There’s been a lot going on in my life the last few weeks so I needed a creative outlet that I could pick up and put down as needed. For me, the natural fit was to work on the iVokh using Corel Draw 8. In this post, I’ll do a quick reveal of how I built an iVokh hand.
First I had to find some reference pictures. I was lucky enough to find a nice one showing the skeletal structure of a raptor ‘hand’ as compared to a human hand:
Next, I vectored each bone of each finger…and tried to get the lighting more or less right using Corel’s gradient colour function:
The hand’s not perfect, but it is in a pose closer to what I wanted, plus the finished bones do give me a second layer of references. More importantly, each bone gives me an outline that can be used like a cookie cutter [the gradient fill is inside the outline]:
Now, I can use the vector outline to cut out textures for the ‘skin’. The following images are a kind of timeline of the process of skinning the bones:
Working from left to right we have:
- the vectored finger,
- the outline of each individual bone,
- the bones broken apart,
- the outline of the bones,
- the texture cut out by each outline,
- the finished finger
The finished ‘finger’ on the far right shows a simplistic view of the skin ‘tunnel’ in which the claws hide until they are protracted – i.e. pushed out. I took the reference from a picture I found showing a close-up of the skin around a cat’s claws.
Now, I suppose some of you are wondering why I didn’t just draw a whole finger, or better yet, a whole hand?
The reason is that I’m not that good at freehand drawing. I’m more draftsperson than artist. So while I might be able to fudge a hand once, I would not be able to redraw that hand in different poses. By creating the basic building blocks of the hand, however, I can use Corel to create different poses using more or less the same building blocks. [To get the perspective right, I’ll have to adjust the nodes on at least some of the ‘bones’, but that’s the easy part].
Is this the best way to build an alien?
Sadly, the answer is no. The vectoring isn’t that hard but finding the correct snippet of texture with just the right colour and light effect is very hard.
The best way to build an alien from scratch would be to create a 3D model using a super dooper graphics package like Maya. Unfortunately, Maya is also super dooper expensive and takes about 2 years of study to learn properly. So I’m making do with what I have, and what I know. I think I’ve done pretty well so far, for an amateur. 😉
Okay, no comments again, but as always, my thanks to all of you for being my sounding board[s].