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Making Of 'Aquarian'

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
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Hello everyone, in this overview I'll share some of the techniques I used in the creation of this image. I'll cover the basics, modeling, texturing, lighting and rendering. The image was created using Lightwave 3d, Photoshop and 3D total's texture collections. Don't worry if you don't use LW as your 3d app, what I'll show you can be replicated in any 3d app with a decent poly and subd modeling toolbox. Let's get started.

I wanted to place this character I had recently made in an unusual environment just giving a hint of where she comes from and the creatures that share it with; what lies beyond the room is for the imagination. I also wanted to add an element of surrealism by adding some fish in the foreground, almost if they were floating in mid air when in "reality" the room really is filled with clean purified water.


I started with the wall in the background where I'll place the glass view port. I made a simple box with 3 divisions (fig 1), then using supershift I extruded the polys where the view porthole goes, on both sides at once 4 times. The first one with no shift, the second one with a bit of scale inwards, the third one pushed in and the last one scale outwards to give definition to the inside of the porthole (fig 2).

Fig. 01
Fig. 02

Still with the polys selected I made a bridge operation to create the hole; by using bridge instead of deleting the polys I was able to make the hole and the sides of the porthole in one step. Since this shape is not a perfect circle, just transform the cv's to shape the polys to make a better circle (fig 3).

Fig. 03

After this I just added a couple of divisions on the porthole's sides polys, gave it a surface name, created the glass porthole and the air polys. Air polys (same glass geometry with the poly normals flipped facing inwards) are necessary in LW to create believable realistic glass.

I then created the floor which is another simple flattened box. After this, I made the rest of the walls with a box large enough for all my elements.

For the columns I created a profile with the pen tool and performed a lathe operation (same as revolving a surface in Maya). I then created 3 circles and arranged them how I wanted (fig 4) and performed another lathe operation with more sides, and end angle of 3000 and an offset to make a spiral type of shape but with the resulting cylinders touching each other to give the impression of a solid shape (fig 5).The base of the column is a copy of the top shape of the column. I also added a wave design decoration to the column to bring a bit of water element to it's design (fig 6)

Fig. 04
Fig. 05

Fig. 06

Since the general composition is formal I added a handrail to place the character's hands and make for a more interesting portrait pose. During the modeling process I thought that the wall was a bit boring and thought of once again bring the ocean reference to the design and created the golden waves. This shape was more challenging that it appeared since the waves perfectly curl and change of thickness while the flow remains smooth. I decided to model this as a flat shape starting with a single poly subdivided several times and then sculpted (fig 7). After the first wave was done it was a matter of copying and transforming it to make the other waves. (fig 8)

Fig. 07
Fig. 08

continued on next page >

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