Initial Character Creation

When starting this character I knew that I wanted it to be as detailed as possible. I have played with modeling other organic objects in maya before using polygons, and sub d surfaces but never could get what I wanted.

Starting with human heads was probably an overly ambitious starting point. And so I figured that maybe thats just as good of an artist that I can be.

Which is ok, because I am really more interested and much better at the technical side of the art process. Ill let the artists make it look pretty, ill just make it easier for them to do what they do best.

But at work our artist was showing me some of his stuff he created in ZBrush so I decided to give it a try and I can say I really like it. I no longer feel like such a bad artist :)


I started initally with doing a rough polygon model of JB in maya using the basic polygon tools. The first model I had too much detail in the mesh and my edge structure wasn’t spaced very evenly.

I also started from a cylinder primitive which gave me headaches later on with the nose and tail caps.


I then added some detail in for his arms and jaw. I also split the model in half and just worked with one side, later mirroring it.


Here he is before I send him to zbrush.


And here his is after an initial sculpt in zbrush.


He looks ok, but just not manatee enough.

After getting feedback from my Dad and some other reference images he is starting to look much more manatee like.


Here you can see the initial bone structure I built for him.


Some more zbrush work, I started to play with Mayas skinning tools to see how to best go about rigging a low res model and then connecting it to a higher res version.

I also believe I was told he was to skinny, so I gave him a little bit more pudge.


Here is a shot of the initial bone structure again, Not sure what i was thinking here but (spoiler alert ) it sucked.

His center of mass/root bone was all off not to mention the alignment etc was not very good.

Not sure why I thought his center of mass/root should be in the tail area. (orange-ish bones)


Here is a image from a more detailed sculpt that I did a turntable animation with.


I like the detail Zbrush allows you to paint in but my initial structures weren’t that great so at this sub div level I could get finer detail in the face but the body(belly) was still too large.

And I you know much about manatees, his eyes are really wrong :)