Friday, 28 February 2014

Material Choices

General guidelines for materials.

Thor Sculpt 90%

Here's the sort of finished sculpt. I need to go in and take out a lot of the symmetry. I'm fine with the hem being unaltered as when he runs that will bend and in that case the folds I paint for this stationary pose wouldnt work. 
Overall I'm very happy with the quality of this sculpt. Those eyes are pretty jarring though and I feel the head could use some more work to get it closer to the concept.

Also, I've had a professional critique and it was advised (though this seems to be personal preference) that I should complete one character and have it called done instead of building all three at the same time.
I had considered both ways at the start and its hard to discount the other really. That said, because I'm this far into my project with little to show for it in terms of 3D, I think it would be beneficial to just have somthing to show off sooner rather than later. Else I might just be crossing my fingers it all works out in a months time. this would act as a sort of 'pilot' character that would hopefully show off that I can do this.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Gloves and Boots

I'll be damned if I'm not a pro at sculpting folds by the end of this project. I've no doubt the folds on these are probably incorrect however I did have good reference and a fair understanding of folds. Err, really it is more interesting then it sounds.

Here we go:

I could probably have spent a day on each of these alone but there's a point where you gotta stop noodlin; that's around the point insanity starts to set in. Besides, I don't think the majority of people who see this are elitist foldsmiths- tells me that's not a word, so I will coin it here: Scott the apprentice Foldsmith. Yes.

Here be an update of the overall.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Thor update.

 So the face is pretty much where I want it to be, a little tweaking here and there and some work on the nose as well as possibly defining the features a little more without going away from my pretty much cartoony design.

Spent half the day playing with PolyPaint with the intention of just painting the eyes with this fancy technique utilizing radial symmetry but then I got carried away and started painting the skin. This isn't my texturing phase I just thought I'd try out PolyPaint to see if I do want to include that in my pipeline; I don't think I'll use it for the most part but I'll see if I can use it for creating good base textures to then work on in Photoshop. I feel like I can accomplish a lot more in Photoshop utilizing the AO bakes but couldn't hurt to try new things.

Starting looking into better render techniques instead of the default Best setting which turns out grainy for some reason. Not the best use of the rendering in Zbrush but I like it.
So what the hell, I messed the face up to look like the expression on my concept; not permanently.

Also did a spitpaint. Nothing to do with this project but I did one.

I'll get onto making the helmet now as once that's on his bonce I think it'll all come together.

Snake Demon

Friday, 21 February 2014


Thor Update

Had a lot of fun sculpting and learning today. The base I made yesterday was really lacking but once the ears and hair were slapped on it really came together. 
Been trying out new ideas for sculpting hair using Snakehook, Trim_Dynamic and a similar brush to the Dam_standard tool. So far it's working pretty well though the tips need refining as the look I'm going for is a clumped feel and not anime spikes, which as it turns out is very easy to fall into. Keeping in mind the helmet as well I'm sure there'll be a lot of tweaking involved. At any rate I've had fun and look forward to sculpting folds after this is done. Yes, folds; I am the life at parties.

Thor WiP

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Better late than never.

Thor WiP
Righty-oh! If I'll be completely honest I've been a little scared of starting the face sculpts after my first one was shot down resulting in me being confused with the direction I want to go in for Thor. Do I do what I want or what others would like?
 The concept piece I drew was simply a facial expression and not his neutral face, which is what was assumed and thus, that my model looked wrong.
Regardless, I don't think the old sculpt was in the right direction either so this one will be a bit in between both; just not with a colossal chin like was recommended.

This is just a facial-expression.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014



Today I have been working on stuff. 
Here is some of that stuff.

I made a basic (like, stone-age basic) base mesh for Fenrir's body which I'm not sure is any good so that'll be a nice little adventure for me in the next week.
At any rate here is a headsculpt practice. 

Annnd I also amended Thor's hood as it didn't look right before, added a lot more topology and connected it to the tunic so now it is a hoody. Yay, he's a little hoody.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Odin Base Mesh Progress

Early base mesh for Odin. Boots, cape, trousers and tunic to add. Again, head will be done completely in Z-brush as well as the fur trims.

Thor Base

Body base is done. I'm going to do the head completely in Z-brush because it is far less stressful than in 3D trying to get a stylized head not only modelled but topologically correct. Z-brush, then re-top. Yesh.

For reference

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Base Mesh Start

Thor's low poly base mesh for importing into Z-brush. The head is just going to be sculpted completely, I really don't want to spend an entire day trying to get the topology on the head right when I can just do that afterward in Z-brush.

