View Full Version : HMC 11: Shadow Demon

10 October 2007, 06:45 AM
I'm not particularly keen on monsters and the whole horror-genre in general, but I love working in a pipeline with concepts of others, so I am definitely in and will be doing a shadow demon.

I am still waiting for the reply of a concept artists I contacted for a possible coop on this project and providing me with more drawings, before I post which concept exactely I'll try to translate into 3D.


10 October 2007, 06:41 PM
Alrighty, unfortunately it looks like I'll be on my own with this, but here we go anyways.

I'll be loosely basing my model on this concept by Jakup Kasper:

I am aware it doesnt look much like the concept of your average next-door monster, but I'll try and compensate with atmo, fx's and small character details for the lack of a generally scary appearance. The character I have in mind will be rather evil such as a trimmed-down/shadowy version of Lilith and I'll add a verbal description of my ideas to this concept later on.

Please let me know if this concept has to be posted somewhere else as well!


PS: What's up with everybody else? I thought monsters are everybody's darlings these days or are they all drooling over the Cintiq in the ZBC Scared Silly contest?!?!?! ;)

10 October 2007, 03:49 AM
Wow, I love your choice of concept art. It'll be really interesting to see how you interpret it, it leaves you quite a bit of freedom in the details. Are you planning on working with the hair at all? Looking forward to seeing how this pans out - Good Luck!

And yeah, where is everybody? I was looking forward to some more great competition and everything. I guess we'll just have to get the ball rolling ourselves.

10 October 2007, 04:28 AM
Thanks for the comment!:)

Yeah, the hair is going to be a huge part of her whole appearance. I am going to have to ask Jakup how he envisioned that part. How exactely I am going to handle it, I am not quite sure yet, but I have some ideas covering the whole spectrum of possibilities. I'll just have to see what feels best when I get to that.

Yup, looks like its up to us to get it going, so the best of luck to you as well!:thumbsup:

10 October 2007, 04:38 AM
Wow, I love your choice of concept art. It'll be really interesting to see how you interpret it, it leaves you quite a bit of freedom in the details. Are you planning on working with the hair at all? Looking forward to seeing how this pans out - Good Luck!

And yeah, where is everybody? I was looking forward to some more great competition and everything. I guess we'll just have to get the ball rolling ourselves.Wait for the plug...



10 October 2007, 04:31 PM
Alrighty, here we go with the first stages in constructing a relatively detailed female base.

I am once again starting from a cube primitive and as usual due to pure lazyness without any ortho drawings. ;) Since this challenge is also about animatable topography, I'll illustrate more detailed steps as ususal, which will show how I get to the final model eventually.

Here's about an evening's amount of work, taking my sweet time. ;)

As modeling tools I am using Maya 2008 with the NEX 1.5 Beta and the Mel script SpinFaces by Guiseppe Improta. I am obviously heavily reworking topography as I go along and NEX as well as SpinFaces already make a big difference to the ease of workflow as compared to Maya all by itself.

If there are any questions to the above images, just shoot away. All other C&C'S are welcome as usual.


PS: The head is just on there for proportional reference. I'll start with a speparate cube on that and exchange them later on.

10 October 2007, 10:05 PM
thanks for step by step progress :thumbsup:
looking cool for me :)
waiting for more

10 October 2007, 07:46 AM
Many thanks for the comment, nielot!

Here we go with another small update, as I go along working out the overall forms and try to optimize topo at the same time.

If you happen to spot an area you think will likely be trouble later on, do point it out to me please. I tend to miss these things every so often. ;)

The latest work steps saw some reworking of the hip/leg- and rib cage areas.

I also reposed the model twice to get a better feel for the character and facilitate easier edgeloop modeling especially in the armpit and crotch regions. I usually dont like to repose a model without the help of a posing rig, but since I started without proper orthos, it was necessary this time. While the model is still missing fingers and "cupage", I reworked the feet a wee bit in preparation to adding toes to them next.

Since these challenges are about learning and exchanging workflow methods, here is a very particular workflow thing I do which I am not sure how many other people are using.

I tend to flood the areas I am working on with edge-loops to give me a wide array of choices and resolution to rework topo and extrude certain areas in a detailed manner. Quite a number of loops go bye-bye after that and a neat feature in the new version of NEX helps me get rid of obsolete edges and vertices without tedious cleanup work.

