Water Qilin (CLOSED)
A little late to the game here, but hopefully it's still okay to enter!
Character name: The Water Qilin
Species: Qilin (麒麟) Chinese Unicorn
Origin/Backstory: Appears in coastal areas preceding important events or the arrival of rulers. Was the pet of a water deity hundreds of years ago but has since been released to roam free. It's a very peaceful creature, but is also shy in nature. Occasionally it plays in the surf and fish get trapped in it's watery mane and tail. When the Qilin does appear to humans, it can be seen trotting along the water in the early hours of the morning, and is usually seen by fishing boats. The Qilin used to appear to children to play and befriend, but has since stopped as the pain of watching humans age and pass became too much for it.
This is a bit of rough concept art for the character, I'm really looking forward to playing with making the mane and tail look watery!
Got to work on the body today! Trying to make sure I don't work on one specific area for too long and have everything on a similar detail level.
Next step is working on the mane and tail a bit more, and also making him a bit taller, as he looks a little bit short right now haha
Very nice and very unique. Hein style and form had its roots in ancient China.
The subtle colours of your concept images and their mutual compatibility run true to Hein style.
Similarly your character model shows strong influence there also.
Very rare to see it successfully used/transposed outside the top professional ranks of artists.
Well done. I am impressed,
Keep well and keep smiling,
Rick (waves to Ms Foxy ... who might be wishing she had a nice flowing tail like the Water Qilin)
Can't wait to see the final result!
Thank you for the encouragement everyone! I'm working on it whenever I have the time, and I'm really liking how it's turning out!
Some more progress, I know it's a little early for poly paint but I find it a bit easier to sculpt when parts are in different colours.
I'm loving it's expression at the moment!
It's been a little while since i've done an update, so I have quite a lot to post!
I got on with texturing him, and originally I wanted to do it all with polypaint in Zbrush, but did end up taking his body into Substance Painter so I could have a bit more control. It took me quite a while to get the sort of look I wanted, and I originally went very cartoonish with him before ending up with a slightly more realistic look.
Next was some simple posing before taking him into Maya for additional details and rendering. I tried not to worry too much about topology for this character as I'm not planning on rigging or animating him (I think the watery texture I ended up applying to his tail would kill my laptop if I tried to render an animation with it haha).
I did however want to try and bring in an element from the origin story I wrote for him. I really love the idea of having little fish stuck in his mane and tail, so I sculpted a very simple stylised koi fish. (Hopefully this is ok, as they aren't separate characters, just accessories)
Next was playing around with the texturing for his mane and tail, which I really wanted to look like water. I took all of the watery parts of him into Substance Painter so I could mess around with the texturing and made a normal map I could apply to my transparent Arnold material.
This is the water with the fish swimming around in it. I'm really happy with how it came out. I ended up adding a few extra splashes in Maya to make it a bit more like the concept art. While I know I strayed a bit when it comes to adding the fish, I think they bring the story to life a bit more, so I don't regret it lol.
Next I wanted to make the mane and body look like they were more joined together, so I went back into Substance Painter to add some shiny textures that would mimic water droplets.
I used particles to create a more natural dripping look, and then went back and manually drew in some bigger splashes. I've got to say, I think texturing this guy has been one of the most fun parts of this project, especially when its not the usual sort of style I go for with my work, so it's been fun.
I really like how it looks in the render, and I think it adds another layer of detail. I've still got a little bit more to work on like making his whiskers a bit bigger and more swirly, but I'm very happy with how it's turning out so far. I think now that I've moved to Maya, which is the software I know the most, things should go a lot quicker. I'm very much still a zbrush noob haha
I wanted to post a few more WIPs before I post my final renders!
I decided I wasn't satisfied with the detail on the legs of the qilin, so I added some patterns similar to the ones on its body, and then textured it a bit more in Substance Painter.
I then dirtied up the hooves a bit as they were way too clean and untouched compared to his body, so I added in some dents and scratches.
I also wanted to make the whiskers a bit more interesting and asymmetrical, so I made them larger and had a play around with the positioning back in Zbrush.
Something else I wanted to do was add a bit of a glow to the eyes to make it look even more mythical and fantastical, so I took the eyes into Substance Painter and painted in some details that I could then plug into the aiStandardSurface's emission.
I think these are all the WIPs I've got now for this character. I had a lot of fun working on it, and I hope you enjoy the final renders!
Ahh, it's so cool seeing it finished! It's really interesting comparing it to the concept sketch (I'm very glad I could fix the wonky anatomy I drew haha). This is probably one of the most complex Zbrush sculpts I've done yet, and I definitely learnt a lot. Seeing it completed after just starting out with a sphere is so wild.
Thank you for the fun challenge to keep us all busy during lockdown, I really enjoyed it!