Soul Users - creating a monster
For one of my university collaborative projects I was asked to design and create a monster for the short film ' Soul Users'. I was initially given the brief in the summer before my third year started when Harrison - the director of Soul Users and project leader asked me to design and create the monster after he had previously worked with me on a creature for the Beast of Brecon project that I took part in in 2nd year. Initially I was asked to create a creature that would stealthy slither, it was to look naga like with scythe like hands. However later on the script was changed to be more action packed the creature changed from a stealthy slithering fiend to a giant wrathful brute. Harrison asked for the creature to seem like a human that had slowly mutated into a terrifying creature so I began to look at natural references in order to combine human attributes with other animal attributes to create something more bestial. I began looking at Gorilla's and Bear's for the heavy set body whilst looking at shark heads and lizards to create a creepier and more terrifying predatory face.
I found that looking at just bears and Gorilla's was limiting the appearance of the creature and making it look stuck together and not like an actual creature, so I began to also look at some game creatures like the Tigrex from Monster Hunter to understand and mess with the anatomy of a create that would thrash about, leading with powerful arms when angry and enraged.
The Tigrex from the Monster Hunter Franchise.
I felt like this helped inform my creature a lot more. Harrison had also asked that there be some sort of bone and skull like armor across the creature so I designed a makeshift armor that looked to be comprised of the parts of different creatures now fused to the skin of the creature like an exoskeleton, The spine, ribs and skull however looking almost like a larger version of the creature had been slain and it had picked off the bone pieces from its body. The skin of the creature was to look jaundiced and sickly with abscesses covering its back, further creating the illusion of a highly deformed mutated human.
Interestingly the design of the creature both in the initial design broached to me by Harrison and the design I created feature side facing eyes meaning that the creature isn't a true predator and is in fact prey. A small hint that there are bigger fish in the ocean so to speak.
I sculpted the create bipedal as initially requested by the rigger and had retopologised the creature on the directors request to contain a loop running up the chest of the creature for a wound to open and close - the would opening was later scrapped as the rigger later decided that the blend-shapes required would take too much. - This sound explain the rather odd typology along the chest of the creature as by the time the rigger decided to scrap the blend-shapes the project was already far along and as this was a University project with a deadline I did not have the time to spare to redo the typology, unwrapping and re-texturing.
The Sculpting was completed in Zbrush, retopology in Topogun and texturing was completed in Mari.
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