Tam­ing Zbrush Beasts

Tony Camehl gives us the low­down of his jour­ney and pro­vides his ex­pert tips for cre­at­ing your own menagerie

3D Artist - - CONTENT -

Tony Camehl gives us his top tips for cre­at­ing fan­tas­tic crea­tures

Winged mon­keys, grif­fin hy­brids and an anatom­i­cally ac­cu­rate pose of a jumping fox – Tony Camehl has sculpted them all. You wouldn’t ex­pect it from some­one who ini­tially stud­ied busi­ness law but Camehl is ac­tu­ally one of the most in­spir­ing artists to break into the world of crea­ture con­cepts to­day. “I have al­ways been in­ter­ested in 3D since I was a kid and it felt nat­u­ral to me to learn 3D and Zbrush even be­fore I picked up a pen­cil and learned how to sketch an­i­mals and crea­tures,” he says.

Camehl’s love for crea­tures be­gan at home as his par­ents have al­ways had pets. “They had the usual ones like dogs and cats, my grand­par­ents had ducks and geese as well so I kind of grew up sur­rounded by an­i­mals. Even to this day, my par­ents have got two won­der­ful and cute Bri­tish short­hair cats called Fips and Mickey. I learned so much just by be­ing around them and see­ing how they be­have with each other – how they play and sleep to­gether.”

Camehl says that there is some­thing that draws him more to the study of an­i­mals than most. “To be hon­est, I feel much more com­fort­able when sur­rounded by an­i­mals than be­ing with hu­mans. You never have that pres­sure on you if you are alone in a room with

your dog or cat. Your pets don’t ex­pect you to do small talk. They don’t judge you like hu­mans do. They deal with you the way you are and they aren’t try­ing to change you into some­one else. So to make a long story short, I never con­sid­ered do­ing char­ac­ters, ro­bots or en­vi­ron­ments. My true pas­sions are only an­i­mals and crea­tures.”

Fan­tas­tic Beasts

At Mas­sive En­ter­tain­ment (a Ubisoft stu­dio) in Malmö, Swe­den, Camehl is cur­rently a crea­ture con­cept de­signer, work­ing in 2D, sketch­ing and then mov­ing onto 3D with Zbrush and Keyshot. He got his start in the in­dus­try by be­ing a free­lancer, ini­tially work­ing on smaller gigs like book cov­ers and on in­de­pen­dent film projects.

“Af­ter I started cre­at­ing my own crea­tures based on ex­ist­ing IPS, the tech­ni­cal art di­rec­tor at Mas­sive En­ter­tain­ment, Se­bas­tian Lind­off, saw my work on Artstation and one thing led to an­other,” he says.

This crea­ture work in­cluded his vari­a­tions on Buck­beak, the fic­tional hip­pogriff from the Harry Pot­ter se­ries, which Camehl com­pleted a full body pose of as well as three beau­ti­ful dif­fer­ent pro­files of head con­cepts. One ver­sion fea­tures stun­ning shim­mer­ing grey-blue feath­ers with bright topaz eyes. An­other is a more stoic ea­gle-like con­cept with sleeker plumage.

On the other hand, Camehl has also stud­ied the re­al­is­tic forms of mam­mals like African wild dogs, li­ons, deer and more. Some of these have taken the form of écorchés, which ob­serve the minute de­tails of the an­i­mal’s mus­cu­la­ture with care­fully and cor­rectly placed an­no­ta­tions of ev­ery sin­gle mus­cle name. Know­ing an­i­mal anatomy, he says, should def­i­nitely be a re­quire­ment in his field.

“It is es­sen­tial for any crea­ture de­signer to know the anatomy of ex­ist­ing, real an­i­mals. That means for ev­ery artist who wants to work pro­fes­sion­ally as a crea­ture de­signer, 90 per cent of your work will be re­search­ing ex­ist­ing an­i­mals, their be­hav­ior and anatomy, and how to draw or sculpt them to a re­al­is­tic level. The miss­ing ten per cent is us­ing your knowl­edge to cre­ate be­liev­able crea­tures. So do your home­work – it will pay off and is worth it!”

