The Scotsman – Image Breakdown

Jakob Art ,

Last week I discovered a 7 day CG challenge based on the theme “Fantasy”.  I decided to make some fan art of “The Scotsman” for this challenge, because he happens to be my favorite character from the animated show Samurai Jack. I had wanted to do this for a while now. I thought this challenge was a good opportunity to give it a shot.

In this post I wanted to show a quick breakdown of the steps it took to complete the final image. I guess you could call this a postmortem?

Gathering Reference

The first thing I did was to go and look up some reference images of the Scotsman. The character design on the show is pretty geometric and simple. It was pretty easy for me to find images from the front and the sides and a variety of other poses.  There were images of a figurine I found that gave a good 3D representation of the character, which may not have been necessary but was still handy. The Hulk and Ryu (from street fighter) were also used as reference to extreme muscle and torn sleeves.

Reference Images
The reference Images I used.

I use Puref for displaying reference images. Using it is simple, just load the program in full screen on a second monitor and drag images from your browser. Then you can scale and rotate the images as you please. It’s so handy, I highly recommend it.

Dynotopo Sculpt

The dynamic topology sculpting process is like sketching on paper. Both are used to very quickly establish the general forms of the piece and are later traced over to get a cleaner result. I started at a high detail size (larger poly size) to get the basic shapes down. I like to work with individual objects because then I don’t have to worry about disturbing the other parts. Next I use the Bool Tool addon to merge the main elements together. After that, the detail level was raised, and I smoothed out the seams and added additional detail.

Image of SculptImage of Sculpt

sculpt_Arm_dyno_front sculpt_Arm_dyno_back

After the body arms and head were fully sculpted, some of the other various bits and bobs were added. They were modeled with regular polygon modeling and generally weren’t that interesting to make. Actually no, that freaky cat thing on his belt was really interesting haha.

Sculpt Turnaround GIF
Final Sculpt Turnaround

I realize I probably made final dynotopo sculpt too detailed as I look at it now. At this in the project point I wasn’t sure if I was even going to retopologize the sculpt at all. Consequently, I did need to do some retopo work.

Retopology & Rigging

Retopology is probably the most tedious part. It can also be rather soothing really. Retopology is basically the process of tracing the sculpt with messy topology and half a million vertices with new clean simpler topology. I only decided to retopo the arms and the face, the chest and the hair I could get by without. This process made it way easier to rig for posing and unwrap. Once a a clean base mesh was done, I did some detail sculpts with a multi resolution modifier (which was still able to deform nicely with the rig).

 arms_rig Arm_sculpt

The eye controls were pretty fun to set up. A lattice modifier drove the eyeball, which allowed expressive shape. I just love this effect. It’s so simple, and I find it so fun to play with.


Rendering and Compositing.

Everything in the materials department was pretty basic. Most of them are a pretty standard diffuse/gloss mix. I also used a pretty cool skin shader from blendswap that you can get here.

I also used the technique of rendering everything with a fresnel outline glow shader and overlaying it in the compositor. I actually used the compositor a lot in this project. I used a mist pass to overlay a foggy background, and also used that map to fake a depth of field effect.

All these layers…

Mistrim pass1render pass1

…are overlayed together to get the end results.


Final Image

The Scotsman final image

I’m actually really happy with how the final image turned out. It took me the full week of the challenge, and man I was working up until the last minute! All in all, I enjoyed working on the Scotsman, it was a great challenge.

If I were to make any changes, I think I would retopologize the rest of the body and other parts (so I could make a more dynamic pose).

Anyways that’s all for this post. Next I’ll be writing about the game project I’m working on. Sit tight!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *