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Making Of 'The Operator'

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
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656_tid_operator_011.jpg
The idea behind the Operator, in the anime movie Spoonman, is one of thought and segways; which makes him a very cool concept to wrap your head around, I used that to my advantage in the form of inspiration and motivation when assigned the task by Spoonman's producer William Vaughan while being in the middle of the production at the DAVE school.

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Concept

The concept for the operator was to create a Hybrid character that was half-organic/half hardware, giving him Human characteristics, and painfully attaching him to a generator/processor tower, from which the conduction of the puppets above ground was being handled. Our team was fortunate in that our director pulled together a killer concept art team consisting of three amazing artists whose experiences span the globe, tFred Hooper of Ravensoft, Kazunori Suga of Studio Anima and our own DAVE School graduate Chris Dozier. Below is the concept art of the Operator by Kazuinori Suga, both B&W and color versions were produced.

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Modeling

Modeling the Operator was a task that was separated into two sections, organic and hardware; I was in charge of the organic portion of the character and the eyepiece which is somewhat hardware, and Mason Mastrioanni was given the hardware portion of it.

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I approached the modeling of the Operator in a different manner than I usually do for characters; For the head I used the Extender method in which I started with the shape of the eye, extending my way out onto the bridge of the nose, this technique allowed me to get the right radial polyflow, needed to achieve the right deformations on a character when animating facial expressions; this step was followed by the nose, mouth and in the operator's case, the opening for his high-tech ears. After all the parts where properly extended and placed, I connected them keeping in mind once again, the muscle polyflow

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Next was the body, which in his case was only the upper half , and here's where I got creative. I accrued enough reference material on Humans anatomy, and use the same as backdrops. I wanted to create this really intricate muscle structure, so I ended up modeling each muscle group for the torso individually and stitching it all together. In a way it was a daunting task, but once I got some rhythm going it wasn't that bad, I believe I achieved what I was going for with great results. Using the geometry made from the torso I made the shirt which had to have plenty of accents and wrinkles to achieve the right look we were going for with Lightwave's default cel shader.

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