2011 Retrospective: Portrait of Garrus Vakarian
When some people asked if I could create Garrus, I finally accepted the challenge. Garrus is one of my favourite characters from Mass Effect, and I know that making him would put me in alien territory (bwaha see what I did there? :P)
Hoo boy that was understatement. Thane Krios was a walk in the park compared to him.
My main challenge was the anatomy. Ok, let me backtrack a bit: It’s not enough for me to make Garrus the way we see him in the game, i.e., in his armour. I needed to create him from scratch and for me that means creating him NAKED. And with that in mind I looked at BioWare’s Turian concept art for reference:
The concept art helped a bit but mostly it generated more questions, especially around the chest area: Which parts were the exoskeleton and which ones were the fleshy bits? I just didn’t understand it. In order to make some sense of it I tried to imagine what a turian skeleton looked like and referred to actual dinosaur and bird skeletons for inspiration. It was tough considering biology isn’t my forte. I had no idea what the fuck I was doing and I was beginning to over-think things XD Anyway finally I managed to create this:
Next on the agenda was the texturing. At least here I was in a more comfortable territory, but not quite. Turian blood is blue in colour so I had to take that into consideration when creating the skin because the overall look of this texture is determined by combining several layers which represents the muscles, subdermis and epidermis. Eventually I came up with this:
It was then that I realised that my exoskeleton, nay the whole anatomy was a major FAIL but I was truthfully getting tired of working on Garrus. I then decided to render the portrait shown at the top of this post - which cleverly hides the rest of the anatomy - and take a break.
What I liked: The one thing that I was satisfied with was the texture. I’ve done all I could at the time to make it believable. Of course now that I look at it again, I know it can still be improved :)
What I didn’t like: Ugh everything else, especially the anatomy :P I really need to go back and redo it because I don’t like leaving things unfinished. Besides I have plans with my Garrus model, big plans XD I really have to work on it.
What I could’ve done differently: Have I already mentioned about the anatomy? I really need to redo the anatomy.
I intend to do an improved Garrus model very soon. It might take me a while to finally show it though. At least this time around I’ve got a sculpture teacher who can comment on the anatomy XD
Here are the links to my other retrospective posts:
Victorian Catgirl (a character inspired by Tim Hart’s upcoming graphic novel “Victoriana!”)
2011 Retrospective: Fenris
When BioWare initially revealed this “Mysterious Elf Guy” (hullo MEG people!) you could say I already started to have a crush on him XD Of course when I actually played the game, heard Gideon Emery’s voice and went for his romance I became a devoted Fengirl. So naturally, I just had to make my version of him.
Creating him in ZBrush was fairly straight forward. I used the references that were generously donated by Tasharene but the one thing that was missing was what his lyrium markings looked like underneath his outfit. I asked one of the BioWare peeps who was in charge of his animation about it but she said to just use my imagination because the team didn’t have time to make a shirtless Fenris model (but there was one planned initially for the love/breakup scene! asdfghjkl WHY DIDN’T THIS HAPPEN? WHYYYYYYY. Anyway more info on our convo can be found here). Easy enough I suppose, and trust me after painting Subject Zero’s tattoos his own markings were super easy in comparison. ^_^
What I liked: His face. I really, really like it and I’m not ashamed to admit it XD I like it so much I want to do some animations of him talking in Gideon Emery’s voice. Talking dirty. In Tevinter. HHHHNNNNGGGGGG…
What I didn’t like: His hair >_< I’m not good at creating hair and this one is just bleh. Could be better.
What I could’ve done differently: I wish I could’ve approached his lyrium markings differently. Right now they look like they were just painted on him but later on I realised since the markings were burned into his flesh they should look like keloid scars.
2011 Retrospective: Subject Zero
After creating Thane, for a while I wasn’t in the mood to create another alien. I was still in my Mass Effect 2 craze though so I wanted to create another 3D model from that game. I wanted a challenge and the decision came quickly: create Subject Zero. I was overwhelmed with her tattoos at first but after painting the first layer it became easier. It also helped that Jack is one of my favourite characters, otherwise I wouldn’t have endured XD
What I liked: I’m happy with how her tattoos turned out, though there’s always room for improvement :D For the longest time I was staring at my monitor so much my eyes hurt >_< Ah the things we suffer for our art. Anyway, when I finished painting her tattoos I was SOOOO RELIEVED you have no idea asdfghjkl
What I didn’t like: For all those layers I painted, there’s one thing that’s missing: her scars. Before creating her I didn’t notice that she had them, and when I finally was able to “see” the scars I was shocked. Those are horrible, nasty scars - maybe she initially had the tattoos done to cover them (well that’s my headcanon anyway). My painted scars didn’t look too convincing so I decided not to include them in the texture.
What I could’ve done differently: I probably would’ve spent more time sculpting her face. I spent lots of time on her texture but not much on her facial features. It’s likely not that obvious but my Jack model doesn’t have Jack’s gorgeous face, not exactly. It’s good enough I suppose, but a part of me would still like to capture Jack’s beautiful facial features.
I still want to do more Jack renders. I’ve been planning to do a series of Jack abstract nudes… perhaps when I finish my current projects I’ll start working on them XD
This piece is a gift to Tim Hart, a longtime internet friend and the creator of the upcoming graphic novel series Victoriana! (scheduled to be released next year, yay!) This character isn’t anyone from his story but rather an inspiration based on the information he’s revealed on what the comic’s about. As the world is set on alternate version of the Victorian era I chose to replicate the look of a Victorian portrait, and in the process hoped to inspire Tim in my own little way by bringing his world to life. I was thrilled that he liked it and would be using this character in his story, huzzah!
What I liked: I had lots of fun replicating the look of a Victorian photograph. I’ve even went so far as replicating the damage that can happen from age to indicate that this “photo” was taken a long time ago :D
What I didn’t like: To be honest if I had more time I wanted to create my own cat texture from scratch. This is a purchased texture, which is okay, but I find that there’s more freedom (and is greatly more satisfying) in creating a character if I could do everything from scratch. I’m obsessive that way I guess :-\
What I could’ve done differently: CAT FUR. I wanted cat fur. Unfortunately 3D fur is quite a bitch, because it takes forever to render. If I had a super computer, or my very own render farm, I would render CAT FUR.
Once Victoriana! comes out I’d most likely create more artworks for it. :)
The spouse specifically requested this piece, and since he rarely asks me for artworks I obliged. I decided early on to base my Miranda model on Yvonne Strahovsky herself - in fact this was my first attempt at a 3D model based on an actual person. Interestingly enough this piece also marks my first time to use the rendering program called Lux Render, and since then I use it almost exclusively.
What I liked: I was satisfied in how her features and textures turned out. More importantly, I was glad that my bump and displacement maps managed to replicate the look of fine hairs on her arms.
What I didn’t like: Her hair >_< I’m not really good at creating my own hair models so I had to make do with what I had. It wasn’t a terrible hair model but it wasn’t a good one either, the curls look rather geometric and unnatural.
What I could’ve done differently: (1)I’d probably make the cleft on her chin less significant. Most people don’t notice it but Yvonne does have a cleft - the right lighting and angle reveal this - but it’s not as prominent as the one I gave my model. (2) I might have given her a hair light so she could stand out from the background. I’m a minimalist at heart so if I could get away with using just one light source I’ll do it but this is one of those cases where a hair light might’ve been more beneficial.