Creative Strategies Module Reflection

For this module we had 2 main assignments to complete which covered a vast area of the animation pipeline as well as giving us the opportunity to both work alone and with a group.

Assignment 1

The first assignment was split in to 3 parts, 2 solo assignments and 1 group assignment. I found this assignment really enjoyable and having it split in the way it was made it feel much more manageable to me.

Working on the animation and body mechanic for the first part of this assignment really helped me realise that animation is not a  part of the pipeline which I enjoy, but I learnt a lot of important skills through this and had the opportunity to try new animation techniques which was important for the second assignment we worked on.

Part two of this assignment was modelling and UV mapping a scene which tells a narrative. This was the team part of this assignment and working with a group of people to create an environment was a challenging but enjoyable experience. I feel that in this project we were really able to bounce ideas off eachother and take risks with our models as this was the whole challenge of the assignment. Through this assignment I really learnt the importance of thinking about topology as you model and having a good workflow for modelling, as otherwise UV mapping is much harder than it needs to be! As well as this my team discovered the importance of scene organisation as there was a point where the outliner for our project was honestly best to ignore!

The final part of this assignment was another solo project which we had complete freedom with. We were able to choose any area to focus on, from concept art through to lighting and rendering, there was even an option for theory! To me, this was the most enjoyable assignment as I had total artistic freedom to explore and was able to really pace myself with it. However this did help me realise the importance of time management when working on more than one project as I feel that this fell to the wayside as I focused more on the assignments where other people were relying on me and left this to the last minute.

Assignment 2

The second main assignment of this semester was our first opportunity to work as a team on a live brief. For this we were assigned a team and given a script by the BBC from which we had to create a minute long animation. I really enjoyed and valued this assignment as it gave us a chance to see what it is like working with a client and having stringent guidelines to adhere to.

This assignment taught us what it is like to work within the limitations set by a client and really reinforced the importance of communication on projects, not only with your team mates, but also with the client. I feel that having the chance to work alongside and present in front of the BBC for this assignment helped the majority of our class to mature and realise that there is a different level of professionalism required when you are working with a client.

These presentations also helped me gain confidence in my ability to present. Last year we had only had to present to our class mates which were much less formal, I feel that the client’s presence really pushed me to make sure that our presentations were coherent and to make sure I didn’t seem nervous in case this suggested a lack of faith in our concept.


I feel over the course of this module I have learnt a lot of new skills as well as developing those which I gained over the course of last year. This module really helped me improve my work ethic and ensure that I was someone that could be relied on by my team mates. Over all, it was a really enjoyable module and has only made me more passionate about this field.


Dryad – Final Sculpt

Despite problems with previous files, I managed to complete my sculpt! I am honestly really proud of how this project has turned out, considering that at the start of the semester I had never touched ZBrush or any other sculpting software before!


I sculpted her completely in ZBrush after realising how arduous a process it would have been modelling a base in Maya first and then transferring to ZBrush. Although starting this new program was daunting to say the least, I found that it was relatively easy to understand the UI and get the tools to behave themselves. ZRemesher really turned out to be a life saver because though I originally tried to redraw the topology myself, I could not figure out what the edge flow and topology should look like for the helmet. Although I lose a lot of detail in the helmet by using the ZRemesher, I am still very happy with the results.


As well as this, ZBrush has the option to paint textures directly on to your sculpt and this was a feature which I found to be a lot of fun! I think that the painted texture really helps with how my sculpt reads and over all I am very happy with it’s likeness to my original concept.

In the future I would love to go back and add more detail back in to the helmet as well as adding moss to it to make it clearer that it is meant to be made out of wood. If I do, I’ll make an updated post about it!

Progression of my Final Sculpt

After going back and rewatching tutorials and speed sculpts by industry professionals, I found I was much more prepared to start over on my dryad sculpt.

I was able to block out the shape I want for the head fairly easily using a default wax sphere, and then create the neck for my sculpt by inserting a cylinder and using the move tool. After doing some research to help me better understand Danny Mac’s tutorials, I was able to figure out how to use the subtool menu to separate my geometry as prevent them affecting each other. This came in incredibly handy throughout the process. After I got the neck somewhere I was happy with, I went back to reshape the face, making her jaw less pointed as I felt it would make my sculpt seem more balanced.

I then began to block out the features on the face, carving out where the eye sockets would be and adding cheekbones to get a rough idea of what her bone structure is like beneath her muscles and skin. I then began to work on her nose, figuring out the proportions of this in relation to the rest of her face and where her eyes would be.

Then I went on to add more details to the nose and begin working on the lips. This was the part of the sculpt which I found the most difficult. Lips to me are one of the most difficult aspects of drawing a character normally, and this only became more challenging in 3D. i found it difficult to create the detail needed in the lips without it affecting the nose or chin.