More later on!


10 October 2007, 02:19 PM
Yes, for Maya, Nex is the way to go! It's a godsend for us Maya modelers.

Still busy with work, but I do have an idea of how I will be tackling this one. Rather than doing it all in Maya, I plan on starting with a base mesh in Maya, taking it to Mudbox (or ZBrush...I still need to learn the app!), bringing the high-res mesh back into Maya and rebuilding the mesh with Nex for a topology efficient model. That's the plan! It will be my first time doing it this wish me luck! :D

Btw, good luck with this piece! I'll be watching.

10 October 2007, 07:48 AM
Yeah, now that I am getting used to it, it's really hard to imagine modeling in Maya without it.

Good luck with your sculpting and retopowork! I personally hate retopo and have to admit I havent done it for a while despite the new possibilites opened through ZB3 and Nex etc. I simply cannot handle it and prefer to model cleanly from the get-go, but anyways... much success to you on that end!:thumbsup:

Yo, back to the task at hand.
I had some more time to work on this and here are the results.
Since a lot of people seem to have trouble modeling hands and feet, I thought I'd show my workflow a bit more in detail in a picture progression starting with the feet. I'll pretty much let the pics speak for themselves, but if there are any more questions, dont hesitate to ask! :)

Prep work for the toes and re-shaping:

Extruding the toes one by one and adding/tweaking edgeloops:

This doesnt really take that much longer than the duplicate/resize/attach/tweak-method, which I tend to employ for hands since fingers tend to be shaped more alike than toes.

The final tweaks and details including nails, incl. topo changes on the ankles:

This is how the finished feet look on the model along with some further topo-tweaks:

And this is the current status-quo after completely adjusting topo for the upper body sans breasts, plus adding topo to the back of the knees etc:

This is it for now, let me know what you think, would like to know etc.


10 October 2007, 04:15 PM
Alrighty everybody, here's some more news, but this time around no pics, so if you are not into reading, skip this post. ;)

Roberto initially posted, loosely quoted "the idea is to imagine yourself hired to realize a concept of another artist in 3D" and for this challenge I would ideally want to do exactly that.

Since Jakup unfortunately does not seem to have the time to provide me with a more detailed concept of the female demon than the rather general one he posted earlier, I am a bit at a loss here. Now usually that would not be an issue, as I would simply fill in the blanks by myself, but for this challenge I kinda shy away from doing just that.

So rather than drawing a concept of my own, I put down a narrative inspired by the initial concept by Jakup instead, describing a scene in which the demon appears, plus some added directorial instructions on the imagined look the demon concept should have in the final drawing/3D version.

Kindly enough, Roberto has agreed to use my narrative as a concept for the CgTalk Daily Sketch 1223 on Monday to try and see if there are any artists out there interested in doing the detailed drawing and I am also posting it here, to add to the wip thread and in case someone reads it here and would like to tackle the concept.

Cheers and thanks for reading! :arteest:

PS: Many thanks to Roberto for making this possible! :)

So without further ado, here we go:

"Encounter With A Shadow Demon"
Felix Lahme
as inspired by a painting by Jakup Kasper

It’s magic hour, the exact time of transition between day and night, a time of perfect twilight.

Everything and every detail around you is clearly discernable, yet paints its shape into your vision without any colors, merely in shades of gray. As your eyes adjust to the conditions even more, you make out an unidentifiable manifestation somewhere a short distance ahead. It’s there and yet it is not, a formless, transparent, intangible vortex of shadows, growing in size and diameter. You stand there paralyzed.

Slowly, the apparition takes on a more humanoid outline, yet still retaining a characterless, smoky appearance. As it solidifies further, it suddenly moves towards you with lightning speeds, and as it reaches you, touches you with one of its shadowy fingers.

At the creature's matter-less touch, images of your own life and ideas, as well as things, concepts and places unknown race through your head. The creature is communicating with you on a telepathic level, extracting your most guarded thoughts, wishes, fantasies and darkest fears.

Slowly it takes on a more discernable shape, transforms from a black form without identity into a transparent shadow-creature of inhuman female beauty, surrounded by wavering masses of shadows of varying density. Like a siren, she beckons you to follow her with a painful yearning, tempting you with unspoken promises und irresistible allure.

