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Sketches, drawings, 3D-models, and animations; feedback/critique always appreciated


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Hello everyone!
Quite recently I decided to go on the long journey called The Practice in order to get closer to the goal of Becoming a Better Artist. Now, this journey will take a lot of time, and I can't always know which is the right path. Therefore I'll frequently be discussing my journey here and listen to any thought, suggestion, idea and whatnot you might have on how I can reach my goal.

That was the analogy I first used when I described what my intentions were with my last thread at the previous forum. It still applies as I'm still practicing my art and will continue to do so for a lot longer. That said, I'll be posting my art, 3D-models, and eventually animations as well here as I discuss what my thoughts and ideas were with said art. Occasionally I'll also talk about art related things which I believe others might find useful as well, also right now I do have a large scale project I'm currently planning for which I'll share my ideas about it soon enough as well.

If you see anything in my art that doesn't feel right/is missing something which can make it better, then I'd be happy for any feedback or critique you can give me on my work!


Now, I do actually have something I've created just recently which I might just as well share straight away.



Lizardmen Skink practice sketch 2

The last few weeks I've been challenging myself with 1-minute sketches, as in only using one minute do draw each sketch. However this time I decided to skip it for once and take as much time as I deemed fit for this image. The image itself is a Skink, a sentinent race from the Lizardmen army of the Warhammer tabletop game universe. I sketched it as I wanted to practice drawing them as well as drawing something from a slightly odd pose, as I still need to practice drawing things in different perspectives and poses.

I first sketched the head to the left in order to get an understanding for how it looks like. However since I had so much space left on the paper, I decided to draw the backside of a Skink as it's spying something from behind a few vines just to try and draw something happening. There's a lot of details still missing on the head in order to make it not look like a skull, but this had to do for now. To be honest I was actually more interested in the placement of the frill, eye and the mouth in relation to each others. And yes, according to other official art and the tabletop army model I have the eye is supposed to be that big. It's also supposed to kinda be like a single coloured pearl, though it's hard to tell exactly as I don't really have any good eye-only referece to go by.

The back pose is quite interesting with all the big scales the Skinks tend to have on their backs. These scales are what I've seen on an actual army model, but sadly isn't visible on any of the official artwork I've seen. Therefore I can't say for certain that this is how they look, though that's a part of the learning process, eh? To first draw something one way, evaluate whether it looks right or not, and then draw it again even better. They're also a part of the project I mentioned earlier that I'm working on, so the more I can learn about them, the better.


That's all I have to show for today. If anyone has any thoughts, ideas or critique, then feel free to share them!

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  • 1 month later...

Well this took a lot longer until my next post than I thought. Despite that, I certainly haven't been passive as I've more or less had something to work on every day. As a matter of fact this week I've been working on a miniproject which is now "finished":


Skink 3D-model
This here is a model of a Skink, who are one of the subjects of the Lizardmen empire in the Warhammer universe. I made this model with the help of official art references as well as the actual tabletop army models, though both are slightly vague as the artwork only show the fronts and the army model are designed to be more practical rather than a perfect look-alike. Therefore it's up to me to create a "good enough" representation of what a Skink actually looks like.

Although while this model looks finished, it really isn't; I still need to sculpt in a lot more details and definition as well as oversee the whole model in case I need to change something. Textures are also still missing, and that'll take a lot of time in itself to implement fully. Not to mention that I'm also going to be rigging this model for animations later on ... yeah, there's still a lot more to be done before it can be truly finished. Nevertheless it's "good enough" for this week's miniproject and I could need a break before I decide upon what to do next.

Now, I know I'm still a beginner at this and there's still a lot more to learn, so if anyone has any thoughts or suggestions of how I can improve this model, or just generally as an artist, then I'd greatly appreciate it.


Thanks for reading!

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Hey Sdos and DrGravitas, thanks for showing interest! Yeah, I'm using a few references for what they should look like. Not much really, though there's three art pieces in the Warhammer Lizardmen army book as well as the actual Skink army models. Unfortunately I can't actually link the specific artwork as I can't find them on the net, though here's a different artwork and an example of the army models themselves. Now, my Skink isn't mean to look exactly like the army models, but more like the stylized artwork of them.

