Making Frankenstein’s Monster
3D character artist Peter Zoppi reveals the attention to detail you’ll need if you want to make renders of the highest quality
Publisher The Gnomon Workshop
Price £39 ary Shelley created a monster in more than one sense of the word. Her 1818 novel Frankenstein has inspired countless interpretations of its reanimated creature. In the Showtime TV series Penny Dreadful, Peter Zoppi’s CG render adopts a gruesomely realistic approach, showing every skin crease where staples hold patches of skin together.
Peter’s making-of video is a bit of a monster, too, clocking in at over fiveand-a-half hours. Yet even this amount of time is only enough to show fragments of his production process, but you at least get to visit every key stage of his creation in decent detail.
Early chapters are straightforward, showing the sculpting of the head and body in Mudbox. Peter displays bags of authority in his narration, but the process shown here yields few surprises if you’ve scoured YouTube and forums for ZBrush or Mudbox training. More experienced artists,
Web www.thegnomonworkshop.com though, will appreciate Peter’s tour of Topogun, a specialist tool for correcting the model’s polygon distribution to make the thing easier to pose later on in the process.
The heart of this project, though, is Peter’s meticulous application of textures and shaders to the sculpture. No detail is left uncovered, including a guide to linear workflow, which is essentially about ensuring your screen displays your render colour with complete accuracy. He also dives headfirst into node-based editing in mental ray, showing how he creates shaders for skin and eyes.
If you’re guessing by now that this is an advanced-level video, you’d be right: Peter makes few concessions to inexperienced CG artists. But if you’ve got a few years in Maya and mental ray under your belt, careful study of this project will help you improve your own work no end. And whatever stage you’re at, Peter’s care over every detail in his work is inspiring.
Peter Zoppi’s game and film background means he has the skills to create hyper-real 3D renders – skills he shares in this video. If you find it hard to render realistic eyes in your CG software, Peter’s shader tips should help.