View Full Version : Secret Agent Entry: Xavier Coelho-Kostolny

06 June 2009, 10:46 PM
Xavier Coelho-Kostolny is entered in the "Secret Agent" update: View Challenge Page (

Latest Update: Work In Progress: More composition experimentation (

06 June 2009, 10:50 PM (

I'm going to be trying out a few different compositions before I stick with just one, but I like the idea behind this one. I'll be posting some sketches of the character in a bit.

06 June 2009, 11:00 PM (

The previous upload didn't work out so well. Dunno why. Anyway, here's (hopefully) a version without all the crazy compression artifacts.

06 June 2009, 11:48 PM
Hmm, weird. When I tried loading the page earlier, there were all sorts of compression artifacts in both images, but now they're normal. Oh well.

06 June 2009, 06:50 AM (

I'm just trying to think up different situations a secret agent might get into, so I'm going to try to come up with as many ideas as possible before I settle on one. I like the previous idea a bit better because it has a more dynamic feel, so I think I'm going to make some sort of action scene since I find the idea pretty exciting.

06 June 2009, 09:34 PM
This last concept reminds me the game splinter cell. I like the atmosphere in the scene.

06 June 2009, 09:40 PM
Interesting concepts and lights

06 June 2009, 03:10 AM (

I think I've hit on something here.

It's absurd, unlikely, irresponsible, dangerous, idiotic, insane, and FRICKIN' AWESOME.

06 June 2009, 03:34 AM
i really like that last one...

perhaps you could have the choppers firing off a few rockets, have some in mid flight and one or two having hit the roof and exploding...

good luck

06 June 2009, 08:31 AM (

I don't like this one as well as the previous image, but it was still good for generating some ideas. I may use the motorcycle-riding goons in the final image because I like the idea of some diabolical genius sending all his minions after one person. I'm also considering having some explosions kind of like in this image, but what I'll actually end up doing is still up in the air.

06 June 2009, 08:34 AM
I somehow liked the one with the motorcycle sliding onto the camera. would look cool .
would come in to check again buddy. best of luck.:)

06 June 2009, 09:10 AM
I prefer the previous too. Was more dynamical.

06 June 2009, 09:27 AM
if u want use motorbikes on the roof i suggest you to use off road bikes, because the bikes you made are for highway and speed and not for going on roofs ^^
something like this

06 June 2009, 12:19 PM
hi:) you've done really a fascinating concept~
i think it will be a unique idea that such a quite dangerous dark tracing game happens in a very clear and happy weather~
lovin your first pic
quite clear and full of strength:)

06 June 2009, 01:56 PM
Alright, since everyone likes the slide on the roof better than the 2nd, I'll concede, it's a little more unique than the other one. But initially I liked the new one better, with the goons and the copters more visible.

To include the goons in the picture with the motorcycle sliding on the roof, I thought, it'd be easy to have them swarming in the background. I also liked all of them after one person. But have them swarming as if they're about to get 'im.

Then I thought, to show the gadgets, it'd be cool if you had the gun NOT pointing at camera (cause I (in CAPS) didn't do anything to him), and had a cable that he's pointing to the next spot where the chase becomes difficult not to use bikes anymore (maybe why he just skidded to a stop), and he's going to start Tarzan-ing to get away.

I don't know. Your image, but that's what I saw/thought...

All your concepts are nice ideas... g'luck.

06 June 2009, 05:13 PM
Personally, I like the running one best. It feels less fussy, and the fact he's on foot, increases the danger he's in. My reaction to this composition was much more wowed than with any of the others.

06 June 2009, 05:26 PM
Great concept! Keep it up :thumbsup:

06 June 2009, 06:48 PM
I'm liking to the direction of these concepts, Swizzle. I think the bike sliding towards the camera is my favorite, I like the promise of the composition and lets face it, it's majorly cool!

06 June 2009, 07:24 PM
Thanks for the kind words, everybody.

Before you had even mentioned it, I was thinking of having the helicopters firing at the agent with rockets and stuff. Having somebody else think the exact same thing just reaffirms that it's a good idea.

Completely absurd as it would be to have people riding along rooftops on racing motorcycles, I kind of like the over-the-top aspect of it. I think I may have the goons riding dirt bikes and the the main character riding a racing bike, though, simply because a secret agent has to have a sweet ride.

I definitely agree with you that having goons and helicopters visible is important. I also took what you said about the gun pointing at the camera into consideration and realized you're right; for the final image, I want something kind of campy and fun, and pointing a gun at the viewer is neither. I haven't decided what I'm going to have in the agent's hand, but the next image I upload will show one idea of many.