Granted there exist other artwork, but then it's made by other artists which all have their interpretation of what Skinks look like. Due to this I'll have to decide on which kind of Skink I want to create a model of, and right now I've decided on the more "beastly looking" variant than the "anthro" variant, I.e. more crouched than upright and a neck which goes behind the head rather than beneath it.

Although while I've said all this, feel free to question any choice I make in case something looks off. I'm not afraid to redo parts of my model in case the change would lead to an even better model afterwards. After all what I really want isn't just a good model, but a great model. ;)

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Okay then! Here's the mesh topology of my current Skink model. I tried to include as many closeups as possible and can only hope I haven't missed anything important.

In case you're curious, the arms currently have an eight polygon loop while the legs have a twelve polygon loop.

Total number of faces not counting the teeth: 3156


If you spot any obvious mistakes or akward connections, then feel free to mention it.

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Wow, that model's topology is a really well made! The only thing I can see along those lines is what looks like it might be a triangle on the right leg of the last image. I think it might just be the viewing angle, though. Given how well you've done on the majority of the model, I assume you managed to keep the tail tip from having non-quads as well and was able to limit the number of edges that converge at the tip to 5.

One thing I might suggest is to change the topology around the joints to something that retains form better, like the joints seen in this polycount page. It'll help immensely when you get around to rigging and animating things. I also find it easier to bind skin to skeleton with the jaw and eye lids open. I also feel like you may have some problems deforming the hands and fingers, but I'm not sure what would be best to improve them. On the other hand, those problems might also be avoidable with just some proper skin-weight painting.

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That triangle isn't really a triangle and only looks so due to the viewing angle as you just said. It's only a quad which bends around an extremely defined achilles tendon and just happens to look wierd from that image. I've also made sure the tail tip is indeed quads only as well, and the tip itself only has four edges actually.

Good joint topology and deformations is something I've never really thought about yet, so thanks for linking that polycount page for me! It looks slightly complicated when I skim it over, though I should try it out later on and see how much better it gets.

Having the eyelids and jaw closed is actually something an author of a tutorial series preferred since he felt it was easier to open than to close them. Personally I have no idea whether I feel the same or not as I haven't delved far enough into 3D to experience it, but for now they happen to be closed. I do actually have a different model I'm working on now and I could try keeping the eyelids and mouth open on that one and see how that works in comparison.

The hands and fingers, or rather the hand specifically isn't pretty at all right now. I actually want to rebuild them as soon as I can figure out a more efficient way of doing so. If anything I'll just try to experiment with them and see what works better or worse. Alternatively I could make use of the Blender function Subdivision, which multiplies every polygon into four smaller polygons. The initial topology will still be a bit messy though, but it might help.

Thanks for your feedback DrGravitas, I appreciate it! I'll try some things out when I get the opportunity and see how it works out.

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Female Iksar 3D-model, simple box model

I did mention I had another model I'm working on, and this is it ... the early initial part of it that is. I've been wishing to create a model of a female Iksar from the Everquest franchise, and this is the first part of it. I do say first part as this simplistic box model is just to have an initial model to base my later work on (something I actually did for my Skink as well). Thanks to this I'll be able to spot any mistakes and proportional errors before I spend too much work on it. Thus I'll be able to fix them and not even feel half as bad as I would've had I spent a week or two on it instead. I've only spent one day on this model so far.

I've been using the model from the Everquest 2 game itself as a reference, or rather several sketches I've made of the model, though I never had any real T-pose as a reference and thus had to go by an estimate of how to model the proportions. Due to this I'm not completely satisfied with how it looks, yet I can't tell if it's any specific body part which I'm unsatisfied with or if it's just that I'm uncertain of my own skill. Nevertheless, this is what I got right now and I'll continue to work on it this week and hopefully have something prettier to show later on. I'll make sure to model this with its eyes and mouth open this time and we'll see how good the rigging gets afterward.

