Phil and Mantis: Intergalactic Janitors


Second project for Full Sail’s Computer Animation finals. Created using Maya 2011, Zbrush 4.0, xNormals, and PhotoshopCS5. Original concept by Brett Bean. Modeled, textured, lit, posed, and surroundings by Kyle Havrilesko. Produced in 70 hours.
“Phil n’ Mantis” Concept by Brett Bean
In the pre-production stage, I had drawn out roughly 50 sketches for research into the asset such as orthographic views, final posing, face and hand gestures, basic shaping, line of actions, and wireframe planning. Below are a few examples.

Once pre-production was finished, I created a final look and environment to display them off with. I tested the lighting and positioning using rough shapes and the gun props, which were required to be modeled before actual production, that I created in maya.

Using the “They’re Here…” concept, I extracted and added these slug creatures to a 360 canvas night sky using photoshops offset  filter and clone tool.

Since these characters were comprised of more sophisticated geometry and shapes, I decided to try to approach these characters thru Zbrush starting off with ZSpheres to shape out the main silhouettes.

Once these shapes were close to what I wanted, I created adaptive skins out of them and sculpted out the geometry further. For better detailing, I exported them as OBJs and separated the geometry in Maya. I brought the geometry that needed better sculpting and re-topology back into Zbrush as OBJs and adjusted them for easier modeling in Maya.

After my scene and models were set up, I created separate scenes and imported my orthographic sketches to use as reference for size and shape of model block out using front and side views. Once positioned I adjusted the wireframe for proper deformation and helped form out facial features.

Having these base shapes ready, I was now able to start modeling all the characters gear, accessories, and additional features. Throughout this process, I adjusted the main geometry to conform around the gear and once this was done, I laid out the UVs  so that I could bring them into Zbrush for better resolution.

After I created UV maps, I exported the characters and their gear as OBJs to bring into Zbrush for cloth wrinkling, sharper facial details, and texture placement. Once these were formed out I could export  high resolution and low resolution models to bring into xNormals for baked out normal maps. In order to preserve actual geometry and for quicker renders, I made various things like the pockets on the suit using only textures and normal maps. In order for me to tell where to paint these textures, I had to smooth out the models, Polypaint  textures onto the models, and export them to Photoshop for better quality and detailing.

After the textures were planned and detailed further in Photoshop, I applied them to various Blinns and mia Material X materials to fill the scene with brighter colors and details. With such a darkly lit scene, I had to bring up the Ambient glow in many materials to keep the cartoony and colorful look.

They were now ready to be posed. I used a mixture of methods to position these characters in my concept poses. One method I used for Mantis was I had a friend rig him, but all I could pull out of the rig were just basics motions like  arm and leg movement due to hasty deadlines and issues. I had to use my soft selection rotation method for the rest. I decided to use the combine subtool and transpose method in Zbrush to position Phil in his pose. I took a while but they came through. I adjusted geometry in deformation areas and posed the facial emotions in Maya.
After they were imported and placed in the scene, I adjusted the lighting to catch the mood, altered the environment and ground plane, and added additional props for better story. With a few more adjustments, I rendered out my final images for my asset creation class.

My instructors found the background to confusing and busy, and the materials used for the suits and aliens were too similar. During my demo reel creation class, I managed to change the environment to its original concept and make the materials more understandable. Mention of them looking better in their concept poses also arose, but I haven’t had the time to alter this and I am sure it would be much easier once I get them rigged.
Once rendered, I was able to apply an Ambient Occlusion pass over them in Nuke and it really brought out the colors and the characters.
My final images are posted on the top of this page and in the final gallery. For a full 360 view of Phil and Mantis, watch them on my demo reel and be sure to check out my other models. If this character manages to be further produced, I will post all updates on this page. Thank you for viewing.