I initially felt the same way about the running one, but I like the idea of the scene feeling like it's going extremely fast and if you blink you'll miss the action. It's a bit harder to imply that with somebody running, but I'm still going to experiment more with the agent running to see if I can come up with something cool.

I should have another sketch up in a couple of minutes.

06 June 2009, 07:38 PM (

I tweaked the composition a bit from the original motorcycle image. I don't think this one is quite as strong, but it has most of the elements I'm interested in.

06 June 2009, 08:51 PM
I hate to be the one to state the obvious, but isn't the throttle typically on the right handlebar grip?

06 June 2009, 09:11 PM
I don't know squat about motorcycles.


06 June 2009, 11:19 PM
Yeah, I think throttle is always on right side. If reality is an issue perhaps you could just flip the image horizontally. Of course, then he couldn't shift... ha ha. Maybe spy bikes don't operate like normal ones - to keep that hand free for important things!

Nice pre-vis process - lots of ideas!

06 June 2009, 04:45 AM (

After looking at some of the sketches other people have come up with, I decided to see what I could do with a night scene.

I like the way some things seem to pop out from the environment with this lighting setup, but it's a tough trick to pull off convincing moonlight without making it look like a day scene with blue light. I think I can get just as good or even better effects if I keep it as a daylight scene, but this was definitely a worthwhile experiment to see where things could go.

Oh, and I flipped it. :D

06 June 2009, 05:07 AM
Hmm, I think I like the daytime lighting better. Seems to fit the type of action scene better. That's just me though.

06 June 2009, 06:07 AM
hey xavier i love your work and it looking good everyday. Boy you work fast man, i can't keep up with your works. I love the motorcycle and how he challenges the helicopters in the background... Can't wait to see more my friend, take care for now.

06 June 2009, 09:12 AM
I initially felt the same way about the running one, but I like the idea of the scene feeling like it's going extremely fast and if you blink you'll miss the action. It's a bit harder to imply that with somebody running, but I'm still going to experiment more with the agent running to see if I can come up with something cool.

I should have another sketch up in a couple of minutes.

You may be right here, but IMO, there is something more typical about the bike sequence and I feel like I've seen that quite a lot. It's like everything is happening here. LOTS of action going on! Bikes! Explosions! Helicopters! Consequently, there's no tension. Know what I mean? Basically, my thinking here is comparing old James Bond Movies with "Die Another Day" which was not sophisticated at all.

It's the same with movies like "Wanted" where they just tried to making everything cool. So there's no sense of danger there at all. Compare that to the pen fight in the Bourne Identity, which was brutal and really tense. To me, a simple concept executed beautifully often gets to the heart of a theme much more effectively.

If you do decide to go with the bike theme though, I prefer the last composition, but agree that daytime would fit here better.

06 June 2009, 02:02 PM
I agree with you on the daytime lighting. It definitely seems to suit it better, and I think that's the type of lighting I'll use in the final image.


That sort of dramatic tension (like the pen fight you mentioned, along with many other scenes from the Bourne series) is something that was sorely lacking in the Bond films just before the "reboot" and in many other action movies. It's the same sort of feeling in a horror movie, especially if you've seen that they've already killed off a character: They've already killed other people, so are they going to pull the rug out from under our feet and kill the main character this time? I definitely see the value in creating scenes like that, and I'd really like to try my hand at doing it sometime in the future. However, that's not the feeling I want to evoke here.

Right now I'm planning on this being a pretty heavily stylized picture, not just how many James Bond movies are stylized with heavy reliance on cheesy action and stuff, but in a kind of cartoony sense in that the people and vehicles should seem almost like they've come from The Incredibles, though maybe quite that heavily stylized. I don't want that very personal sense of danger you get in Bourne or the newer couple of James Bond movies, I want the over-the-top sense of danger you get from all the brainless action flicks that everybody's already seen a couple of times. Think "how are they going to get out of this scrape?" instead of "I wonder if they're going to get out of this one?"

Granted, this may not exactly have as much cerebral artistic merit as doing something more personal, but hey—tits and explosions, man. :D

06 June 2009, 02:26 PM
First off, you're off to a great start. You've blocked in all your key elements and I can tell whats going on in one quick glance.

It reminds me a lot of Tomorrow Never Dies. My only suggestion would be to quickly sketch out something that would help look at this in a different perspective. Maybe in a different angle?

Keep up the great work!


