The second installment of my Quilled series. It’s a combination of paper-craft look&feel and the versatility of the CG techniques. As you may have guessed, the main theme of this character designs collection is water and its colourful inhabitants. All images are 3D renders.
My fascination with the aquatic world started when I got the chance to work on the MiniMini short animated stories for the Polish division of the French CANAL+ group. It was very challenging to find a good balance between complexity of the underwater life and simplicity(and cuteness) expected from animations targeted at young kids. Another great source of inspiration was the papercraft technique call ‘quilling’ where you create different shapes from rolled paper. Although the initial designs were ok, I wanted to do something more three-dimensional and much more complex/detailed than I would be able to do with real paper. That’s when I decided to use the power of 3D software while maintaining the basic principles of paper-craft look and feel.
My main tools are always a pencil for quick sketches and a Wacom tablet or an iPad for digital cleanup after the initial analogue brainstorming. When I’m happy with the design and colour scheme, I start doing quick mockups using any 3D software I can lay my hands on. However, I usually end up with ZBrush as it’s very fast to sculpt something without worrying too much about the topology. The final models are always going through the Redshift, After Effects and Photoshop pipeline. The software in the middle doesn’t matter so much as they are static images and I continually switch between different apps to achieve the result as fast and as easily as I can. I think the most important ingredient in the final stages of look-development is GPU rendering powered by the Redshift software. It allows me to have almost real-time feedback so I can concentrate on fine-tuning lights, shaders, colours instead of worrying about render times and other technicalities.
The initial response to my first project – QUILLED | characters – was amazing. I felt really overwhelmed with the amount of exposure, emails, awards and features on different websites. The second project you are viewing right now is doing pretty good as well. Although it’s not obvious, the new designs are much more complex and more thought-out than the human characters. The first project was a proof-of-concept that you can use quilling and line flow design techniques in a new way with the help of the computer-generated 3D graphics. To achieve that, the designs were full of optical illusions that would not work with the moving camera. However, as my second job is animation direction, I wanted to have something that I can bring to life and animate. Therefore, all characters in QUILLED | water were carefully designed to work flawlessly both with the moving camera and with the objects deforming in the hands of an animator.
Thank you for stopping by and watching. Stay tuned as I’m currently working on 2 new projects involving the QUILLED series: short movie and Winter-themed designs.