So the initial concept behind this character, came to me as part of a series. Since I’m a fan of astrology I thought that it would be a good idea to make a character series based on the 12 signs of the Zodiac. Sagitarius being one of those signs. However when developing this I really wanted to show my own interpretation of the concept and make this character really look very original from the initial concept that I had in mind. So the very first thing that I do before doing any character development is giving my characters a back story
So the story that I decided to give this character is one of forbidden love a love between a senataur and a human. The senataur being an outcast and the human being a princess. For their forbidden love the princess was killed and the senataur had war armor burned on to his skin. Then the kingdom of the princess would use him as a weapon of war, chaining him up only to unleash him on their enemies. The rage in his heart from the death of his love can never be quenched, making him an ideal weapon of war. In this world a Senataur can live for 500 years and has the strength of 3 humans, at this point this character has spend nearly 300 as a mindless killing machine. His humanity Lost with his love, with the only glimmer of him getting it back is when he looks at the moon light thinking of the times that he looked upon the moon with his former love.
Initial mood board
So the initial concept was to make a traditional senataur. So to start off on that I first had to make the horse part. So I first Gathered some concept art about horses
Unfortunately this is not enough for me to make a horse. So I started searching images of horse Anatomy
With the help of these References, I took this information in to Zbrush and quickly Brushed up a horse to start of
As part of the next part of this process I decided to use male character I created as part of a human anatomy study, as the torso for this creature. here is the result
As soon AS i Placed these 2 pieces together I realized that I would have to adjust the proportions for both of them. The human part would need a wider waist to match the neck area of a horse, Then you Would have to make the shoulders wider on the human to be more proportional in-size to the body of the character. Then after looking at it I just thought that the legs of the horse were too weak looking to support the weight of a human torso. So going back to my research in to the horse anatomy. I cam up with the result below.
So after Getting the proportion to something that I was ok with, I was ready to start with making the armor. So the first thing I decided to do is to find some art to help inspire me.
Having a basic concept of the story really helped me hone in on the art style that I’m looking for. Since the character is treated like a beast and released to kill like a barbarian, I thought that barbarian Type armor would be perfect. So with that I created several version of armor for this character.
At this point I thought that having a horse-head on his helmet would not be a very original Idea, I looked at the red flume that I gave him, And decided to make it in to a sea horse. This way the concept would be vastly different from what anyone else would have thought of. So first thing first to get to that stage of the process. I needed to look up and learn on seahorses, so I started gather references.
With the help of those reference I decided to Continue Refining the armor, While at the same Time refining the character.
So at this point I thought that this would be the character that could become a great portfolio piece for me, and I’m going to paint it in Mari. Also at this point I started seeing chess theme in this character, and decided to go with it and in a way integrate the look of every chess piece in this character.
So looking at the character Now I think that I want to change his to Something older and a bit more brutal Looking, so for this I already found the concept art.
At this stage I decided to retopologize the character using the 3DS max retopologizing tools. This was a bit more difficult to accomplish then expected because of the separate pieces of armor, meaning that i had to constantly hide pieces to be able to view other pieces.
After retopologizing the character, I decided to unwrap the character. Since the character is so complex I decided to split him in to several parts. One for the head, one for the body, and one for the armor, below are the results.
At this point I have already done all the modeling and its time to add color and render it.
In this stage I decided to find real life models, to photograph so that I could Have there textures, Here are some of the photographs I took
Testing Bump and Displacement
Creating Maps in Mari
After remodeling his face I decided to focus on really giving him some great textures. So I went full throttle in to learning how to texture in Mari. In here I learned All the ins and outs of the various techniques of using layers in Mari. In here I had alot of challenges that I had to face such as learning of a good workflow of Zbrush to Mari. Learning how to work with patches and Offset UV’s, which was very new to me. So after doing my research and learning how to set up the bump maps and normals in Mari. I went in to coloring my Diffuse in mari, starting off with my Back scatter layer.
. This layer was not that difficult after I mastered how to use patterns in various ways in Mari. I also created another layer for individually drawn veins that I wanted to emphasize on both his head and arms. Next I just used a simple pattern to create my sub-dermal layer.
After I finished painting everything, I just flattened the layers and Created the fallowing layers to import in to making My SSS material in maya.
Setting up the Eyes and a SSS Shader
So the first thing that I decided to do was to also import the eyes from Zbrush that I had and quickly put a texture on them.
The next thing that I worked on was actually setting everything up. Now this was quite the challenge mainly because I had a character whose head and body were separated meaning that his body was on one patch and his head was on another. So it was actually quite a difficult process to have both the texture be input properly when applied to the mesh. So the way that I dealt with this was by using a layered texture and then using an add blending mode. Then just offsetting the transform on the head layer. This was a very monotonous process because I had to do it to plug in all the various skin layers as well as the bump, and specular layer.
After I had everything set up i could play with the setting of the SSS shader.
Pre-setting set up
Post setting Set-up
As you can see this layer is much better showing off the sublayer in his skin. This really makes everything seem alot more detailed and more closely related to real skin.
Re-texturing the armor
So in this stage I looked at my reference materials
I payed special attention, to make the rust realistic, have the right bump and making rust less specular then none-rusty parts of the metal. See end results
At the next stage I had some major difficulties in the fact that I had the head of my character on a offset patch then the body and I needed the character to have 2 different material. One material for the body which will utilize the best of SSS textures the other being the horse component which would only be hurt by using an SSS on it. So the horse component of this character is actually a Blinn. So initially I had it set up like below utilizing a layered shader, and layered texture.
However this just did not work at first it either only showed the blinn or the SSS. I did my research and figured out that mental ray has issues both with alpha maps and working with layered shaders and layered textures. So I really worked hard here and figured out another way to place things.
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