06 June 2009, 05:28 AM (

These are just a few of the references I'm going to be using as inspiration for the girl riding the motorcycle. I want a pretty heavy sixties vibe complete with big hair and go-go type boots, and I think doing something similar to Cate Archer would be pretty fun. I don't intend to make her very realistic, though; more inspiration is coming from the Incredibles and other cartoons along with things like Andy Hickinbottom's Bunny Girl and retro pin-ups.

Short skirts+tall boots+big hair+leather+belts+danger=awesomeness.

I oughta have sketches up soon.

06 June 2009, 05:35 AM (

I'm pretty well settled on this basic composition now, I think. I've pushed the previs process as far as I want to and now I want to get to the real meat of this thing. I'll probably do lots of tweaking with the smaller details as I get closer to the finished product, but I think this is pretty close to how the final image should feel.

I want to keep all the textures and models pretty clean and non-cluttered and I really want to avoid micro-detailing because I think having large shapes that read well even from a distance is pretty important, at least for something like this.

Oh, and the girl riding the motorcycle probably won't look like a creepy helmet-headed mannequin freak in the final image. Or at least a hope not.

06 June 2009, 05:37 AM
Love the chick from no one lives forever 2. My GF suggested I model a scene with her, but my mind was elsewhere. I agree with previous comments. You are doing a great job of blocking your scene out. You should, as mentioned previously, just throw around the idea of different camera angles. You may stumble on something that just "clicks" that you never would have imagined before.



06 June 2009, 07:44 AM
Not sure if I like the clipping of the wheels and suitcase. For my eyes there is something that doesnt work there. The rest of the image works.

Looks like a nice action sequense ;)

Keep it up

06 June 2009, 08:02 AM (

I think I've hit on something here.

I like the old one one a lot. The low camera angle puts you into the scenery and the composing looks great.
Anyway, it's nice to follow your greyblocking.
Good stuff.

06 June 2009, 01:28 PM
It's great to see how you put a lot of thought into your blocking phase. I've mostly seen just grey rendered out blocks but experimenting with contrasting colors at the same time... makes me wonder why I don't do that myself.

Best of luck on the challenge. I think you should go with the sexy girl on a dirtbike.


06 June 2009, 09:26 PM
Granted, this may not exactly have as much cerebral artistic merit as doing something more personal, but hey—tits and explosions, man. :D

Well, yeah, when you put it like that...


06 June 2009, 10:49 PM
UR scene is growing up very well! the last version is the very berst in my opinion.

06 June 2009, 02:30 AM (

I'm not terribly happy with this sketch, but it should give some idea of what I'm going for. Nothing here is final and she'll probably be changing pretty drastically before I'm done.

I'm not too keen on the business suit sort of thing she's got going on and the hair looks kinda... bad. I'll probably be keeping the sort of Asian look of the eyes, but everything's still up in the air. I'm going to be looking at a lot of references and doing many, many more sketches to see if I can actually come up with something that looks decent.

06 June 2009, 09:07 PM (

Here are a few less sucky sketches of the agent and potential goon designs. I'm probably not going to do too many of these, but they'll be helpful later on.

I want to get to the modeling stage by next week or sooner, so I'll probably be doing a lot of 3D character sketches as well with primitives and Mudbox sculpts.

06 June 2009, 07:58 AM (

Here are the wires and a shaded screenshot of the agent's head as it looks currently.

06 June 2009, 08:03 AM (

This is an early render/shader test for the agent's head. It currently doesn't have any actual textures, just different materials.

I'm not really sold on this chick yet; she looks too young for what I have in mind, so I'm going to be adjusting her hair and facial features to see if I can make her look older while remaining pleasing to look at. Before I really get into that, though, I'll build her body and clothes and see what I can do with them. I'm also not very pleased with how she looks a bit anime-ish, so I'm going to be trying to push her towards a more original style.

06 June 2009, 02:13 AM (

I'm close to finishing the modeling stage for the agent. I still have a lot of detailing to do, but the major forms are in place. Still no textures on here, just different materials for the various pieces.

I've also started on modeling the base for goons that are going to be chasing her, but it's not far enough along that it's worth showing yet.

06 June 2009, 02:27 AM
I like the perspective u are taking. The model is coming a long. Going stylized, I like it, can't wait to see more detail on her.
That is going to be a lot of work, on that environment! Glad its only one character. :)

Keep going.

06 June 2009, 06:34 PM
Nice work on the compositions and the characters.
I bet your agent can look a little more tough and still be
cute and sexy.

06 June 2009, 06:50 PM
I'm going to be building a lot of modular stuff for the environment like base buildings with nothing but walls, some windows, balconies, chimneys, etc., so that should alleviate some of the pain of building something so huge. It's still going to be a pretty huge undertaking once I actually get to it.

