Making of the Princeby Robert Vari, Hungary Web: www.robertvari.com
The prince started out as an exercise. Finally a free weekend I can spend on realizing my own concept. I've been thinking about it all week. I usually don't do concepts for exercises, all I knew I wanted something different. Not another head, not a monster or soldier, the net is full of those. Then I remembered a photo I took last summer on a lakeside nearby. That's it! A frog is not a complicated character and it has it's certain charm :-) I really like nature photography and have some experience in it so it shouldn't be too hard.
Modeling the Frog
I set to work on the model, using the nowadays customary workflow. So I hammered out a rough model only depicting the basic body proportions of the frog not detailing it further (there is ZBrush for that). It took me 20-30 mins and this phase was done. With simple forms like this you should only be concerned with a relatively uniform topology, so you won't have any problems with detailing later down the workflow.
I exported this model into the obj format so I can continue in ZBrush. I grabbed my favorite brushes (clay, standard, inflat) in ZBrush and started work on the
imported model. Since frogs have a relatively simple form, and there are tons of
reference pictures to be found on the net you can be quite confident in your sculpting. For the final detail pass I used the standard ZBrush alphas. When I was finished with it I
deleted the now obsolete lower subdivision levels to get to the geometry ready for texturing in ZBrush. After this was done I needed to transfer it into Maya for shader setup. For this I needed the geometry with UV's, the texture, and the displacement map. I won't go into details on this (there are plenty of tuts for this on the net), only that I used AUVtile on it and generated the painted texture in 2K and the displacement map.
During modeling I was constantly thinking about an environment to put the frog in, that
would sell the model and give it more appeal. Frogs usually hang out in two places, either on the leaves of trees, or on the lakeside and shores (if you see them elsewhere it's because you caught them traveling between the two :-) At first I tried to sit it on a leaf, modeled a big leaf but after looking at it for a while, I just didn't like it. Then I had an idea for a lakeside scene with the frog sunbathing on a rock. I threw away the leaf and started on the rocky setting. The base models started simple. After some detailing in ZBrush I did a fast polypaint, then did the UV's, and finally generated the texture and the displacement map. The workflow was the same as with the frog. With the rocks finished I started to assemble the scene.