After getting to a point I was happy with with the lips and nose, I felt that the face shape needed to be adjusted slightly to accommodate for the newly added features. I then went on to add more detail to the neck area, adding slight collar bones and hinting at the sternocleidomastoid muscle. I think that adding these subtle feature to the neck really helped to make it more believable.

I then went on to try and sculpt the eyes. On the left you can see where I tried to follow Danny Mac’s method with the eyelids, but unfortunately this wasn’t working well with my the mesh, and so I decided to manipulate the face mesh to create eyelides instead. This method definitely had smoother results for my model but it did mean that I had a hard time creating detail in the crease of the lid without the brow bone losing definition.

The next step was to model ears for my dryad. For this I focused mainly on the side view of sculpt and then rotated it after so that they were visible from the front. I found sculpting the ears to be much easier than it was last year when I was modelling them in Maya. This process was actually one of the most enjoyable parts of the sculpt for me!

I then went back and redid the eyes for my sculpt to try and make them more detailed. I think that helped to make her more believable anatomically as before her eyes were angled strangely on her face.

After I was finally happy with the head/ face of my sculpt I began the part I was most excited for; the helmet. For the helmet I inserted a basic sphere mesh and moved it so that it fit around the skull. I then began to pull out parts of the mesh to create the ridge details I wanted to use to show that it was wooden. The last two images above are of one of my favourite points in the sculpt, I think that the helmet although simplistic looked really nice at this point; however, it did not look like it was wooden and so I began to work more on this.

The first step I took towards making the helmet look more wooden was to add the branch horns to it, I found this bit quite difficult because I love how it looks from the front, but from the side the model looks slightly unbalanced – it feels as though the horns should be further forward on the head. This was the point where I first got feedback on my sculpt. I was advised by friends to add more detail to the front of the helmet around the bridge of the nose and to repostition the nose and mouth.

I took on board the advice I had gotten from Lorna and Erinn and added more details, however I think at this point the helmet began to look a little too busy, so I asked for feedback once again. My friends suggested making the helmet slightly less symmetrical because it looks too perfectly formed to be seen as being wooden.

I moved about some of the topology in order to get a more asymmetrical look and was really happy with how this turned out. Although I am really happy with the detail and look of this sculpt I know it is way too high poly to animate with and so will need to be re-topologised.

Sculpt Feedback

After having gotten my sculpt to a place where I was happy with it, I decided it would be best to ask some friends who had never seen her before for their thoughts. Fresh eyes so to speak. So, I showed them these screenshots and asked them what they thought!


Erinn: Maybe add another bit to the forehead or bring the ridges closer together? Maybe not something big but the bridge of the nose looks a bit too empty? The symmetry otherwise looks well. Its just that middle seems a bit off. So, maybe bringing it down at the front would be good.

Lorna: The only thing I see is that the gap between the nose and mouth is quite big, I would lover the nose a little and bring the mouth up the finest bit. If needs be, move the bottom of her face and neck up so them it fits better, but I do like that face the it is long as it seems more mythical or something.

I made these amendments and then asked some friends outside the course for their opinions.


Laura: There seems to be what looks like a knot in the wood on the left one, even if you made that more pronounced or a lil more irregular? It’s nice uniform too, but if thats the effect you want from it!

Beth: yeah totally, also initially i thought the right horn was slightly more curled, and i really like the idea of a more irregular/asymmetrical look!


I was able to make these changes fairly easily to achieve a result I am happy with! Now I need to retopologise it!

Learning by Watching

After my first attempts at sculpting my dryad didn’t quite go to plan I decided it would be best to go back to reference videos and pay more attention to them.

I found Danny Mac’s tutorial on how to sculpt a stylized head incredibly helpful for blocking out the basics of my mesh, it really forced me to get a better understanding of the tools and how they work, as he presumes that you know this already. Seeing how he blocked out the skull before going in to add details and muscle mass to the face really showed me the importance of underlying forms when you are working on a sculpt.

Nick DuPree’s approach to sculpting a head is so different to Danny’s it’s insane. This tutorial has been incredibly helpful for the mouth and eye area of my sculpt; the method Danny used for the eyelids was incredibly effective however my mesh is different to his and so I was having a hard time working with it in the same way as him, so far I’ve found Nick’s method seems to be working much better for me.

When researching for this project I came across this series of tutorials on Digital Tutors. This goes in to great detail on how to sculpt a very high poly, very detailed ent like creature. Although the workflow for this sculpt seems much more difficult than those of the previous tutorials I watched, I found the section on creating moss using fibremesh made it seem much less daunting – maybe I will be able to add this to mine?