Unit 66/69Your task is to create a character bust sculpt using Autodesk Mudbox.You must select an animal theme on which to base you design, andresearch on this given theme to generate a range of designs suitable fordevelopment.
To begin my research, I first chose what animal I was going to base my design on. I chose to look at great eagleowls so I started off by collecting general images of great eagle owls, including a perched position and differentflying positions.
Because the assignment requires a head sculpt model, I focused myresearch by looking at images of an owl’s head from the front and sideview.
At this point, I knew that I wanted to take little details of the owl touse on my head sculpt so I carried on with my research to focus on closeups of the face; mainly the eyes and the beak.
After collecting all my images, I created a moodboard to show the theme of my assignment.However, I wasn’t entirely clear at this point onwhat I wanted to create so the mood board isfocused on the idea of the owl.To create the mood board, I used some of myresearch images from the close ups and focused onthe details while also including some differenttextures related to owls. I then placed all of thistogether by using a soft-edged eraser to softenedges and remove lines and changed the opacity ofthe different layers.
To start off the sketching section ofthe assignment, I began with a fullbody sketch of an owl so I would beable to continue by breaking it downinto finer details. I knew that I wouldfind it hard to draw something in suchstrong detail straight away so withthis drawing, I followed a tutorialthat I searched for online to give me astarting point. However, I did my ownimprovisation when the tutorial beganto make the drawing harder tocomplete.http://www.dragoart.com/tuts/7855/1/1/how-to-draw-a-realistic-owl,-draw-a-real-owl.htm
I completed another full body sketch but I used biropen to show that I could use different media. Thisslide shows the reference image on the left with thebiro drawing on the bottom left. Afterwards, Iscanned the image into Sketchbook Designer andcompleted a digital version of the drawing using thepen tool (see below).
I began breaking down the owl byfocusing on details in my sketching. Ichose to do these in biro to practise withdifferent ways of creating texture.The drawing of the eye involves multipletechniques including cross-hatching,hatching and scumballing. The drawing ofthe wing however, consists almost entirelyof cross-hatching apart from the upperpart of the wing where hatching was usedinstead. I mainly used the cross-hatchingas I found it was my preferred techniqueand I found it easier to create differenttones with it.
Continuing with the biroclose up sketches, Ilooked at drawing thebeak using mainlyhatching and cross-hatching the parts thatrequired darker tones.I found that drawingthe structure of theactual beak was theeasiest part as it becamevery difficult whendrawing in the feathertexture around the beak.I feel that the beak itselfstands out more due tothe contrast in tones;particularly on theunderside of the beak.
Moving onto close up sketches of the eye, I repeatedthe technique I used for the full body sketch andcompleted it in biro first (see bottom right) beforescanning the image into Sketchbook Designer andcreating a digital version using the pen tool (seebelow).
Next, I began to have a go atsketching some thumbnail designs.On the left, you can see my veryfirst thumbnail board.In creating my board, I started offby developing the shape of mycharacter and the positioning offeatures such as eyes and eyebrows.It was during my thumbnailsketches that I decided to add acape to my character. The characteris based on an owl due to therounded head shape, large eyes andthe large eyebrows that representthe ear tufts.
On the right, you can see the first Mudbox model Idid that was related to the assignment. Originally, Istarted it off by basing it on my thumbnaildrawings, (shown by the cape).However, I decided to do some experimentation andchose to add some animalistic features in replacementof the human features.When creating this, I was unsure about colouringand texturing so I experimented with the colours;sticking to a dark colour scheme. I added the greenbecause I didn’t like how dark the face was inside thecloak.By completing this model, it has shown me that Ineed to look at an appropriate texture related to mychosen animal and I will probably use morehumanoid facial features instead of owl features.
After the issue I had with texturing my previous model, I researched differenttextures that can be found on great eagle owls. This meant looking at thepatterns of the flight feathers on the wings, but my main focus was the plumagethat covers an owl’s body.
I had the option to use the in-built stamps found in Mudbox but I didn’tfind one that resembled feathers to a good quality. Due to this, I decidedto create my own stamp in Photoshop (shown below).I first used the stamp to texture a basic sphere (see right) and then I usedthe stamp to paint over it (see bottom right). I painted it brown but Ididn’t realise that the feathers would appear black automatically.However, this worked to my advantage with this texture as it helped todefine the feathers.
At this point, I began to focus a lot more on my modelling by attempting to create a new and improved version of the hoodedfigure I had done previously. This involved experimenting with various techniques such as ‘Grab, Pinch, Bulge, Smooth andFreeze’. These are the main sculpt tools that I tried using with this model.I would like to changethe back of the hood bydragging the back so ithangs lower.The front of the modelneeds to have a biggerface and I want to lookat changing the neck bydragging the front ofthe hood down more.
Because I was having problems with modelling thehood, I chose to do some research to collect somereference images in order to help. I collected pictures ofcapes with hoods from different angles.
