How to speed up your character design workflow: 5 top tips

Leading creature designer Peter Konig shares his expert advice on how to model better critters, faster.

How to speed up your VFX workflow

As an artist working in film VFX, Peter Konig has a wealth of experience. In an industry where the pre-production process has shrunk, Konig has honed ways to speed up his workflow...

01. Work on your foundation skills

Get your hands dirty in the real world before disappearing into the digital rabbit hole. Push some clay around. It develops your feel for mass and weight and form, and will help improve your 3D models.

02. Take an écorché class

Learn the mechanics of living things. If you know the construction
and function of a human arm, you can apply what you know, change it to make a creature's arm and it will look functional and believable.

Learn the mechanics of living things in an écorché class

03. Get inspired

I try to avoid artists' blogs; instead I browse Flickr or photography sites for inspiration. One blog that's really useful is What's In John's Freezer. John is a zoologist and on his site are many interesting dissections of all kinds of animals. You can pick up a lot of ideas from his disassembled specimens - it's just great reference.

04. Big to small, general to specific

Work out the big shapes first. Get the proportions right before moving on to the details. If you jump ahead to small details too early, it's like painting yourself into a corner. Remember that you need a good, solid base to support the rest of the work.

Konig’s creatures ooze fun, aided by a varied research method

05. Use good resources

I've grabbed many good insert brushes and plug-ins from ZBrush Central. I don't use anything crazy, just a few customised brushes here and there. For Photoshop I use a colour tool called Magic Picker. It's really great and can be found here.

Words: Peter Konig

This article originally appeared in 3D World issue 178.

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3D