Hi everybody! Thanks for reading this Making Of - I am really pleased to share it with you!
My name is Ruslan Anisimov (aka ars_1024) and I'm from Russia. At the moment I work from Yarko! Design as a 3D artist and this picture was produced there. My primary goal was to make a picture and animation for a website. The concept for the characters wasn't mine, because the client had 2D sketches already (Fig.1). But anyway, those two pictures didn't limit me too much and I was free to change the guys a little bit, to make any environment and any 20 seconds animation I wanted. So, I decided to make a short cartoon plasticine-like animation and pictures, and to settle the guys on a small asteroid called N351.
So, let's start!
Modeling & Texturing
The modeling process wasn't very difficult because the base models were pretty simple. I just kept in my mind that I needed to make an animation with these guys and so I tried to make the topology to friendly to bones. Everything was modeled from a simple box.
When the base models of my aliens and all the stuff like chairs, stars and asteroids were done, I exported them to UVLayout to make unwraps. I like this program; it's very easy to use and in a short time you can get a good result.
Then I exported my models into ZBrush to make hi-poly meshes to get normal, displace and cavity maps. According to my idea of making something like a plasticine world, I found pictures of fingerprints on the internet and used them as alpha maps for brushes. My main tool was a standard brush with an alpha map, but I used rake and slash brushes also. I decided that stitches on everything would look pretty cool, so I used a standard stitch brush for this goal. When I became satisfied by the result, I made normal and cavity maps with ZMapper (using 3ds Max tangent space best quality configuration) and displaced the maps with the multi displacement tool.
The next step was drawing the diffuse maps. They were not very complicated; I used cavity maps from ZBrush as a base and added some details like stripes and freckles for my buddies. It was a little bit difficult to make seamless maps (mostly because of stripes), so I switched between 3ds Max and Photoshop until it was ok. Here's an example of the textures that I used (Fig.02). All the textures were 4k.
For rigging I used standard 3ds Max tools - bipeds for my dudes and bones for the boxes and chairs. The bipeds needed to be changed a little bit to fit my mesh (Fig.03). Then I applied a skin modifier and changed the weights of vertexes to avoid problems with moving. To get the wires that connect headphones with a player to move in the right way I used the spline IK control tool with three point helpers linked to the head and one to the spine bones of the bipeds.