Beckons you to follow her to a gateway to another world between the worlds, existing in eternal, timeless twilight. Her pull is strong and the more you resist the more powerful her beckoning, the more alluring her beauty and promises become.

The initial communication with her went both ways and somewhere deep inside you know that she is drawing you closer to your doom, pulling you into a world where the resident creatures will consume your substance, essence, entire being and soul, like an aged wine of indescribable quality and despite this foreboding of your horrible fate you cannot resist her pull….

Directorial Instructions:

The final concept design should depict the female demon in her most alluring, yet terrifying appearance in a very detailed fashion. While the overall look should be that of an extremely attractive and sexually alluring human female, she should retain a number of very subtle, yet prominent features revealing her demonic nature, hinting at the horrible fate that awaits her victim.

10 October 2007, 07:22 PM
looks like flawless modelling :thumbsup:

cant believe you got this far without any reference. respect. the topology looks veeery clean, especially the legs seem to be perfect!
but i recommend you to review the proportions on real photo orthos anyway. that rear might be too oversized for such an "airy" creature. maybe this will get balanced as you go on with the torso etc.

.. good time now for reconstructing the concieved spirit of the creature! this will grow ;)

good luck

PS: joined pixelplausch, vorher noch nie davon gehört. danke für die einladung!

10 October 2007, 09:10 PM
cool work man.. its really commin out well:)

10 October 2007, 05:09 AM

Just wanted to say that this looks great! And thanks for posting so many images of your workflow... very interesting! I'm excited to see how you approach the hand... wrangling the topology of the hand has always been difficult for me.

Also, I wanted to ask how you manage to keep so many verts smooth and even in your model. Whenever I have that many verts in a model, any change I make causes waves and ripples in the model b/c the verts get all out of alignment.

Thanks again!

10 October 2007, 09:45 AM
nice start ! edgeflow is could be cleaner...good luck !

10 October 2007, 10:20 AM
Many thanks for the comments! :)
As far as the very voluptuos proportions go, I figured I had to go that route since a slimmer body would practically faint away too much, once the entire figure is shaded transparently against a gray-scale background, plus she would most likely appear less alluring that way. It's all trial and error, I guess and I'll find out sooner or later. Thanks a lot though for pointing it out to me. In case you do notice anything else, please do so again! :thumbsup:
PS: Keine Ursache, Leute wie Dich können wir da drüben brauchen. :)

Thanks a lot, man!

Thanks for the nice comments.
I'll be sure to post a similar image sequence for my workflow on the hand.
There really is no secret to keeping the mesh smooth and even. I do have to do a lot of tedious manual tweaking of individual verts, but try to minimize that by handling complete/partial loops or rings for translating, rotating or resizing on the different axes. If I have to reposition large groops of components, I try to establish a correct/ideal pivot and shift the manipulator pivot to that spot. Naturally, individual verts still need to be tweaked one by one nonetheless. Hope this helps. If it doesnt, please make your question more specific with a direct example and I'll do my best to answer it in detail.

Thank you!
Please do point out the areas, which you think need flow improvement, so I can fix them. :)

10 October 2007, 01:27 PM
zup man!

I really like how it's coming. Awesome job. I think that the proportions are differring from the concept though. In yours, her hips look too big. Waist could be thinner too. Note you are dealing with a really thin person. Kind of Top Model.

Oh, and in my opinion all those edges could be reduced to half making it easy for you to make tweaks. Say you wanna make a leg, that's kind of a cilindrical shape, why u need 20 vertical segments for that? just take out to 12 or 10, and when some detail is to be modeled, just add some extra loop. Why adding it beforehand making it hard to nail the proportions. That's the fastest way for me. But anyways, every artist is different.

As said, great job. I also love the concept.

