Monthly Archives: December 2015

Environmental Squares

I revisited a project series that I has been on hold for the last year or so. I’ve always been impressed with Instagram images of different places and environments, especially by how despite the limitations of a square image format the beauty and impact of each location is still retained. As a practice and a challenge for myself I tried to paint environmental squares from different locations. To further challenge myself I try to complete each painting to two hours. I only truly achieved this recently with the swamp painting. I find that capturing the colour and details of a landscape is challenging even when there are some places in the painting that I can get away with giving less details than what is in the reference image. I still like the square concept for environmental practice but I think that it’s time to move on to rectangular landscape work and more complex concept art paintings.


Environmental Painting No.4 Swamp


(Past Work 2014) Environmental Painting No.1,2 & 3 Indonesia, Ski Alps & Desert


Presentation Reflection

Yesterday was the big presentation day. All of the late nights working and raging at Photoshop and Z-Brush led to this morning and it was great! I thought that I would not have much to talk about today and I would be scrambling for words. It was not the case yesterday fortunately and I found that I had plenty to say about the work that I did and the improvements that I wanted to make when it came to this particular project. Working with Z-Brush for the first time (and as a last minute edition) was a pretty gruelling experience but once I became more familiar with the program’s interface sculpting the character became a joy. I agree with the tutors that it would be a good idea to take this character further, there’s a lot more that can be done with it and I would like to try to bring him into Maya and project the hi-poly image onto a lower poly model that can be rigged and hopefully animated someday. There’s also proper texturing, lighting and rendering in Maya that I have not explored as thoroughly as I should. Maya is an industry standard program that I feel that I must know very well but at this point I’m more efficient sculpting models in Z-Brush. But to summarise my thoughts; the project was a very productive, gruelling and educational experience. And I want more of it.

[Blog]PresentationSlides Presentation Slides (11 December 2015)

Oh and earlier this week I had my final print sale for 2015 at DUSA. I managed to get a table close to a a electrical socket so in between selling prints and smiling awkwardly at people I managed to get a little sculpting done as well. I really enjoy taking part of fairs and selling small pieces of my work. It takes a little work to search for such open events but I really hope that I would get more opportunities like these in the future.


DUSA Christmas Fayre (8 December 2015)

Character Design: Primordial (3D Sculpting Part Four)

The last stretch! I’m a little delirious from the lack of sleep but I want to get this completed while I still have some wind in the sails. Everything I need for the presentation (in five hours wow) is as ready as it can be. I’m relieved, worried and proud all at once but I’m excited to show Phil and Brendan what I have done. I completed the painting the model and touched up certain areas lie the arm muscles and horns which didn’t look right to me. Afterwards I went onto the parts that I was dreading; rigging and compositing. I went back to using Z-Spheres in order to map out the skeletal rig. I don’t remember when was the exact moment I thought giving it tentacles was a good idea but I was cursing that decision when I was trying to figure how much articulation points (I don’t know the exact term, I just made this one up) the tentacles would need so they would be able to twist and curl over his shoulders. I can’t say that the rigging was a complete success but in the end I managed to get something out of the process and pose the character in a couple of poses. I continued on with the render passes in Z-Brush (which were more straightforward than in Maya) and spent the rest of night editing my presentation slides. So now to bed and good luck to me in five hours.

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Primordial Complete Model (Front)

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Primordial Complete Model (Three Quarter View)

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Primordial Complete Model (Profile)

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Primordial Complete Model (Back)

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Primordial Complete Model (Head Close-Up)

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Using Z-Spheres To RigScreen Shot 2015-12-11 at 4.16.40 am

Z-Sphere Rigging Continued


Primordial First Pose Variation


Primordial Second Pose Variation


Primordial Second Pose Variation (Another View)

Character Design: Primordial (3D Sculpting Part Three)

I worked on finishing the Primordial model today. On advice from Sang I started in Maya to build and complete the teeth using cylinders as base models. I ran into some problems with the inverted vertices but thankfully I had some help to fix it and then export them into Z-Brush. After that I adjusted his teeth to fit into his jawline. It took more work than I expected, having gotten used to Z-Brush’s interface it was disorienting at first to go back into Maya. I was lost for the better part of an hour but I pushed passed it in the end. I have conflicted feelings about Maya and my abilities to use it well as it’s a very overwhelming program. In any case once the teeth were fitted and detailed I moved onto painting the model which was incredibly fun. After watching a quick tutorial on Digital Tutors I changed the model’s material to one named Z-Bro Paint and got to work. The new material was excellent to paint and add colour on. The painting process went by quickly and by the time I called it a day I had the model completed (whoohoo!) and ready for rigging. But I will save the image of that for my next post.

