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Weekly Update #12: Starting Fur

I began this week by working on some assets for Alphas production that had not yet been spoken for. Because of our limited artist supply both our environment and story assets were suffering slightly. We currently have enough full time artists to create our main characters and a small array of props such as trees etc, but items that are essential to the production, such as the book our character reads during the short, or the spikes that cause alarm to our creature are currently in a grey area. My choice is about whether we can afford to put such prime assets in the hands of our second year students, or if I should adjust my schedule and instead try to create them myself. Right now it's split between both and I've taken command of some whilst I guide the spike production from the hands of one of our second year artists. This week it's the book:
I quickly drew up some early sketches, trying to focus more on a magical tome style of book to fit in more with the production.
I then worked up my sketches to make them more presentable to everyone. Once we selected a few to narrow down our choices I then made more variations using more slight adjustments to make sure we had something we wanted.
Once I picked a final design for the book I decided to make a quick turnaround for it and make a mock up in Maya.
The mock up has currently been sent to a rigger in order to make sure that the current prop can deform in the way it needs to and I'll update this blog on it further as it continues. This week also saw the production of our monster who has yet to be named. Taking into account the nature of the creature's natural posture he had to be sculpted in a way that was slightly unnatural, but would allow for the correct deformation when he eventually becomes rigged and animatable. I had originally attempted to begin working on him by starting his sculpt in Zbrush as opposed to the Maya beginning our character Keeva had. But after spending a short amount of time on this pipeline I found his low poly version to be lacking the precision I had aimed to have. Luckily I was already a few days ahead of schedule and could afford to experiment, at least this way I knew I was taking the correct steps to achieve the model I wanted. I then spent some time creating a my low poly in Maya, getting the correct poly count and loopflow I had wanted. It was more fiddly than Zbrush and slightly slower, but the result was exactly how I had wanted it.
After throwing this creature into Zbrush I then experimented with techniques like creating Alpha swirls in order to plan out where it's swirly tufts of fur might protrude. Those experiments however resulted in some lack luster sculpts, and once again, I decided to take my time and begin to work slowly into the work to allow the detail I had wanted. This production has only just started but this is the result so far:
And that's it for this week!


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