Homo naledi reconstruction, v2
A producer friend recently asked if I had time to put together a quick sculpt for a pitch he was giving to a potential client. The request was for a concept of what the extinct homonid species Homo naledi would have looked like in life. I happened to have a relatively free day and was excited to do some digital sculpting so I said I would give it a try.
First, who or what were Homo naledi? It turn out they are fairly recent relatives of modern humans (ca. 250,000 year ago) – discovered in 2013, to great acclaim, by a pair of cavers fumbling around in a South African cave system. The species appears to be a interesting mix of human and primate characteristics – hands and feet very near our own but with shoulders and pelvises closer to our primate ancestors. We know they were short of stature, possibly standing barely five feet tall, and had small skulls exhibiting primitive features including reduced cranial capacity (half of a modern human), robust orbital tori, reduced/absent chin, but with small teeth and gentle canines.
Taking these few data points and a handful of images of the incomplete skulls of homo Naledi, I put together a couple versions. The first, below, pushes the facial characteristics more towards primate, but with the spark of intelligence one would expect of the genus Homo. The second, and my preferred version (above), leans toward a more human interpretation of facial characteristics. It includes a quick torso study for context and posture, as well as what I imagine to be a mass of matted, dirty hair. A timelapse of the sculpting process coming soon.
Homo Naledi portrait study, v1
A figure study inspired by a sequence from the Bodies in Motion project. For a behind the scenes look at the making of this piece, including a bit of anatomy, a sculpting demo and a complete timelapse video showing the tools and techniques I use, please check out my presentation from the Pixologic ZSummit (the makers of ZBrush, my primary digital sculpting tool): https://youtu.be/Ale6SXXbJMM
Here are a couple images of my first sculpture study from the Bodies in Motion library. The BiM “Coming Soon” page is now up here: www.bodiesinmotion.photo
I’ve heard there is one month’s FREE ACCESS for the first 100 artists to register their interest at the link above, so get on it! I am excited to see what people make with the material when the site goes live!
I recently completed a tutorial for 3dArtist magazine about the making of this facial anatomy ecorche. In the article I go through the steps used to create the digital sculpture in ZBrush and about the importance of understanding facial anatomy and why it helps improve portraiture. The tutorial is in issue 81 of the magazine.
Every so often I get the chance to work on fun, creative visual effects projects. I was approached by Realise Studio in London to help them with a character design for a commercial – an Ogre. The script had potential – a father has been transformed into an ogre by the pressure of his day-to-day life, a much-needed family holiday transforms him back to himself. Short and sweet. The proposed methodology combined prosthetics with selected digital-face replacement, as good strategy to reduce the amount of work in post-production (as opposed to creating a fully computer-generated face for the entire commercial as in the Audrey Hepburn piece).
Zombies are everywhere this year – WWZ, Plants Versus Zombies (2), the Walking Dead, the Last of Us, and on and on. They are taking over the world and I am partly responsible for this zombie apocalypse as I developed some of the early concept art for World War Z.
Here are a couple of the zombie “studies” I did for the film. Perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but as someone commented on my Facebook page, there is touch of Giacometti in them. Yes, I try to bring art to zombies.
click for larger
I am just back from a great visit to Ubisoft’s Toronto studio where I ran a two-day facial anatomy masterclass for throngs of their artists (animators, riggers, concept artists, and character artists), followed by a day of intense portraiture and facial expression sculpting in ZBrush for only the character artists. Over the three days we covered a lot of juicy facial anatomy stuff, all of which will be covered in my upcoming online course. So if you are interested in a deep understanding of portraiture check back soon (or join the newsletter for announcements).
I get a lot of requests to post more ZBrush timelapse sculpting sessions on my website, so here you go, straight from the Toronto workshop.
I recently gave a talk to some young students and had to dig through my archives to find interesting things to show. This digital excavation unearthed quite a few clips, images and drawings that I don’t think have seen the light of day here, so I am starting a new series of ‘pastblast’ posts – showing older things that are still cool and trying to giving a little bit more background on the original project.
This old guy was an early character sculpt for the film Wrath of the Titans. The script called for three Cyclops – two brothers, and an aged father. Hopefully my design skills are at least good enough that you can tell this one is supposed to be the father!