I'm a 2D and 3D illustrator in my own studio, D'Avila Studio, based in São Paulo, Brazil. This image was something that I had sketched out and had lying around for some time before I ever really did anything with it.
The way I usually work is to do a sketch first and gather as much reference as possible that will help me through the process. This will guarantee a more settled result. The more you plan before, the better it looks in the end. This image particularly has lens distortion effect that simulates a fish eye lens. I figured out that the scene couldn't just be distorted only with the camera effect inside the software, so
I had to model the objects already distorted to fit where I want them to be.
After the modelling was done, I made a subtle distortion inside Modo’s camera. Another issue was the number of polygons. I was reaching near 22 million polys so eventually it caused some problems to handle the file. To overcame that, I had to render some elements separately. And, at last, the number of used effects such as displacements, hair, volumetric light, also contributed to a more complex scene. Every time you do a new project you learn something new: in this project, the lesson learned was balancing all the elements in a way that pleases the eye.
I used Modo 701 to model the scene, except the granny and the bulldog. These characters were blocked in ZBrush first, exported to Modo for retopology and then back to ZBrush again to sculpt and paint the details.
After that they were posed in Modo and rendered in its own render engine. Once the image was rendered, I used Photoshop for colour corrections, to place the sky and the smoke. Subtle lens flares and depth of field were added in After Effects.
In the studio we mainly work on advertising projects, so we have to deliver a variety of styles like hyper-realism, character design and digital painting among others. It will vary accordingly with the client's needs. But to be able to work on whatever we like in our spare time is a great release for our creativity, and an excellent opportunity to practise our skills and develop new ones.
This article originally appeared in 3D World issue 173.