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Furry Bear.

Furry Bear.

Created with Lightwave.
For a decade and a half, I worked with Caligari's TrueSpace for all my 3D artwork. While I loved the work I did with it, there was one area I always wanted to get into but couldn't, that being organic character modelling. I would marvel at the work of other TrueSpace users, in particular Paul Woodward's work (visit his Buddy World site here), who created 3D characters beautifully modelled. They inspired me and I tried and tried and tried some more, but the closest I got to organic character modelling is my Cartoon Bear above.

Of course, I did create character models in TrueSpace. The Shooting Stars gang were created there and Dragon Quest saw my first venture into full characters with the Knigh, Princess and Dragon. But all these characters were constructed around parts. Torso, body, upper arm, lower arm, palm, finger 1, finger 2, finger 3... You get the point... Every segment of a body was an individually modelled part and it all rigged using hinge joints and the powerful Puppetter plugin. But the creation of a single modelled object (not lots of parts), which started life as a basic geometric shape and was shaped out into an organic form... That task always eluded me...

Until now...!

Earlier this this year, with TrueSpace moving in a new direction, one which wasn't to my liking, I made the tough decission to finally close the door on TrueSpace. A decade and a half of 3D modelling and animation came to an end and I found myself in limbo in regards to finding a new 3D package to venture into. Having already got Ligthwave 3D 8, that became my first port of call. Over the past few months I've been tinkering away in Lightwave, learning the tools, the interface, and doing some basic modelling. It was difficult initially, and for some time, to be back on square one, learning how to create a cube, a sphere, apply a basic texture... Stuff that I was whizzing around with in TrueSpace now took considerable time to figure out how to do, and yes, a few times I questioned if Lightwave was for me? But I kept at it, I read the manual, I worked from the books I bought on TrueSpace 8, I took part in the Newtek Lightwave forums, and slowly I started to wrap my head around Lightwave's work environment. Today, I am considerably comfortable with it and would say I'm almost near where I was with TrueSpace.

However, I have reached a new level with Lightwave that I never could wrap my head around with TrueSpace and that is organic character modelling.

At the start of November I picked up one of the books I had bought for Lightwave 8, Jonny Gorden's Lightwave 3D 8 Cartoon Character Creation, and started to work from it creating the first organic character in it, Morfi. After TWO DAYS of following the instructions in the book, my jaw hung open in disbelief as there, before me on screen, stood my first organically modelled character model. Now, sure, I was following a step-by-step set of instructions, but I did have to work out some stuff on my own and the little chap before me was the result. BUT... that two days of work had finally burst open a door that a decade and a half of work with TrueSpace never could... The knowledge of the techniques needed for organic character modelling, I now had them!!

So putting my Morfi character aside, I started a new model and in less then one hour I had successfully modelled the character above. Furry Bear started life as a cylinder which was converted to a subpatch mesh (a tool of modelling organic flowing models) and was then extended and shaped into the figure above. Furry Bear is one solid mesh and not a collection of individual body parts (though his two eyes are seperate spheres). Once complete, I applied fur using Sasquatch, and learned a bit in the process there too, and rendered out the finished result in three seconds!!!

The world of organic character modelling now lays before me to explore and venture into. I'm no Pro with Lightwave, very far from it, but this software has given me the tools, and Jonny Gorden's book has given me the knowledge, to finally do what I've wanted to do for over a decade and a half, it has given me access to organic character modelling and animation. Furry Bear above represents my very first step into that world and now a whole new realm for my creativity to grow into lies before me...