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Making Of 'Ivan & Bonnie'

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Date Added: 20th November 2008
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Hello everyone, my name is William Vaughan; I'm currently living in Orlando, Florida - the home of Mickey Mouse! I recently created two new characters that I like to call "Ivan" and "Bonnie", and I thought we could take a look at how I went about bringing them to life. Ivan was greatly influenced by the work of Mark Behm and I created him as a way to learn a new piece of software. Total creation time was one day and I'm excited to be sharing with you the steps I took to get to the final image!

Bonnie is a character I created for the opportunity to explore character design. I wanted to create a female character that wasn't skin and bones, like most CG women. She was created the day after I created Ivan using very similar techniques and setup, so I thought we'd put our focus on Ivan and look into some of his details.

Let's get started!


This was to be my first real project created in Modo, so I tackled my favourite type of subject - character creation! I prefer to use the box-modelling method for organic modelling, so I started with a simple box and added localised detail where needed. For me box-modelling feels more like traditional sculpting than something like the "build-out" method. Ivan is made up of all four point polygons, which I find a must when working with anything that will need to deform properly during animation and posing (Fig.01).

Fig. 01

To create the hair and eyebrows, I used simple pieces of geometry clustered together, which I find works great for this style of character! It's exactly the same way I used to create hair when I worked with traditional clay. This doesn't work for all characters but it definitely seemed to fit Ivan (Fig.02).

Fig. 02


Since Modo is primarily a modelling program and lacks any rigging tools, I chose to model the character into a pose. An amazing tool that helped to make light work of this was the Flex tool. I was able to pose Ivan within a 10-minute time period with very little tweaking needed. It's a must-have tool, in my opinion, if you plan on posing without a rig (Fig.03)!

Fig. 03


I used two Area lights to light the scene. They are by far my favourite type of light to work with as they produce beautiful, soft shadows. For my Key light I went with a nice, warm value, and used a cool value for my Fill light. I'm a big fan of this type of lighting as it makes for nice contrast! I also used Modo's Global Illumination with 4 Indirect Bounces (Fig.04).

Fig. 04

continued on next page >

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