View Full Version : WIP: Fishy

07 July 2003, 12:31 AM
Following on from the frogs that I recently created:
WIP: Froggy (

here's the first of the fish characters that i'm redeveloping for the series. Still some texture work to be done, but I'd love to hear your feedback...

I've included a pic of the voice artist so you can see how I've attempted to create a broad likeness.

07 July 2003, 12:33 AM
I really enjoy your style.

Don't be stingy, Wireframe!!! hehe


Rabid pitbull
07 July 2003, 12:38 AM
Really nice!! All your work is so well done.:thumbsup: I do see a likness of the voice actor too, good job.


07 July 2003, 12:39 AM
I love your style as well! Maybe he could have some indication of bags under his eyes? -Just to make him look more like the voice artist? I realize that this is not key to the character, but still. I think you've come along way of portraying him allready! :)

Are the scales cylindrically mapped?

07 July 2003, 02:01 AM
Are the scales mapped or modelled? I love the look!

07 July 2003, 03:17 AM
Great job! Your work is truely amazing!

07 July 2003, 03:22 AM
Thanks y'all :)

Here's the wires:

You're right Pixelranger. I tried bump mapping the bags under the eyes, but it looked nasty. Modelled eyebags might make him look too old, but I might give it a go just to see...

Scales are UV mapped based on an X projection.

07 July 2003, 04:06 AM
wow, and amazingly low poly too. very efficient. :). i bet that looks good even un-subpatched.

Triple G
07 July 2003, 04:35 AM
Great stuff as always, Kretin. Very simple, efficient modeling yet very expressive. :thumbsup:

07 July 2003, 05:53 AM
Kretin !!!!

Love yer werk mate !!

caaaaaaaa'n the adelaiders !!! (u know - Bernadine .. sa fm) :beer:

07 July 2003, 06:29 AM
This is soo sweet dude... i give you a medal :applause

07 July 2003, 07:46 AM
This has probaly been asked before but here goes:
How the hell do you create those eyelids? Bones, morphs, combination? damn! :)

07 July 2003, 08:01 AM
Looking good as always Kretin!!! Can't wait to see him move!!!

07 July 2003, 08:14 AM
So are you trying to take the big boys on, PIXAR, you certainly have a way with the cartoony modelling, would love to see some test animations/VR soon to get a feel...

07 July 2003, 08:49 AM
Thanks again :)

Tudor - I try where possible to use just morphs. In this case the eyes are flat enough. Where the eyes are more round I use a combination of morphs and bones, like I did for the frogs. Where I use both, I drive the bone rotation with the morphs so the control methods are the same for all the characters.

Samartin - Pixar, yeah right :P I aspire to Pixar's level, but I'm not quite there yet. Man, Finding Nemo doesn't even get released here until the end of August... I'm tempted to fly to the US just to see it! But thanks for the compliment :)

Here's a quick VR test...

Carp QtVR (

Again, drag left to play it forwards... man I'll remember to hit that reverse rotation button one day...

07 July 2003, 12:23 PM
The Quicktime VR looks great!!! Very impressive work on the movement... it seems very fluid and balanced.

07 July 2003, 01:09 PM
nice job Kretin and the QTVR is really cool too.

Steve Warner
07 July 2003, 03:25 PM
You're character designs are simply outstanding! Awesome work as usual! :applause:

Facial Deluxe
07 July 2003, 12:18 AM
Awesome !!

07 July 2003, 12:30 AM
Nice character and simple geometry. I'd only recommend that you modify the geometry in order to let the gills flare out like real fish do for a greater range of expressions.

07 July 2003, 12:43 AM
Very cool Kretin. Your style is great :beer:

07 July 2003, 01:14 AM
Cool idea, thanks Chewey. I'll have to play with that one...

Thought I'd show ya the rig... The swimming motion is controlled by the rotation of a swimmer null (the red ball), and works independantly of the rotation of the backbones, so he can swim in any pose...

