Modeling Creatures for Animation
Part of the Animat Habitat™ studio series: Creating Creatures for Animation.
1/ Light in Nature
We begin with a careful look through reference materials and recommended resources for studying animal skins, scales, furs, feathers, and so on; and, walk away with the power to create custom brushes for Photoshop and Zbrush.
2/ Light in Computer Graphics
An introduction to Maya with light and color in its digital environment, and we create and render art-directable eyes using techniques that apply to all chracters and speak generally to the color managed linear workflow when rendering with Mental Ray.
3/ The Art of Creatures
In part 1 of kind of a 2 part mini-series, we take a look at the anatomy of animals, with focus on skeletal and muscular systems that present unique challenges when rigging quadrupeds; and, to root core shapes of any creature design in some physical reality.
4/ The Anatomy of Digital Creatures
Lastly, before we model a creature in the next four classes of this workshop, an exploration of the technical challenges when bringing knowledge of animal anatomy to creature animation in Maya for both the game and cinematic pipelines.
5/ Modeling Creatures, Part 1
This is the first in a four-part creature development process, and we start by optimizing a Maya scene for the modeling workflow, making efficient use of its viewports while building up a base mesh for a creature.
6/ Modeling Creatures, Part 2
In part 2, we continue modeling a creature by further developing its form, taking time to address key deformation areas, and illustrating the advantages of establishing good edge flow early on.
7/ Modeling Creatures, Part 3
Next, we add subdivisions and continue to detail the geometry, and with commentary on how pushing anatomical systems can infuse a sense of character in your creature design.
8/ Modeling Creatures, Part 4
To conclude the mini-series on modeling a creature, let's draw attention to its defining visual characteristics, of course much of the focus is on the face, and then we complete the workshop by cleaning up the scene so as to best prepare the geometry for animation.
Author: Dane Aleksander, computer animator and CDO at Animat Habitat™ · graphic artist in Halifax, Canada.
Animat Habitat™ studium is published in part for all students of animation, and to advance the craft of wildlife visual effects for interactive multimedia and motion pictures. For a studio workshop or scheduled program, please contact: inbox [at] lifeasplay.ca.
* Curriculum is in development.