I'll get to sculpting details, texturing and such on my Skink later on. It's just that I wanted to have something else I could also work on as well and not feel limited to just one project. This does of course mean I might start yet another project since I have several things I've been wishing to model now that I'm actually getting into it. Though right now I'm going to work on my Iksar before I do anything else. After that we'll see what I'll do next.

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I have actually experimented with it a while ago, but then I forgot about it ... or rather wished to experiment with different ways to construct a model. To be honest I never really tried it out for too long, but it did indeed help with prototyping simple body shapes rather quickly. Or at least the one (abandoned) model I started on a few months back.

I probably should try it out again on the next model I create and see how well it works out. I could always combine the 'skin' modifier with my box modeling as well in case it's needed. Thanks for pointing it out Maug!

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  • 4 weeks later...


Female Iksar 3D-model, stage 1

Now, this model should've been finished earlier had I actually worked on it, but now it's finally done. The first stage of it that is.

I did use my box model as a reference for when I created this, but early on I discovered that the proportions weren't good at all and thus had to reconfigure it in order to look acceptable. A couple of times actually. Though I'm still learning how to model and how to make good proportions, so I'll change the model as many times as necessary in order to make it look better. As a matter of fact, I've already received one comment mentioning I should try to place the model in a 45-degree pose rather than a T-pose and consider checking the shoulder topology again. This since characters normally have their arms there and that it'd be easier to make a more natural geometry distribution that way.

I've intentionally made the Iksar slim as I wanted to avoid having a big-hips-small-waist character. And also since I wanted to consider the fact that this is a reptilian character which doesn't have breasts anyway. Although despite saying this, there might still be some proportion errors and such on the model, so feel free to point them out. As a matter of fact, you can get a more interactive view of my model on Sketchfab in case the images here aren't enough.

Now, the head with its frills where the hardest part of this model as I really had to make sure they look natural where they're attached, as well as making sure the the bony protrusions and the skin between said bones looks good. Granted not having any textures makes it hard to see the bones, but there's supposed to be four thin bones plus one bigger, thicker bone(?) at the bottom. All of these are supposed to be rigged and animatable later on. The most time spent on my model was to fix the head.

The rest of the body was actually not that hard at all. Well, modeling the tail and making sure it actually fits to the back of the body comes as the second hardest I guess. At first I actually forgot to model the ass, so I had to remake the part around the tail once in order to add it. Then I made sure to divide the tail into segments since the actual model in Everquest 2 has segmented tails. Or at least seven small pointy protrusions along the side of the tail.


As the headline says, this is only stage 1 of my model as I'm going to sculpt in more details, muscles, maybe even scales if I think it would work. Then I'll be texturing and rigging the model and throw it into some fun animations. Although I have a lot of other things I wish to do as well so we'll see when I'll actually get to stage 2 for this model. The same goes for my Skink model as well actually. Currently I'm trying to create very simplistic models for me to animate later on. These models are intended to extremely simple as to limit the time spent on them as well as how much can be animated. That way I can focus on only animating the things which are important, so hopefully I should have some simple animations available soon.

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  • 1 month later...


And a more interactive animation here (i.e. using your mouse to rotate, zoom and move around the model as the animation plays): https://sketchfab.com/models/62ec06687dfd46b3b561a4173c5829a4

Simple wyvern animation

I'm finally finished with texturing, rigging and animating a model I created a month ago. It's a wyvern. A rather simplified one compared to what I've created earlier that is. The simplified nature is to have as little as possible to interact with when I animate it, although I kinda chose the wrong kind of model to make a "simple" rig for, with its tail, neck and bat-like fingered wings. Though I think it'll work just fine for the simple (and not so simple) animations I'll expose it to.

The model itself is intended to be a wyvern; a bipedal dragon-like creature with bat-like wings. It's also supposed to be mediocre for now as I can always improve upon it in the future; I just wanted a wyvern, any wyvern to begin with. The texture on it is something I can't take full credit for as the program I used, Substance Painter, have several different features I can use to paint seemingly impressive patterns with little effort. I didn't really want to spend too much time on texturing this, but I wanted at least something on it so it wouldn't be just a stale grey model.

