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GHarris

Sculpting a Neogi

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Hello!

 

If you caught me at Reapercon you may have seen me working on a little spider monster. I had intended to finish it right away but then time passes, you get caught up in other projects, you know, things happen. So let's finish the Neogi!

 

Here is where I left off. Of course I was working on this at the show while on Artist's Row so I was getting interrupted and side tracked constantly. Not that I am complaining, people are supposed to ask the artists on Artist's Row questions! Always feel free to interrupt me! But now I am wondering why I made things the way I did, plus in the mean time I have been actively trying to improve my ZBrush skills from a technical standpoint so I am also getting that "I could have done this more efficiently" feeling. The hazards of coming back to a project after a long period of time! I have found that I have done this with many projects in the past, I see it as a sign of progress as an artist.

 

My first thoughts were the neck has waaaay too many polys (it was Dynameshed at a high level), the face needs tweaking, the horns could be made to look more interesting, the hands/claws need to be merged into one subtool with individual poly groups with lower poly counts, and the legs need to be redone. Don't ask me why I made such high poly versions of relatively simple forms, especially using my older and slower laptop. Maybe I was showing somebody something that require a lot of surface geometry?

 

The big thing that I need to keep in mind (pardon the pun) is these guys are actually pretty small, about as tall as a halfling. So it needs to be detailed but the detail needs to be readable on a small model. It's the same thing I had to keep in mind when making the Cockatrices for Bones V- I want to detail them like they are huge beasties but I have to be a bit less subtle for something this small. Neogi may be huge in their minds but it may be more of a Napoleon Complex...or a Napoleogi Complex?

 

Also, a quick note. I like to work in the default red wax but I have started taking screenshots in other materials. People seem to like it better that way. 

Neogi Start.jpg

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So, progress!

 

I made new horns made from a cylinder bend into shape with the bend curve deformer, then detailed by hand.

 

I redid the legs and made them a single height. I'm not sure why I left them at an angle before...but I like them better now.

 

I decorated his little neck plate and added his back covering. The back covering was made from a hollowed out cylinder, basically I made the top and bottom separate poly groups, deleted them, turned the cylinder sideways and deleted half of the polys going lengthwise, and worked the u-shaped plane into shape before thickening it up with the ZModeler brush. It will need to be refined after posing. Why do these things wear clothing? I was too afraid to ask!

 

The abdomen was given a rough hair pattern and spines were added to the neck. The spines were kept as separate subtools so they can be moved around individually later. 

 

I reworked and slightly repositioned the face, and adjusted the mane (which will probably have to be redone later)

 

I dropped the poly count on the neck way down and gave it some basic detailing. A lower poly count will make it easier to pose later- high poly parts tend to distort more when bent, and this neck might get bendy!

 

305246189_NeogiFirstRevisions.jpg.acd48b9ca293e532ad3fa440a53d469d.jpg

 

Dropping the poly count in the arms/hands/legs and separating each piece into it's own poly group will also make those parts far easier to pose later on

 

1101920441_LegPolygroups.thumb.jpg.f4697a51bf8497dd58bdd5d44c3023ef.jpg1455384308_HandPolygroups.thumb.jpg.f68e5cdb83d5c8bf4bec7423712dac2f.jpg

 

 

I also "dropped the chassis" on the Neogi, making his belly closer to the ground. I suspect this will help with anchoring him to a base later, it makes the body covering fit better, and, well, all of my friends got low riders.

 

140434721_NeogiThirdRevision.jpg.40e06068f2e669ec9ed0b8787292d30d.jpg

 

I made size references for later. These things are about as tall as a halfling, so I measured one of the halflings I keep as a size reference on the shelf under my monitor and found he was 23mm tall. So I set the Neogi to be about 23mm tall. Sizing him before posing will help to keep him in scale, I intend to pose him at an angle so I should size him now while he is straight on his base!

230171125_NeogiSizereferences.jpg.7ee7706d927012f5d6cc8a9f9b628a20.jpg

 

While I'm at it I may as well size the base too so it stays about 25mm in diameter....

670749258_NeogiBaseSizing.jpg.6d899cb111bf52c4df6cf3ebeff65591.jpg

 

Now to think about basing!

