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Behind the Scenes: Not the Right Gift

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My name is Felipe Del Rio and I’m a 3D freelance artist.

This character was inspired by a drawing by my friend, Arthur. I asked him if he could create some kind of cute little creature and he came up with this angry, but also cute, cat wearing a hood.

Modeling

For the modeling part, I created some basic shapes so I could have a base to start the sculpt. The shapes were basically subdivided cubes with some extrusions and scale transformations. The whole idea was to create the basic volume of the character and not worry about the details at this stage.

Then I merged all the shapes and started the sculpting part, creating the face, giving him some fatness, and refining some details like the ears and paws.

After the sculpt I did the retopo using Bsurfaces and then separately created some parts like eyes, snout, tail, and paw details to give the character a stylized look and also to make it simple to create. For the hood, I just used the mesh from the retopo, chose the area I wanted, and added a Shrinkwrap and a Solidify modifier.

This is how it looked through the stages:

Grooming

As soon as I started this project I knew that the hair would be the trickiest part, but I also sought this challenge. When I asked my friend to create a concept for me, I asked him to make it furry. And it was a great challenge, indeed. For the main parts, the hair is really short and messy, so I didn’t have to worry so much about editing it manually. The only parts that I did edit were the paw and ears because I wanted to give them a more special look.

The character has 6 Particle Systems:

  1. The whole body
  2. Body parts that are not covered with the hood and has some larger and messier particles
  3. Month, ears, and front paws
  4. Whiskers
  5. Back paws (these I edited manually)
  6. Ears (also edited manually)

For the tail, I first created a simple Particle System for it and used children particles to create some wicks (first image below), then I unwrapped its UVs in a way that I could use the tangent force to achieve the look I wanted (second image). Finally, I used another Particle System to add some bigger and messier particles and give it a more natural look.

The hood fabric is also short and messy like the character and it has three Particle Systems: one for the main hood, one just for the borders to give it a more refined look, and one for the pompom at the top.

And now, all the Particle Systems together:

Shaders

The shaders are really simple. For the character, I used a Principled BSDF shader with Subsurface Scattering—although it’s almost fully covered with hair, some parts like the ears are not, and the SSS helps to make them stand out. And for the hair I used the Principled Hair BSDF.

The only parts with a more complex shader, but not even close to being actually complex, are the tail, hood, and paws, which contains some simple textures.

Lighting

The lighting consists of a sun lamp for key light, a plane with emission for fill light, and some spots and area lights for back light; it’s basically a 3 point lighting system. I also used an HDRI map.

In the Compositor, I just made some color corrections and created a studio endless background using the AO map to make the shadows on the ground. The scene was separated into a character layer and a background layer.

I recorded some parts of the process and posted on my Instagram page as a timelapse video:

Hope you like it! :)

About the Author

Felipe Del Rio, freelance 3D artist.

 

 

 

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