The rigging I did afterwards took more time than I thought it would, mostly because of the unnecessarily complicated system with winged arms, and everything else too of course. I hadn't rigged anything for quite some time either so I had to relearn how it worked as well. Hopefully it'll work as I expect it to do and not explode in my face later on. Yet I believe I'll still have to rebuild it whenever I decide to improve the model itself. Apart from this I also attempted to apply a soft body simulation to the wings in order to make it move around just slightly as to simulate real wings, which worked ... a bit I guess? It probably isn't visible in this animation but should hopefully be noticeable in a later animation ... given you can actually notice something which is supposed to be subtle. I had to experiment with it for a while before it even began to behave like I wanted to, albeit nowhere near perfect. For now I'll just have to be satisfied with learning how it works at all before I can make full use of it.

The animation itself wasn't hard at all now that everything else was finished. I admit it's quite a simple animation, but I needed to at least try out my rig to see if it even works as well as to prove myself that I'm actually making progress. Now that the model did behave like I wanted to, I can continue and stress test it with more animations, unless I rig and animate something else as well. I have a few other things I also want to animate but at least nothing as demanding as the wyvern.


Now even though I've said that the model and animation are simplified, feel free to give me feedback in case you see anything that looks off.

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Yeah, physical feedback and making sure the rest of the body reacts accordingly to whatever the wings do is something I'll have to practice more with. Though all this greatly depend on how big I make the wyvern, something I actually haven't completely decided yet. If anything, I'd want to make it believable as to justify those large wings since it should be able to lift its own weight with them. Currently I'm considering to make it small, despite what the animation above might suggest, but we'll see what I'll decide later on.

I think I'll have to study bats and other birds for a while before I go much farther into animating this. Gonna need some good references to base my decisions on.

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Simple wyvern, version 2

The interactive version here: https://sketchfab.com/models/46056261ff6a47f9ae8dd3e00a329d41

A slightly revised version of my wyvern model. From some feedback I've gotten about the model I decided to revise it slightly before I made any more animations with it. The main issues with my previous model was the fact that the elbows bended into the wrong direction, the feet which were slightly small for something so large, and the eyes which were hard to see. I also redid the texture.

With the elbow I just moved it back enough to bend into the correct direction, though by doing this I actually made the wing smaller. Such a "thin" wing wouldn't work at all, so therefore I had to extend the wing up onto the tail in order to make it large enough to justify its body size. I try to compare my model to bats which tend to have quite large wings in relation to their bodies, depending on what type of bat I choose of course. I don't really have any specific bat I use as a reference, but rather many different kinds so I'll have as much material as possible, though the flying fox might be my best reference since they're among the largest bats in the world. Nevertheless I try to estimate how big the wings should be for my model to look believable. I also made sure to fix a couple of the fingers which were too short, as well as other small things.

For the feet and the eyes I just made sure to define them slightly more, nothing exciting there. Except maybe for the fact that I had to really consider how big and heavy the wyvern would be in comparison for how big the feet were. With this in mind I also thought about letting my wyvern walk on all four while it isn't flying, like what bat does (when they aren't haning upside down that is). Then it would be able to even its weight across both the feet and the "hands," which actually was an issue i had earlier due to the center of gravity. Most of the weight is in the front and I don't think I actually could justify the model being able to keep itself upright with how I've constructed it now. By letting it walk on all four, I'll hopefully eliminate this issue while also taking care of the wings as well so they won't be unfolded all the time.

The texture was remade just so I can see if it'll look better like this or not. I'll probably change it again whenever I decide how it should really look, with patterns, details and whatever I might want to add. You could consider the current texture as a placeholder until further notice.

Now, although I still have the rig for my old model, I think I'll actually remake it for this one. I have no idea whether it'll appreciate the changes I've made to the modell now, so instead of taking the risk I'll just remake it from scratch. That way I'll be certain it's guaranteed to work as well as making sure it's constructed properly.

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  • 4 weeks later...


