Creature Modeling for Production
GOOD TO GO Guerrilla Games’ Ben Erdt takes you into the world of animation-friendly modelling – with bags of design tips along the way
Guerrilla Games’ Ben Erdt takes you into the world of animation-friendly modelling.
Even if you’ve no intention of exploring the 3D tools that Ben Erdt’s video majors in, the first section of his seven-hour tutorial is essential viewing. It’s as good an overview of how to relate personality and environment to character or creature design as you’re likely to see.
The creature Ben goes on to model doesn’t just look cool: every part of its anatomy and costuming relates to the back-story and setting that Ben has created. Whether you’re into 2D or 3D, watch and learn from this.
After the humanoid alien creature is introduced, the focus switches to 3D production for games or film, as Ben presents his workflow for building a character or creature that’s ready to hand over for animation.
Ben creates his base model in ZBrush, adopting a pragmatic mixand-match approach to his choice of tools: some DynaMesh sculpting here, a little ZSphere modelling there. He shows how to relate the level of detail you need to production requirements: if the hands are never shown in closeup, for example, there’s little need to place every pore on the skin there.
The model transfers into Modo for the rest of the video, although the principles Ben covers here apply to any 3D software with decent modelling tools. Retopologising the model (rebuilding it so that it’ll deform correctly during animation) is a necessary grind, he reveals.
Ben’s a personable tutor, offering some broader insights into working within a production team and punctuating his technical overview with quirky tips. There’s a moment when he zooms the camera so far back from the creature it becomes a speck on the horizon: the ultimate way of reading a model’s silhouette.
You’ve got your 2D concept in place – now it’s time to turn it into a 3D asset. Ben shows you how. Ben’s ZBrush sculpting revolves around ensuring that the anatomy works at all levels of subdivision. Retopologising the model in Modo is time-consuming and tedious, but necessary. Ben’s video helps you create models that not only look great, but are technically ready for animation.