*WARNING: CONTAINS NUDITY*
Hi my name is Arda Koyuncu, a 3D Character Artist/CG Artist currently living in San Francisco, CA.
I've always thought there are dark elements in fairy tales. With this idea in mind, I wanted to create all the characters of the famous Little Red Riding Hood story from a twisted perspective.
In this case, Grandma is the evil mastermind of the story. I wanted to use steampunk elements during creation of her character to enhance the creepy look with the steam powered machines, and dark and dull colors. In this Making Of I will try to explain the process I followed when creating Grandma.
After deciding on the concept, to be able to work on it more accurately in every aspect (modeling, texturing, shading, lighting etc) I spent some decent amount of time collecting a lot of reference images. I generally create different folders for reference images so I can browse my references faster. So in this instance I collected a lot of references for anatomy, fabric, wheelchairs, steampunk machinery etc.
When I had enough resources to start working on the model, I started creating a body base in Maya. I tried to keep the topology as good as possible, but since I was going to make major tweaks in ZBrush I retopologized it as I proceeded. I also built my model in a more natural pose instead of a T-shaped one (Fig.01).
The first thing I did when I imported the mesh in ZBrush was start working on the major shapes. I tried to create a solid structure and a silhouette first. I avoided focusing on one part and refining that area: I tried to build the whole model at the same time. Doing this helps to make the different forms and shapes work together. When I felt comfortable enough after sculpting the major forms overall, I exported the mesh for retopologizing.
After I'd retopologized the mesh I imported it back in ZBrush and started refining and sculpting details. This is generally when I turn Symmetry off to start working on the minor forms and create a more natural feel. One important thing to keep in mind is to have consistency overall. When sculpting major/minor forms age, gender, character and profession could be some of the factors to take into consideration. You can see my attempt to sculpt rheumatoid arthritis on Grandma's hands in Fig.02.
The face is probably one of the most important areas of focus for the majority of the characters. When sculpting age, sagginess and wrinkles on her face I made sure that I was not losing the female form and look because females lose their female form as they get older. I also sculpted a rough hair mesh to make the process easier (Fig.03).
When I started working on the wheelchair I started really simply, just working with primitives and making sure the shapes were working well together. As I felt comfortable I continued and kept refining the separate shapes. Most of the chair was modeled in Maya, but I sculpted the leather seats, wooden ornaments, wear and fine details in ZBrush and retopologized as needed. While I kept adding more details on both hard surface and organic meshes, I also started to work on the lighting setup and shaders. It helped me to look at something else for a while so that when I got back to detailing I was able to refine things further and better. It also helped me with texturing later on (Fig.04).