Monday, April 1, 2013

Kong's Noggin

Above, Shape ways SLS 3d print 8" tall.
I've just spent a fair amount of this week revisiting this project. I thought that I would do a little detailing and build a nice simple base in order to get it to print, instead, I ended up rebuilding the model entirely. The fur texture was a mind bending amount of work but, I learned a lot about re-topology and controlling the orientation of the mesh. This model at it's lowest geometry is around 35k polys and nearly 30 million polys at it's highest. As I look at this models revision, I'm almost embarassed by the earlier model but, such is progress. Rome wasn't built in a day and skills take years. In this instance 3 years past between the original and the revision.
In defense of the original model below, It was created to emulate a a 14' tall carving that I had just completed and as such, the amount of detail wasn't over the top. It also represents one of my first forays with poly painting.

This is another case of Zbrush vs hand carving. I was brought in to carve the head and body of this beast and make sure that they fit the hands, teeth and eyes. Those components were being fabricated by other artists. There was a thumb nail and some free hand marker drawings on foam core. There were some photos of gorillas but little else, no model or, elevations of any kind. In their absents this was a much more arduous task than it had to be. When the sculpture was installed at Madame Tussaud's it did look splendid however.
 Once the project was completed, I considered the 3 weeks that I had just spent with hot wires and wire brushes and decided to revisit Kong's noggin with Zbrush. In the good old days, you'd build a model out of clay or foam and make your working drawings from it. From there you'd begin the sculpt and continue using the model as reference. With Zbrush, the model becomes the drawings and all the data necessary for the finished sculpture. For this application, the face and hands would be milled in higher density foam in order to preserve details. The body would be milled in lower density so as to save weight and expense. The interior of the mouth would be rapid prototyped. In that, all of the delicate ridges of the teeth, fine bumps on the tongue and other contrasting surfaces would be well represented. A while later I would be called upon by another studio to create Zbrush models of both the Chrysler Building and the Empire State building for SLS out put. Having done this and those I'd say that this whole project could have been sculpted in it entirety, in side the computer and ready for the robots in just over a week.
 I love the last photo in this post. In white, Kong looks more like the Abominable Snow man. How cool would it be to cover a sculpt like this in white synthetic fur and have him swatting at a machine gun Santa with flying sleigh and reindeer? I'm sure that I must have seen that somewhere. I just can't put my finger on it.

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