Using my character turnarounds as reference, I began blocking out the geometry of both characters using polygon primitives and reshaping the edge loops to match the reference. For the robot’s joints I created geometry that matched the function of each joint; hinges for the knees, elbows and ankles and spheres for the ball and socket joints. I kept the jaw/mouth as a separate mesh to the rest of the head but parented it to the head joint after rigging and moved the pivot point towards the back of the head so that I could rotate it opening and closing without affecting the head geometry yet it would still move with the head when the head is rotated.
To be able to animate the robot’s eyes I modelled eyelids and can manipulate the vertices of these when I create blend shapes for the facial animation. I then applied a toon shader texture though increased the specularity on the robot so the ‘metal’ would reflect slightly and not appear too dull.
For the boy character, I followed similar steps to above for the basic geometry though this time making sure the edge loops followed the direction of the muscle groups so that the geometry will move correctly when animated. To create the clothing, I used NURBS primitives. This allowed me to quickly map out the shapes without having to create many edge loops to maintain the bends and curves. I then converted the NURBS shapes into polygons. Though for the T-Shirt and the trousers I duplicated the body mesh, separated the appropriate faces and scaled them up and reshaped them. I didn’t want the clothing to look too clean and new so I added some ripped looking holes to the trousers. I created a hood for the jacket by extruding faces on the upper back of the jacket.
To create the city, I used a free MEL script called Kludge City which is a procedural city generator. This allowed me to quickly create a variety of buildings to use in my city scene. I then placed the buildings around on the city map I created. I applied toon shaders to the buildings but for the windows I used a blinn texture so I could add transparency to them.
The tree and the dead trees were created in ZBrush using the ZTree pluginwhich uses ZSpheres to generate branches on chosen areas of the model, I then exported the model to Maya for texturing. I didn’t like the leaves that were generated by the Fibers in Zbrush. They didn’t fit in with the overall look of my other models so I created my own in Maya using a reference image. I created groups/clusters of them and placed them all around the model. In maya I created, tree like structures that will act as artificial light structures that will stand in for real trees in parks around the city. Unit X35 will go around scanning some of these to determine if they are a real tree.
For Unit X35’s ship, I used reference from the shuttles in the computer game Mass Effect. I like the clean lines of these shuttles. I used polygon shapes to create this shuttle, again applied toon shaders to the model and a blinn for the window. To be able to animate the door opening, I kept the mesh from the door separate to the main ship, parented it to the main ship and changed the pivot point to the top middle of the door.
Now it’s time for rigging!