I agree about making look a little stronger, so I'm going to be spending a lot of time trying to push her proportions and a lot of the details on her until she has a more striking look. I'm not satisfied with how she looks right now, but I think I at least have a good base to work on.

06 June 2009, 08:09 PM
Sexy render and very nice character. I love it. Good luck man!

06 June 2009, 08:10 PM
yeaH! CUTE AGENT I SAY! love the style..

06 June 2009, 08:44 PM
Your concepts were very provocative, but I do have a little crit about your final shot layout. I have a hard time being convinced that the agent is on a roof. If you have a clearly visible edge to the roof I think it will read much better. Maybe have her stopping right at the edge, with a few crumbling tiles falling off the front of the building. Looking great though!

06 June 2009, 12:33 AM (

This is an expansion of the sketch I posted before of the goon concept. This was pretty heavily influenced by Steffen 'Neox' Unger and the stuff he's making for the Airborn Unreal Tournament 3 mod (

I think I'm going to be taking a second look at the agent's design and trying to make her model (or at least her head) fit in a little better with this style by tweaking and sculpting the mesh a bit. I may even rebuild parts of her if I think it's necessary.

06 June 2009, 12:34 AM
Madness-of-Hamlet, OZ:

You're right about it being a little hard to tell that they're up on rooftops. In the final image there are going to be roof tiles and stuff, but adding a visible edge could work really well to heighten the danger. I'll probably incorporate something like that; the last composition test I did is simply for reference later on and I'm certainly going to be tweaking lots of stuff before I'm done.

06 June 2009, 05:13 PM
Really like the sculpt you got going there.. it has a nice style to it.
the action in the image is pretty cool as well.. good job man

06 June 2009, 12:22 PM

I do not enter this competition, just watching the attendants.
Till now I like your composition the best! (especially the one U posted 06-14-2009, 07:38 PM)
I like that we have a good view of the agent and her vehicle, I like the damaged rooftop, I like to feel the skidding, I like the sweeping briefcase (I like it better, than the gun leading to the camera, it is too direct for me) I don't want (on that picture) the missile in the forground, it is disturbing.
To tell you the truth, I don't like - in this form - the agent girl. The agent should be cool, so if it will be a female, it should be sexy. I know that realism is not aim, but I don't like the sphere-form head. Her body also needs further development.

I wish you enough time and endurance to make a good picture of it, I'm really curious!

Good luck!

06 June 2009, 12:24 PM
if u want use motorbikes on the roof i suggest you to use off road bikes, because the bikes you made are for highway and speed and not for going on roofs ^^
something like this

Which is exactly why the street bike on the roof works better...The secret Agent always attempted the more difficult of two roads...

Swizzle : Are you using Hammer for your blocking? It looks like one of your orange works.

07 July 2009, 08:24 AM (

After a stupidly long break to take care of TF2 mapping, homework assignments, potential dating and other bullpuckey, I'm back.

07 July 2009, 08:26 AM
I love the rooftops in venice composition. Very dynamic and FUN! Keep it up!

07 July 2009, 08:31 AM

Thank you! I completely agree about the briefcase and the way the agent's proportioned, so I'm going to be keeping something fairly non-threatening in her hand, even if I don't use the briefcase idea, and I'll definitely keep tweaking the character model until I'm happy.

The whole thing was blocked out in Modo using basic primitives that I made a few cuts or subdivisions in and tweaked to get the right shape. I've certainly been considering using Hammer to block some stuff out, but I don't think it'd be worth the effort since I'm just going to be rebuilding everything in Modo anyway.

Now that I'm back into the swing of things again, I'm probably going to start taking out the placeholder geometry in that scene and replacing it with final models. I've really gotta get crackin' if I want to finish on time.

Oops. Didn't see your post there, Figueroa. I picked the rooftops of Venice because it's easy to put them at interesting heights and orientations while still being fairly believable. I like the feel of the roofing tiles, as well.

07 July 2009, 11:47 AM
Swizzle, that's a great update to your character!
It's looking great, I really like the overall stylized look!:bounce:

07 July 2009, 01:43 PM
Nice progress. I think the eyebrows could be les plastic, otherwise that's excellent.

07 July 2009, 04:19 AM
Another Modo dude,
all cool people use Modo ;)

nice entry, the only thing for crit is her eyebrow and i think at top of eye socket there could be some more sharp edge

keep up

07 July 2009, 08:20 PM
Hey Xavier,

Awesome work !! really great characters :D fantastic toon style on them. Your previews of the composition look really nice. Maybe the motorcycle need to be in a foreshorten perspective, I think that in a profile position breaks the dynamic action, or push more in a exgareted perspective the skid of the bike, more a wish than a critic :D Again, great work and looking forward for more updates! Cheers!! :beer:

07 July 2009, 10:03 PM
Great style Xavier!!
I loved the Agent! hehe
You still working in the eyebrows? It's a little "plastic"!


