Monday, May 26, 2014


As a part time student for Spring, my only ANI class was ANI 130B: Advanced Digital Modeling. It really rekindled a fire for me to make use of modeling in my production pipeline. For our final project, we got to choose what we wanted to model, be it a character, environment, or prop. I went with challenging myself on making a 3-D version of Helen Chen's Ygritte print that I got from her when I went to APE last October. I love Game of Thrones, Ygritte is one of my favorite characters, and she got drawn by one of my favorite artists. While I was getting advise from an upperclassman modeler on taking a 2-D image to 3-D, he mentioned to me how sick it would be to get it 3-D printed!!! This made me even more stoked to start on this project and just see the final product on the palm of my hand.

The challenge was that I had only had one image to work off so there was a lot of work to be done. Luckily I had a partner to help me out with the project, Diem Doan. We spent quite a bit of time figuring out the structure and anatomy going on within the print because it had to make sense in a three dimensional plane rather than just a flat piece on the wall. 

At first, we got off the a rougher start than I expected. I just could not get the hold of Helen Chen's style, so I handed it off to Diem, who had a much better handle on it. This turnaround was definitely a back and forth process since we both could not get the turnaround to a satisfying point for our teacher. On his advise, we just started doing a basic shape model for her proportions. 

I did the body while Diem took over the head and hair. Making the body was quicker than I expected but the biggest challenge for me were her hands. I had to fiddle with it to make it look like they were the hands of a young woman rather than a man. Another difficult task that I encountered while working on her hand was figuring out how to connect her backhand armor (with fur) to her hand because we had to make it water-tight for printing. I'm glad to say that the amount of late night hours I spent on this hand was definitely worth it.

After the hands, I connected it with the body and waited for Diem to finish her head. Sadly, I don't have progress pics for those but I can say that she did an awesome job with it, despite how busy she was with her 117B class.

Once I got the head connected, I rigged the body using Maya's human rig so I can match the pose in the print. I had plenty of fun with myself just seeing this thing that I built move! 

After posing the model, with her holding the sword, I quickly made a super basic human model shape to go inside to hollow it out for printing. That way the printers would use less ink and it would be cheaper for the both of us. It consisted a lot of refining in Maya/Zbrush and uploading to the printer website to get a print that wouldn't be too thin in some places and big enough to justify the cost. We ended up scaling it to a 4.6 inch as a 5 inch and above got way too expensive. Unfortunately, even though we ordered early enough to receive our print, the package got lost somewhere in France. We still haven't found a resolution on the investigation on what happened to it, nor have we received a very good communication with the printing company, especially after we asked for a refund. It is sad to say that this last part of the project left a bittersweet taste in my mouth.

Despite a very bad ending to this story, it was definitely a fun project and it pushed me to try more modeling projects such as this. It made me realize that us 2-D artists take advantage of the 2-D plane and cheat without really thinking about it in a 3-D sense.