View Full Version : Ottergirl Character
12-26-2010, 12:58 PM
So I'm taking a shot at doing a ottergirl based on one of my gf's character designs. I'm hoping to get this to a reasonable point and surprise her with it. Also, I'm awful at characters but what the hell, practice practice! :P
Most of her drawings of the character are kinda cute atm. She had some really good concepts drawn but I can't find any of them at all. I'll sneak them out from under her nose in a few days. >:3
She has a whole back story for these otterpeople. They had a sorta native-american/celtic theme to their culture as far as I can remember.
I'm struggling with nailing down a balance between realistic and a more stylized look for the head as well as trying to keep the character relatively attractive. I've also been blocking out the body a bit with some musculature even though most of this will be smoothed out to get a sleek, ottery look later on. I guess It's just for completeness sake.
In the image below you can see two different versions of the head. Which do you guys think works more? The more realistic, small-eyed version or the stylized, large eyed version? I personally feel a bit freaked out by the realistic version, it's a bit too Dr Moreau. :/
Edit: Oh, I'm using Talon's basemesh! Thanks Talon :3
12-26-2010, 03:50 PM
Kind of looks frightening at the moment, like the Khajit in Oblivion. Might be better if you go for a slightly more stylized look akin to that of WoW or Disney. Where it's not completely realistic but still grounded in reality. Take a look at Makkons gallery for some ideas on how to pull of realism without the "moreau" factor: http://www.polycount.com/forum/showthread.php?t=68879
12-26-2010, 04:40 PM
Thanks for the link! Having looked at his gallery and then a bunch of other art I suspect the creepy factor is coming from me trying to blend a human and otter head. Uncanny valley related thing, maybe? I'll try again with a 100% otter head and see how it looks.
12-26-2010, 05:15 PM
okay, I think I', on the right track. Face seems less freakish and a bit more friendly? Or maybe I'm just going crazy. What do you guys think?
12-26-2010, 08:47 PM
I wonder whether you could find a more happy medium between the realistic human proportions and those of an otter.
She's got quite broad shoulders even by human female standards. I think if you shrank them down and pulled them in much closer to the body it'd be a good start. Otters are also very streamlined. Maybe if you scaled down the head a bit and worked on the neck so the forms of her body flowed more smoothly it'd feel a bit more otter-like, though I guess that'll be drifting away a bit from your girlfriend's design.
12-27-2010, 06:09 AM
I'll give it a show and see what it looks like and post some results here. :)
12-27-2010, 07:30 AM
12-27-2010, 09:22 AM
the otter girlfriend story almost looks like an excuse to make 3d furry porn.. sorry but i had to say
12-27-2010, 09:28 AM
She will be clothed in the end! XD And I think her groin area is about as close to being completely modelled as it's ever going to get.
If I wanted to make furry porn I wouldn't need to make some kind of elabourate justification on polycount anyways. :P
Edit: Also, it boggles my mind that there would be any need to make more furry porn than there already is D:
12-27-2010, 01:23 PM
Okay, working a bit on the hand. Hands are one of the areas where I just have a brainfart and flail about not knowing what I'm doing. :(
Progress so far:
12-27-2010, 03:58 PM
The kneck muscels are connected incorectly to her skull, Her knecks too thick, Her abs are anatomicly incorrect, obliques connect incorecctly, why would you be able to see her abs ribcage & obliques if she had fur? the clavicle looks like a plate instead of a bone, the latisimus dorsai needs more mass, shoulders are too high which make the boobs too low, the index finger is too short, the pinky is too long, all of the finger joints are inaccurate and all her fingers are too small for her hand.
IMO the face looks silly. Again my opinion.
Don't bend the last section of the fingers.
Now is a good time to retopo everything and focus on doing a strong lowpoly base with nice planar changes and strong form. You are being distracted by the sculpting tools at the moment.
Also, when you need to 'extrude' out a shape at the sculpting stage, do go over it with layer brushes - it will soften everything around it. Simply mask out the rest then drag the unmasked areas. Everything will look more powerful that way.