Feet are meant to be that big, hands should be bigger, I'll sort that when I do the gloves.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Fenir Orthos

Pardon the sloppiness of these, I've accepted modelling will be riddled with reassessments. Getting the canine structure right is a little foreign to me, I spent 30 minutes erasing and redoing the front ortho because it just seemed wrong, and I still think it does however I remembered how human orthographics  look wrong because we're used to seeing the legs cast down into perspective.  It all lines up so should be alright.

Thor Orthos

Not very detailed as this is purely for getting the shape down. 

Monday, 10 February 2014

Odin Orthographics

 Here's Ol'Wotan ready for production. Changed a few things and will change some more while modelling (namely addressing asymmetry).

What I have added:
Fur - Added to coat, bracers and boots. The concept was lacking repetition.
Amended Cloak - The original cloak was nice however this one exposes his arms to show is strong frame instead of hiding it. The fur lining on the cloak is actual the trim for his hood, adding some story to the clothing.
Overall size - added half a head to his length and settled comfortably on three heads for his width, using the cloak (as mentioned in previous post) to boost his frame.

Looking at King Characters from Animated Features.

 So after deciding I liked  Odin in terms of scale and proportions I was about to get on with my orthographics when this irritating inkling popped into my head which wouldn't kindly go away.

 Not a great revelation or anything but I was curious as to the proportions of what I would consider the extreme of stylized characters namely Disney and the like.

 These king characters are massive in proportion being eight heads tall and a whopping four heads wide which is almost double what is considered exaggerated, or the ideal. (Loomis) Zues is another story being at nine/nine-and-a-half heads tall with actually quite weird proportions with his chest being overly huge, taking up half of his torso rather than the usual 1/3; it's undeniable he looks powerful and memorably huge.

 My Odin is currently three heads wide but next to these guys he looks small despite being eight heads tall like these. I'll look into four heads to see what happens even though I'm 100% on three; his cape will bulk him out further just like Stoic and Fergus' there.

 My point in doing this was simply to see if there was a consistency with animated king figures which there is undoubtedly. Its nice to be sure.

From left to right: 
Stoic, Dreamwork's How to Tame a Dragon.
King Fergus, Disney Pixar's Brave
Zues, Disney's Hercules

Odin Size Alteration

Something was missing from Odin in regards to making him look physically strong when people looked at the concept. After dabbling with moving around his shoulder width, height, head size and belly etc I realized the problem wasn't that he looked small, it was that there was nothing for him to contrast against on the picture to give an idea of his size.

So I present to you this picture which includes young Thor and the revised Odin on the left, and the original on the right.
Size Difference

Massive! It's somewhat unbelievable in terms of how much a person grows considering Thor is only twelve years old, all the same, that is quite the point. Odin is this king figure, he's meant to stand-out, he became king because he was a hero of countless legendary deeds; this warrior of such strength he could pierce the scales of a dragon or rip a man in twain. The one on the right is what a typical adult in this world would look like, hardly impressive.
Of course I could just add some godly effects like glowing or fancy armour but that's too cliché and completely the wrong direction of 'simple'. The clothes alone do not define the character.

As to what I've done I just shrunk his head to make him appear larger, then actually blew him up to hammer it home.

A further question that might arise from this is: If Odin is so large, surely Thor would also be large for his size considering he is Odin's son.

A good case, nevertheless, I'm using this size difference as a design trick to make Odin more exceptional while also showing how much Thor has to grow, which is a main point of the story. Also it echoes what Thor might look like later, fitting into his father's shoes.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Fenrir continued

Looked a little bare so added extras to give a more distinguished look. Fenrir has unnatural growth problems so I'm crossing that over into his age as well; as though he is ageing faster which is emphasised by the beard. Now, wolves are hairy anyway so I had to give him a beard that looks a little larger than what a wolf would have whereas on a human it would look fully-grown. The first concept has a little extra fur underneath to look like a sort of wolf-stubble however that didn't look as interesting.

I'm 100% on the beard, the next question I need to answer is what shall I do with the rest of his fur? Because having a large space of just fur would look boring, I need something to break it up and also guide the viewer to his head and chest. So far his legs, tail and body generally point towards his head with the chest being a lot larger than the hind, making it more noticeable and likely the first place someone will look. The actual hairstyling on his back (2 and 4) makes him seem less wild and more humanized, which I'm really liking; gives a feeling that he's looked after, where someone has taken the time to braid his hair.