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Looking much more natural with the current edits! Sizing always seems to be one of those weird after thoughts or troublesome parts for me. Though I don't work Low to High poly I could probably measure the base rig before I pose it. Good thinking!

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I often make a size reference stick that's slightly taller than the finished model for armatures that I may use repeatedly just to keep the scale consistent. I put it at the top of my subtool list, name it for the size it is (in the above picture it is to the right of the model and named "40mm size reference"), and us it for the size of the Y axis when exporting files as STLs. I first learned this from Gene, and we all know that Gene is pretty awesome. I've since learned about using bounding boxes for sizing but I haven't actually used them

 

Speaking of scale I had to look at scale in one other regard with this model- scale within ZBrush itself. While the model is sized to be Halfling sized when it is exported within ZBrush itself the model was HUUUUGE compared to the rest of the document. I don't know why it was so big, but it started to get in the way of using brushes so I shrunk the whole thing down about 75%. It's behaving much better now!

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8 hours ago, GHarris said:

I often make a size reference stick that's slightly taller than the finished model for armatures that I may use repeatedly just to keep the scale consistent. I put it at the top of my subtool list, name it for the size it is (in the above picture it is to the right of the model and named "40mm size reference"), and us it for the size of the Y axis when exporting files as STLs. I first learned this from Gene, and we all know that Gene is pretty awesome. I've since learned about using bounding boxes for sizing but I haven't actually used them

 

Speaking of scale I had to look at scale in one other regard with this model- scale within ZBrush itself. While the model is sized to be Halfling sized when it is exported within ZBrush itself the model was HUUUUGE compared to the rest of the document. I don't know why it was so big, but it started to get in the way of using brushes so I shrunk the whole thing down about 75%. It's behaving much better now!

Now that I think of it Gene showed me that as well and I completely forgot it because I was absorbing so much info at the time and hadn't used it. haha

 

I usually have the opposite problem, I'll have an unusually small model for some reason and have to double the canvas size and redraw it out. I really wish Z was more consistent about that sort of thing. 

My husband is excited about this one, he has a fondness for this particular monster type.

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This is an awesome model that fills a major gap in the marketplace for RPG miniatures.

 

I would definitely buy a three-pack of two small-sized Neogi and a medium-sized Neogi Master.

 

JUST SAYING.

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I'm liking the idea, and the targeting. The head feels off to me. All the neogi art I've seen has looked more like an eel or worm than this sort of dragon-ish head. Obviously, this may need to be differentiated due to copyright concerns, but it feels off to me.

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4 hours ago, Disciple of Sakura said:

I'm liking the idea, and the targeting. The head feels off to me. All the neogi art I've seen has looked more like an eel or worm than this sort of dragon-ish head. Obviously, this may need to be differentiated due to copyright concerns, but it feels off to me.

 

It's cool, I'm debating redoing the face. Traditionally they are supposed to look like moray eels but the art is all over the place. I am definitely reconsidering the teeth, I put them in thinking I needed them to show up on a small model but now I am thinking that only having the top teeth showing looks odd. I'm trying to keep with the 5e look while putting my own spin on it!

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The current face reminds me of when Beetlejuice turns into a giant snake in Beetlejuice, so, even though the current face is different from the 5e artwork, I was still creeped out, and Neogi need to be creepy.

f6ca28f7fee9f5304a1cf33ce15a5eb3.jpg

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Starting on the base....

 

I inserted and positioned two cubes as future stones, merged them to the base, then hit the base with the clay tubes brush set on spray alternating with the smooth brush to rough things up....

 

1283910319_Base1.jpg.9e6419f0e3d0bb5be3dcc2d3cbefedef.jpg

 

But I got a bit carried away and chewed a hole in the bottom of the base. What can I say, I was having fun!

 

730116582_Base2.thumb.jpg.bd688084c3683bd957585f02b081c6c7.jpg

 

 

So I fixed it by repeatedly using the Inflate brush with backface masking on + dynameshing to fill in the holes. I kept going until it looked like a was doing a science experiment with mold!

