Art Spotlight: The Wandering Wolf

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In Art Spotlight, we invite Sketchfab artists to talk about one of their designs.

Hey everybody, my name is Lau and I am a student, currently writing my thesis, of Game Design & nonsense in Copenhagen, Denmark. While having a great interest in game- and level design I am also working as a 3D generalist, doing most of the art, on a small indie-game production called “Skyld” (guilt in Danish). For the interested, take a look at our twitter: @skyldgame.

I was happy being invited to talk a bit about my 3D model “The Wandering Wolf” and the process in its creation – So I gladly accepted to write the following post:

Initially I started on the project to test myself in the creation of a quadruped rig – But also because I like wolfs. And dogs. But mostly wolfs… Okay, back on track. At the same time I wanted to make a somewhat stylized model both in regards of anatomy and textures. I didn’t have much time to do the project, and therefore I wanted to stay simple in regards of both geometry and texture painting. I needed to pick a style, which I could finish doing a couple of days as a small weekend project.

I looked at some cool wolfs, thinking how I should handle the stylization of this beautiful creature. I then looked at pictures of my former dog, may you rest in peace – And came to the conclusion of mixing up some wolf’ish and dog’ish features into a cocktail. Wolf-fish and Dog-fish? That’s gonna be my next project for sure!.. I then put together the following inspiration board to start working from:

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With some inspiration at hand on my second monitor – did he just say second monitor? Yes I did – So cool right?! – I started blocking in the fundament of the silhouette with single vertices and putting in volume starting from the head, changing between viewpoints and keeping an eye on my references. Of cause mirroring the geometry, since I hate doing double work.

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I pretty much just continued this way, putting in more and more geometry – while manipulating single vertices and using Blenders proportional editing to form the shape of the wolf. The legs were a bit trickier and I studied my reference images a bit closer during this part. As always when I am doing low-poly models I try, and often fail, to use every single vertex to help shaping in my wanted silhouette.

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As I finished the model I realized that I had been thinking too much on my former dog, may you rest in peace, while modelling – And the model looked way more like a dog than a wolf. But I wanted a wolf! hits the table angrily! – You have to give this model the feel of a wolf from its pose and its textures instead, the weird voice in my head said. Brilliant idea, I replied to myself!

Okay – So I made a quite straight forward UV-unwrap and didn’t do much editing to it, because of the limited time and concentration I had at hand. I studied my references a bit again – And found that wolfs often have a fur, which is a bit like in layers. Bright in the bottom of its body and gets darker and darker as it reaches its back. I wanted to use this to stylize my wolf – With clearly divided layers of fur with changes in brightness. First I blocked in the main colours, then outlined the “layer changes” and finally painted in different detail as well as a bit of shadow and highlight:

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This helped a bit on getting my dog.. wolf! Look like a wolf!.. But I needed to rig this girl – So she could get the slinking feel a wolf often have, in my opinion, while prowling through its habitat. I don’t want to get into detail with the creation of the rig, since it caused me trauma – And I wouldn’t know how to limit the description of this process without boring everybody to their deaths. Sorry. But here is the final rigged model:

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Now I just needed to set up some fluff to make my model worthy for the mighty sketchfab community. I putted in a bunch of small planes with a transparency texture for the grass, some stem-less flowers (Yes, they do exist in the world of wandering wolfs) and glowy stuff in the air I would like to think of as fire-flies 😀
Adding a bit of atmosphere can be done very quickly and gives your models a much better presentation – So I would say creating a small scene around your models is very worth the effort – And makes it way more fun for all the other of us to enjoy them afterwards.

Click And the model was uploaded! Thank you sketchfab for an amazing website! And thanks to all uploaders who brings me a lot of inspiration and motivation! If people is interested in more of my work you can follow me on twitter.com/QuasiHobo

QuasiHobo / Lau Nielsen

Thanks Lau!

See more of Lau’s work here on Sketchfab and on his personal website. You can learn more about Skyld by following the project on Twitter.

About the author

Bart Veldhuizen

Head of Community at Sketchfab. 3D Scanning enthusiast and Blenderhead. Running BlenderNation in my spare time.


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