Thursday, 6 February 2014


Fenrir the Wolf

Yesterday was thoroughly infused with canine studies. As is today. Here are some of those studies.

I grossly underestimated how much I would need to study canines to get this right however I'm confident I dont need to get wolves perfect for the purposes of this project as Fenrir is going to look a little different; so long as I get the proportions right then the face can look a little strange and that'll be fine. Drawing from different angles is a pain but worth the effort as this is my first hardcore animal study so hopefully after this I'll be ale to draw an animal alongside whatever characters I draw, and what better companion for a Viking?

Also, studying something new is made a hell of a lot easier if someone has taken the time to break down all the things you need to know, from an artists stand-point. So I feel it would be wrong to not credit the artist Autlaw. Much appreciated.

Also the existance of this Pinterest board, where I found Autlaws breakdowns, I am very grateful for.

Cheers to making other people's lives easier!

A little talk on Fenrir and where I want him to go:
 For the part of the story I am basing these designs on, (my bastardization, not official Norse prose) Fenrir is around the same age as Thor, as they've grown up together (cousins). Fenrir can talk like a human and is fully sentient. He's also a good guy, completely innocent but a badass in the fight who infact does most of the work, cus he's a big ass wolf. 
Now, the general shtick of Fenrir in mythology is he grows and grows til one day he's large enough to blot out the sun. So going on that Fenrir is not just a massive wolf for his age, but for a wolf in general. 
To recap, he's young, very large, can speak and is damn tough.
In mythology he is the son of a god and an ice-giant, as is the giant sea-serpent, Jormungandr and the goddess of the underworld, Hel. These three are fairly horrific creations and likely not too pleasing to the eye. HOWEVER! In my story Odin and Thor are not gods, just humans. So Fenrir would be the son of a man (Loki) and just a normal giant (Angrboda) which would explain his rather large growth. How a man and a giant make a wolf I'll have to think about after the project. Magic, probably.

Just messin'

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Beginning Fenrir

Revised the Odin design a tad. The belt was too high up making his upper half look too short and his shoulders were too closed in making it look like he had a small chest. 

Been spending last 5 hours looking at wolves and I'm sick of drawing them so gona get back to that tomorrow where I'll upload a bunch of scans with really poorly drawn wolves. Just burning through lots of studies to get it burnt into my skull THEN I'll stylize it.


Took a lot longer than planned, but was also a lot more complicated than I thought. I still need to go over it later to tweak compositional placements looking at angle gamuts and tonal variations but right now I just wanted get an overall design done so I could move onto Fenrir. Hopefully I'll have Fenrir done by mid-Friday so I can do an attitude concept like the Thor one.

Right then! I'll explain this a little. I stated in my previous post Odin was going to be a big, strong dude that had let himself go a bit, hence the massive wrestler style belt to help keep it all in while also adding to his strong look. I also said I wasn't going to go with a helmet HOWEVER... god, I'm so indecisive... I remembered a previous design choice which was to use moose antlers to imitate the usual winged helmet Odin is given as they're meant to reference popular lore, not completely redo it.

On top of that, the antlers give him a sort of kingly importance, as does the cape with the clasps. I didn't like the pure trousers into boots for the lower half so I broke it up and gave him a lovely Viking skirt. Manly. The first two were shirtless as to expose his powerful chest which didn't make a lot of sense considering 1) It's meant to be a cold area and although they are relatively more resistant to it, going out bare-chested wouldnt do you any good and contradict the other warmer clothing, and 2) he's a king, not a barbarian.

Some things I'll work on come Friday are scars, spears and his missing eye. Oh and he has two clasps for his cape that will have two ravens engraved upon them to reference the two ravens that, in the stories, sat upon his shoulders; Huginn and Muninn. I might include his two wolves Geri and Freki or just leave them as actual wolves for the story.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Odin's Physique

After a bit of confusion on my part with regards to mood-boards and their whole point, I'm a little better on track now.

I'm now also determined to be more decisive when it comes to design choices. I spend too much time exploring different ideas instead of developing one that is close to where I want. Even if it may not be quite so accurate with my overall style I don't think I have enough time to dawdle because who knows how long it will take. I cant wait around for lightning to strike.

Now then.

Odin - All(thecakes)Father.

