Overgrowth Figurine

There's a rather sublime looking game in development at the moment called Overgrowth. It's being made by Wolfire Games and is available for preorder now which gets you access to the alpha and frequently updated builds. As part of my university course I decided to make a would-be promotional figurine for the game, but with my own spin.

The rabbits in Overgrowth are quite Japanese in their style of clothing so in order to personalise my figurine and give me design elements I could play around with (I'm on a course for Character Creation, after all) I decided to look at different cultures the rabbit I was intending to make could inhabit. I wanted to keep the slightly exotic feel of the game design so I looked at other eastern aesthetics. India was my first port of call, as it has a varied and complicated history rich with design, especially with regard to combat. I was intending to make my character a fighting one, so I focused on armour and weaponry from India's history. I saw rabbits as very agile creatures while the majority of Indian armour I could find was quite heavy set. While looking at surrounding countries Tibet caught my eye - I loved the layering and vivid colours of the clothing so I combined the elements of Indian armour I liked with the clothing of Tibet to give a quick and agile very close-range fighter. This was highlighted by the choice of weaponry - you have to be very close to use punching daggers. I gave him a kukri on his back as a secondary weapon/useful tool. He also has a few Buddhist elements, such as the Vajra and Gau hanging from his belt as I felt he was giving off the vibe of a monk-type character.

Here is the design I started out with. I don't feel my skills lie with 2D but I think working in 3D has improved them.

I started by making an armature to sculpt onto. I used telescoping square K&S to make the arms detachable as moulding them attached to the body would have been a nightmare. Wrapping thin wire around the thick aluminium wire gave something for the clay to grip onto.

I started by blocking out the body with clay to make sure that I was getting the basic form right. Getting all the proportions right was going to be key in making this half-rabbit half-human look as realistic as possible.

A view from the top was useful in determining needed corrections to his pose, and to better judge where the centre of mass would be so that he would not tip over when complete.

Getting the lengths in the leg correct was causing me some trouble, as correcting one proportion put others out of sync. I found myself attempting to lengthen the right thigh by adding material to the top of the thigh rather than carving it away. I only realised this was the problem once I had stepped away from the sculpt and returned after a cup of tea. Sometimes not looking at a project can help you understand what's wrong with it when you see it again.

I did a lot more research into anatomy - both human and rabbit, to ensure my shapes and proportions were working. I found Dynamic Anatomy by Burne Hogarth very useful for shapes and positions of muscles.

Once I was happy with the basic form I started to add the muscles - in order for the clothes to lie properly I was going to have to sculpt them over an anatomically correct figure. Dynamic Anatomy again came in very useful here.

 Important to always have your reference material in your workspace, it keeps you grounded in what you're supposed to be making. I was making changes to the design as I went along - it was only once I started sculpting it that I could fully visualise how all of it would work.

To start doing the clothing I laid on some important parts of the fabric. They were all boundaries between the different clothes which gave me an edge to work to.

I rolled out a slab of clay for the thicker material of the jumper and just laid it on. This was going to be worked into a lot, but it gave me an approximate thickness to sculpt with.

The left arm was removed and I started working on the folds around the elbow by adding clay to where the fabric would bunch up, and removing clay from between the folds. There also had to be more material under the arm due to gravity having its effect on the heavier cloth I wanted this piece of clothing to be made from.

Further refinement. Also started working into the body more, trying to make it look like the arm was attached and part of the same piece of fabric, rather than its own entity. The cloth is stretched around the elbow and hanging down under its own weight.

Very nearly finished with this piece of clothing in the next picture, after lots of refinement. I hadn't previously sculpted cloth, so this was a very steep learning curve. I've sculpted lots of fabric now, though. I had lots of reference pictures to help me during sculpting the fabric - If you're sculpting anything you're unfamiliar with, use as much reference as you can.

Overwatering the clay led to the right hand falling off as the armature didn't extend far enough down the arm. I remedied this by stripping back the armature a little further allowing enough room to add wire fully supporting the hand. If I hadn't wrapped the thin wire around the armature to begin with adding new wire would have been much trickier as it wouldn't have had anything to grip onto.

I used the same technique as before to sculpt fabric on the right arm

Adding little sausages of clay to form basic ridges before working into them and refining their shape and flow worked pretty well for me, along with scraping away clay to form the furrows in the fabric.

Fully refined upper back. Unfortunately I don't have any good pictures of the refined right arm before it was moulded as the deadline was approaching and taking pictures wasn't foremost on my mind.

While laying some of the clay onto the legs some interesting overlapping happened quite naturally due to the shape of the leg. I used this as a starting point while working on this area.

Fully refined leg. I was unsure at this point whether or not I was going to give him a skirt, so I sculpted the fabric folds at the top of the trousers too, though they were later covered up.

