May 25, 2021
3 min

Timothy the Autumn mouse

Finally I could finish another piece, it has been really long time since I could work from start to finish since Forgotten Forest, some times because of too much work and other times because of laziness, but for this one I could finally set my mind to accomplish the result.

STORYLINE

A traveling mouse finds his home in the woods and prepares to spend the autumn surrounded by peace and tranquility. But he finds that the new neighbors are full of new adventures and will not let him to find his dreamed rest. 3D Animated Series  for kids from 3 to 8

Timothy the autumn mouse

On this tutorial, we are going to work on the blocking and staging of a new character, taking control of the flow of the hair with xgen to give more personality and achieve a rich detail.

For this tutorial, we are going to work with one of the best GPU renderer right now for Maya that is Redshift, which has a really powerful hair shader, that makes the work so much easy to get a great result. Also, we are going to analyze and match a 3d Scene to work on a back plate with no light information and just making adjustments on 3D to make the character part of the environment and also adjust the camera values to make him fell there and adjust the final details and light proportion on postproduction.

For this tutorial you do not need to have a high level of modeling, but the silhouette and the shape of the model are important to define the aspects of the actual character.

The references are also important here, as they are the main source if information for the creation of the illustration, if you want to create a perfect work you need to have the knowledge or at least the examples for that goal on your reference folder and work to achieve that result with the tutorial.

The more detailed part of the tutorial is the grooming process to get the nice flow on the hair and the amicable look on the character with just a tiny amount of detail on the model.

This tutorial is going to take you from the basics of the model to the final post production with ease and you can take your time to make your own work. If you have questions or need help just write me if you need to. Also remember to support my work on Patreon for more tutorials like this.

Part 1

-THE BACKSTORY-

I have been trying to find a GPU renderer that adjust to my needs,  I tried Octane but it wasn’t comfortable enough for me so I decided to jump to redshift and I really love it, it just feels natural with my workflow. And from my tests, I could see that the hair shader is one of the most powerful and user friendly out there, even more than Arnold shader. I have always been a technical guy, but sometimes that same technical stuff slow me down to get to that final artistic result.

For this project I was wondering how to test GPU rendering, in fact, I was already using Redshift a lot and bought an GTX 1080 from nvidia for this purpose.

When I decided for Redshift was mostly because of the quality of work from people like Jean-Michel Bihorel, and the easy to use that it looked, also that is really focused on production and not Arch-viz was one of my main points.  It’s quite easy to set up, the materials are great and it takes a lot less effort to get a good result, I feel that the beauty of the render is again on the hands of the artist instead of the technical stuff.

I feel that the beauty of the render is again on the hands of the artist instead of the technical stuff.

-THE MOTIVATION-

When I decided to make Forgotten Forest it was because I need to test myself, to know my limitations over a big task that was on the horizon, I was going to be a dad. I did it for my little boy and to be sure that I could do a high quality work that could sustain both of us. Right now Julian is 2 years 10 months old, and its an amazing little guy!

He always support me when I’m working, and love my furry creatures,  specially the Water Buffalo (concept is from Shaun Tan) , although he says that is a cow, and that he is angry because a little girl wake him up and it’s saying: “Muuuuuu look! “.  It has been almost a year from the water buffalo project (that I never finished… ) and he still ask me to show it to him, I had to put the photo on favorites on my phone so I can have quick access to the image, mostly when he is about to fall sleep and asked me for the buffalo one last time.

So I was wondering how to bring that amazing assets that redshift is to test myself again and to make my little boy proud, and testing redshift I discover the amazing hair shader that they have, so I thought, why not? lets take this 1080 for a ride!.

I did it for my little boy and to be sure that I could do a high quality work that could sustain both of us.

-THE IDEA-

Julian has this little mouse that I bought one year ago, it’s a toy that came with a tale’s book and the mouse name is Timoteo, it was a series of magazines with stories from different farm animals, published by a newspaper here in Costa Rica.

He loved it for months, everytime I was with him we would have to call over Timoteo to come with us because he was/is “my best friend”, even today he like to sleep with him some times.

