Robotic gorilla is a stunning bit of CG design

Digital artist Ben Mauro explains how technology and the animal kingdom inspired his impressive CG robot Gorilla Tank.

In order to improve his anatomy skills, senior concept artist Ben Mauro spent hours studying gorillas, chimps and orangutans before moving on to sculpting such primates. Using this knowledge, he then decided it would be fun to apply these new techniques to hard surface design.

"It's not literally a robotic gorilla, but hopefully it evokes the stance and overall feeling of a proud gorilla ready for a fight," explains Mauro. "I tried to simplify the form of the gorilla into basic shapes. The back of their head is really thick and from a distance creates this sort of long skinny form that I thought would look cool as the head of the robot."

Mauro mixed his animal influence with that of modern tanks. "I looked at modern examples like the Bradley tank and smaller more functional robotics designs like Boston Dynamics’ Big Dog," says Mauro, explaining: "The types of robotics designs that I personally think are great would be ones that are based heavily on reality and look like they could actually work."

Mauro then set-up the design in Keyshot and used Photoshop to add all the details, decals, scratches and some photo touches. "The challenge was troubleshooting in ZBrush to keep the .OBJ file down so that Keyshot could even open it," confides Mauro. "It was very time consuming, breaking apart such a complicated model, grouping parts that were going to be the same material in KeyShot, decimating the parts down so it was very low poly. The more complicated the design, the longer it takes."

This article originally appeared in 3D World issue 175.

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