The second model was mainly about altering the back of the hood. Using my research images, I widened the hood aroundthe head and dragged the back of it lower by using the ‘Grab’ tool.For the front of the model, I dragged the hood down whichhelped to make the face bigger and also covered up the neck. Ialso dragged the edges around the face out to define the hoodand separate it from the face.I would like to drag theback of the cloak roundso that the hood drapesover the shoulders.Looking at myreference images, Ihave decided that Ineed to round out theback of the hood and
For the front view of the model, Iwould like to add some detail to thechest area if time allows it.Also, looking at the face has made mereconsider the animal I would like tomainly focus on. I am not happy withthe way the face looks pushed under thehood so I would like to look at a facethat would extend out from under thehood.For the side view of thehood, I am happy with howit looks though I may dragthe drapes on the shoulder sothey are resting more fullyon the body.For the back view of the hood, I don’twant to make changes to the generalstructure but I would like to createsome creases and dips to make it lookmore like flowing material and morerealistic. I will try to do this byexperimenting with different tools suchas ‘ Pinch’ and ‘Grab’.
My reconsideration of my modelmeans that I need to do moreresearch on an animal which canrepresent it. Because I want theface to extend from the hood, Idecided to look at horses as theyhave large extended heads and I likethe layout of their facial musclestructure.
I continued collectingresearch images ofhorses which meansthat I have images offront and side viewsthat I can refer toduring my modelling.This will also allowme to get accuratepositioning of thefacial details such asthe eyes and thenostrils.
Because I changed the animal that I wanted tomodel, I felt it was important to create a freshmood board in order to put the theme across.For my second mood board, I used some differenttechniques to what I did in my last mood board.While I still used a soft-edged eraser to soften theedges and remove lined, the main technique I usedwas to desaturate the images to turn them blackand white. Then I went into the ‘Adjustments’menu and altered the colour balance to give themthe faded brown effect.Another technique I did was to place an image ofa horse fur texture over the top of all the imagesso it was the top layer and changed the ‘Mode’ to‘Overlay’. This allowed the images to be seenwhile adding the fur texture over the top.
To start off mydrawing for my newanimal choice, I chosean decent qualityimage to import intoSketchbook Designerand lowered theopacity so I couldpaint over it.I chose an image that had a lot of detail and imported it into Sketchbook Designer. I then drew an outline of the horse on the‘Vector’ layer using the pen tool. On the ‘Paint’ layer, I then proceeded to use a combination of the pencil, pen, brush andairbrush tool to create a coloured piece of digital art.
I took the same line image from before and produced another piece ofdigital art work using the pencil tool. The centre image shows thedigital pencil drawing with the pen outline. Originally, this wasgoing to be my final drawing but I decided to hide the layer with thepen outline so that thefinal piece would onlyconsist of one digitalmedia.
Going into more depth with my sketching, I completed a pencildrawing of a section of a bit and bridle. This is because I wouldlike to consider adding more details to my head bust if timeallows it so I decided to look at buckles and straps that arerelated to my chosen animal.I then repeated a digital pen line drawing of thesame image in Sketchbook Designer which hasallowed me to look at the basic shapes andstructures of the straps.These drawings will help me to create a clasp forthe cloak if time allows it. While I would like tocreate a clasp or tie of some sort, I wanted it to berelated to the animal which is why I have drawnpart of a bridle.
Showing thedevelopment of myhead bust so far, Istarted off with abasic head mesh. The head was thentransformed into thecloaked hood that I showedthe development for inslides 15 – 18.For the head, I have positioned a built-in T-Rex head inthe hood. I feel that this will be an easier mesh to startwith as it has a similar shape to a horse head. However, Ithink I will model the horse head in a separate file sothere is no risk of accidently altering the hood.
After watching a Mudbox video by Wayne Robson(http://vimeo.com/15518060), I decided that looking at the muscle and bonestructure of a horse’s head would help me to start my modelling. I collected a coupleof images that show the head structure from a front view and a side view.
To create the basic shape of the horse head, I turnedon the X-axis mirror and flattened the sides of thehead to remove the mouth indents. The next step wasto lengthen the snout and change the angle it waspositioned at. I then used the tool ‘Foamy’ to createthe nostril outline and used an inverted ‘Bulge’ tohollow them out. For the tip of the nose, I flattenedthe end and bulged it slightly to give it a broader look.The next thing I had to do was to stretch the nostrils andmove them more to the side to correct their positioning. Ithen used the ‘Wax’ tool and using the images I collectedon muscles, I began to create the muscle structure of theface. I also defined the indent for the eye and used ‘Grab’and ‘Foamy’ to raise the brow of the head.
I have begun to add more definition to the musclesalong the top of the head and down the nose andadding the beginning of an eyelid above the eye socket.The cheek bone has become more defined using acombination of the ‘Wax’ tool and the ‘Scrape’ tool.The chin has been extended down and rounded tobroaden the nose more and I have created an eyesocket for the eye to be positioned in later on.
