This project started in a moment of free time at the studio where I’m working. As a Generalist I wanted to do an image where I can study a little bit of every aspect of a project.
For me the hardest part was to decide what to create, so after spending sometime on thinking, I figured out that I wanted to do a weird cartoon, and then how this bunny started to "born"...
As I knew that my target would be a weird cartoon so I started to plan the psychological profile of the character: He doesn't like anyone, doesn't have friends, he is evil... He's a creepy badass.
Defining this profile would be easier to think how he would be physically: have to get a huge mouth with threatening tooth that could easily hurt somebody, a swollen belly, probably full of maggots and apparently about to explode. His skin is wrinkled, specially his face. His legs and arms are thin and small to be more cartoon and comical. Actually he lost one of his legs in some mess...
And to finish, his eyes would be black to complete the weirdness of the character.
At this moment I wasn't thinking about his color palette, so I don't waste time and right started to model the bunny.
The model was done in Maya and the details in ZBrush. I usually start blocking the overall forms with some cubes and really simple structures, this help me a lot to decide and change the proportions.
All the models were done with box modeling and I started with the head and the body that are basically the same thing, after this I made the arms and legs. I use to let the hands and feet as the final step of the base modeling.
For the teeth I made basically two patterns: one for the canines and one for all the other. I opened the UV of these two models and then I made some changes to break the patterns.
As the base mesh was done I opened the UVs. I usually do with programs like UVLayout or Unfold3D which makes the process pretty easier and quick.
And then I decided that this project would be a still and started to work on the final camera and layout so I could focus only in what would really important to the final image. So I made a totally simple rig to put the character on the right pose.
Also created basic Blinns and played a little bit with color schemes, and the bunny became pink.
So, I exported all to ZBrush and started to sculpt all the details.
I usually use ZBrush to generate the displacement maps and the XNormal to generate the normal maps, so after export the displacement maps of ZBrush I exported the high res meshes to apply on XNormal.
As I don't have experience in painting the textures in ZBrush and a lot of people has told me good things about Mudbox so, I downloaded a trial version from the Autodesk website and combined with Photoshop to paint the textures of the bunny. I gathered references of furry animals without fur like the Sphynx cats or puppy rodents.
Light and Shaders
I created three Area Lights with "Use Light Shape" turned on and a "mia_portal_light" on the light shader of each one with mib_blackbody on the "Custom Environment" tab. So I added a light grey sphere around the entire scene and turned on the FG. To define the mood and the lighting I tested some positions and tweaked the intensity and color temperature of each one.
To the shaders of the body, teeth and tongue I used "misss_fast_skin_maya" and to the eyes and the wooden leg used mia_materials.
To have maximum control on the look of the project when composing, I generated several render layers\passes: beauty, backscatter, epidermal, subdermal, reflection, occlusion, back light, main light and mattes.
I made the composition and some color adjustment on Photoshop, also painted the slobber with simple standard brushes. After getting the result that I wanted, I have opened the image in Adobe Lightroom and made the proper adjustments, I really enjoy messing a little bit with highlights and shadow colors that always generate interesting results.