B is for Ben: Ben base sculpt by Rok Andic

Finally started working on our hero character sculpt. I decided to do it a bit differently than the way I worked on “A is for Al….”.  On later I did the final sculpt in Zbrush, retopology in Houdini and then reprojected the details back on the retopologized model. The problem with that is that some details don’t necessarily stay the same when reprojected. This is the reason I decided to do a base mesh without high detail first and do retopology on this mesh. Once that is done I will work on the details on this model. This will help me speed up the work on the details of the model by working on them only once.

Apart from that, my workflow for creating the character is pretty straightforward. I start with base shapes like spheres and boxes and shape them to best  represent the character. These are merged together into shape via Zbrush Dynamesh. Then I simply work on the details.

Notice that I leave certain things unsculpted, like the mouth and inner parts of eyelids. I will do this in Houdini when I will be making the retopology of the model. I simply find it faster this way to work on interior shapes there, also it is easier to work on the base sculpt for me if there is no interior shapes to worry about.

Next stage - retopology in Houdini.

B is for Ben: Environment concepts by Rok Andic

Time to share a few concepts I created for “B is for Ben”. At this time I am still playing with color palette but for now I think I will go with the colors you see on the concept images below.

The planet

Our hero has landed on a desolated far away planet. That is why I went with the rocky, dry environment where there’s nothing but rocks. The planet is very analogous in colors as well, making it not so interesting and a bit dull environment to spend time in. Basically the idea is that our hero doesn’t have much to do in this environment. He is there but would rather just pack his bags and go someplace where the party is.

Our hero on a desolated planet.

Our hero on a desolated planet.

Design

Design wise I wish this film to be more graphic rather than photorealistic. That means I am going to experiment more with texture and shapes. The rocks and clouds would get more graphic quality and everything would be a bit simplified. I am still experimenting with this so if it works or not I will see once I make the first 3d models and renders of the environment.

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The color palette

Below are two images to show what I am considering in terms of color for this film. I am shifting colors here and there to see what works and what not. The orange/green is what I’ll most likely go with for the environment though I have been playing with the more purple/pink version as well. As I will make 3d rendered images I will play with colors again until I get the final look I am looking for.

Ben: Character design by Rok Andic

I am sharing some work in progress character concept images from “B is for Ben”. I have a pretty solid idea where I want to go with this one, not so sure about the outfit though. I want to keep it simple and not overdo it with the details. It’s easy to get lost in smaller parts so I am constantly adding and removing something from his outfit.

Finding rough shapes for the character and costume ideas.

Finding rough shapes for the character and costume ideas.

Rough sketch with pencil on paper just to get a feel of the character.

Rough sketch with pencil on paper just to get a feel of the character.

The character will not be grumpy but for some odd reason I just had to draw a grumpy version of him :)

The character will not be grumpy but for some odd reason I just had to draw a grumpy version of him :)

I usually draw on anything that’s at hand at the moment of drawing. I like colored pencils (in this case Faber Castell Polychromos) for quick sketches but I really love Procreate on iPad for more detailed work. Together with Apple Pencil it’s truly a great tool and I’ve found I am using it more and more lately.

Below are also some costume design studies. I decided to draw him from different angles and performing various actions just to see how they would differ one from another.

Different costume design from various angles.

Different costume design from various angles.

As you can see I have not touched the color scheme for Ben. With “A is for Al….” I have learned that it is easy to create a color scheme for the character only to see later he doesn’t fit the environment. This is why with Ben I have decided to do it later when I will design the environment, making sure they fit together well and avoid constantly changing colors.

As far as this character design goes I’ll probably go straight to sculpting him in ZBrush and fine tune the shapes and details there. I find it easier to sort those things in 3d where I can see him from every angle instead of drawing everything on paper. But this comes later, right now I need to storyboard the film to see how the whole film works.

B is for Ben by Rok Andic

It’s new year and for me it’s time to start working on the next film in “The Mellifluous Peculiar” series. I have been thinking a lot about which film to start after “A is for Al….” and have decided for a comic, easy going sci-fi story I have written a few years ago. The title of the film is “B is for Ben” and the script is more or less finished. I’ll start preparing some concept art which I’ll post on this blog.

I should also note that with this film I’ll post as the film comes along. I started blogging at the end of “A is for Al….” and thus I could only present finished material of the finished film. With “B is for Ben” you can expect more “work-in-progress” material which means more raw material as it happens. Hopefully you will find this interesting and get a better look at making these short films.

Happy new year to everyone and hope you already work on some wonderful project. And if you don’t, why not make it happen by starting one of your own :)

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A is for Al....: The final film by Rok Andic

Finally finished! It’s been fun working on this one and a lot has been going on during the production. I learned a lot by trying new things: choosing Houdini as the main 3d software which proved to be a great decision, new rigging techniques I’ve never tried before, experimenting with the way I approach animating shots… all really makes me feel even more happy about the whole film :)

I’ll write more about these topics in detail in the coming weeks on this blog but for now let me just share the film with you that I hope you’ll enjoy. And if you would like to learn more about the film you can check the project page where you can see additional production images and background information about the film.

Making of "A is for Al....": The Study Room by Rok Andic

“A is for Al….” has three sets. Study room was the first I designed and modeled. The reason I started with the isometric layout for the concept is that I wanted to see how the whole space would look like and where everything was. I didn’t want to accidentally build models that will not be seen or couldn’t fit the set.

Once that was clear, the shelves and table had to be populated with props. I made these quick prop sketches which were used to fill large pieces of the set. I drew them all on a single page so I could see which ones were too far out in design and whether or not they are too complex too build. Since they are space fillers I really didn’t want to spend too much time on them.

Prop list that needed to be built to fill the shelves.

Prop list that needed to be built to fill the shelves.

Set modeling was all done in Houdini. Bigger props were modeled and textured as solo pieces. More care was needed for smaller shelf props. I just couldn’t build every single one of them nor have 100 copies of a single prop as that would just seem boring.

I used Houdini’s procedural approach to build one universal bottle that allowed me to have one base model that with different parameters could look like 100 different bottles or flasks. The flasks on the left shelves are basically all one model with different parameters. If I didn’t like it I just changed the parameter and I would have a different shape. This allowed me to have a full scene without having to build every single little detail or spent enormous amount of time modeling them.

Universal flask.

Universal flask.

Texturing work for the main pieces was mostly done in Substance Painter. I recycled materials whenever possible. Exception was the chalkboard which was painted in Affinity Photo. I created different masks for washed parts & chalked lettering and then build a material based on those masks in Houdini. Smaller elements had procedurally generated materials made in Houdini where the final images were rendered.

Welcome to my new website & blog by Rok Andic

This year I’ve been working on my second short film “A is for Al….” and I’ve shown a lot of “work in progress” material on social networks. However, sometimes I was unable to go deeper than scratching the surface of what was shown.

While small tidbits will be served as usual on my social media profiles, from time to time I will share more in-depth look at the process creating those images or simply share certain topics or ideas I find interesting on this blog.

Hope you enjoy it :)