Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sculpting concept art

I started modeling Kane in my free time to improve my understanding of the other half of deformation. Rather than build my learning on a foundation of (my) weak design, I convinced Brittney to let me use hers. Since then I have been working on some new characters and I am still learning tons.

When I started on these two love birds I found myself going down the same path as Kane. The sculpt was losing the appeal that was in the concept art. Now it is tough sculpting a three-dimensional character with a sketch from only one camera angle. I prod Brittney for a quick sketch from a different angle now and then, but most of the time I am guessing. I found that trying to eye it, for me, leads me down a path of too much detail too soon and results in a mushy design that no longer looks like the character I set out to make.

(first attempt at the female dancer)

(first attempt at the male dancer)

In the past few weeks I have been working on a clay maquette in a sculpting class at Disney, and well whadayaknow? My clay sculptures were suffering from the same problems. I sought guidance from one of my fellow trainees, Ryan Tottle who is getting trained up in the modeling department and he showed me the importance of finding the big shapes with the clay first. He told me how to stop smoothing things out and adding little layers of clay bit by bit. He taught me to just go for it (the shapes) and have some fun bringing those shapes from the drawing into 3d.

I took this attitude back to the male dancer and scrapped the face I had already created and started over, working simple. Another modeling trainee, Ke "Jackie" Jang introduced me to an interesting method of projecting the concept art onto the surface while you sculpt. This allows for two things: It allows you to get accurate shapes from the profile just as you would with an image plane behind your sculpt, but it also allows you to see the model textured with the drawn shadows so you can see how that relates to the actual shadows of your three dimensional sculpt. He had some great success with it at work so I thought I would give it a try at home.

(work in progress using the concept art as a texture)

It isn't the most ideal setup, since the concept art I am using isn't from a full on profile. The character's head is tilted ever so slightly so there is still guesswork to be done. I think the result I got using this method was closer, but still has some tweaking to go to compensate for the mismatched perspectives. After my tweaks I am going to try this method again on the female dancer and I might just revisit Kane for old times sake.

(the progression of the character sculpt)


Liana Hee said...

This is awesome Dave! I can't wait to see more! :)

Joe Daniels said...

Very cool. A few of the pictures in the middle won't load for me, btw.

dwilson said...

huge improvements man, like Joe I can't see your first pass images but the refinements in the next images show a great breakthrough.

Dave will be taking over the world soon. Rock on.

EvadAnimation said...

Thanks folks, those pictures should be fixed now.

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Francisco said...

Woww!! Great work!