07 July 2003, 04:03 AM
is that tail wiggle an endomorph or is it a few?

07 July 2003, 04:19 AM
No, the swimming motion is controlled by bones. It's an invisible copy of the backbone heirarchy, which inherits the rotation from both the editable backbones and the swimmer null.

A morph would also work, but wouldn't get the nice delayed motion along the chain, at least not very easily.

07 July 2003, 04:29 AM
Awesome work Kretin. :thumbsup:
You should write a book about character design, I remember something !

Just one thing I recognised in the quicktime VR, you should make bigger eyebrows (or eyelids), before the fish closes his eyes the first time, the right eyebrow looks a little bid flat.

07 July 2003, 05:01 AM
Nice character design.
So is the bone delay just follower offset or a custom expression.
And the eye lids are morphed or boned.

Are the pupils/iris textured map or modeled. Do they rotate int he socket or just moved around?

07 July 2003, 05:28 AM
Thanks Robinson. In their default position the eyebrows aren't very obtrusive, partially to keep the fishy streamline shape, and partially because I'm keeping the more exaggerated eyebrows for the characters that actually have heavier eyebrows. I'll post some os my concepts for the other fish a bit later today, so you can see what I mean...

Julez, the bone motion had to use expressions, cause each one is following the combined rotation of 2 other items. But the straight swimming motion is a replication of follower, with time offsets, then I add the rotation of the visible backbones.

Eyelids are morphs, check a couple of posts up for more info :)

Pupils are texture mapped (UV) so that shadow mapping works nicely. I initially started using properly modelled eyes, but realised the clear coating would obscure shadow mapped lights. I have a diffuse map on the irises to simulate the lighting on a properly modelled eye.

The eyes certainly do rotate. If you look closely at the gif you can see the eye bones rotating, and more easily see the target lines to the eye target. Projection mapped irises using a reference null to look around is one of my pet peeves, I really hate that technique, it's difficult to control, and breaks way too easily.

07 July 2003, 05:33 AM
That is great! You should be working for Pixar!

07 July 2003, 07:36 AM
Awe shucks, thanks Shade :) If only...

So here's my concepts for the fish. Some of these may change though, as I get feedback from the client...

And here's the puffer fish. This is an old pic, as I created this one last year. I've changed the eyes and done some other work on him, so I'll post updated pics soon...

07 July 2003, 07:45 AM
Wow, you rock Kretin. How about a complex character tutorial, texturing and rigging included? It`s something different than the conventional biped stuff.

07 July 2003, 07:59 AM
Yep, just started writing one :p

Only catch is that it's gonna be a book, released around January... Lightwave 8 Character Creation: Cartoon characters - from concept to animation :)

07 July 2003, 10:48 AM
Oh man, this is such a wonderful work, all your characters really have life in them, marvelous!

So sad your book is only coming out in january, maybe you could give us a little appetizer :love: a short quicktime tutorial maybe?????????? PLEASEEEEEE.....

Oh and for your book, please add big and colored images, I hate these small, b/w images so you always have to look up on the cd.

07 July 2003, 08:48 PM
can u give us an example of a expression that you used on the tail. I know how to use follower but I dont know how to do it in an expression then add the rotation of the other bone chain.

Also how did u get it so that the bones that you are useing for positioning is not effecting when u use the tail rotator? Do you have the bones that are for positioning ahve a balnk weight map applied to them?

Maybe I should RTFM on expressions. :shrug:

07 July 2003, 11:02 PM
Thanks Preludian :) Ah, it's not that long to wait :p I won't be able to write any tutes cause I'm real busy with work and the book, but I'll continue to show stuff here and answer any questions you have.

I think I'm only gonna be allowed to have a few color pages in the middle of the book, but that may change... I'll certainly make sure the illustrations are a decent size and adequately show what's happening.

Hellbring, The visible backbones aren't the real backbones, but more backguides. These are the ones the animator rotates. They are clones of the "real" backbones, but have 0% Strength so they don't do anything to the geometry. So I have Back01, Back02 etc, which are the animatable ones, then SBack01, SBack02 etc, which are the real ones.

