along with the two stabilizing engines is a main thruster for short propelled jumps and surprise attacks over buildings or obstacles.