10 October 2007, 06:00 AM
Many thanks for the comments and advice DDS!:thumbsup:

You are correct, the proportions are different and here's why. No offense to anybody who does, but I personally dont like the starved, boyish looks of supermodels, which society imposes on women these days and prefer women to look the wholesome way nature designed them. Thus I took the directorial liberty to "autheur" the concept in that aspect. ;)

And you are correct again, the loops could be reduced by, say up to 30-40%, so why am I doing that? The answer is simple: I am German! We traditionally like to complicate things to make us comfy! lol

On a serious note, it's just one of those individual workflow quirks of mine and obviously not for everybody or for work under a tight production deadline. This challenge is for fun though, so things are a bit different. You and the others will probably laugh at this, but modeling is a rather meditative process for me and its more fun, if I have more mesh-resolution to play with. For the artist him-/herself its the journey that's important, for everybody else its the destination and I tend to wanna really enjoy the journey.

Anyways, I was able to put some more time into this and while everybody else seems to be speeding ahead at warp 8, I am merrily strolling about at 3/4 impulse.

OneToe was indeed right, there was something wrong with the overall proportions, but imo it wasnt the butt. I feel it was the upper body that needed adjustment, so I fixed that, added loops to the arm, prepped the shape etc of the hand for the fingers and reposed the model to better be able to visually judge proportions of the arms and to work on the hands in a side ortho.

As promised, here are some pics illustrating my workflow for the hand and fingers. I am primarily working on these in the side ortho and adjust them on the third axis as I go along. The pics, I think are pretty selfexplanatory, but if there are any questions, dont hesitate to ask.

Extruding and tweaking the thumb

Extruding the index finger, duplicating etc etc

Here's the somewhat tweaked hand with fingernails in its current state. This is however not the final loopflow, which needs more work.

And this is how it currently looks on the whole model, so you can examine overall proportions.

As always, let me know what you think.


10 October 2007, 08:49 AM
nice step dude! hand looks ok, you may need to work on the palm.
waist and hip look better and balanced, but i think we wont be able to help you by getting any ideal female body shape as long as there's still a lack of some sexual characteristics.
hope i expressed myself correctly :P

keep it goin

PS: please no nationality sterotypes, i dont eat bratwurst every single day :rolleyes:
i think your way of "overlooping" is no problem as you got some mesh-cleaner app that works for you
.. ah, some ortho views might be cool, too!

10 October 2007, 09:23 AM
Thanks again for the comments and critique! :)

Yeah, the entire palm is just roughly done and will receive some attention next. I thought the hips were characteristically female enough, but as far as the "Oberweite" goes, I am saving the best for last. ;)


PS: I hate Bratwurst&Sauerkraut. Offer me some Pizza or Döner and I'll take care of the beer! :)

10 October 2007, 08:34 PM
Heads up

HCR Modeling Halloween ONE MOTH TO GO! (Dateline is November 16th) (


10 October 2007, 06:01 AM
As the tinest of updates, here's the more or less finished topo for the hands.

There's still room for more tweaks, especially on the joints of the fingers but I guess I'll do anything that isn't adding topo later in Mud.

As always, let me know what you think.

Naz dorovje!:arteest:

10 October 2007, 01:22 PM
Great in-depth WIP thread, and model progress as well.

10 October 2007, 11:01 PM
Just wanted to say thanks for posting the hand wires and walkthrough!

10 October 2007, 06:06 AM
Great in-depth WIP thread, and model progress as well.
Many thanks for the comment and compliment, Bill. I am missing your sculpting and texturing magic in this one! Too busy?

Just wanted to say thanks for posting the hand wires and walkthrough!
No prob. Btw, I forgot to add to your other question: In Maya, if you want to generically smooth out a group or cluster of verts, or perhaps even an entire mesh you can use "mesh > average vetices" (I think its called that). I hardly use it for anything other than rings of verts, since it tends to take away a lot of indivdual shape and leave you with something rather bland in shape and form. Its excellent for smoothing out an entire mesh into a more or less generic model before scultping though.


10 October 2007, 06:10 AM
Damn those duplicate postings!:scream:
Where's the "delete post" button!

10 October 2007, 10:37 PM
Many thanks for the comment and compliment, Bill. I am missing your sculpting and texturing magic in this one! Too busy?
Yeah, I think I’ll be passing on this one. I’ll see about the next challenge.

