For those interesting in the technical aspects of this image, here’s a screenshot with all the assets visible.
I’m working on a couple of new images featuring JF. This one had some interesting challenges. The character wasn’t too much of a problem, but the snow spray took me a while. The snow is from a series of particle emitters using a small white globe as the base, the snow fog is smoke with spot lights shining on it to brighten it up. Overall took about 8 hours to render.
JF Chill Fox is completed- rigged and furred. Below is a pose I finished. Not everything is right with this character, I learned a lot during his creation and some things are just not right like the texturing and the eyelids. He is posable though and I plan to set him in some environments. Also, I’m starting to work on a buddy for him- an arctic wolf.
I managed to fix all the issues with the teeth and now moved on to adding fur. Here is the results so far, still have some tweaking to do on the fur. Next up is adding the rig and working on the expressions.
Working on arctic foxy’s teeth. Unfortunately I haven’t found any really good tutorials on how to create animal jaw sets so I’m playing around with creating from scratch in Zbrush. This is what is have so far:
Here is my latest CG character- this is the Zbrush model. I’ll be importing him into Blender for fur, rigging and texturing. My plan is for him to have both a winter and summer coats of fur. Don’t have an official name for him yet.
In this pose I used a photo style soft background. There is an HDRI image in the background for all around lighting and a spotlight and sunlamp to provide some shadowing.
The biggest hassle with this pose was the weight painting- not my favorite CG chore! Basically the weight painting maps the skin to the underlying rig. The idea is when the figure is posed the skin should follow nice and smoothly, yeah well, it’s- touchy. If it’s not right, the character mesh can blow up big time. There is some messy weight mapping in this pose but- fur covers a lot of less than perfect mesh!
I’ve been working on this guy for a couple of months. There’s still a bit of tweaking to be done but he’s pretty close. The model was done in ZBrush, the rest was done in Blender and Photoshop. This is the first character I created using Blender which worked out pretty good though Blender is a bit tough to learn when you come from other CG programs- the interface is different, lots of keyboard shortcuts to learn!
Will have more poses soon.
I’m one of those artists that’s always trying new things- it’s both an advantage and a disadvantage. The advantage is that I always have new ideas to add to my art, the disadvantage is it’s hard to stay focused. The puppets have been fun and I plan to continue taking them out but they have their limits. I may go into that in more detail sometime but right now I’m changing focus to CG art.
Why 3D art?
A bit of history first- I have been tinkering with 3D animation and art long before it became a popular. The first 3D program I used was called True Space which is no longer being produced. After that I moved to Lightwave then Cinema 4D and now finally Blender and ZBrush. Along the way I learned the basics of CG software- it’s a very steep learning curve but worth the effort.
So, why 3D CG? Mostly I like the look; the crisp details, cool lighting effects and the ability to create animations. Also it’s a geeky thing- 3D software is interesting to play with lots of buttons to push.
It’s interesting that there’s not much independent 3D work I’ve found in the furry community and I’ve already stated the reason; very steep learning curve! To give an idea of what it takes to create one 3D model here’s a basic pipeline:
-Modeling (including clothing and extras like swords or backpacks and other props)
-Texturing (including mapping and coloring usually with something like Photoshop)
-Adding fur (this step is often skipped on very toony characters)
-Rigging (needed if the character will be animated)
-Posing if creating static image or full out animation
This is only a very basic list; there can be many smaller steps within each category. In large animation studios each one of these categories is assigned to teams devoted to just that one aspect. If doing this independently- you own the whole pipeline.
Oh yeah there’s also hardware- I have workstation with a 6 core AMD processor and 32G of RAM, doing 3D art takes a lot of processing horsepower. You can get away with less but creating characters with fur is not going to happen.
Work in progress updates
I’ll periodically be posting updates on progress with character builds. Since I’m still learning this stuff I’ll let you know which tutorials I’m using. To start with here’s a few I’ve found useful.
If you have any questions then let me know. Don’t be shy- really I don’t bite! No question is too basic.