So SBack02 has an expression for its heading channel like this:
(Carp_Swimmer. rot(Time - 0.1).h * 0.8) + Carp.Back02.rot(Time).h

Then I've got expressions on the P and B making it follow Back02 only, although follower could be used for these channels...

I strongly encourage everyone to experiment with, and learn expressions. They really open up a whole realm of possibilities. I avoided them for a real long time, preferring to use follower or Cyclist if I could. Then recently I forced myself to learn them and now feeling comfortable with expressions has really changed the way i do things, and has made many rigging tasks so much easier, especially when it comes to automating certain motions, but also making alot of things possible that were only previously possible using motion plugins.

The manual is pretty useless when it comes to expressions, yeah it gives you the basic framework, but unless you know what you're doing (like have a degree in mathematics) it's difficult to know where to start. What you need to do is set yourself a project, and use the Expression Builder, it's your friend. My project was rigging a model Proton made of a truck with a driver. I decided to automate it so that the entire motion is driven by a single null. I don't have a movie of the final one but here's an early "almost" finished result:
Truck DivX (

This was great fun to do, and I learned so much by doing it. If you set yourself a similar task, by the end of it you'll know alot more about expressions and be comfortable using them in your day to day Lightwaving :applause:

07 July 2003, 11:12 PM
Originally posted by kretin
Yep, just started writing one :p

Only catch is that it's gonna be a book, released around January... Lightwave 8 Character Creation: Cartoon characters - from concept to animation :)

Oh yes - that would be niiice.
"January" - so far away...

07 July 2003, 11:49 PM
Originally posted by kretin
Yep, just started writing one :p

Only catch is that it's gonna be a book, released around January... Lightwave 8 Character Creation: Cartoon characters - from concept to animation :)
That`s good to hear. Put it on my wishlist. Who`s the publisher?

07 July 2003, 12:02 AM
The wonderful Wordware :) Increasing their LW arsenal once again...

Oh, it's Lightwave 8 Character Creation- Volume 1... I'll leave it to your imaginations for now as to what Volume 2 will be :p

07 July 2003, 09:39 AM
Wordware! Well...they certainly do alot for the LW community, but they are expensive too and they are far away from the quality of New Riders. I still often look into Jeremy Birns 'Lightning and Rendering' book as it's very well published, good quality of paper, big colored images and so on.
Maybe you could ask if a colored version as PDF could be incorporated. If they are afraid that it's going to be spread in the underground, they could let the book buyers register first before downloading the pdf.

07 July 2003, 11:07 AM
Very cool!:beer:

07 July 2003, 06:37 PM
u r a monster !!
like your style :applause:

07 July 2003, 10:55 PM
Preludian, personally I believe the most important test of quality in a book is in it's content, what it teaches. With this in mind i will be making very sure that the quality of my books are as high as possible.

I'll certainly be covering alot of ground that other books barely, if at all, touch on. I'll also be going into more detail than other books I've seen, showing multiple methods of doing things instead of just "this is the way I do it, so you must do it this way too".

In regards to color, paper quality, etc, I believe Wordware are working on this aspect, and I'm sure will continue to improve with time.

08 August 2003, 03:05 AM
Been a while, but finally got back on the fishies. Here's the latest, the bass...

Dr Dardis
08 August 2003, 04:29 AM
It's all looking really good kretin, got a great feel to it, clean and stylish. Are you using vertex coloring? Anyway, quick note to say "Great stuff!".

Dr. D (aka "he who is to lazy for Avatars")


08 August 2003, 08:46 AM
Thanks Dr Dardis :)

I'm not using vertex coloring, just color textures painted in Photoshop, although I've created them to have the soft feel that vertex coloring often has.

Actually that's not entirely true, the mouth has vertex coloring for the teeth and tongue... forgot about that :p

08 August 2003, 09:10 AM
Amazing models ! :) Lots of style, simple and complicated at the same time. The last fish looks a lot like the actor (the smile).