10 October 2007, 10:06 AM
Yeah, I think I’ll be passing on this one. I’ll see about the next challenge.
Too bad, its always a pleasure to observe your work taking on its final shape. I'll be on the lookout for your work in the next one then. :)

Alrighty, aside from some more tweaks and cleaning up the topo, I have had some time to pretty much finish the body. Here's the current status quo in another, very slight re-pose:

For those interested in the topo for the shoulder/collarbone region, here's a closeup:

The topo for the neck itself is still rather rough and unfinished, as I might replace it in its entirety with a neck from the separately modeled head, which is up next.


10 October 2007, 10:18 AM
nice edgeflow... but i cant see the demon in her... ;)

10 October 2007, 10:21 AM
Hey, that's all in the point of view! ;)

Seriously, it's all coming together with the help of a concept artist from over at DSF. This is just the human base, to be later modified according to the final detailed concept.


10 October 2007, 07:33 AM
Alrighty, I was able to put some more time into this and get the head done as well as attach it to the body. The whole thing still doesnt look much like a demon, but trust me on this. It is finally going to get there. ;)

PbP-Image progressions for the head:

For those interested, some details for the ear:

And the whole thing on the somewhat tweaked body:

C&C's welcome as always!

Cheers :arteest:

10 October 2007, 04:45 PM
Weird, my latest image update post didnt show for a while until I tried to post it again just now.

But here it is and I am left with this quite "bla bla bla" additional one. :)


10 October 2007, 05:02 PM
Looking good so far. Can't wait to see your detailing work. Keep up the good work,

11 November 2007, 07:12 AM
Thanks, reedomatic!:)

Here's another itsy-bitsy update: UV's for the main body only


PS: I updated the double image in the previous post.

11 November 2007, 07:40 AM
looking good dude, waiting for the sculpt :)

11 November 2007, 01:27 PM
hi razor ;)

your workflow is one of the rare which shine of perfection and cleanness. nice loops, clean unwrapping. good proportions.
i know, time is running out, but please invest some more for sculpting / styling, because this figure deserves it!

go on, mate!

11 November 2007, 03:55 PM
What program are you using to do the UV? Looks good!

11 November 2007, 03:23 PM
I do beleive that is 3d max and he was using the pelting part of the UVW unwrap.


11 November 2007, 06:01 PM
Hi guys,

apologies for the belated reply! :)

Many thanks for the comments and compliments, I'll try not to dissapoint! ;)
PS: Ich hab das Model seit einiger Zeit in Mudbox und hoffe es mit allem drum und dran auch zur Deadline fertig zu kriegen. Bild-Updates lohnen sich aber noch nicht wirklich. Danke nochmals für die außergewöhnlichen Komplimente. Tschü!

Mechis & Lordrych:
While the 0-1 space shot is taken from the Maya UV-Editor, the acutal pelting and flattening to minimize distortion was done in the fabulous headus UVLayout (Little plug for Phil in down-under here! ;) ) I have been using that litte gem of a program exclusively for uv's ever since I discovered it a while back and can wholeheartedly recommend it to anybody who is as sick of traditional in-app projections as I was.


11 November 2007, 06:02 PM
Double post! Sorry!

11 November 2007, 06:04 PM
Quick posing rig with some bone-setup experimenting in XSI, plus final pose:

11 November 2007, 08:51 PM
clean uvs...
come on start sculpting... :D

11 November 2007, 09:23 AM
As I currently dont have much to show for and despite my efforts am still without a detailed concept painting as procuded by someone else, here's an old-fashioned POV pencil sketch of my own without the transparency plates for the more "demonic" details. I did this as a further interpretation of the original painting and for atmo little while back.

If I have time to produce a showcase-able detailed sketch, I'll post it later as well.


PS: No worries, the sculpt is in progress in Mud! ;)

11 November 2007, 11:10 AM
Hi Felix,
Sehr schone model! Sehr gut!
The proportions of her body are nice. :)
Did you do the uv map with pelt mapping?

Good luck with the sculpting!

PS I'm curious. Why did you model the girl standing on her toes? I've seen that with more artists. Is it more artistically or efficient for animation?

11 November 2007, 11:57 AM
Hi Mr Razor where is your Mudb output? :twisted: hurry mate!


Mechis & Lordrych:
While the 0-1 space shot is taken from the Maya UV-Editor, the acutal pelting and flattening to minimize distortion was done in the fabulous headus UVLayout (Little plug for Phil in down-under here! ;) ) I have been using that litte gem of a program exclusively for uv's ever since I discovered it a while back and can wholeheartedly recommend it to anybody who is as sick of traditional in-app projections as I was.

