WIP Project #1: Designing Mr.Midlife for CG 521:
For the CG 521 class, we get to create a cartoony vehicle and character. I did thumbnails of various types of vehicles to figure what to do:
My instructor and I both liked #5 the most, which was a essentially a stylized golf cart, maybe applicable for some sort of golfing game. However I had to get rid of the roof as a class requirement, effectively killing the golf cart look. The effect of quickly erasing the roofs supports gave the silhouette small horns/ears, which gave the vehicle a personality I really liked. After a bit more research I mixed in elements of vintage ferarris, which have a lot of round shapes that work well for the cartoony style.
At first, I thought the character could be a cartoony cat or bearded dragon, which the horns/ears of the car would echo how the character’s horns/ears would be stylized. However it turned out that the character needed to be human to apply concepts of human face topology taught in the class. I thought that maybe the character would be a guy going through his midlife crisis, so thus was attracted to cute/cool open roofed cars that may not be the most practical. A friend told me that Arizona is stereotyped for having lots of people in their midlife crisis, so I decided the character (or at least their car) would be from Arizona. I had been to Arizona once, and have a specific color palette associated with the state, which helped decide the final color scheme of the vehicle. I added the flame patterns to communicate how the character was trying to be a “hot shot” through his car.
Ideally, I’d like to rework how the car arches over the tires, redesign the exhaust pipe and back of the seat, and see if I can have more repeated curves to establish a better rhythm. But I have to shift gears to focus on the character before further polish. I started out with thumbnails and really rough sketches:
I really liked how the narrow skinny funnel shaped neck on the 4th silhouette from the top right gave the character a bit of an awkward alertness. I also liked the shape of having a big nose and a beer belly that hangs off of an otherwise skinny figure. After getting a general idea of shapes I wanted to play with, I did some quick gestures in Zbrush to figure out what shapes/proportions looked good in 3D:
More iterations of the character, thanks to feedback from friends. One of my friends made the point that a character in mid life crisis would be staring at his own mortality, so I made the eyes droopier in the last iteration to convey a little bit of sadness:
I then sculpted the head in Zbrush, and retopped it for animation. I wanted to pay attention to subtle forms: how does the nose echo the shape of the car’s hood? How does the outer contour of the ear echo the back of the car? How should the eyes wrap around spherical eyeballs so they can animate without fancy rigging but still look stylized? For the while the character looked a bit too proper, kind of like the villain in ratatouille. I struggled for a long time playing with the shapes to fix this…until I realized that just moving the mouth up fixed it.
While I really like this character, I spent way too long getting too caught up in the details of the face. I realized I would need to scope down if I didn’t want to rush the rest of the character. There was also the risk that it wouldn’t stylistically fit the vehicle. To design a simpler character, I just grabbed shapes from the car and stuck with shapes I knew I could easily make in Maya without relying on Zbrush. I kept the funnel neck from the previous design process.
WIP Project #2: Redesigning the dragon motorcycle
So this was the original dragon motorcycle and environment design for my CG 501 class:
Common critiques I received were that it looked a bit haphazard and not very stable, and that it’d be better if the neck had more of an arch. To make it look more aggressive. My paintover (left), and a paintover from my instructor Kamal Siegal (right):
I liked how Kamal’s version unified the neck and body shapes, but I didn’t like how the face was simplified, especially since dragon heads can get very elaborate with detail. So I did a couple more silhouette tests:
Currently the project is on hold, but hopefully I’ll be able to keep working on it.