One of the most no­table things he’s learned about sculpt­ing an­i­mals is the sim­i­lar­ity to hu­man anatomy, “If you com­pare the anatomy of a hu­man with that of a lion, both have the same mus­cles and bones. Even the names are the same. Af­ter I learned that there is no real dif­fer­ence when it comes to the anatomy be­tween dif­fer­ent an­i­mals – that only the shapes look dis­sim­i­lar – it be­came much eas­ier to sculpt and draw them.”

Mak­ing the Menagerie

But Camehl doesn’t make a dis­tinc­tion be­tween mod­el­ling real an­i­mals or fan­tasy ones. “To be hon­est I pre­fer sculpt­ing or mod­el­ling both. Be­ing able to cre­ate real an­i­mals in 3D helps you

de­sign fic­tional crea­tures and push them to an al­most real and be­liev­able level.”

And no mat­ter the crea­ture, Camehl will start the same way, look­ing through his Pin­ter­est for ref­er­ences and brows­ing his an­i­mal boards. It’s not just a few im­ages saved, though. To date, Camehl has 65 boards with over 78,000 pins, mean­ing that he has a huge back cat­a­logue to utilise, “Mostly I am look­ing for in­ter­est­ing be­hav­iour or poses. I am not only look­ing for just one photo but a lot of them from dif­fer­ent an­gles to get a feel­ing for the body in 3D space. Dur­ing the re­search step, I also watch a lot of Youtube videos to help me get a feel­ing on how the an­i­mal is mov­ing, how it in­ter­acts with its en­vi­ron­ment and so on.”

As soon as he is fin­ished with his re­search, he is ei­ther do­ing some quick pose stud­ies in 2D or jumping into 3D right away for sculpt­ing. “I think as an artist you should be able to do 2D as well as 3D these days. Be­ing able to quickly sketch ideas us­ing Pho­to­shop or pen and pa­per is as im­por­tant as trans­fer­ring these sketches into a 3D space us­ing Zbrush or any other 3D sculpt­ing soft­ware,” he says.

Camehl mostly uses Zbrush, Keyshot, Pho­to­shop and pen and pa­per for his art. Re­cently, though, he got his hands on Ocu­lus

Rift and Medium, and saw some great po­ten­tial in cre­at­ing great work quickly in the vir­tual re­al­ity space. “It is just mind-blow­ing and it def­i­nitely helped me [with my sketch­ing] be­cause in Ocu­lus Medium you lit­er­ally are able to ‘sketch’ in 3D space, which makes ev­ery­thing so easy. It is a real time-saver to quickly sketch a crea­ture or an­i­mal and im­port it into Zbrush to push it to a fin­ished level.”

never stop Learn­ing

As for the fu­ture, Camehl is al­ready look­ing for­ward to what he can work on next. “There are so many an­i­mals and crea­tures I would love to work on. For ex­am­ple, I want to sculpt and learn more about birds. I also re­ally want to get into di­nosaurs and dis­cover more about those won­der­ful and sadly ex­tinct crea­tures. My plan is to sculpt and draw as much as I can dur­ing my free time. The why is easy to an­swer – but my time man­age­ment is su­per bad!”

And fi­nally, he has one piece of ad­vice for artists look­ing to im­prove their crea­ture port­fo­lio: “It is as sim­ple as it sounds – do your home­work. It is es­sen­tial that you put the time and ef­fort into learn­ing real an­i­mal anatomy, be­hav­iours, move­ments and so on. Be like a sponge and ab­sorb as much knowl­edge as you can.

“If you have dif­fi­culty go­ing to the zoo, then use pho­tos and videos. Prefer­ably try to find places where you can in­ter­act with an­i­mals of all kinds. Even with your pets. You will learn way faster and a lot more that way than by just study­ing pho­tos.”

an anatom­i­cally cor­rect lan­gur mon­key

a ren­der pro­file of one of Camehl’s projects

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.