 

1240107282_Base3.jpg.73581be37a51d35a8a94e3ef9180a286.jpg

 

1143782120_Base4.jpg.a8a6ad2fbc11e727eef1e6b46a9c6203.jpg

 

Then I used trim curve to cut off the bottom and make it level!

 

1097357876_Base5.jpg.2af802fc86e1c5065c96373fbde05417.jpg

 

1353368502_Base6.jpg.25ea1a5c128e8492594e73afacc38053.jpg

 

I eventually split the rocks as separate subtools again, and started mixing in use of the trim dynamic brush to help refine things! The goal is to eventually have the Neogi standing upwards at an angle, hopefully helping him fit on the base, make his pose a bit more dynamic, and bring his abdomen down closer to the ground. Our boy has junk in the trunk, and if it can end up touching the base it will make the model a lot more stable. 

 

More to come!

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So I started posing the Neogi and modifying the base so the Neogi could actually stand securely on the base. I minimized the rocks in the front and added, then reduced/textured a stone in the back for his abdomen to rest on. Having each leg split into three polygroups made masking and moving with the Gizmo much easier!

 

308753053_Base7.jpg.f9173af8741b5719ab1c43468c4bfefd.jpg1521008846_Base8.thumb.jpg.4bca8240601b9a7e90103058a3162e6e.jpg221237557_Base10.thumb.jpg.5c24dbffee200fff0bde45ac420a9f85.jpg1184036104_Base9.thumb.jpg.97a72a8bd07027ce0d03ffdbace41ab2.jpg

221237557_Base10.thumb.jpg.5c24dbffee200fff0bde45ac420a9f85.jpg

 

I then hid his outer polygroups on the legs and arms to make it easier for me to assess how I needed to modify his back covering...makes it look a little like the Neogi is flying! Who's to say, if he is thinking happy thoughts when he get's sprinkled with pixie dust this is what might happen.

 

548136787_Base11.thumb.jpg.e4d38c2c7ceb66d96032ef5447084617.jpg

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More posing.....and modifying the rocks. I'm thinking he should be able to stand on the base now. I can't really make the legs much bigger to help support him (which may be important depending on what material he may possibly be cast in) so the back support both working and looking cool is key. In general I want the rocks to be functional and decorative without overpowering the figure- he's a little guy who shouldn't be overshadowed by his base!

 

I noted than his exposed underside looked a bit odd, so I used a deformer to round it out before adding a hair texture. I also trim back the hanging bottom ends of the back covering to make casting easier and, well, I just think they look better shorter. While I was at it I fitted the back covering to him a bit better. 

 

I may tweak the hands/arms a bit more, but first I want to recenter the head and work on it a bit more...

 

262807069_NeogiPosing1.jpg.762af789e208b642269027acb77352dc.jpg

1984215069_NeogiPosing2.jpg.15393090b1bf95c08b40d92897b1daa5.jpg989553332_NeogiPosing3.jpg.1886799ba43a4f411e378eb101545a23.jpg

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Here we go, reworking the face, teeth, mane and beard!

 

I initially merged everything around the face into one subtool, recentered everything so I could restore Z axis symmetry, then Mirror and Welded across the Z axis to even things out. I had to remesh and smooth out some seams that appeared along the center line of the head but I think it was worth it. I had to remesh the head and mane anyways to drop the polycount, which makes keeping things neat a lot easier. I just subdivided as I went along if I needed more surface geometry.

 

Lowering the poly count also helped with smoothing out the mane. That original mane was pretty stiff and symmetry-ish, it had to go!  I dragged out the general flow with the standard and move brushes, sharpened with the Damian standard and standard brush, added a bit of unevenness with the inflate brush (I think I stole this idea from Rainbow Sculptor...!), then added some flair with careful application of the spiral brush. I don't think I can quite get the level of Farrah hair awesomeness that Sandy Garrity gets but I still like the results!

 

A not with using alt with the Damian standard brush- sure you can hold it down to reverse the action of the brush but it is much easier on my fingers to just hit the Zadd/Zsub buttons at the top of the UI. I'm sure other people probably do this when reversing the action of their brush for long periods but I can't recall anyone mentioning it before. I just stumbled on it by experimenting. Hooray for dumb luck!