And now each time my son sees a mouse on cartoons or photos he says “look dad! that’s Timoteo” (and Jerry, he loves Jerry). So I decided to work on a stuffed toy, to show it to him, and a reloaded version of timoteo. ( I’m not a fan of the design of the real toy hahaha)

-THE MAIN REFERENCE-

That was when I found out about Christina Shablin “Fetreno” and amazing russian artist that makes the cutest of all stuffed animals on the world! for real she is amazing, and I felt in love with her work. I was looking madly at all the details on the wool and the finishing that she makes with all the textures and dyes. And most of all that cute look with little detail and small features on the face. So I decided to use her as my main reference.

I decided to maintain the way she works the proportions and the detail of the textures, also the atmosphere of her work, but with a more vibrant color and some nice scene not that “cold” as she normally uses on the photos.

Also, I will keep working on this style for a while, I really want to take it to the next level, and will try to do more furry creatures this days, so stay tune for more renders!

That was when I found out about Christina Shablin “Fetreno”

Timoty the autumn mouse Tutorial

On this tutorial, we are going to work on 3D model, the blocking and staging of a new character, taking control of the flow of the hair with xgen to give more personality and achieve a rich detail not only on the image but also on the energy, which the image itself can provide.

Part 1 - Creating the character shape and 3D Model

Sometimes I just get too muddle head to make advances on my work. so I have to push myself over the fence to actually make some work, this time I decided to start streaming all my progress to make me finally achieve a final result with the pressure of the people. And it worked, with all my references I decided to work directly on the model with no previous drawing as I usually do, my goal was a basic model and I could get the result to work. This was one of the best decisions I could make, I normally use a lot of quick drawings to make my work but this time I starting directly, I was working on a freelance that require me to model everything on Maya, so I decided to go with basic box 3D modeling for this one

The shape itself of the 3D model is really important here, as the model is really simple, you have to check the silhouette from all sides to make it work, I have no hands nor feet here on this model so everything needs to be smooth, simple and with a good balance on the flow of the curves at the sides . The belly with a nice pointy shape and the arms at the sides with a little of balance to achieve a nice result. And also a minor bend on the knees and the arc of the legs giving him the look of just being there. The amount of geometry is simple, but the overall look is more important with so little geometry to work on.

Modeling the head

We can see the same result on the face, as we face just too little information to work on, the overall shape of the 3D model is really important, as this gives the final look of the character. I on some point decided not to add more information or smoothness to the face, and leave it to the hair to make the work. When you work with hair you can take some liberties when modelling if you know that the hair can fix it.

One of the reasons that make this model weird and obvious to the eyes, that it was not intended for animation or production, and that at the beginning it was just a test is that the actual model is not one piece, I made the head and the body apart. My goal was just a simple and quick model to use not a complex and perfect 3D model.

The head it self does have a good topology for the eyes and the ears at least, and again you  can see the easy way to model and adjusting the shape not the model itself. No loops or more information on the mouth. A lot of people talks about perfect modelling but sometimes and on real life you just need things to get done, and if you are not animating your scene, there is no strict need to make the model for animation with all the parts perfect. You just need your work to be done and for that achieve the final result, my goal here is the final image and the fur, thinking on that I did not want to spend to much time modelling this guy.

Modeling the facial features


For the facial model, I make them even simpler, For the eyes I decided to use simple and basic spheres the only change was on the scale, the same for the nose that is actually a duplicate from the eyes and I make the noise pointy but just a tiny bit looking more like an egg. For the mouth I used a basic torus that actually is almost impossible to see on the final render, and I did not care. As you can see the detail of the 3D model here is not that important.


Modeling the scarf

Now for the scarf, the first pass was done at the blocking stage, later on the tutorial we are going to look at some of the techniques that I used to model the final scarf.

At the start here again I used a torus to make the basic shape and blend it over the neck.


After that I duplicate the model that already had the right shape and make one of them slightly bigger that the other one. This is to add some variation, remember that this is just the block model and not the final model for the scarf.

For the final steps, I used two torus to make the rings of the lace on the scarf, just to define the actual knot, Actually the torus are going to be used on the final scarf model to define the shape of the knot with fur. So this technique does works. If I went to make the actual model with just one cloth geometry it would take to much time compare to how I did it.


And finally the last shapes of the model itself, are just random cubes with smooth, that I soft select to define the shape, each of them are separate and pose by themselves.  Later with the guides I tried to emulate the shape but this was enough to make the composition work.

The final scarf model is more like a puzzle than an actual functional 3D model. This was done for speed and shape so almost no care making it. but separated could look like this.