Warhammer Skink, WIP 1; Head and eyes

The interactive version can be found here: https://www.weasyl.com/submission/1209718/warhammer-skink-3d-model-wip-1-head-and-eyes

Had some varied progress since last time, but the most important part would be that I decided to resume the work on my Iksar and Skink from earlier. Or rather work on them than the wyvern right now, as I feel I want to look at something else for a while.

Now, what have I done with my other two models? I looked them both over and noticed there were quite a few proportional errors on my Skink, at least compared to the few reference images I use from the Warhammer Lizardmen army rulebook. Therefore I went ahead and began reshaping my model again, beginning with the head and the eyes.

What I'm trying to do with my model this time is to make it more "believable and realistic" for the purpouse I'm intending for them, which is to animate them doing various things like walking, running, climbing, interacting with objects, interacting with each others, and more. Therefore my Skink model must both look and feel like it can do these various things, hence why I'm reworking them.

Currently I'm working on the issue where it must have a certain degree of binocular vision (i.e. being able to focus on an object with both eyes) to be able to effectively manipulate objects right in front of its face, and to focus on objects/creatures farther away. So I have to figure out in what way the eyes should be positioned in the head to allow this degree of vision, as well as how the head should take shape around the eyes. Should the eyes be perfectly spherical? Are they large enough for a Skink? Does the head protect the eyes enough for them to fit in where they're positioned? Is the angle of binocular vision enough to justify the actions it might perform? These are just a few of the many questions I'm trying to answer myself as I work on the model.

Speaking of these questions, I did actually take some time to study how eyes work, both generally and for reptiles, crocodiles specifically. I can only guess so much how something works without actually knowing anything about it. That's why I made sure to take the time to do research so I have something to base my decisions on. I believe there's still more stuff to learn about eyes, but at some point I just have to try and experiment on the model and see what might or might not work. Theory can only do so much right now. So now it's time to apply said theory practice.

I should mention the jaw and inner mouth is missing because I'm intending to rebuild them later on as I shape the head itself. Apart from that, I'd appreciate any feedback you can give me on the eyes and the rest of the head.

Other thoughts
Occasionally I happen to stumble upon some interesting topics which has helped me to consider various subjects in new and insightful ways. I'll link said topics here below in case someone else might find them just as insightful as wel.

The Unofficial Truth about The Industry
The Unofficial Truth about The Industry (Part 2)
For anyone who's interested in 3D, visual effects, or just about anything related to the digital graphics industry, and also wish to work with them, these two (rather lengthy) topics will go through quite a number of questions regarding how easy/hard it is to succeed in an extremely tough industry. For someone like me who's currently doing this as a hobby, but have the ambition to advance myself much further than that, those topics has really made me understand how far I must push myself in order to get the job I'm striving for. If you have the time for it, and ambitions for the future as well, then I'd strongly recommend reading them.

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  • 1 month later...


Flying wyvern 3D-animation
A quick link to the more interactive version here:

Once again I decided to jump back to my earlier model, but this time I actually finished it.

My dear wyvern ... It has gone through three iterations before I finally got the rigging done so it could take its first flight. Well, the biggest changes since the last iteration are the wings. Earlier they were more like cardboard aeroplane, but now they look like actual bat wings.

I lengthened the wings further down the tail and made them more bat-shaped between each finger. I then also increased the number of polygons on the wings themselves as to make them more flexible. I could've increased the polycount even more, but I had to stop somewhere or else I would never be finished with it.

The texture also had to be changed. The orange scales I used earlier doesn't really look like it belongs on the leathery wings of a bat. Therefore I made sure to pick a material which resembles bat wings the best, and also highlight the fingers so you actually can see them in the wings. The face also got a slight makeover for the better. These changes probably can't be easily seen in the gif image above, but the interactive version shows this much more clearly. I wish I could embed this view here directly into the forum, but a link is good enough for now I guess.