12-27-2010, 07:02 PM
Thanks for the tips you guys! :D I've done a tiny bit more work between now and the last time I checked this thread, lemme post that up quick.
I think I've taken care of some of Bonner's concerns already (the muscles, softness and clavicles). I'll do a bit more work on the latissimus and the neck and then retopo.
There were a couple of things that I didn't udnerstand in your post, pior. Why specifically do you use layer brushes over something like clay brushes? I can't see a downside, but I can't see an upside either. Clay Buildup is a pretty strong brush on it's own. I'm not trying to evangalise for clay brushes here, just trying to understand your POV. :P
Also, what do you mean when you say "niec planar changes"?
Thanks again for the crits! <3
Oh I dont know the specific Zbrush terminology - Im just saying that you will get stronger results by masking areas and pulling shapes out with the move tool, instead of 'building' such sapes with a layer or clay brush.
The shoulders and clavicle areas are a good example of that. I can tell that you 'surfaced' them with multiple clay/layer strokes ; but simply masking stuff out and pulling the shape out with a move brush would have been much more powerful. It's also faster.
12-27-2010, 08:03 PM
I see! Thanks for clarifying there. Could you explain what you meant about nice planar changes for the retopo? I tried googling that but I just got a lot of tutorials about UV unwrapping! :P
12-27-2010, 09:50 PM
Faten her up
Make arms shorter
As for planar changes - well if you take the time to retopo your mesh and build a nice polygonal base, you will have a lot of nice opportunities to really define strong volumes - because lowpoly meshes are just good at that. Think of lowpoly as a chance to use a strong chisel, instead of 'meltling' surfaces. You can also take the basemesh stage a bit further by defining creased edges, then export that as nice subdivided mesh to sculpt from.
Hope it makes sense!
12-28-2010, 06:05 AM
@Builder: Thanks for the ideas! I will be making her a bit curvier for sure. I guess the ideas about shortening the arms and elongating the torso are aimed at making her anatomy more otterish? (that's an awesome word :D) As for the shoulder's making them wider would make her more masculine and less ottery, wouldn't it?
@Pior: Ahh, yeah, that makes sense! What do you think the main advantages of retoping are at this stage? The Base I started from was relatively clean to begin with. For me the main advantage will be defining some of the arm and leg muscles a bit better and being able to get good edge flow for the face. Here's a pic of the same sculpt but the frames on so you can see the topology better.
12-28-2010, 11:40 AM
Shaping up nicely! I think you could improve the base mesh more by making the tail a little bigger, especially in the area it extends from. Make it look more like a naturally extending part of the body than something that just "grew out one day", no offense meant :P
12-28-2010, 01:10 PM
12-28-2010, 08:39 PM
Phew! All done with the retop. I did think about Pior said about using this as an opportunity to define the mesh a bit more. But the more I looked at the model the more I felt that the only place there was going to be much definition at all was going to be in the hands, feet and face. So those are the only areas that are defined while I made the rest of the mesh kinda smooth and sleek as befits a streamlined otter. I think the major upside so far is that there are more polies in the face to work with.
Also, just so people are aware, I know these aren't great edge loops. I'll focus more on those after I'm done in zbrush and I'm doing the second retop and don't have to work in quads.
12-28-2010, 11:11 PM
I'm probably coming in a tad late in the process, but I just wanted to offer my two cents.
I think you would have benefited a lot from having a solid concept of this character, to define the proportions, shapes, and feel of the character. It's best to make these important choices early in the process, since major changes and adjustments can be made easily and quickly. As you may have already noticed, this is not so easy to do while modeling.
Just my two cents. You don't have to consider any of what I've shown, I haven't seen your GF's concepts and I don't know anything about the backstory.
I drew a few quick sketches just to show my interpretation of this character. I always start with some facial studies of the animal so I can get a better feel for it's shape and volume. There are a lot of species of otter, and they look pretty different when they are still young, and very different when they're wet. Otters are a tough animal, as in my opinion they are difficult to make them appear attractive/appealing.
