Bruce rig!!!

I can’t begin to even express how excited I am for this rig! This turned out a lot better than my rig from last semester. His arms are a lot more workable and I can switch between IK and FK handles via those blue dots above his hands. My only concern is that I might have twist issues in the wrists and elbows like last time. Having a pivot point set up at the elbows will probably help a little more. I’m really excited to start skinning and do some test animations. I also plan on fixing the texture like I mentioned before.

Probably the most fun to rig though was the tail. That was set up using the connection editor. Essentially what I did was I selected the joints one by one and loaded left to right the Y and Z rotations. This allows the chain to follow the same movement path and lets the tail swish back and forth much easier. Not to mention I only need one control for it as opposed to many. The whole skeleton is finished now, I just need to fix the texture before I do anything else.

I also need to finish making some books for the room as well. I’ve really enjoyed having all this time to work on this rig, but I do need to help a little more with assets I think.

This rig was made up using the CtrlAltDel tutorials for character rigging and skinning. I’ve been following her work for about a year and a half now. Her tutorials are really easy to follow and the results are always well worth the effort and wait. This week is dedicated completely to skinning the model and getting some animation tests done!



Bruce Progress

Alright! It’s been a while since I last posted about Bruce, but here he is all textured and with his blendshapes all working. I still want to fix his textures. Relying on ramp shaders looks nice but isn’t very functional.

I’m much happier with the blendshapes this time around than I was with Lenry. Also Rose finally got me to use soft select and that moved things right along. I can’t believe I’ve been fool enough to ignore that tool for as long as I have been.

The differences between Bruce and Lenry’s models so far are as follows:

-I merged Bruce’s verts to fix his topology. I didn’t do this with Lenry and it led to future rigging issues I cried many tears over.

-Blendshapes are more expressive and incorporate a brow line that communicates the emotion

-Blinks don’t cut through the eyeball mesh

I’ll be starting the rigging tomorrow, and hopefully will also fix up the textures before hand as well.

Fur studies (Or at least an attempt)

So I’m very pleased to say that I’ve had a lot of time this semester to work on some personal stuff to better my skills. Recently I bought a stuffed cactus from my new job, and about the third day of having him the urge to model him was impossible to resist


The mesh is all one cube, and the textures right now are ramp shaders and one plain lambert for his feet.

The problem for me however, is that Xgen exists……….and it vexes me……..

I started out with assigning a groomable spline collection and messing with the length and density. I had a pretty good look going, but whenever I hit render? Nothing. Zilch. It doesn’t show even if I specifically set the renderer to Arnold. So basically I’m  only a few steps away from getting it right, but I cannot make Xgen work.

I’m looking at several pieces of 3D work I really love, Jesus Fernandez’s work in fur. He’s got some gorgeous fur and hair work in Xgen and thankfully many tutorials to walk me through what I’m doing.

These two images are the closest thing to the look I’m trying to acheive. Given that my cactus is fluffy and not spiny, it’s going to be a challenge, but a fun one.


(c) Jesus Fernandez


I did manage to bring the fur back into render, however the thickness and density is spotty at best. I did this by basically turning the visibility on and off for my splines and creating a color map as well. This leads to a more natural cactus look. Not quite what I need, but I’m getting there


Zbrush Bruce!

Here he is! He’s been ready for a while now, I’ve just forgotten to post him. Currently Bruce is in the retopology stage, which is really taking a while. We’re meeting with Niall and he’s quite pleased with how Bruce is looking. So far the only critique is that the kids don’t seem to like his horns. (Which is a shame, because I love the horns.) So my plan is to show them two versions of Bruce; of course Bruce with the horns, and then I plan on making the horns much more appealing. (Putting stickers on them, making them a little less sharp and threatening.)

So right now I’m looking for a much easier method of retopology. Lauren was telling me that Michael has a pretty good process, so I’m bugging him to try and get a hold of it. I don’t mind retopology usually, it’s just this is taking so long and I want to texture and rig already!

Bruce model!!

He’s here!! I finally got to settle down and model Bruce! I haven’t modeled a character since Lenry, and I’m very eager to right a lot of my beginner’s mistakes.