Now, the animation itself is obviously a loop of the wyvern flying through the air. What I wanted with this animation was to try out my rigging and see if it might break or not. Thankfully it did not (yet), so then I made an attempt to create a believable flying cycle, which you can see just above. Said cycle would vary greatly depending on the size of the creature, which I've decided to make much bigger than what I've claimed earlier. Currently its wingspan should be about 4 meters across (little more than 13 feet), with its body being a tenth of that length. Such a large creature can be justified since the extinct Quetzalcoatlus has an even larger wingspan than that. Granted I don't really know how they actually fly, but that's just something I'll have to experiment and figure out eventually. Or just decide whatever looks the best. Anyhow the Quetzalcoatlus is also illustrated as capable of walking on all four legs, something I wish to implement to my own model as well, as shown on my Weasyl submission here. This would also fix an earlier issue with the legs being too small and the creature being off balance if it only used the legs. Speaking about the legs I know they're currently clipping into the wings. That's proof there's things I need to revise, but I decided to just let it pass this time.

This is what I got now. I've considered continuing to animate my wyvern and see where else it might break, and also try to tell a story with it. However now that I've actually gotten back to animations, I realise I need to work more on the basics; timing, weights, anticipation, etc.. Of course I'd still learn a lot from animating my wyvern, but it's also much harder, especially since I really haven't practiced the basics that much yet. Therefore I'll go back to animating much simpler things for a while.

Any thoughts, feedback or critique you can give on my model and animation are greatly appreciated.

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I must say, this is very impressive! I especially love how well the fingers stick out from the membrane of the wings. I would love to know more about your rigging techniques; they seem very well suited to producing animations. I don't have any real problems that you didn't cover in your own post, however.

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Thanks DrGravitas! The rigging is intentionally designed to work with animations, or at least I hope. It all depends on whether I can find a way to break it as I continue to animate it. Speaking of the rigging techniques I'll try to summarise what I know, though I'm still rather inexperienced so bear with me in case I miss anything important.



The wings
For the wings I've made sure you can animate every finger individually. Mostly so I have the ability to fold in the hand whenever the wyvern is on the ground. And also for the extra degree of control when it flies of course.

The hand and arms are connected in a spline IK-system with a pole target for the elbow so I can aim it wherever I want. I've also added the possibility to turn this spline IK on and off whenever I want.

Now this is just the bones themselves, but the actual wings is a completely different matter. Instead of using bones to control them, I've actually made use of the Soft Body physics in Blender in order to let the wings move around by itself, yet still be constrained to the model. This way, although quite complicated, allowed me to make the wings seem slightly more alive while still being able to move them freely. This feature isn't perfect however as it's heavily dependant on the number of polygons in the wings itself, as well as the many different settings you can mess around with, so it's far from the perfect solution. But it's good enough for now until I can think of a better way to solve this issue.



The legs
Boy, this is a messy setup, but I'll try to summarize what you see here.

Mainly there's an IK-system between the feet and the legs including a similar pole target for the knees and the ability to turn the IK on and off.

The foot itself ... well, it's a combination of a few things according to a rigging tutorial I used as a reference. No, it wasn't a tutorial to rig a wyvern, but a cartoony caveman. I just applied the same features to my model as well. Anyhow, in short this series of IK-systems and parenting allows me to rotate the foot in three different ways. The first way is rotating the whole foot from the heel, the second is to rotate the leg from the heel instead, and the third is to rotate both the foot and leg from the tip of the toes, all while still being able to freely move around both the foot itself and the toes.

While it looks messy here, the actual controllers I use is much better as I don't need to see every bone for this system to work.



The back
The last part of my rigging adventure. Nothing too exciting compared to what I've done earlier.

The head and neck is connected in an IK-system similar to the arms and legs.

The shoulders are actually not controlled by the IK-system of the arms, instead I just adjust them manually. I did try to include them into the arms' system, but it didn't work out well at all. Maybe I could've made it work had I investigated it enough, but this is good enough for me right now.

The spine extends down into the hips and finally the tail. The three upper parts of it is the spine itself, including the root bone which lets me move the whole rig. No special connections there, except for the root bone obviously. Thereafter comes the hip bone and the tail, which is divided into four parts. I've made the tail quite simplified as to individually inherit the rotation of one specific control object.

Then ... there really isn't much more to it I think? I hope this explains what you were after, though if there's anything which is unclear, I'll try to explain it even further.