 

665892474_NewFace1.thumb.jpg.94e18f77e76dec3e5a1bf5c2b917dc6a.jpg409381200_NewFace2.jpg.f86d7a819da19f26ba92d30b662ca70a.jpg1702787775_NewFace3.jpg.9cea85b886e70d4434be27130d5fcf1e.jpg799888490_NewFace4.jpg.c2894a025fc0fa1faccb6a1ad53d0bf9.jpg

 

I need to refine the neck a bit more, maybe tweak the hands and spines, but so far I am liking him!

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Next I sharpened up the neck. I may or may not add some more details to the neck, what's giving me pause is if they will show up on a small sized model once it's printed. Let me come back to this.

 

I also repositioned the arms and hands a bit. I felt they had more of an alien feel to them...but the claws kept bugging me. It wasn't that I didn't like them, it's that I had an old school Space Hulk Genestealer feel to them. I just don't see Neogi spending APs to chase roided up guys in power armor around a ship when they have minions to do that sort of thing!

 

991793548_NeogiNewArms1.jpg.94741ed3380eea0ed141a03814b1765a.jpg428185592_NeogiNewArms2.jpg.30a02debc4f5dbfb46b41e377ee1746e.jpg

 

So new hands it is. To paraphrase Talespinner "Don't fear the digital scalpel!" 

 

I started by inserting a cube, then roughly positioning it so I can get an idea how big it needs to be. I also used the taper deformer to, well, taper it a bit!

 

556979655_NeogiNewArms3.jpg.b83c4f08541e83fda69f6acd88c702d2.jpg1284310359_NeogiNewArms4.jpg.d1627071666b86d586564ce5390fee2b.jpg

 

Next I returned it to the center of my document and added three cylinders for fingers and a thumb. I checked again to be sure I had them about the right size...so far so good!

 

1073493639_NeogiNewArms5.jpg.4e3fcf788758fac0b0fe454760bd1208.jpg1767138241_NeogiNewArms6.thumb.jpg.1c3ecf5a06a1a58f8c7b895292236e20.jpg

 

Next I used the bend curve deformer to put a point on the ends of the fingers, then used masking and the gizmo to bend each finger. After that I subdivided each of the subtools until they were smoothed out, roughly smashed the main part of the hand into shape, then merged and Dynameshed everything together. Dynameshing allows me to blend out the seams where the subtools meet better than ZRemeshing will. I used the move, smooth, H Polish and RK_BallStylus brushes to get things to a rough shape, then ZRemeshed the hand down to fewer polys. Sorry I didn't stop for more screenshots but I kinda got carried away sculpting!

 

1815313764_NeogiNewArms7.jpg.0adfef055f4c1be30e354486d9ef3a33.jpg655292017_NeogiNewArms8.jpg.71a2190c9d374e1b2c0ce81a146ce9fe.jpg

 

Now we have some gnarley Neogi hands! Let's get them into position and tweak the fingers a bit more....

 

112337720_NeogiNewArms10.jpg.048e95a01b44b71d951a406fd85abd39.jpg877252567_NeogiNewArms9.jpg.9aef7c18e3cd5bfd844f6b4d3fd2c853.jpg

 

Next I Dynameshed the poly groups on the arms together and blended the joints together. I also narrowed the "forearms" so the wrists would fit the hands better. Again this was mostly the Move, RK_BallStylus and Smooth brushes with occasional re-Dynameshing.

 

2091210936_NeogiNewArms12.jpg.7004927e28fe0fe69e1ecf8e045ca290.jpg841362527_NeogiNewArms13.jpg.22fd5b210391fded7cc0c6817f59ccd9.jpg

 

I think we are getting closer!

 

A not about the RK_BallStylus brush- I downloaded and added this to my startup brushes and placed a button for it on my custom UI. I've found that it can often be used as a more subtle version of a Clay Buildup Brush. Very handy! I actually downloaded it from Ryan Kingslien's Gumroad site, not the Zbrush Workshops site in the picture.

 

1746636026_NeogiNewArms14.jpg.d5094c2ae2106c08484eb814c91323be.jpg

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