I'm going with this design right here. I'll do a concept more like the Thor one soon however right now I wanted to get the physique right. He's less a body-builder and more a strongman. Meaning he isn't trying to win any competitions but be really strong. Functional strength. On top of that, since becoming the King and having to do less fighting and more politics he has become a little flabby and somewhat depressed or mentally exhausted by seeing the world for what it is. He's had enough really.
Essentially, I want him to look like he has let himself go a bit, yet could still rip a man in half with his bare-hands.

Earlier I mentioned my lack of moodboard awareness. After a little critique on workflow I was advised to stick to my moodboard and references; which means picking references that help to hone in on my target rather than give me a wider horizon. This could mean I may miss something but at it also means I'll have it done sooner which allows for more time for production. As I said earlier, no point waiting for lightning to strike I just have to trust I can make a cool design with limited pieces.

Here it is:
I stated at the beginning of this post that I would strive to be more decisive when it came to design options and this is the result of that. Questions I was asking: Hair or helmet? Lean or flabby?
Going with hair and flabby. these two strongmen here lifted for functional strength, Hulk Hogan (left) maybe less so as he was a wrestler and thus wanted to showoff yet the man in the middle there is a contestant in the Worlds Strongest Man competitions and looks counts for nothing, only the strongest. 
Want him to have a girdle as well to make it look like he's keeping his weight in a bit (getting old) while it also supports his back and pushes up his torso making him look huge. So the belly wont be showing, but his overall muscle tone will be soft and inflated.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Odin Day 1

Other than the presentation and critique, today has been spent researching and designing Odin. Still a ways off but I have a head I feel is in the right direction. Just a case of refinement. As I need to study up on some canine anatomy before going through with Fenrir I want to get Odin's design completed by tomorrow evening. I always knew design-wise this guy was going to be the easiest of the three because I draw vikings all the time. That said, trying to keep it looking not only in the same style as Thor, but also physically related to him isn't so easy. 
In regards to looking related to the boy I dont want him to be a spitting image, as though Thor is a younger version of Odin, instead I'm aiming for just an accent.

Here is a moodboard:

A little breakdown for you: I want him to have an ornate helmet, he has to look exceptional, relatively speaking, and an experienced warrior. Vikings didn't really seem to have plate armour, more chain-mail and leathers; which I like. My overall design style is simple with very little extravagance as I'm tired of seeing every hero character decked out in the most epic armour out there. Yet at the same time this guy is a sort of King archetype and so should look the business - which is where the helmet comes in. 
A key consideration here is that I don't want his face to be covered, he must have a beard (just 'cus) and a horned helmet. Just don't question me on this, okay, I really want to make a fantasy Viking.

Now for the progress on the heads. Keeping a likeness to Thor was the hard part, going to mess around with beard and hair designs tomorrow morning and then onto his attire.
Head designs
Middle one is without a beard for construction purposes. I really liked the third head, the proportions are more akin to Thor's from the way I constructed him (trust me). So probably going to take that further, though I'm sure the middle one will look better with a full beard, he definitely looks the age I want.

Helm ideas

Body type
This was curious. I imagined he would be a lean mass of muscle however the idea that he has let himself go a bit after retiring struck me as a little more interesting to look at as oppose to your run of the mill muscular dude. Completely unexaggerated of course however it's something I'll mess with tomorrow as here I just pushed the abdominals around.

Thor Critique continued

Here's a further update on my Thor critique where a tutor kindly took the time to paint-over my work to show how different mine was from my concept, and also to give an idea of what it should look like. Admittedly I went a little tunnel-vision on my sculpt and even though I do like it, it isn't the same as my concept. To clarify, the paint-over on the left was not done by myself.
Completely out of whack
Compare it to my concept.


February, 03 critique.

After a brief presentation of my work to my peers and some solid feedback I've been enlightened to the fact my concept simply doesn't match the sculpt at all. I got a little carried away with just sculpting a head bust that matched what I was thinking in my mind yet failed to reference my concept.

I'd been dreading this presentation because I thought my character would be too simple however Thor was generally well received which I'm very happy about, as it has gotten rid of any doubts regarding where to go.

Here's a rough look at the major differences, although the overall shape is wrong in the sculpt, to be more specific the chin is too small, there's no point and the eyes are too close together as well as some issues with the helmet. In the sculpt it looks like an 8 year old boy, yet the concept looks like a teenager with some attitude which is what I want Thor be.

Instead of carrying on with the sculpting this week I'm going to finish the designs for Odin and Fenrir. I was also advised to do five characters with this style which is something to consider yet I still really want to do a small playground.

Also, Thunder Throne was likened to a toilet so I'll have to amend that.