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Making of an Ordinary School Day

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Date Added: 27th April 2017
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Freelance 3D artist Eder Carfagnini shares his process for creating teenaged superheroes in ZBrush


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This illustration was made during my spare time and there were a lot of interruptions so it took me a while to complete it. I also changed render engine, from C4D physical render to V-Ray for C4D. In this making of I've tried to simplify the process to make it more understandable to the reader.

Step 1: Concept

I started this image for a contest called "Baby Comics", where you had to imagine superheroes as children. My idea was a classroom with a bunch of school aged superheroes left alone by their teacher for a moment. I put together both good and bad guys, in order to create conflicts with some of the old rivalries. I tried to give a characterization to all the kids, some similar to the original personality, some opposite:

- Superman is the class bully because he is the athletic, cool kid of the school - also vain and full of himself
- Mystique is a ditzy cheerleader, attracted to the bully, but privately unconfident about her body
- Dr Manhattan is a sensitive kid, in love with Mystique (blue like him), for which he creates a glass clockwork heart
- Thor is a baseball fan (Mjolnir is his bat) and he loves Mystique too but she only has eyes for the Superman
- Lex Luthor is a rich not-so-handsome kid and he takes advantage of the situation by putting a kryptonite marble ball in his despised enemy's schoolbag
- Spiderman is a quiet kid, too busy to learn how handle great responsibility to worry about his classmates
- Mr Fantastic is a brainiac, too curious and impatient to wait for their teacher for the teacher to give out the grades
- Rorschach is an antisocial and angry boy, fully convinced that he isn't in the wrong place... all the other kids are
- Hulk is a good and slightly dumb giant kid (I thought about a young John Coffey from The Green Mile)
- Batman has started to build his suit and his gadgets, but he is a bit of a scaredy cat
- Joker is a troubled kid and he doesn't lose a chance to bother his desk mate Bruce
- Antman... well, honestly, he doesn't have a real characterization. Simply put, he amuses me with his tiny desk and his tiny rope ladder!

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Composition

Step 2: Modeling the characters

First of all I worked on the characters' heads; I sculpted in a neutral head ZBrush, in order to determine the style: a base kid from which to sculpt all the various characters, who will be different from each other but belonging to the same "world".

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Heads sketched with ZBrush

After I had defined almost all of the faces and expressions, I made a base body and posed each character. I used the same body for all the characters, except for the Hulk, for which I prepared a huge and muscular body.

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The simple base body mesh and the Hulk variation.

Step 3: Composition

With all the characters modeled I worked on preparing the scene. I modeled the desks and chairs, and then I put them and all the rough characters on set to define framing and composition. I decided on the focal length, position, and focus distance of the camera at the same time and left it on those settings. I then turned my attention to the composition: the main action is on the left, some correlated situations in foreground, and many unrelated subjects in background. I used Mr. Fantastic's arm as dynamism to balance the composition.

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Composition

Step 4: Refining Characters

Once I was sure about the placement set of characters I started to retopologize and refine the heads, and attach them on the respective body. In order to compensate the lens distortion, I shrank Mystique's head and body. I only finalized the visible parts of the meshes.

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Heads before and after refinement

Step 5: Clothes

I wanted to try Marvelous Designer for the clothes. This was the first time I used it, so the result weren't very good. For this reason, I only made three entire outfits with Marvelous, some of the others I started in Marvelous then finished sculpting in CINEMA 4D, and for the rest others I directly modeled and sculpted in C4D.

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Clothing

Step 6: Texturing and hair

To give some of the characters a touch of realism I added texture to some features such as freckles and dark spots, this is to make sure these features are visible also on the characters farthest from the viewer.

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Examples of some head textures

In my cartoon models, I usually prefer to use simulated hair instead of modeling it myself, this is because I really love the way V-Ray for C4D render renders the hair. I often use several hair objects to easily shape the hairstyle. I played with hair count and thickness, in order to use the least amount of hair, for the same reason I only groomed the visible hair. For Mystique's braid I used three splines as hair guides. Among all the characters, there are almost 200, 000 hairs in the scene!

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Hairstyles and parameters

Step 7: Props

Most of the props are quite simple objects; they were the last things I modeled. I used the C4D sculpt module to soften Superman's and Mystique's schoolbags and Mr. Fantastic's pencil case. The two capes hung on the coat rack were made with C4D Clothilde plug-in, whereas the purple jacket was made in Marvelous.

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Wireframe and shaded views of the complete scene

continued on next page >

 
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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
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ECrispi on Mon, 04 September 2017 8:52am
Awesome, loved it
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