I made a few more stylized choices in her proportions and shape, especially in the arms and head/neck.
12-29-2010, 04:15 AM
Damn, Makkon you're awesome.
Feanix: I'd seriously consider incorporating Makkon design into this if it doesn't clash too much with your GF's work. The silouette looks way more "otterish" at a distance, while yours at the moment looks a little like a cat, at least until you get closer to it.
Two different stylizations on the same subject here, but in my opinion Makkons hits that sweet spot where it's anthropomorphic and it's easy to identify the animal it's based on.
All up to you though, good luck further :)
12-29-2010, 04:25 AM
those cheeks are too inflated. and the snout too big. also, an otter's skull doesnt come back like a human's does at the top of the spine. take a closer look at the pic above my post.
12-29-2010, 07:46 AM
*flails like crazy* holy**** Makkon, i freakin love you so much! Seeing this makes me wish I had done more concepting early on but I'm pretty much certain that I could never have done such an awesome job.
I would actually like to show the ACTUAL original concept here but I don't have permission and I can't get it without completely spoiling the surprise so boo. Her concept wasn't quite as thought out and sophisticated as yours, anyways. :P Hers are basically human bodies with tails and animal heads (I know I'm selling her badly here, she isn't a bad artist at all, just being untactful for brevity's sake). So I wonder if she would feel these sketches are too much of a departure from human form to fit the image in her head. She might, of course, adore these as much as I do.
The good news is that I think that I can actually incorporate a lot of your suggestions! Most of these are so large and general that they can be done on the lowest subdiv in zbrush without too much trouble. There will be some work that will need to be redone but in my opinion it would be worth it.
I'll show her your sketches and see what she thinks. Thanks so much for doing this, I really appreciate it! :D
12-29-2010, 11:37 AM
Accidental double post, ignore this!
12-29-2010, 11:40 AM
Okay, I've done a bit of work adjusting the form of the head to match more closely to Makkon's sketches. I'd be interested to hear how you guys think I'm doing :)
12-29-2010, 12:30 PM
looks better, but the face is a bit Male-ish now :P
12-29-2010, 12:47 PM
I'm going to narrow the top of the head and the jaw and make the eyes slant a bit. Hopefully that will resolve that issue. :3
12-29-2010, 02:32 PM
Here we go:
12-29-2010, 02:50 PM
thats much better :3
12-29-2010, 02:54 PM
Nice! Really getting good this, as for the latest update, try making the entire snout area a little longer and push her snout forward a little, not much, but just enough to make it look less like it was pushed inwards :P
keep up the good work man, this is turning into a very interesting piece.
12-29-2010, 03:47 PM
Thanks for the words of encouragement, cap and skam! :D
I took a break from ZBrush for a bit and did a really awful clothing concept sketch. It's helped me nail down some ideas and start thinking about colour anyways. She's generally drawn wearing dungarees and shorts so I tried to stick with that whilst making it a little more visually interesting.
12-29-2010, 04:28 PM
gud jowb. I like this design much better.
12-29-2010, 04:56 PM
Oh ya nice.Much different.Id probally shorten the arms and faten them up.Oh another thing.Arent otters like rectangle torso?I think t hat may help instead of being tringle torso.
12-29-2010, 05:40 PM
I like how it's coming along, interesting to watch. Keep at it.
12-29-2010, 05:43 PM
@Builder: They do have square torsos but they also have four nipples on their abdomen. I'm not going to give this character four boobs on her stomach. I'm pretty much keeping the torso more human female than otter female.
12-29-2010, 09:08 PM
Ridiculous amount of improvement on this second page. Keep it up.
12-29-2010, 09:45 PM
Yeah the progress on this looks great! Haah four boobs.
Cool design for the clothing, just remember where individual pieces are going, how straps are attached, etc. Keep it uup :)
12-30-2010, 12:31 AM
Head is looking TONS better! The anatomy as it stands for the body is still a little weak, but the improvement you've made on this character since your first post is profound.