And Modo RULES! hehe

07 July 2009, 10:53 PM (

I'm currently working on the base model for the goons that are going to be chasing the agent. I'll be tweaking this guy to get some different body and face shapes later on, but this should give a good idea of how the goons ought to look once I'm finished.

It should be noted that I used Arshlevon's base human mesh as a starting point and then heavily reworked the proportions and such. There isn't a single polygon that I didn't modify to some degree and the entire head was constructed by me.

07 July 2009, 10:56 PM (

This is just a closeup view of the goon's head. I'll probably be adding bigger ear pieces and mics for the guys in the helicopters?if you can even see them in the final?and I'll probably make other headgear as well to differentiate the goons since three or four will be very visible in the final image.

07 July 2009, 11:04 PM
Thanks! I've been wanting to put some work into a cartoony image like this for a while, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity.

I'm definitely going to be making her eyebrows look more like hair than plastic. I've done more texture painting and they're looking a little better now, but they still have a ways to go (along with a bunch of other stuff) before I'll be satisfied. I'll probably post an updated version of that same pose soon.

You're right about the eyebrow and eye socket. I've already added another loop around her eye that makes it look more like her eye is actually resting in the socket, so an updated render is in the works.

I'm still not entirely sure what I want to do with that motorcycle, especially since I don't know much about them, but I'll probably be using some cool lens distortion and perspective effects to make things look good. I think I'm going to base it off an older model Triumph sort of like EVA's in Metal Gear Solid 3, but I haven't decided yet.

Thanks! And you're right; Modo does indeed rule. The combination of render passes and transparency is really getting on my nerves, what with how it DOESN'T WORK, but that's okay. Maybe they've fixed it in 401. I've gotta try that out.

07 July 2009, 10:14 AM
First of all great work!!
When i just read your last comment about the motorcycle, i imagined her on a tuned vespa. Maybe this could fit.


07 July 2009, 08:59 PM
People have mentioned putting her on a Vespa, but I really don't like the idea very much. Vespas don't seem like they'd be good for anything except comic relief in this situation. I want this girl to seem more powerful, so she's going to be riding something based on a 1956 Triumph T110 ( The goons will be riding bikes based on the 1957 Triton 650 (

07 July 2009, 06:53 AM (

I've been experimenting with different levels of contrast and brightness in various sections of the image to get a better understanding of where the best places would be to place emphasis by using contrasting colors and lighting. These are a few of the ones I've been doing and I think that doing this is showing that I need to clear up some of the clutter behind the agent so she pops out really well against what will eventually be a pretty noisy background.

I think adding explosions and smoke in the background in strategic locations and with carefully sculpted shapes will help add the emphasis I need without having to resort to silhouetting her against the sky. If I can get the lighting and building orientations just right, the focal point should fall right on the agent.

07 July 2009, 07:07 AM (

There are a number of things in this version of the composition that are pretty different from previous versions, but nothing really major besides the motorcycle and the agent. The camera angle is slightly different to show the edge of the building she's sliding towards, but most everything else is the same.

It should be easier to see the style of motorcycle I'm going to be having the agent and goons riding once I'm done; they'll be caf? racers based on real ones from the mid fifties but simplified for the purposes of this project. I'm not going to be modeling all the little nuts and bolts; I really want to keep the style clean and smooth throughout, so the highest frequency detail will probably be in the tire treads and the radiator fins of the engines.

While I realize that if the agent was sitting on the bike this way, she couldn't properly control the thing, I've still decided to eschew realism for the sake of what I think is the stronger composition. It could be that I prefer this one since I'm right handed, or it could just be that I'm slightly stupid, but I can't help but feel that the whole thing looks stronger with the motorcycle pointing up and to the right.

07 July 2009, 07:08 PM
Looking at the image, I have two ideas. One is to tilt her head slightly, so it's in line with the body, not straightly vertical - it would look more natural, and more dynamic. Other thing would be turning the handlebars and wheel to her left - again, more dynamic, and you could add a cool shower of debris from under the tire.

Keep on the good work.

07 July 2009, 11:15 PM
Looks fun! Looking forward to seeing further WIP.

08 August 2009, 06:36 PM
hi Xavier,i was enjoy following your thread,i love your characters.
i feel sad you cant finished your work,but probably one day you will finish it,
see you on the next challenge.

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