Attempting to paint without lines. The characters should read ‘Mu shi,’ or ‘lioness’ but I had to guess the stroke order so it may be off.
Unused concepts for an unannounced game. The style has been completely changed from this so it is safe to post, but it’s fun all the same. :)
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I think this has been long enough in the works now, and I have been stuck on it long enough now that it has become appropriate to start posting about it even if it is still unfinished. I did not initially want to release this until it was 100% done, but maybe I can get some suggestions.
Many moons ago, myself and another individual had a running story going involving dolphin people and cybernetics. He had come up with his character’s look and backstory long before I ever got involved, and way back when in the heady days of teenagerdom, I drew a concept picture. I was 16 at the time. It is a little embarrassing to look back this far, but also educational in seeing how I have grown artistically since then:
I found myself wanting to do something with this character, and I decided modelling it in Zbrush would be a fun and challenging exercise in helping me to understand the program and push my limits, especially with something combining hardsurface and organic modelling like a cyborg.
I felt the design needed updating and just general improvements. The anatomy was wonky and did not always make sense, and the aesthetics of the cybernetics were confusing and busy. I had also forgotten an important element to this character. His backstory describes major scarring and some facial disfigurement, including one eye being robotic.
I started out by pushing around a cube for a basemesh in Maya:
Which I then imported into Zbrush for subdivision and sculpting. I did not UV this, as I had planned to retopologise several times over the course of modelling, and not paid particular attention to polyflow as a result. I also planned on simply polypainting the final colours in for a single, one-off render.
Here are the basic forms with scarring and a prototype heart-access panel, something else from the backstory.
The metal bit was a simple, low-poly shape made in Maya that I imported in as a separate Subtool. Hard-surfacing is not my strong point, and I have been having difficulty in re-imagining what his implants might look like. To do this, I exported a moderately subdivided version of the dolphin into Maya, so that I could be sure the pieces would fit correctly when brought into Zbrush.
The low-poly iteration for the robotic eyecover.
This is what the armour currently looks like. The metal shader is a placeholder and not at all representative of what I want the final shader to look like.
The larger parts of metal such as the chest plate and the headband were extruded extractions to ensure they would wrap correctly. They are also placed on parts of the body I do not anticipate stretching much with the pose I have in mind.
The cybernetic parts do not look right to me, and I am not altogether convinced at this juncture that they can be salvaged. I have been considering trying different methods to get a better look, but have not settled on a method of attack. I was thinking of using Zspheres in sketch mode to try out some different forms, and I have tried painting on screenshots of the model as well.
The dolphin man needs to look as if he can still swim reasonably well, so this excludes having a lot of external cables and wires, something very common in cyborg designs. He needs several ‘port jacks,’ the robotic eye, and something to do with his heart not functioning completely organically. Unfortunately, I am still at a loss as to how to proceed with the machinery.
I have been considering making a new layer in Zbrush and opening his jaw to hollow out and detail in case I would like his mouth to open slightly, but at this point I am more concerned with the machinery looking right.
If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
Drew a dragon for a name-generator website owned by a friend.
An idle Predator doodle.
Some BPR renders of the Zbrush high-poly dinosaur I made for my final submission last year.