08 August 2003, 10:13 AM
As usual.

08 August 2003, 03:17 PM
Lovely fishes. I even couldn't say which one is my favourite.
They are so alive!!


I love your textures. I know you are too busy, but could you give just a few tips? I think everyone will welcome this.:drool:

08 August 2003, 01:21 AM
Thanks guys :)

Dreamtalks, there's really nothing to it, just lots of brush work in Photoshop. Here's the color and bump textures for the bass...

In the fish I've also got various layers on the diffuse and spec to give them a sheen.

08 August 2003, 02:09 AM
Wow... Great work.. You've schooled me.

(Fish? School? HA!)

08 August 2003, 03:29 AM
Fantastic Fish! I love your style of work.

Oh and originally hailing from Australia myself, I love your avatar ;) Great character.

Facial Deluxe
08 August 2003, 12:00 PM
Lot's of character, me loves :thumbsup:

08 August 2003, 01:02 PM
Jeez... I have totally missed this WIPpy!

Kretin, you are such a totally awesome character designer. Man, I just love these models, textures and everything. Setups seem like clockwork elegance.

You are a major source of inspiration :applause:

08 August 2003, 04:16 PM
Love what you did with the eye extruson...
Do you have any more eyeball tips besides the tutorial on the Newek websites?

08 August 2003, 02:06 AM
Hey Julez, Lots more tips in the book I'm writing, but for a little more, check out the Froggy WIP thread...

Also keep an eye on the Froggy WIP in the coming days for a test anim of one of the frogs...

Thanks again everyone, glad you like the characters :applause:

Triple G
08 August 2003, 02:40 AM
Nothing much to add here other than saying that this is, as usual, top-notch work from you, Kretin. Your work is so well-executed and the stylization is beautiful. You're really an inspiration to me. :bowdown:

08 August 2003, 06:10 AM
Awesome work (as usual) Kretin! Nice fishies.

08 August 2003, 11:39 AM
Hey yeah, very nice characters Jonny! the froggy's too.

08 August 2003, 12:03 PM
wow! nice stuff kretin.

08 August 2003, 12:34 PM
whhooaa.. itīs look so cool .. and with so few poly..
i am so ..soo.. i shame me so much to not have seen this post befor.. and have gived a positif comment ...
really top notch work.. i really dig the style. !!!:beer:

5 star !!!!

09 September 2003, 12:18 AM
Here's the next fishy, Perch Phelps...

I've recently changed webhosts and the DNS settings are still filtering through, so if you can't see the image, try again soon...

09 September 2003, 02:27 AM
yeap i say it is time for me to throw my computer away along with lighwave LOL. But man this is some great work again. You always know how to light you characters up to make them seem so catoonie. How do you do that man i am working on a cartoon animation for school and i need to figure out how do you guys make it look like a cartoon. thanks in advance for you help and great work again man. 1000+ thumbs up!!!

09 September 2003, 02:45 AM
Thanks xasteycracker :)

The cartoon look is achieved, not by the lighting, but by the surfacing of the character. The lighting is just a standard 3 light setup that can be used for anything.

The surfacing is a bit more complex, that differs for different characters, but all these characters have a base of 85% diffuse with nice bright textures created mostly with a large airbrush to get smooth color transitions. Another tip for cartoon characters is to be sparing with specular. In general you wanna keep it real low, give it some color, and give it more strength in specific areas, in this case for the scales.

09 September 2003, 03:51 AM
Very cool stuff.

It's the Gaither Vocal Band as your voice talent. Is this true. That's cool. Mark Lowery is a complete riot.

09 September 2003, 03:57 AM
It is the Gaither Vocal Band, and friends, who do the voices, hence the name of the video series "Gaithers Pond" :)

See for more info...

Mark Lowry is a funny guy :applause:

04 April 2004, 01:18 PM
Kretin..when you model the fish..did you model the fish body first and creates a face out of later or model the face and then added a basic fish body in later.

04 April 2004, 01:37 PM
Geez, it's been a while... lemme think :p

I think I created the body first, then the head. That's for the first fish.

From there the other fish were derived from the original, so bits changed all over the place.

And the book's still coming, I'm working my little butt off to get it finished. It's very close now...

Should be able to start some promotion soon, and show some cool stuff from it :)

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