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Second Year Final Work - Clubarm

So for my final project in the second year of my computer animation course, I decided to design and sculpt a full creature design. I was originally planning to use my design from the Terryl Whitlatch creature design competition, but with detail like that I knew it would be beyond my abilities, and so I decided to start from scratch. I wanted to design a primate-like creature. One that was slightly similar to the 'Dug' of the Star Wars universe, that used their hind legs as their main tool graspers, and so I designed something that swung in the trees primariliy using it's forelimbs and tail, but would use the momentum from it's swinging in it's hunting tactics and territorial battles.
I knew I wanted the hook of this creature to be it's clawed tail, so I began researching creatures with prehensile tails and what they used them for, including pangolins, monkeys and binturongs etc. Once I had the general design I was looking for, I started making variations on its colours and certain aspects of it's design. I wanted to make sure that whilst the design itself worked as a complete unit, that the individual parts of it also made anatomical sense.
With the design mapped out I moved into Zbrush and began using Zspheres to get the general shape down, before moving in to sculpt and flesh it out.
It was now time to begin making the hard extrusions from the creatures back and tail. I made a simple Ztool and merely cut and shaped it out before duplicating it and pulling it around to fit along the countours of his body.
With that done the creature finally had it's silhouette complete:
Next came the detailing, making the teeth and eyes. The teeth were specifically designed around the synapsid creatures such as the Theocephalia because I wanted this creature to look particularly brutish and primal.
What I also needed to do was allow this creature to move, which required me to adjust it's loopflow, especially around it's muscle groups so it would move more realistically. I'd never done this before on Zbrush but after some trial and error I found I could create both high and low poly versions of it with the exact loopflow I wanted.
Texturing was also something that was new to me on Zbrush, I'd experimented a bit, but I'd never tried making a full texture map for the creature using it.
Now came the really hard bit. I'd been interested in using the hair system for a while, the main reason I chose a mammal as my creature design was purely so I could test it out. It took me some getting used to, but I finally ended up with something that was similar to what I was looking for. I had wanted certain parts of its hair to be more clumped together so it could look more dirty and raw, but I'm still pleased with the result:
The creature was finally done. I learnt a lot through the process and I'm sure I'll be using a lot of the same techniques in future projects, probably more so of the loopflow tools as opposed to the hair system, but it's still all useful. So now here's the final turnaround:

Clubarm from Sam Cullum on Vimeo.

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