BTW, glad the sketch helped a little :)
12-30-2010, 05:22 AM
@Jessica: Glad you like the design! Thank you!
@Makkon: Woo! Thanks Makkon, you helped me a lot with your drawings! The body hasn't seen much change at all, I'm afraid. I'll be talking to said GF within the hour and we'll see what she says about the stylised body. If she likes it I'll go ahead and implement it. :3
That said, I'm going away to cisit her until the 10th and she aint got no ZBrush! :O So progress on the sculpt, at least, won't progress til then.
Thanks again everyone! :D
01-12-2011, 02:05 PM
Okay, I'm back! Starting to try and improve the body a bit. Makkon's arms are proving tricky to implement, particularly the claw fingers because the existing topology fights those shapes.
01-12-2011, 08:32 PM
wb! Body still needs to be a little more stramlined, like in makkons sketch. At the moment the hips seems way too wide. Study the body sketch in makkons drawing a bit more and try incorporating it's flow. A front and side shot might make it easier for potential red-penners to add in adjustments btw :)
As for the arms, I'd leave them be at the moment and instead fokus on the rest of the body, it might be easier to incorporate the arms Makkon sketched out when you have the rest of the body closer to that sketch, you will probably have to redo them from scratch though :P As for their design, I don't think makkon meant for them to be "clawed" human hands, but closer to an otters paw, blending in the look of a human hand, slightly.
Anyway, Keep it up!
01-13-2011, 10:44 AM
After seeing this competition (http://www.polycount.com/forum/showthread.php?t=79722) (http://www.polycount.com/forum/showthread.php?t=79722) between a few of the guys here on polycount I had this exact same idea (making an otter-girl). I love otters! they're the best. Good luck dude, can't wait to see how it turns out!
01-14-2011, 02:34 PM
I feel like I'm starting to hit a brick wall in terms of form here. As much as I try to emulate Makkon's sketch I can't seem to perfectly match his flair. :(
Anyways, some progress. I know it's pretty had to see that anything's different, most of the changes are fairly minute.
The reason you're not progressing is most likely lack of anatomical knowledge. Everything is very soft right now and there's no form, its just smooth. If you look back the form was better at the top of the page, and it's slowly been getting more and more mushy. The only areas that reveal any surface contour are the boobs, upperarm and collarbone areas, which are all incorrect. There's no way to fudge this really, if you're not using reference it would help you a lot.
Considering that you plan to put clothes on this character though you're possibly over analysing this step. Just make sure the proportions are correct and worry about sculpting the bits you can see through the clothes later.
01-14-2011, 06:06 PM
Thanks for the advice Ida. I guess I keep swinging back and forth between trying to show muscle forms and making her "streamlined".
01-14-2011, 07:04 PM
It's a tricky character to get balanced.
I'm pretty sure there were anthropomorphised otters in the Chronicles of Narnia, although on quick Google search I can't see any images.
I made quick edit for you using boobs enhancement tool. I hope it will be helpful.
You have to push her feet back because she is off-balance. Always take care of center of gravity and pose of yours characters. Even though your character don't have great anatomy or details, good posing make it believable. Cartoon characters often are extremaly simple but proper pose, weight and a bit of acting can make them nice piece of art.
01-15-2011, 12:29 PM
Oo, thanks Ponk! I'll try to adjust that posture. "Boobs enchancement tool?"?! Also what do you mean acting and weight?
"Boobs enchancement tool?"?!
Liquify Filter in photoshop.
Also what do you mean acting and weight?
Acting is about body language (http://www.dict.pl/dict?word=language&lang=EN), comon emotions articulated by pose. For example fearfull criter will be more readable when he crouch a bit. Try it.
Good weight is when you see/ feel that character is standing firmly on ground, its arms have some mass thus shoulder are pulled down, ect.
I suggest you to go to http://mjranum-stock.deviantart.com/ (or something similar), and draw some poses on paper. Quick pen sketches, about 2 minutes per each. Analize realtions between bodyparts and try to "block" whole silhouettes, you will learn alot about anatomy and posing.
Good luck! :)
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