My name is Darko Vucenik and I am a 3D artist and illustrator from Croatia. This is a project overview for my image “Mister Froggy”. I created this image purely for fun.
Mister Froggy started, as most of my ideas do, with a few simple sketches (Fig.01). At first Froggy wasn`t a frog; I don`t know exactly what he was. Some sort of bug, perhaps. These sketches were very little; they were sort of thumbnails that I did very quickly, just to put the rough ideas from my head on paper. At first I imagined a cartoony bug hanging on to a small plant. With a second sketch I focused a bit more on the character and with a third I added an old tree stump as the focus of his environment.
After drawing a few rough sketches I continued my project by making a few drawings that focus on the character and any other elements that could require clarification before modeling. But, in the case of Mister Froggy, I decided to go straight into 3D and refine the idea on the go.
For modeling I used 3D Max 9. I worked on the character first. I started every element from a primitive object – usually a cylinder or a plane – and shaped it into a final form while keeping geometry simple. You can see the unsubdivided geometry in Fig.02.
After I finished modeling the character, I created a simple bones rig (Fig.03). Since this character was not intended for animation, I didn`t spent much time on skinning. Instead, I adjusted any errors in the mesh that occurred after posing, with standard modeling tools.
Next, I modeled the tree stump. Again, I kept the geometry simple as I knew I would be adding detail later in ZBrush. I adjusted the pose of the character to better follow the curvature of the tree. To populate the ground around the tree, I modeled several types of plants (Fig.04). The grass patch (marked with letter A in Fig.04) was scattered around using a particle system. The same was done with the small plant (marked with B) to create moss growing on the tree stump. Using Particle Flow to grow foliage is a fast and easy to control method. The rest of the plants were instanced and placed by hand.
I used ZBrush to add detail to the tree and the coat. In Fig.05 you can see the alphas I used to sculpt the tree. First I used the simple brush to do a basic shape of the roots and then I just stamped the details of the bark and ground all over. On the coat I added a few wrinkles on the back and around the sleeves.
I exported the coat back into Max with the highest subdivision. The tree had too many polygons to do that, so I lowered the subdivision to the level at which the roots kept a pretty good form. For the rest of the details I made a normal map (Fig.06). The planes in the back were for the sky, pine trees and mist.