A lot has happened in the last two weeks since the last TFW2005 Creative Spotlight, where I took some time to check out some hidden gems in the creative subforums. This week we’re being a bit more focused, with the return of Artist-focused Creative Spotlights by looking in the Fan Art subforum with Nyarlahotep’s Boombox Bust.
Created in response to a contest done in the past here on TFW2005, I interviewed Nyralahotep regarding the creative process and tools used to create the bust. Check it out after the jump. TFW2005: Could you expand a bit on the backstory of why you made this render?
Nyralahotep: I originally created this render for the “TFW2005 and Razer Present – The TFW2005 Video Game Photoshop Contest” as it gave me a great opportunity to model and render how I would imagine a Tranformers video game to look like. I work in the video game industry and I had always wanted to work on a TF game with a G1 aesthetic, but with the higher detail levels found in this generation of games. I only had an hour during lunch so I modeled the base mesh at my desk, and then brought it home that night to detail, and then render before making my final composition in photoshop to be submitted for the contest.
Everyone who entered the contest made such great contributions so I was especially ecstatic to learn I had won one of the grand prizes. During the next few months I was really swept up in the innovative add-ons and 3rd party accessories a lot of the members of this board were creating using traditional methods and 3D printing. MAIDENJAPAN was an early influence on me as I am a proud owner of many of his hand made pieces. Next thing I knew the use of Shapeways as a means of creating custom weapons, heads, hands, and everything else was exploding and I purchased pieces from fakebusker83, Cashanova, echotransformer, and many others as often as I could to add unique and custom pieces to my collection. I realized I could utilize some of my 3D models, including the one I had made for the contest, and make some custom pieces myself.
I added an extra piece to my contest entry and emblazoned the TFW2005 logo on the base as a way of paying homage to a forum and community I feel deeply connected with. I’ve met so many wonderful people as a result of this forum, and in a way it’s influenced who I’ve become and what I feel is most important in my life. It isn’t the toys themselves, but the bonds that form between people who deeply appreciate and love something they are passionate about.
TFW2005: What kind of software did you use?
Nyralahotep: For the base mesh I used Autodesk’s Maya, and for the detailing I used Pixologic’s Zbrush. Everything was rendered in Zbrush, and the image was composited in Adobe’s Photoshop.
TFW2005: Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to try rendering their own 3D models? Any software you’d recommend? Any to outright avoid?
Nyralahotep: Learning a 3D program can be extremely daunting. I remember the first time I opened Maya in school and my jaw dropped over how many icons were littered across the screen. I was so overwhelmed that I felt like learning a program like this would be impossible. Fortunately, I stuck with it, and though my first few models were a disaster, my final for the class was a total success. A member of the seibertron community had taken some really wonderful orthographic views of the newly released MP-01 and I used them to model a perfect replica for my final project.
I would definitely recommend Maya as it has become freely available through the use of a student license. It’s a fully featured software package that you can model, rig, animate, and render with. There are tons of tutorials on youtube, and free training can be found just about anywhere. Other great choices are Rhino3D, and I’ve heard some great things about Silo. All these programs generally come with free trials, so it’s worth it to give them a shot and see which one is the most intuitive to you. It takes patience, but there is nothing like seeing one of your 3D models as a physical object in the real world after it’s been printed.
I would not recommend Zbrush for beginners as the hard surface modeling tools just aren’t present like they are in a traditional 3D package. Zbrush is great for hipoly organic sculpting, so if you’re interested in that then go for it!
TFW2005: Are you working on anything else?
Nyralahotep: I was part of the team that just shipped the MMOFPS PlanetSide 2 for the PC, but right now I’m focusing on starting an independent studio dedicated towards creating fun, innovative, and immersive game-play experiences. Next on my list of things to do is convert this bust to work with a First Edition Prime as an alternate head. After that I’ll be making a Robot Heroes Steeljaw, Ramhorn, and a Heroes of Cybertron Shockwave to round out my own collection, and hopefully yours too!