Helga - Demonic Bust / by Andreas Kopriva

Hello everyone and welcome to this new section where I'll be sharing different character concept work that I create as I crawl my way through this very exciting and challenging field. 

These characters are just quick studies for the most part, with the purpose inevitably being their inclusion in a larger world-based framework (such as what we're trying to do at www.talesofwintersverge.com) where some may end up being animated and interactive, but with a likelihood that most will assume tangible product form through 3d printing and casting. 

So without further ado, here's Helga! 

Helga - She who dwells beneath...or something 

A final composite with various photofilters applied atop the main render

Helga stemmed from a tutorial I was watching from Mr Peter Konig over at Uartsy and I kinda took it in a slightly different direction as it was progressing. Ultimately I took a more traditional 'demonic' face vibe while keeping a few elements of the simian brow and elephantine skin. 

Furthermore, I incorporated more coral like forms over the shoulders which made me consider a semi-aquatic subterranean habitat as the primary dwelling for this creature. I opted to incorporate the chest piercings as a mini-homage to the Azmodan character from Diablo 3 as that specific part always stuck out for me. 

A few notes on the production of the character - 

  • Everything was done in Zbrush from scratch starting off with a dynameshed sphere which was taken to a polycount of around 1.4mil 
  • Once the main forms were sculpted and considered complete I added subtools for the horns, eyes and tongue to act as placeholders and to help with finessing those larger forms
  • For the finer work (creases, wrinkles etc) I retopologized the main mesh and projected the dynameshed detail unto it, thereby having a cleaner topological base to work from and having the capability to export to a game engine should that need arise in the future. The retopologized mesh came to around 15k polys with subdivisions being carried out until I hit the 4,5m mark. The retopo was done using the automated ZRemesher plugin within Zbrush
  • After around 5 hours of fine detail sculpting, I hand painted the mesh within Zbrush using polypainting (i.e. each polygon receiving a color value) and after about 3-4 hours ended up rendering it out straight from Zbrush 
  • The render passes where then imported into photoshop for a final paint over and the addition of a few final graphical touches such as the blood smears etc 

All in all the process took around 15 hours from beginning to final render which isn't TOO bad I guess - considering that these are primarily for testing/concepting purposes and not really considered to be final deliverables. I could have easily invested another 4-5 hours on sculpting the horns and other details for example. 

Either way, it was a lovely experience and a very interesting look into a number of workflows and processes. The amount of time spent on figuring out those main large forms and the tweaking done so that it ended up looking 'just right' was surprisingly higher than expected - but ultimately, it's better to build out those details on good foundations, so yea - spend that time on the silhouette and main forms and everything else will fall into place. 

I've attached a small gallery below showing different iterations of the sculpt before the final model featured above to illustrate the extent of some of these changes. 

As the slideshow above shows, I went through a lot of iterations and changed the forms a lot of times before settling down on the final concept. And still, we're talking about a simple bust - were I to do a full blown model, these changes and refinements would have taken a hell of a lot longer. 

Either way, time is pretty tight these days due to a number of professional and academic obligations so I'm not working on characters as much as I would like. That said, I will be sharing more stuff in the near future, and am considering at some point of making time-lapses of a few of these once I get into the groove of creating them. 

I'd love to get your feedback on this and on see whether there is an interest in making the aforementioned videos as well so leave your replies below! 

Until next time, take care and happy creating!