I'd suggest the potential mesh deformation can be well observed by modelling in this stretched base pose, also for quick and flawless rigging.


11 November 2007, 02:30 PM
thank you for going so indepth in your head-creation technique, it was eye-opening for me.

11 November 2007, 05:42 PM
Many thanks for the comments guys! :)

Glad you like her proportions. I wanted to make her voluptuos, yet more realistic and less like the usual cg-barbie dolls.
The uvs were pelted in headus UvLayout, my choice layout app. :)
The way the model is posed does indeed facilitate easy rigging and painting weights as OneToe has already stated. If a body-part can be stretched rather extremely, it might need more loops than meets the eye in a normal position. Modeling this way allows me to place appropriate amounts of loops, which might later be missing for clean deformations in lower poly meshes and still have a clean topo. No nasty surprises this way.

No worries, I'll finish this one. It'll be a late entry though. ;)
I have some more wip screen-grabs, but havent had the time to process them in PS, so I'll
throw them in later.

No problemo. That's what these challenges are for. Glad I could help. :)

Cheers mates!:arteest:


Final Sculpt Mudbox Level 0-2

Here is the mudbox sculpt taken into ZB, as well as the final pose to see that they look like in high res.

Final pose, still with some slight deformation-hick-ups:

11 November 2007, 03:08 AM
This is it, the absolute final deadline. lol

The final entry turned out to be just a plain ZB render, but it will have to do for now. I had a lot more planned for texturing and fx, but time was a comodity in the usual short supply. Perhaps I'll finish this project some time later. ;)

Here are the wires:

For a closer look:

Required Orthos:




Beauty Render 1:

-- Large Version -- (

Beauty Render 2:

-- Large Version -- (

Beauty Render 3:

That's it for now.


PS: I figured since I am still up, I might as well fill up an earlier double-posting spot with some wip pics in chronological order.

11 November 2007, 12:40 PM
hi razor, nice to see you in the final entry area, but too bad you had not enough time. i knew there was much more potential in you and your concept. i think she wont get alive before applying some fx / scenery - so go and finish! her anatomy itself is brilliant. i would recommend some kind of clothing, for accentuating the shape.
"some wip pics in chronological order" - do it! :thumbsup:

best regards

11 November 2007, 09:08 AM
Thanks, buddy!:) Glad to see you in the voting thread as well.
I'll keep working on this for sure, as I am myself quite dissatisfied with its unfinished level. As for clothing, its a tricky issue which I have been wrecking my brain and trying to solve for a while now. I'll figure it out eventually though, as I do agree with you on this. You can follow and participate in the continuing wip on pixelplausch then, as I dont want to overload the forum here once a new challenge starts.

There are so many superb entries in this challenge. Congrats to you and everybody else!:thumbsup:

PS: I updated post #47 with some more images. If there is enough interest, I can post a Mudbox before/after progression.

11 November 2007, 10:08 AM
Double post... plz delete admin.

11 November 2007, 10:11 AM
VERY COOL! I love your latest update. Can't wait to see more.
Are you going to animatie those 'tentacles'? :)
She reminds me a little of Witchblade. The same 'type' of woman. Dangerous! :D

11 November 2007, 11:31 AM
Thanks a bunch, CoolDuck! :)

Yep, I plan to make the hair, or tentacles as you call them, among other things nCloth objects and animate them that way. If your german is up to the task, you can register and follow the further dev at ( .

And yeah, now that you say it, I see it too. She does have something akin to Witchblade. lol Perhaps I was one way or another subconsciously influenced by Marc Silvestri's superb concept. Damn, those original Michael Turner-pencilled comics were nice! I really ought to go and dig up my old comic book collection. :)


11 November 2007, 04:23 AM
Thansk for the in depth modelling process, This will turn out very nicely i can tell.

11 November 2007, 11:17 AM
Thanks for the comment.

I am trying to get this finished next. ;)


11 November 2007, 03:25 PM
Looking good razor, too bad about the time, but can't wait to see it finished anyway.

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