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I would like to see more pencil drawings. I am specifically confused why your skink is hunched over and why the length of the thigh exceeds the length of the torso (typically one thigh length~ the distance from nipples to hips). The face is also terrifying; I'm not sure if you're designing this as a monster?

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21 hours ago, Saxon said:

I would like to see more pencil drawings. I am specifically confused why your skink is hunched over and why the length of the thigh exceeds the length of the torso (typically one thigh length~ the distance from nipples to hips). The face is also terrifying; I'm not sure if you're designing this as a monster?

I probably should try to make more sketches of my models and characters I'm creating. I'll see what I can do about that.

About the Skink I guess it was my first initial idea of what they should look like, which I've discovered isn't the case. The hip and torso size, the length of the legs and arms, the size and length of the head ... there's a lot of things I need to revise. Though the hunched part was thought of as a design in order to balance the weight between the front and back parts of the body. Might revise it as well. Also to be fair, the model is indeed meant to be more like a beast, or monster if you wish. Heck, the face isn't just as beastly right now as I'm intending it to be.

Sadly I don't think I'll be working on the model anytime soon, as my current priorities is to practice more animation.

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  • 1 month later...

Several short practice animations and some extras

This month has been a mix of being productive and doing other things, but I have do have a few things to show today.


Water balloon 3D-animation


The interactive version can be found here: https://www.weasyl.com/submission/1249972/water-balloon-3d-animation

So I'm currently reading and following the tasks of a book called Character Animation Fundamentals. This book explains that I'd benefit from also learning how to draw 2D-animations (which I have none uploaded right now) before creating my 3D-animations, and it has a few tasks every chapter for me to work through as I progress. Just this specific task happens to be about learning how different balls bounces as it rolls off a sloped shed. The most notable of the lot was the water balloon, which you can see here above.

With some help from the book (and a few references of how water balloons behave), I managed to animate what I believe is a decent estimate of how it should behave from falling off a shed. 


Cartoony ball lifting 3D-animation


The interactive version can be found here: https://www.weasyl.com/submission/1249971/cartoony-ball-lifting-3d-animation

The next task after the ball animations was to animate a character lifting a heavy ball. This character is something I created for this task -- a simple model with just enough definition and bones to work for my animations, though I've discovered the arms are actually slightly too long, but I guess it doesn't matter too much for this animation.

With the task at hand, I had to make sure the rest of the body actually moves with the action to a certain degree.


Cartoony dive 3D-animation


The interactive version can be found here: https://www.weasyl.com/submission/1249966/cartoony-dive-3d-animation

This is my most recent animation where the task at hand was to create an animation of a character first jumping off a cliff onto a springboard and then dive into the water ... which we'll just have to imagine is there this time. Anyhow, the book wanted me to practice squash and stretch as the character is supposed to become longer due to the speed of the animation. Then just the general making sure the animation moves fluently enough.


Warhammer Skink sketches, skink ceramic head




So! I've done a little sketching this time and decided to upload them, along with a clay skull of a Warhammer Skink I created in my ceramic class. I made the head sketches in order to study what the Skink head might actually look like, and the text around them are just notes I made while I worked on it. The clay skull itself is actually more based on an earlier art reference I have than the sketches, but they did help nevertheless.

The other full body sketch is just an attempt to draw a Skink from my memory. I'm also trying to define some muscles on it while I'm at it, with a certain degree of success I guess.


That's what I have for this time. I'm steadily working on my animations as well as my sketches, which I suspect will increase even more the closer to summer it gets. If anything I expect to get more time available to dedicate to my crafts at least, which necessarily doesn't have to include (or disclude) any more sculptures.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Basic cartoony walk cycle


The interactive version can be found here: https://www.weasyl.com/submission/1255041/basic-cartoony-walk-cycle-3d-animation

So last week as I was working through my book Character Animation Fundamentals it gave me the task to create a walk cycle from any of the examples it had listed. Since I'm still learning, I decided to create a basic one using the same character as before. Once again the book tasked me to create a 2D-animation on paper first before attempting it in 3D, which I feel did help me to get a good step-by-step understanding of the different positions the body will be in at each moment. The book also helped me to understand how the elbows and hips rotate along with each step, which I've hopefully managed to implement believably in the animation above.

