Insect + Snapping Turtle / by Andreas Kopriva

Hello everyone! 

I just realized that I haven't posted an update in some time now, primarily because I've been pretty busy with architecture, specifically algorithm based design in grasshopper, which I'm finding to be one of the coolest things ever. I'll be uploading some of those experiments in the very near future, but for the time being I though I'd share a quick full figure sculpt that I've been working on for the past few weeks. 

I would consider this around 50% done at this point; I'm pretty happy with the overall form but haven't gotten into detailing it much. I'll outline my process below and I'll probably be updating this post with the final figure in the near future, so check back on that to see what the final product would look like. 

PROCESS - Step 1: Form sketches

The first part of the process I chose to follow for this guy, was a basic silhouette sculpting session using zspheres within Zbrush to get some basic silhouettes going on. Check those out in the gallery below : 





I opted to go with a quadriped type of thing, something that can jump and barge into things basically (I seem to be going through a brawler phase). This is probably one of the most important phases to go through cause : 

  1. It acts as a little warm-up to get one started 
  2. It defeats the whole blank page syndrome that seems to be an issue for most people 
  3. It allows you to quickly gauge as to whether the overall morphology of the concept being worked on is functional and/or appealing

After picking the starting mesh (the horsey-looking thing first in the gallery) I created an adaptive mesh and moved on to the actual sculpting of the mesh. 

Step 2 : Sculpting those major forms

The most awesome feature that was implemented by Pixologic in Zbrush must be the Dynamesh tool. It truly was a game-changer when it appeared a few years back and it still remains an amazing tool to bash your forms in shape. And bash them I did!

After a whole bunch of hours of building out the shapes, pushing/pulling volumes and adding forms (using pretty much just the clay-buildup, the move brush and the Damian standard/Crease brush) I finally settled on the final form featured below : 

I started off with a more insectoid thing in mind but the more I worked on it the more I moved away from the concept and kinda went with something more akin to a cave-dweller creature. I wanted a fusion between armour plated parts and exposed flesh, with the capability of it having a defense mode where it withdraws its head into the carapace. 

Check out some more frame grabs below : 

With the decision to switch to a more organic cave-dweller, I opted to accentuate the armour plating so as to resemble a type of armadillo, while sculpting the mouth based around the anatomy of the snapping turtle. The attack modus operandi of the creature is based on barging and bashing, so I reinforced the front most appendages and elongated them a bit more than the hind legs so that it could cross them over to form a shield around its front part. 

I also ended up liking the profile silhouette cause it slightly reminded me of a superbike type of form which I considered to be a happy little accident. 

As mentioned in the beginning of this article, I'm pretty much done with the major forms. What remains is a whole lot of detail work, texturing, posing (maybe even rigging, if I find the time to retopologize and rig it up - could be cool to get this guy animated) and final image compositing. I may even try to 3d print this little guy! 

Stay tuned for the update to this post where I'll share the rest of the process with you. I'm also seriously considering doing a lot of quicker studies and concepts, even filming a few so stay tuned for that. 

Till then, enjoy a quick Keyshot render of this guy posing as a statue on the side of the road in what appears to be a random industrial district somewhere!