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Modelling The Teeth In Maya

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First Attempt At Fixing The Inverse Sides

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Bringing The Teeth Into Z-Brush

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Adjusting The Teeth To Fit The Jaw

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Changing Material To Z-Bro Paint And Texturing The Teeth

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Painting/Colouring The Head

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Finishing The Head


Character Design: Primordial (3D Sculpting Part Two)

I’ve made quite a bit of progress with the Primordial sculpt the last few days and I feel good about what I have done with the model so far. Since the last time I blogged I’ve lowered the number of points using Z-Remesher and blocked out the Primordial character’s muscles and shapes roughly. I went onto defining the head, horn and facial shapes before moving onto Z-Remesher again, this time to increase the points number in order to achieve a higher level of polish and detail. I also change the working material with one that I downloaded online named z98. I preferred this material as it improved the colour and ‘feel’ of the sculpt and helped to make it look quite impressive as well. Sculpting and shaping the muscles and head was an absolute joy and I was becoming more and more excited as the day progressed. Next up will be the teeth!

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Using Z-Remesher To Lower The Number Of Points

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Sculpting Muscle Shapes and Forms Roughly

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Shaping The Head, Tentacles & Back

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Curving The Front Horns & Sculpting Additional Facial Horns

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Z-Remeshing The Number Of Points Up & Changing The Sculpt’s Material To z98

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Sculpting Muscle & Head Details

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Continuing With Detailing & Defination

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Close-Up Of Face Before Head Detailing

Character Design: Primordial (Storyboard & Animatic)

I took a few hours away from Z-Brush today to complete my storyboard and animatic. I first wanted to pitch a scene when Primordial rises out of a mountain and tears of the rock after a millennia upon millennia of hibernation. However, being immersed in the world of Vikings tv series the past month has inspired me and I decided to incorporate that universe into my storyboard. It begins with a father and son hammering nail into wood as they build a fence at a farmstead. The son startles and misses the next nail because he notices something horrible behind his father, they both turn to flee and the scene cuts to the monster character terrorising a fleet of Viking longboats attempting to attack the goliath with teeny tiny arrows and axes. Unsurprisingly it destroys most of the boats without any effort and saunters away from the fjord.


Primordial Storyboard Panels

Primordial Animatic

The music used as background samples from Wardruna’s NaudiR which I thought was absolutely perfect and did not require any additional background tracks or effects.

Wadruna – NaudiR

Character Design: Primordial (3D Sculpting Part One)

I went onto and binge watched the Z-Brush Essential Training. A friend who has experience in using Z-Brush was also kind enough to take some time to give me a terror filled crash course on sculpting a character in Z-Brush. So I began my first foray into Z-Brush sculpting with as much information I can gather stuffed into my head. I first attempted to use Z-Spheres to block out the shape but it didn’t seem to be working so I moved onto sculpting from a basic sphere. That process went a lot faster and smoother and I could get a very rough model out by the end of the day.

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Z-Sphere Sculpting (First Attempt)

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Modelling From A Sphere (Second Attempt)

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Pulling Out The Legs & First Set Of Arms

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Onto The Second Set Of Arms

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Shaping The Head

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Giving The Head More Definition

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Pulling Out The Horns & Tentacles

Character Design: Primordial (Concept Illustration & Turnaround)

Concept art painting time! My favourite part of any production process. I wanted to quickly conceptualise the angry and destructive personality of the character. I reverted back to my comfort zone and used the smokey black and white illustrative style that I am fond of. The head shape of the monster differs from the sketches that I was working on, I gave it another set of heavy horns along with a double set of mandibles. I wanted to make the character more intimidating and emphasise how predatory it is.


Primordial Concept Art

I also made the character’s model turnaround sheet; front, back, profile and three-quarter poses. This process too the longest time as I was particularly concerned with making him as anatomically correct as I am able to with my limited knowledge. Drawing his tentacles from behind was the area that I had the most difficulty with. While I was working on the model sheet for Primordial I started to consider sculpting and modelling in Z-Brush instead of Maya. The character was becoming more complicated and detailed on the model sheet and concept art so Z-Brush has become the best option for me. And also the most ambitious. So with almost no knowledge or experience with Z-Brush, I am now going to embark on my first 3D sculpting project.


Primordial 3D Model Sheet Turnaround