In progress creature i'm designing for a film. Premise is that he's a tiny inch long mutant that swarms in the hundreds.I'm doing the sculpting and texturing in ZBrush. For closeups and delivery to the people making the practical creature to use on set, i've rendered him Maya with Mental Ray.
Here's a full render turntable of the NanoShark. ZBrush sculpt, imported into Maya, rendered in MentalRay. Combination of the MIA and SSS materials.
I only have to provide a few incredibly basic moves for the film then baking them out as an OBJ sequence. I tried just animating the joints directly, but didn't quite sell. So I decided to make my life easier and put a basic rig on him after all. A few things like fin rippling and swimming motions are built in and controlled with a few sliders. Those moves can be blended on and off for controlled posing. End of the video has a quick and dirty test animation. Only revision after this video is that I added a controller to keep the side fins from moving quite as much.
At this point the creature wasn't quite finished. But I wanted to do a test to see how far I could take it in Elements before going any further. Very first i've tried this plugin so I wanted to make sure I did't work myself into a corner.
Early turntable of a the ZBrush sculpt.
Here is the approved design. Click on images for higher resolotion stills
The ultimate goal is to also make a light version of the model that is friendly for Video Copilot Elements. Here's some grabs of the retopology process and matching renders with the displacement map.
Here's the first round of design before notes and revisions.