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Snapping Turtle: a making of

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Date Added: 19th April 2016
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Environment artist, Olivier Dubard, takes us through his ZBrush workflow for the adorable Snapping Turtle

Hello! This is the making of "snapping Turtle", concept art by Cory Loftis. I will show how I came up with this sculpt from scratch to finish. I was just scrolling on Cory's website and stopped on one of his concept art and fell in love with it, so I decided to make it in 3d.

Step 01: Observation and scrutiny

The first thing I did was to just look at Cory's concept for a while, to try and understand the character, look for the clues of what he is made of. I highlight, with different colors, the different part he is composed of. After that I end up with a number that gives me an idea about how many objects I will have to sculpt.

Splitting the character into different elements

Step 02: Basemesh

As the concept is a stylized character there is no base mesh for it, I had to create one in ZBrush, which formed the foundation for this project. It is roughly the same size and proportion as in the concept, but for now I just want to capture his masses and proportion; the rest does not matter at the moment. Capturing the character is what I kept in mind throughout this project.

Creating a rough basemesh

Step 03: Sculpting

When I was happy with the proportions, I turned on DynaMesh and begin sculpting. At that point I mainly focused on his head, I prefer doing it this way because the head is the first thing we will look at. I spent time observing the reference and taking my time to make sure I capture as much as I can of his face ? this tells me more about this little turtle.

Sculpting the character

Step 04: Blocking out the shell and shoulder pad

For creating the shell and shoulder pads, I decided to do it in Maya because it gave me more control of the initial mesh for these two objects. I used only very simple shapes; I started from a sphere and a plane, and edited the primitives to end up with this result.

Block of the shell and shoulder pad in Maya

Step 05: Primary shapes

For the rest of his accessories, I used the same processes as above, sometimes I just blocked out directly in ZBrush using DynaMesh depending of how complex is the object is. Once I have a block out I import all that back in to ZBrush and focus on the primary shapes until it looks like the concept.

Primary shapes

Step 06: Secondary shapes

With everything blocked out, I focused on the secondary shapes. I just followed the concept because I did not want it to look too real but still have an organic feel, so I let my hand loose and just enjoyed sculpting.

Secondary shapes

Step 07: Sculpting the stick

With the same process, as before, I start in Maya and block out the base for the stick and then detail it straight away in ZBrush.

Sculpting the stick

Step 08: Tertiary details and posing

I am now ready to sculpt the final details of my character. I am still trying to stay as close as possible to Cory's work and keep the lines that he did for his turtle. After that I am posing the character and decimating it otherwise even KeyShot would not render because of how heavy it is.

Posing the character and decimate

Step 09: Rendering

When the decimation is done, I export everything, as one mesh, and import it into KeyShot. I choose an HDRi and rotate it until I find interesting lighting that displayed my model at its best. And there you go; I'm ready to show it for review after that.

Final rendered model

Related links

Have a look at more of Olivier's work
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