The raised leg was the most tricky part for me to sculpt - the angles made the fabric overlap in very strange ways, but I'm pretty happy with the outcome.

Some of the smaller details I wanted the character to have would have been far too small and complex to sculpt in clay so I carved them out of chemiwood with a scalpel and some fine sandpaper. I've carved small pieces of chemiwood before but some of these were quite a challenge.

The fur was made using a very small triangular wooden stamp I carved out of one of my unused wooden tools and then I went over the edges of the fur with a very soft brush to blend the hair in, and stop it looking like feathers. This technique was used for all the fur on the rabbit. This photo was pre-blending:

The rock was carved to rough shape before I attacked it with the jagged ends of one of my broken wooden tools to give it a very pockmarked appearance. I then gently went over the most exposed areas of the rock with a latex sponge, smoothing down all the areas which would have been worn down by the rain and wind.

The chemiwood details were added into the sculpt, like so:

And this is the final sculpt, minus arms.

I had decided to box mould the parts of the rabbit and slash them open so I built a close fitting box with foamboard around the sculpt. I was in a rush to mould him, so the box was much larger than I had anticipated. The first lot of silicone only came up to mid-thigh. I had to buy silicone off some of my coursemates, as well as use some previously catalysed silicone to bulk up the mould. I should have spent longer refining the box, making it closer fitting to my sculpt.

The arms were made with simple box moulds padded out with previously catalysed silicone, which worked perfectly well. They were then slashed open.

The mould worked just fine, and I removed the clay and armature while slashing the mould open with a very sharp scalpel.

Slowly stretching it apart and cutting the silicone in such a way as to form mountains and valleys which will lock together when the mould is closed again. Making a two part mould would have been very tricky, as I kept the clay quite wet while working with it and It would have been very hard not to damage any of the fine detailing on my sculpt using any other method.

With the mould fully cut open and cleaned out, I pulled a couple of test casts to make sure that it would cast okay. I was using standard polyurethane fast-cast mixed with Fillite at a ratio of 1 part A, 1 part B, 1 part (by volume) Fillite. This was reducing the amount of resin I was using in every cast and probably saved me a few quid with each pull.

The test pulls showed me that some of the detailing on the front of the rabbit was causing problems, so I held the mould open and poured some resin directly into the detail, making sure there were no air bubbles. You can see the blue silicone in the bottom of the mould here.

I then closed up the mould, bound it firmly with duct tape and poured in resin a cup at a time, swilling it about between each pour to minimise air bubbles. Once it was all set I opened up the mould and pulled the cast out. The way I cut the mould open required a lot of effort but as a result there is very little flashing on the casts.

There were still air bubbles in some parts though, mostly the fur. These were very difficult to eliminate due to the hundreds of tiny undercuts the fur made, but were not too hard to fill with car body filler.

The arms and body were keyed up before being fixed together with car body filler and sanded smooth.

The spikes on the feet were added in the same way.

Once I finished filling and sanding I gave it a coat of primer, and then painted the block undercoat colours using acrylic. These needed to be the lightest colour that was going to be showing on the final finish, as all the washes of colour I put on were going to be darker. Putting on a lighter wash messes with the shadows. 

A wash of brown over all the clothing started off by giving everything a slightly aged feel.

Everything was then subjected to multiple washes of gradually darker and darker paints. The washes were made with acrylic paint and water and were taken off straight away with some kitchen paper before being allowed to fully dry. This slowly built up a realistic looking colour scheme.


millie said...

TOM!!! this is amazing! oh you talented little thing you :) i love the turquoise detail on his sash, and you've done the fur really good! :) hope you're well? x

David said...

This is mental good.

Anonymous said...

Whoa this is incredible!

Johannes said...

Wow, this is insanely good. WoW!

SteelRaven7 said...

Extremely awesome! I can't believe you put so much detail and work into it!

Johannes said...

Actually you should totally contact the wolfire devs about doing a guest blog post about this. email contact@wolfire.com =)

Anonymous said...

This is AWESOME! (allcaps for extra effect)

Aaron said...

Crazy detail, great work!

Josh said...

Blown away by the quality, great work

Brady said...

This is Amazing!!! Great Work! I would love to have one!

Stormdancer said...

Wow, that's some outstanding work, very well done!

lynchdev said...

Absolutely awesome.

Cross Tyreck said...

The amount of detail you went to in creating this is amazing. Keep up the good work.

osiskars said...

Awesome , seeing how you did it actually allows to more appreciate and acknowledge all the skill and effort put into it. I thinks its an outstanding sculpt!

Hope you will write a post about your next project also! ;)

Steve-O said...

Good LAWD that is AWESOME

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