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  • Writer's pictureAbby Spencer

Character Pipeline: Modeling

Updated: May 11, 2022

Once the character's concept design was finalized, it was time to move into the 3D space. For my workflow, I start in Zbrush. I find sculpting much easier and more favorable when developing organic shapes and details. After blocking out the basic forms, I sculpted certain muscles and bones to ensure the character was atomically correct. After I was content with the proportions, I softened out the muscular details in the sculpt and focused more on the soft silhouette as intended in the original design.

Once the body was sculpted and the basic shapes were formed, I began to work on the face. While sculpting the face, I avoided adding too much detail until I was satisfied with the proportions and stylization. All the while I was also considering what kinds of expressions the character would have once animated. So I ensured I could pose the characters face how I wanted with the sculpt that I had.

After I finalized my sculpt, I brought the geometry into Maya to retopologize and prepare the model for rigging and UVing. Throughout the whole modeling process, I consistently tested the movement of the model by uploading it to Mixamo and attaching it to a temporary rig. This allowed me to preview what the character would potentially look like in motion vs in T-pose.

Since the film includes a lot of facial animation, I focused on creating clean topology that could achieved the desired facial expressions.

Once the topology was finalized and approved by my rigging artist, I created the UVs in Maya utilizing the 3D cut and sew UV tool. I found this tool to be very quick and efficient, making the UVing process enjoyable.

Sneak peek of completed model:

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