Man vs Nature Progress

W’re so close to the end of this project and it’s crazy to now see all our ideas and work coming together. Most of the animation is done now though we still need to import our textures and lighting. Which I think we have time for, there have been more problems than I thought there would have been especially with my rigging, but we’ve all learnt a lot from.



I was able to model the majority of the base structure of my Model in Maya and then wanted to use Zbrush to add in some details, I realized that in keeping my model close to the original design I wouldn’t need much detail brought it, I know I added rough texture to the dress but I feel it’s be unreasonable to try and model that, give my own skill level and time we have. It would also leave me with less to then retopologize, again saving some time.



Possibly naively I thought it would be pretty simple to transfer meshes between the two programs but apparently if you don’t know what you’re doing it can go quite wrong.

This article helped point me in the right direction of how to do it.

I then found some difficulty in retopologizing,  I found I was either creating too many polygons again, getting odd jutting out lines or losing a majority of my details. So I haven’t quite figured that out yet. I looked at some different methods of retopologizing, with Zbrush having a built in program that can do it for you, I did attempt this but the result was pretty messy, Maya’s quad draw would have to do. Looking back now I think I was focusing too much on having evenly spaced polygons than creating the right form for the detail, hopefully with another few attempts I can get it right.

Research and Sketching

Iris Compiet

This artist was one of the first I thought of when doing thinking of what to possibly sculpt for my project. Their designs are refreshing and have a beautiful vibrancy of colour, I did debate whether or not to recreate on of their designs but I really wanted to strike out with one of my own. This work is from a project of their called “Faeries of the Faultlines”, and is presented as a documentation of these creatures, in that sense you can see how they’ve molded the concepts of faeires and tree spirits into something we might recognize in realife, not quite as attached to fantasy.

Tony DiTerlizzi

The documentation style of Iris Compiet project also resembles the work of Tony Diterlizzi, author and illustrator of the Spiderwick Chronicles along with Holly Black, I own the Spiderwicks Field guide which is filled with these anatomical illustrations of faeries.  Tony spends more time looking into fauna and relating his sprites back to them in shape and form but he as well add in more human-esque features, particularly in the faces which gives it a more magically sense than Iris illustrations.

For my own designs I feel very torn between making it look human or removing human likeness completely and keeping it simply a creatures . There is an appeal in both styles and as I research it’s fascinating to see how different artists have taken on the same magical creatures and made them their own, which again adds pressure to create a design I feel is unique to myself.

I’ve been trying to explore a variety of designs trying to find that right mix between human and creature. How they might change with different environments and even genders.

Personal Project Reflection

This project has been a lot of exploration and experimentation. With other projects working in a team you very quickly get an idea of what you want to have at the end and can start working on this, through with this project the opportunity to do anything was almost counterproductive. I figured out a general theme for my project based on a fairy creature, though I found so many different styles and inspirations it was hard to choose what direction to move in. I was getting stuck a lot on the concept element of the project when I felt I should really be buckling down into the sculpting though with the input of of some friends I choose one of my designs and begun the process of making in zbrush, I learnt about using zspheres and how to better work with the program and started making some progress. Although I still wasn’t completely satisfied with the concept I was working from, despite the work I’d done I wasn’t motivated to keep working at it and was second guessing it a lot. I took a break from working on it and actually found a old maya file from last year where I had tried to model another character I’d drawn (another fairy design as well) I was curious to see if I could update the model and I ended up completing it instead. I brought the model then into zbrush to add details but in retopologizing I think I lost quite a few of those details, working between the programs is an area I need to experiment more, I can see a lot of varying online workflows, so I need to find what best works for me.   Motivating myself to work on personal work can be hard at times and I need to practice that discipline but I think this project has shown that there needs to be a source of excitement or enthusiasm in my own work that pushes me forward.

Personal Project: Sculpting


For my personal Project I’ve been working on this fairy sculpt. I’m always inspired by fantastical creatures and love seeing artist’s many different interpretations of them, I knew that I wanted to create my own fantastical creature, which has resulted in this Poisonous mushroom fairy.

