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Maya

Avatar artist reveals how to create a 3D nature scene

3D, Maya
Alex Alvarez has worked on numerous hit movies, including Avatar and Super 8. Here, he goes back to nature to create a realistic-looking environment scene.Click image to enlargeCreating 3D art requires a lot of detail, especially natural-looking 3D environments, which for a long time was difficult to achieve due to software and hardware limitations. Today, however, thanks to engines that can render billions of polygons with physically accurate materials and lighting, the process has become manageable.The Onyx tree suite is a great collection of specialised apps for creating broad leaf, conifer and palm trees, with an excellent library. Xfrog also has a large library available online, some of which I have used in my work.Ivygen is a free standalone app tha...

Add photoreal cloth to your 3D scenes

3D, Maya
Oscar Juárez explains how use Marvelous Designer to produce photoreal cloth using solid modelling and texturing techniques.From the beginning, I've been a modelling kind of guy. I just like to model my stuff. I think in some way modelling your own stuff makes it more personal. A long time ago, I read about a cool new piece of software called Marvelous Designer; it's a 3D cloth creation tool. I tested it and was very impressed and excited by the results.There's no question that Marvelous Designer 2 has a lot of applications, but in this case I wanted to test it for architectural visualisation work, so I focused on making photorealistic cloth for an interior scene.In this tutorial I'll explain how to export models from Cinema 4D into Marvelous Designer 2, and then I'll show yo...

How to reimagine an existing character

3D, Maya
Character artist Danilo Athayde shares his working process to create this powerful character from King of Fighters.Everything about the process of producing a character fascinates me. This latest work is a fan art tribute to Leona Heidern, a character from SNK's King of Fighters series. I love everything about this character, from her physical attributes to her sense of personality. She's a beautiful, mysterious warrior woman and to show these characteristics in my piece was a great challenge.In this tutorial, I'll reveal the process of creating my image, share elements of my workflow, detail the challenges in finishing this scene and all the things I consider important for producing good work. I will begin with the concept, because this is an important starting point for creating a good p...

How to create a creature for the big screen

3D, Maya
3D artist Tyler Bolyard reveals how to model a creature like Louis from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog.My typical workflow when starting a piece is to begin in ZBrush and start sculpting right away. With tools like Dynamesh, it's so easy to just jump right in and start blocking out a character relatively quickly. Let's get going...01. Blocking out the basic modelUsing ZSpheres enables you to pose and position your character while you modelThere are multiple ways to begin modelling by using base meshes, box modelling and so on, but if getting to the sculpting stage as quicklyas possible is the order of the day, use ZSpheres.Try to think of ZSpheres like an armature in traditional clay sculpting, and keep it simple. For more freedom during the sculpting process, turn your adaptive skin m...
How to generate complex geometry with V-Ray

How to generate complex geometry with V-Ray

3D, Maya
CG artist James Cutler explains how to use the displacement modifier in V-Ray to generate complex geometry.he V-Ray displacement modifier is a tool that generates additional geometry that would otherwise need to be modelled. Patterns, such as the ones commonly seen on a car tyre, use complex geometric shapes, which can be time-consuming to model. This same 3D pattern can be generated from a texture map with the ability to control the overall height and mesh quality. The disadvantage of using this method, however, is that it can be slow to render due to the calculations required at render time. The V-Ray displacement modifier has three types of mapping: 2D, 3D and subdivision. 2D displacement will only work with texture maps and requires UVW coordinates. Also it doesn't support proc...

How to create an Orc in ZBrush

3D, Maya
ZBrush veteran Scott Spencer reveals how to sculpt, render, composite and paint a creature from The Hobbit.In this tutorial we will look at the process I use to design an Orc from sculpting to the final image presentation. ZBrush enables you to design fast and then render any pose for a presentation painting.What's even more beneficial is that when a character is approved it's a simple matter to return to the model to create further views, or continue with the existing ZBrush sculpture into an animation pipeline.01. Use a generic headWhen we push a design into uncanny territory like this, it helps break away from the ‘person in a monster suit’ tropeLoad a human model as a base for this creature. The underlying mesh is light and easy to manipulate, and will serve as a base for shaping into ...

How to create a scene that tells a story

3D, Maya
Sculpt a character-driven illustration with legendary digital artist and Ubisoft art director Pascal Blanche.I have been creating CG illustrations for almost 15 years now, mostly for personal satisfaction and sometimes for freelancing. I am not the technical type of CG artist - far from it. When I use software, whether it's ZBrush, 3ds Max or Photoshop, I only use the basics, it is a way for me to keep the focus on the really important thing: the picture itself. In this tutorial I will describe my personal creative process.01. Working out the ideaPascal was inspired to take Moebius’s take on Miyazaki’s Nausicaä, princess of the Valley of the Wind character, as a basis for his artI couldn't have been more happy when 3D World asked me to createa a Moebius/anime-themed illustration for the c...
How to master hair and fur in Maya

How to master hair and fur in Maya

3D, Maya
Digital artist Antony Ward explains how to harness Maya's powerful new tools to create this furry character.Fur and Hair are always tricky areas to attempt in 3D. They often involve complicated systems with a mind boggling amount of attributes to adjust and configure, and this is even before you consider styling and rendering.In this workshop I want to illustrate my approach to adding hair and fur to a startled Easter bunny, and to do this I will be using xGen. xGen is Autodesk's new suite of tools introduced in the Extension release of Maya 2014.Originally developed by Disney Animation Studios for films like Tangled and Toy Story, xGen takes the user specified geometry, repeats it in the form of instances and applies it to the surface of a model. These new instances can then be directly c...

How to model a realistic 3D female portrait

3D, Cinema 4D, Maya
Create photorealistic 3D female portraits with ease with this step-by-step guide from character artist Mao-Lin Liao.Making a realistic female portrait has always been something that was at the top of my to-do list. It's going be a long journey, and doing it properly is always going to require a lot of time and patience. Although this final image is not 100 per centphotorealism, it's a decent attempt.Keep in mind that it's hard to work on something that everyone is so familiar with. The pitfalls of working on a photoreal face are that you can become blinded by your mistakes when spending so many hours on the details. One of the tricks that really helps me is to keep a small mirror at my desk to check any flaws and reset the image in my mind. When you have worked for long periods on a projec...

How to texture and light a complex 3D figure

3D, Cinema 4D, Maya
Digital artist Daniele Scerra reveals how to use Maya and Photoshop to give your ZBrush illustration added impact.Conceptualising a female character can be a really complex task, especially if the base is made by directly sculpting in 3D without having a perfectly defined idea of the final result. I often use ZBrush to make heads, bodies and armour in the sketching phase, modifying the sculpture and the pose as I go along in order to work towards that perfect concept.I particularly like to create different helmets, also using big wigs to give an exotic touch of the sci-fi or fantasy to the character. To add more realism, I try to use as many details as I can in the mesh, and I sometimes work excessively on every detail and the textures. The most important aspect of a scene is, in my eyes, ...