I had finished creating the structure of the face by using theresearch images of muscle structure but because of thecolouring of the head, I found it quite hard to see what wasmissing. So I followed a tip that I saw in the video (http://vimeo.com/15518060) by Wayne Robson andassigned a new material but instead of Mudbox Material, Ichose the Simple Blinn Material option (see below). Thisautomatically applies the material that is shown on the right.This colouring on the mesh makes it easier to see if anything needs to beadded, removed or changed. For example, it is easier to notice the detailaround the eye and that the brow above the eye looks more defined.
Comparing the model below with a front viewimage of a horse, I noticed that the positioningof the eyes and brow were a bit off. The partabove the eye was raised too high and I wasmissing some structure to the head.I’ve lowered the tops of the eyes downso that the bone structure dips downinstead of curving up and round. Thismeant I was able to define thestructure of the top of the head more.
Now that I am happy with the look of the horsehead, I can now focus on modelling the eye. Myplan is to use a resized sphere and use the‘Grab’ tool to distort the shape so that it willfit into the eye socket. However, looking at theclose up image above, I have decided to addmore detail around and inside the eye socket. Iwant to add the detail shown in the innercorner of the eye and define the eyelid more.
To texture my model, I imported an image of horse furthat I chose to use as a stencil. I then use the ‘Sculpt’ toolwith a large brush at low intensity to sculpt the fur intothe head. To make sure that all the fur was positioned inthe correct direction, I rotated the stencil as needed. Irefrained from adding a load of texture on the nose as furis not really noticeable on this body part.
Next, I began to paint my model. I started off with an large airbrush to cover thehead model in a base colour. Then, I used the burn tool to darken areas slightlysuch as indents in the head and the nostrils. I then used the paint brush to applya darker fur tone and reused the ‘Burn tool where it was needed.
To finish off the eye, I used the‘Airbrush’ tool to paint on a lightbrown base layer. I then addedanother layer of darker brown on topbut left the lighter brown showingaround the edge of the eye to give it arounded look.I then used the ‘Paint Brush’ to paintin the black pupil. Because the pupilisn’t meant to stand out too muchbecause of the eye colouring, I paintedsome darker brown around the edge ofthe pupil with a low intensity brushto blend it in. I then used a whitecolour tinted with brown to paint ona tint to make the eye more realistic.I also added some black colour to theedges of the eye socket and the innercorner of the lid and blended the blackand brown together by using a lowintensity grey colour.
To finish off painting my model, I changed the colouring ofthe nose from brown to black to give the model morevariety and I painted the inside of the nostrils with blackusing a higher intensity brush.By using a mix of dark grey and black on the nose, I wasable to create tones on the nose so that the raised partswould be lighter than others (e.g. nostril edges).
Before I added my cloak tomy horse head, I decided todo a turnaround sketchboard.Originally, I had planned todraw a side view, a frontview and a back view ofthe head but I decided thatthe drawings would havebeen too squashed up on thepage.This is why I decided to doother views that included aperspective view and a topview as well.
For my cloak, I decided to paint itbefore exporting it into the final file.To paint it, I used the ‘Airbrush’ toolto paint on a base colour and I alsopainted the face section of the hoodblack.Because the cloak looked verysmooth, I experimented with the ‘DryBrush’ tool. However, because it onlypainted the raised areas of themodel, it didn’t look right. To changethis, I inverted the ‘Dry brush’ byholding Ctrl while painting to invertit.This allowed me to paint into thecrevices of the hood and gives theappearance of material.
I exported the cloak and imported it intothe same file as the horse head. However,the horse head model didn’t fit into thecloak very well; making it look odd andjust stuck on.To fix this, I turned onthe X-axis for themirror and using the‘Grab’ tool, I pulledout the sides of thehood and lowered thetop while dragging thebottom of the hood up.
While the file already had a directional light in it, I added aPoint light to highlight the model more. I found that thislooked better because it brings out the tones more and thelight was important for the painted eye tint to be moreeffective.
While the use of the ‘Dry brush’ toolgives a slight effect of more fluidmaterial and was more affective inrelation to time, I think it would be moreeffective to model in the creases andfolds. I also think that the drapes on thesides need to be dragged down even more.For the front of the model, I amextremely happy with the head of thecharacter but I feel that the cloak letsit down a little bit. To fix this, Ithink that the hood needs more detail.I would like to sort out the structureon the chest area and add aclasp/buckle that would be there tohold the cape on.
 Finalprodigy, 2011, How to Draw a Realistic Owl [online], DragoArt, Availablefrom: http://www.dragoart.com/tuts/7855/1/1/how-to-draw-a-realistic-owl,-draw-a-real-owl.htm, [Accessed 26th March 2013] Robson, W., 2011, Blue #2 part 1 [online], Vimeo, Available from:http://vimeo.com/15518060, [Accessed 28th March 2013] 2012, Create and edit lights [online], Autodesk Mudbox, Available from:http://download.autodesk.com/global/docs/mudbox2012/en_us/index.html, [Accessed25th April 2013]