I’ll be putting him into Zbrush later tonight to get started on his fur and everything. This will be the design I showed in my previous post


This was made with the main body being one mesh (Something I’ve very proud of because in the past I struggled with sculpting each individual limb. I found it very difficult and the edges often poked out from the mesh. It also made sculpting in zbrush very frustrating.)

I started out with a cube and pushed and pulled the middle edges until I got a proper bean shape for the torso. Then I pulled the legs out from the bottom and worked my way back up to the arms and head. This was done by carefully extruding the  areas. If I needed to create a tighter space like between the ears or neck, I would double extrude, which would keep the surrounding mesh down rather than pulling it up along with the clump that I needed.

The eyes, horns, ring, and tuft at the end of his tail are the only separate polygons.



Here’s trying to model some of the things around my room again. I noticed I’ve been too comfortable modeling quite angular things, so I tried to shake it up a bit with something softer. This is my dragon Merlin, my mom got him for me as a sort of Halloween present. I still need to touch up the texturing and geometry on his wings and stomach but I’m very pleased with it so far and hope to make another of my dragons soon.

This started with one cube, divided twice and took about three hours to get right the eyes are a separate mesh. The irises are textured with the Granite 2D texture with red, orange, and white spots to make the sparkles. The pupils are textured with an orange and black ramp shader. (I have learned to love the ramp shader with a mad passion.)

He’s all mapped with a black velvet scale texture as well, but I may touch that up a bit as well to make it perfect.

Final Bruce

Finally landed a design that the group was content with! He’s a little taller, and a little chubbier than the other designs. I’m very happy with him though. I’m hoping to change his outfit up a little maybe; give him something less generic.

His design was finalized when Lauren recommended using Mikey from Recess rather than the bulkier looking references I  had been using before.

I’ll be getting into Zbrush tomorrow. For tonight I’m taking a small break to focus on some other work

Bruce inspiration

Alright, so getting slightly more frustrated with designing Bruce. Still no chosen design for him yet, so I’m looking at other characters for inspiration. I’m really trying to crack down on this as much as I can because I’m frustrated no one can seem to settle on a look for him. I want him to stay big and imposing, but still seem soft and grumpy. I loved the highland bull I was working with before, so I’ve been trying to steer it in that direction. (yuk yuk)

Right now I’m looking at Alvin from Paranorman. Big guy, played a bully, but eventually became one of the allies. I liked how bulky he was and it’s something I’m hoping to incorporate into Bruce’s design.

Bruce clearly isn’t going to look as mean, but physically it’s closer to what I’m aiming for. Which leads into my second reference, Sully from Monsters Inc

This better captures the approachable character and makes him much less threatening. I plan on also using the fur as a reference for when I eventually get back into Zbrush and start modeling.

And lastly, I’ll also be using Adam from Beauty and the Beast as well. (Lauren suggested this a few days ago) It’s a great example of maintaining character appeal while also not falling into the Adorable Trope.


Bruce concepts, third times the charm

So here comes my third attempt for Bruce. He’s proving to be a very, very difficult character to work with because no one seems to be 100% content. Everyone likes what I’ve come up with, however we can’t seem to find the Perfect Bruce.


This design was meant to make him look considerably younger because the bigger guy I was working with before was too old, and most likely wouldn’t be in the children’s ward. He does look more child like and squishier, however the group figured he looked a little too young. (Cue me looking into the camera for two minutes in frustration.)

For this design I didn’t actually use any references like I probably should have. I simply reduced the look of my second design. I gave him a much more defined personality. He’s much grumpier and much more reserved. While coming up with his personality, I was actually thinking about autism, and maybe making him nonverbal. He’s very uncomfortable in the hospital setting and dislikes the amount of noise. It’s very stressful for him which is why his room is filled with books. I also gave him an interest in bugs, mainly because I wanted to draw him chasing a butterfly.

So we’re running this all by Niall today, so I’ll update in a bit


Jokes aside, not matter how charming, I’m already starting to doubt my modeling skills again. I tried to remodel the trash can bear to make it less blocky but it looks less appealing in its newest render (right)

I used a cylinder instead this time, and also managed to keep it completely one polygon. I looks closed to the original trash can, but there’s something still missing. I’ll ask my group tomorrow.