Creating just the cycle in itself wasn't hard at all really; just place each body part in the right position every few frames and let them loop. Now, the actual difficulty with this was to make sure said cycle actually moves as it's supposed to and not look like a stiff robot. The absolute most time spent on this animation is on just this subject, with adjusting each body part to be more alive and then adjusting it some more to make it even better. Granted I should mention I've intentionally made the movement slightly exaggerated due to the "principle" that the more realistic I try to create something, the harder it'll be to move in a believabel manner. Because you'll be comparing it to real life, it's going to be hard for me to replicate it believably. If I then instead use a simple model which is nowhere near 100% realistic, viewers tend to be more forgiving if the animation doesn't look exactly as in real life.


Feedback and critique

Now, how might you be able to help me with this? How to actually animate might be a bit too much to ask of you. However, as I've been working on this for several hours, I might've become blind to what looks believable and what isn't. Thus I'd appreciate if you could give me feedback on whether the walk cycle look believable or not, or if there's any specific part which just looks wierd. You don't need to include any solution to the issue you see as I'll make sure to find it myself, so you only need to mention about it and we'll take it from there.


Other thoughts; book reading

I've been reading a lot of books the last two months and thought I'd share a few of them for anyone else who might be interested in them as well. They're mostly about being more creative, productive, effective, and of how we humans think; of what we believe we want and what we actually want in reality.

The War of Art; Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

This book takes a great and simplified approach to the term "Resistance", which in short is what makes us not do things we actually want to do (i.e. procastination). The thing is there's never only one reason to why "Resistance" appears, and thus the book goes through a large number of them in order to let you have a good understanding of why they happen. The book then also adds on this subject by telling how you can fight your Resistance, and then advance beyond it.

An easy to read book I'd recommend to those who really wish to fight their procastination.

The Willpower Instinct; How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It

If The War of Art generalizes the term "Resistance", then The Willpower Instinct widens your perspective by talking about how your brain actually works. Not only does it explain how you "work", but it also gives examples and tasks you can challenge yourself with in case you can relate more strongly to any particular subject. However be prepared it might change your view of how much control you thought you actually have over your actions, and how much influence "others" have over you as well.

More in depth than the previous book, yet still a great read to those who wish take their procastination and self-control a step further.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

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  • 2 months later...

Pace And Mood 3D-animation



The interactive version can be found here: https://www.weasyl.com/submission/1340616/pace-and-mood-3d-animation

So, I've been working on this animation for a while. The task I had this time was to animate a character varying both its pace and its mood as the animation progressed. The difficulty I had here was to get a good pacing across the whole animation, which still really isn't quite perfect yet. But that's the reason why you practice, right? Anyway, making sure every actions fit together in a ful sequence is was quite the challenge; you first have to make the basic action, and then find a way for them to fluently flow into the next without it looking wierd. The sign reading could obviously need some more work in this aspect.

Apart from that I just had to refine every action to look believable across the whole 19.2 seconds of animations, which took a lot of time. I already knew animations are time consuming, yet this once again proves how much effort is required create something great. I estimate this took about 25 hours to create, whereas 5 hours of them were for writing a log book of how far I've progressed after each session; what I accomplished, difficulties, thoughts, ideas, and such. I should mention each session was 1 hour long as I worked on this, due to time constraints.


What's next?

With this animation finally finished I'll start on my next project ... which I haven't really decided upon yet. I could continue animating my blocky character in a new scene, or I could animate a different character like my wyvern instead. Alternatively I could try to finish my Iksar or Skink models I have so I could animate them as well. Or just practice some more sketching instead as I've been neglecting it in favour of actually animating things the last few months. I'll have to think about it some more before I decide.

On a side note, I should mention I've managed to get enrolled into a 3D-animation course this Autumn, so I'll be working hard with animations (and many other things which are also important) for the next three years. I'm really looking forward to what I can learn during this time.

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