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Making Of 'Say Cheese'

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
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This creepy fella started out as a quick sketch. Once I had a few sketches of his head to work from, I started searching 'Google Images' for some ideas on the mood, lighting, and theme for the project. Being a big fan of the classic horror film, "Nosferatu", I thought it would be a great reference piece for this project, so I gathered some shots from the film. You can see from my quick concept sketch that I had originally designed this guy to be eating a little creature. After pondering this idea a while, I decided to go a different way with the piece and have him eating cheese. I mean, who doesn't like cheese? (Fig.01)

Fig. 01


I did all of the base modelling for this project in Maya. I always do my best at this stage to keep edge loops clean and keep polygons 4-sided. This always makes things much easier in the long run. For the head, I knew from the concept that he would have his mouth open, so I modelled the low-res base this way, instead of trying to do it with the rig. The majority of the modelling that I do in Maya is done using a combination of polygons and subdivisions, as well as the smooth proxy tool (Fig.02).

Fig. 02


For the rigging process, I used a Maya plug-in called "The Setup Machine". With this plug-in I can rig a biped character in about 30-45 minutes. Its not a perfect rig, but it does a good job, and it's a great tool for a modeller, such as myself, who just wants to pose a character (Fig.03).

Fig. 03


Once I had some good base meshes, I exported them as Obj's from Maya and imported them into ZBrush. Woohoo, my favourite part: time to sculpt! The main goal with this guy's skin was to make it look creepy. I gave his face and hands a lot of wrinkles and imperfections using ZBrush's various sculpting tools. For the clothing, I focused on making believable creases and folds. I can remember my Mother (who does a lot of sewing) giving me great advice on drawing wrinkles in clothing. She said to make V's and quick changes in the folds. This has always stuck with me and it really does make a huge difference. She also told me not to do drugs, but who listens to everything their Mother says? I'm kidding, I'm kidding. Whenever using sculpting programs like ZBrush and Mudbox beta, I mainly only use 3 tools: push, pull, and smooth. I also used ZBrush's Automatic UV mapping tool to lay out the UV's. Whilst this method is probably not the smartest, it does the job and works great if all the texturing is done in ZBrush (Fig.04 & 05).

Fig. 04

Fig. 05

continued on next page >

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