Art Spotlight: Forfipede

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About Me

Hello Everyone, I’m Kyllian Bocklandt, also known as Breniak. I’m a Belgian 3D artist living in the province of Hainaut, Belgium.

I am freshly graduated from the Academy of Fine-Arts in Tournai, where I learned 3D in real time (modeling, texture, animation, etc.) for 4 years.

I’m passionate about 3D in general, from my childhood, the instant I saw my first animated film. And I would like to create one or more 3D short films in the long run.

Why this project

Originally, the creation of this creature dates back to the years 2016-2017 as part of a project for my academy to create a cinematic game with Unreal Engine, where we absolutely had to do everything from A to Z (storyboard, conceptual art, modeling, sculpture, rigging, animation, composition, etc.).

We had the complete freedom to create this game with the theme of our choice and I chose to work on a post-apocalyptic world. The game centers around communities of mutants who have kept their humanity and are trying to survive against a wild and mutant wildlife.

The creature was made while I was learning character creation with Zbrush, so there was a lot of experimentation.This article may not be especially interesting for experienced artists, but will certainly be useful for beginners who would like to get started and know the process.

Images of the project where forfipede appears

Forfipede

For the project, I needed a mutated animal. So I imagined an insect who has grown in size and whose biological origins are unrecognizable.

His name is a contraction of Forficula and Centipede, and of course we find some elements of these insects on the creatures, the tail provided with hooked claw, the long antennas, and also the mantis arms.

In its appearance I wanted the forfipede to have this impression of a ram but with the armor mainly towards the front, so we find a thick carapace on the head, the legs and on the front of the back, whereas the back, the tail and underside have an extremely bloated and soft appearance suggesting a vulnerability if attacked from behind.

Concept Art

So I realized the concept art with the painting software: Krita.

The concept stayed in gray value, for the simple reason that the artistic style of the project is in black and white in terms of the textures of the base color. The only exception is that only the sources of lights can tint the project, for example the yellow light of the sun and the bluish shadows with the sky.

High poly

In Zbrush, I started building the base of the model with Zspheres, and then started sculpting the general shape using mainly ClayBuildup, Move and Standard brushes.

For the details I used 3 other brushes; DamStandard was used to accentuate the folds of flesh, the veins and the “muscular fibers”, while TrimDynamic allowed me to mark places where there are elements of shell and to create slight imperfections. I finished with Orb_Cracks to give the impression that the exoskeleton is in several pieces with cracks.

Finally the antennas were modeled in Blender and imported into Zbrush.

The vertices were painted for IdMap and that made it easier for me to create a mask in Substance Painter.

Baking/Texturing

Retopology was done in Blender and baking in Substance Painter.

Made for Unreal, the materials are in PBR and I worked with Fill Layer and used generators to add variations and micro-details.

Some parts required me to hand-paint over the layer mask, such as for the “tumors” on the side and the pattern of the shell.

Some layers act on the Metallic texture but sparingly, especially on the exoskeletal parts, the teeth and the claws, in order to create interesting reflections in some places.

This technique leaves you with a lot of layers and it becomes necessary to organize your layers, folders and subfolders with explicit names.

The ground is a procedural texture created in Substance Designer for this year’s academic project.

I needed a ground who was marked with some pebbles, but my lack of knowledge with this software meant that I did not end up with satisfactory pebbles. While looking for theory, I found the artist Tom Jacobs, who made incredibly good landscapes and surfaces, and made a custom pebble-generating node available for free.

This allowed me to understand how to do it, and then I connected the pebbles node to a Tile Sampler node to randomize a pattern, and vary its shapes and intensity.

The nodes inspired by Tom

For the Sketchfab needs, I painted an alpha texture in Krita and added it to the Base Color to make it more natural.

Animation and Sketchfab Part

I rigged and animated the character in Blender. The animation was made especially for Sketchfab.

In Sketchfab, so that the composition matches with the same artistic vision of my old project, I played a lot with the post-processing to stylize the scene; grain addition, chromatic aberration, SSAO, bloom, vignette, sharpness, all at reasonable levels.

I am also a big fan of Color Balance, so I particularly played with the parameter, to tint the shadows and the light, giving more life to the grayscale texture of my character and to get a temperature contrast.

Finally, I used Tone Mapping to add contrast and saturation, with the type “filmic” which gives an interesting rendering.

Finally I would like to thank the Sketchfab team for allowing the artists to show their 3D projects and set them up at will with the options of their choice, as well as allowing me to write an Art Spotlight.

If you want to see more of my work, you can go to Artstation.

And also the student project where the Forfipede appears: Youtube

 

About the author

Kyllian Bocklandt

3D Artist


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