Original drawing


There are slight design changed I had to make in making it 3D, but I found these changes helped give it a clearer shape. Ultimately I’m very pleased with how it turned out and fin it to be quite an improvement on my original drawing. I didn’t want to go overboard on detail like wrinkles and hair because I did intend it to be a recreation of the concept and not as a realistic creature.










I mainly used Zbrush to add in my extra details and add some fluidity to my model. I intend to use zbrush more in other personal projects I have planned, I’ve enjoyed experimenting with it but haven’t yet felt like I’ve fully utilized it.

I used Photoshop to paint on the textures and I really liked the result, I wanted it to have a touch of painterly strokes to be reminiscent of the the illustrations that have inspired me for this piece as well as fitting in the style of the model. I found this process to be fidgety at times and by that I think it’s learning how to create my uv’s and uv layouts o that it can be made better sense of. If I’d more time I would wanted to add clothes textures and alphas, or bring the blank character into substance painter and see how it comes out using that method.

My uv’s are admittedly not very neat but I found it the best way to achieve the painterly effect I was aiming for.

Turntables I used as part of my Showreel.



All very quick sketches in my sketchbook, mainly trying to think out anatomy and possible feature I want to include. A lot of different heads, body limb counts and wing designs.

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Trying out different styles, from very insect like to your typical godmother fairy.

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Colour Palette

The mushroom part of my faerie is probably the easiest recognizable on e in the world, the red cap or Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria) to be technical. This would then by default make red an essential colour, I also wanted it to have a grounded earthy look so no vibrant neons, I need warm muted tones.

Image result for poisonous mushroommushroom girl

I began looking at autumn colours palettes and used combinations, I added in extra specks of colour to resemble leaf litter or organic matter.

Image result for complimentary autumn coloursfall color palette














For the clothes of the model I had a good image of what colour they were, but when it came to the skin I was more stumped, I couldn’t reuse shades of red/yellow/brown, it would make it all looked washed out and boring, I knew I needed to add some sort of contrast  and that when I brought in that cyan green and purple.

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Though both of them seemed to clash far too much with the rest of the body, but I kept experimenting and bringing in white which helped make it seem more  like flesh.



A Scraped Sculpt (for now)


Before I made my Mushroom Faerie model I was actually working on a different design, the Mushroom design I had drawn a while ago and didn’t intially think of it as something I could use. Instead I was working trying to create a brand new design, I had several artists that I was looking at for inspiration, mentioned before Iris Compiet, Brian Froud, Aaron Blaise as a few, but I was really struggling to nail down a concept that I liked or thought would work well as a sculpt.

These are design working of the idea of a dark or evil faerie, I tired to bring more insect like elements into it.


I was thinking a  lot of the designs of the tooth fairy’s from Hellboy Golden Army, and how far removed it is from most cutesy renditions of fairy’s.

By Francisco Ruiz Velasco.

As well as the Insect Fairy in Pans Labyrinth, before it changes in to to a more typical shape, based of a stick insect.

Same concept I had playing with this idea, they stayed closer to human like than insect to I developed it further.


This was the final concept I had going from this idea, I had several different concepts I was debating for the sculpt, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with them all, I asked some friends what their favorite was and they pointed to this one and I do feel like it ad the most promise.

Fairy type 2

Starting in Zbrush

I began building the basic structure with zsphere which are extremely useful , minus one mishape with fingers.


I seemed to run into more difficulty with the rest of the sculpt, I wasn’t exactly sure what direction was going in with the sculpt, my satisfactions with the original concept meant I was constantly changing ideas and details. I possibly aimed to make it far too realistic that it needed to be, and my skill level couldn’t make it look or feel right.

I wasn’t getting anywhere fast with this sculpt and wasn’t sure what to do, but actually when I was looking for models I could use in my Showreel I cam across a model or a simplistic faerie design I had done last year that I hadn’t took the time to finish. What started then as me trying to update for my show reel became me completely redoing and completing the model. At that point it made more sense to me to work on the model that I felt more motivated to do than return to this one.

I am disappointed that I wasn’t able to complete this sculpt , but I won’t scrap it, I still want to complete it when I have a better understanding of Zbrush.


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