Creature Feature

Playing with Mud(box)

My first experience with mud box went pretty well. In this picture, you can see the sculptural elements I added to the turtle shell


When Turtles Fly

My next creature shall be a flying turtle.  The concept i have for this creature is that it is one that lives entirely in the sky, never touching ground or sea in all its life.  The scene I wish to set up to portray is inspired by eagle mating dances.  In these dances, eagles lock talons and mate as they plummet to Earth. 

These turtle creatures however have taken to doing the opposite of many generations, the push the edge of space to mate and give birth to a single live offspring.  Working with this concept, i have developed a creature with certain evolutionary feature to allow this. 


The shell of the creature serves to regulate the effect of pressure on the creature through the drastic changes in altitude.  The long tail serves to stabilize the creature as it re-enters the lower atmosphere.
A change in color will have occur over time, turning the creature almost entirely black so as to better absorb the heat of the sun to survive in frigid upper atmosphere.  A much deeper lower shell allows room for large flight muscles and the front fins have evolved into wings, molded after albatross wings.

Your Daily Horiscope

My first creature project is in an odd place right now.  Of course, nothing is going as planned. However, there is a great deal of progress to share.  First, the concept.  This creature is my take on the astrological creature Capricorn.  I have taken the approach of scaling certain physical traits of a goat into the for of correspond physical traits of a dolphin in an attempt to make a compelling and creature concept.

Here is a quick rendering of the creature, low poly model.


This rendering is of a low poly model with a normal map baked off of a high poly model.  The normal map capture is where i am current having the most difficulty.


Here you can see the normal map and the uv map.  both are crucial to the type of rendering I’m hoping to produce.  The UV map  helps accurately place textures. The normal map dictates home the normals of each pixel of the model react in order to portray more detail than actually modeled.

Things have certainly not gone as smoothly or as successfully as I would have liked.  The normal map isn’t reading right and I still have to generate a diffuse map. I will continue to work on these things but in the interest of time and motivation, i think its best to start my next project and work on the two different project simultaneously. Please look forward to more news and more creatures!



This high resolution wire frame render of my self portrait was used for another project but it illustrates the edge flow well.

The New Face of Portait Modeling

The first face model I was working on and had posted here wasnt working out, I had neglected the importance of edge flow.  Then  found this tutorial series  He does a great job of instilling the importance of proper edge flow and his extrusion technique was very useful and successful. Still a bit of work to do, obviously have to finish the neck and the back of the head.  The next step would be to generate a low poly model suitable for game development.


Demo Reel?

One of the end goals of this semester of work is to produce a demo reel.  I of course have my own ideas of what should be in my demo reel, but it doesn’t hurt to take a look and see what other people are including in theirs.

This first demo eel shares a lot of similarities, as well as differences, with the kind of demo reel I plan on producing. Some of the similarities would be; This demo reel is designed to demonstrate rigging skills and uses unique creatures and characters to do that.  It also shows “behind the scenes” footage of the models and rigs in the work space.  These are both things I intend to do with my demo reel.  The big difference, however, is that there are no unique worlds here, all the creatures exist within the same world of “rigging demonstration”.  That is totally understandable, especially since  creator indicates right from the bat that this demo reel is to demonstrate rigging skills.  I hope to demonstrate some conceptual abilities in my own demo reel by showing some of the unique worlds I will also create.


I think this second demo reel does a great job on presenting not just unique creatures but also some more of the concept and design behind them as well.  I also like this demo reel because it shows that works can be at different levels of completion but still be great assets to a demo reel.The part of her demo reel towards the end that showed concept drawings next to finished models really shows are ability to execute designs well.  Maybe I could integrate something like that into my own reel.

The creator of this last demo reel seems to have gown through a similar process to create their creatures as I plan to do.  He shows inspiration for texture and form she pulled from real creatures which is something I plan to do as well.  By showing the other maps ( such and UV map and normals map) of the creatures, he demonstration a high level of understanding and skill in the more advanced aspects of modeling with high detail.

A new Semester, A New Thesis

There is perhaps no more stronger display of conceptual prowess than creating worlds.  Worlds can be, and can contain, anything.  It is this property that makes the ability to create worlds such an impressive display of concept.  A world doesn’t have to be as immense, or as complicated as our own either.  Everybody has heard the phrase “in their own little world”, anything can become a “world”.  So what makes a world? I’d say that the answer to that is pretty basic.  What makes a world is what inhabits it.


            When somebody is in “their own little world”, they are the only inhabitant.  But then they could expand their world to the world of their home, in which their family, pets, and furnishing are included in that world.  They could then expand that world again to include all of Earth, or go even larger still and include all of the Milky Way, or maybe even the whole universe.  When a fictional world is created, there is even more freedom.  Freedom to decide how big or small that world is, who or what inhabits it, or even if it has any pre-conceived notions of what a world should contain at all.  You could create a world where the inanimate is animate, where physics no longer apply, or even an empty world.  The next step, for one who wishes to demonstrate their concept, is to explore that world.


            My goal is to build worlds, to build a virtual “own little world” inhabited by my virtual self, and worlds of land, sea, and air occupied by unique creatures that know no other world than their own.  I believe the best way to tell the story of these worlds is to follow and examine the beings that occupy these worlds and how they may interact with the space they live in.  These worlds will be simple, but as stated before, a world can be  big or small, or complex or simple.  Large and complex worlds are nice, but are by no means any better than small or simple ones.  My portfolio already contains the large and complex world of Orikamii, it is time to build smaller and more simpler ones. 


            This opportunity to create small or simple worlds and focus simply on the inhabitants of that world is just what I need to build out my portfolio and show my versatility as a conceptual creator to Grad schools or future employers.  The creatures that inhabit these worlds will also offer great opportunity for growth of knowledge and demonstration of skill through the use of new and advanced modeling, rigging, and animation techniques.

The efforts of this semester should prove to be both very informative and very useful for my eventual creation of a demo reel.  I look forward to presenting these new and exciting works.


Turning the Page

Its about time to sit back and look at what has been accomplished, and whats next to be done. Here is the culmination of my effeorts of Spring Semester 2012, OriKamii.  OriKamii shouldn’t be anything new to anybody who might follow this blog but the video itself is new; its my latest expression of the Orikamii world.  This may be my final Conceptual exploration of Orikamii for a wile but the game isn’t dead.  I have hopes of putting a team together in the future to make it a real game.  I’ll let you know when the happens. Haha.

Face Build Progress

My face build is going well.  I’ve worked out that I should model a generic face, map the uvs for it, set up blend shapes for the rig, and then take that model and modify it in two separate files to build my self portrait and Break face models.  That way, I will only have to map uvs and rig a face once.  I will be able to modify all the blend shapes as I tweak the faces by using the bake to targets command.  Here’s how the generic face build after two working sessions.


Progress is slow and I’ve had to backtrack a few times but that’s to be expected with any learning experience.  This model already looks way better than any face model I’ve done to date.