Title: Uncle Scrooge
Modeling and Rendering: Cinema 4D
Forum Thread: Zio Paperone
The starting idea was to convert a 2D character into a 3D model, accurate but concrete and tangible at the same time. The character choice was simple: Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck are two of my favourite Disney characters and the second one has the most interesting iconic poses.
First of all, I searched for dozens of references. Still wanting to realize more than one pose, I had to make a choice between the hundreds of images the illustrators had given us. At last, I picked these:
After deciding the five poses, I thought about the style. In the many Scrooge's rappresentations, since 1947, the biggest differences are the cheek tufts and the tail.
I opted for the stylized version, used for example in DuckTales, because more suitable for my idea, five miniatures-like, with base and accessories. I didn't want neither a 3D flat, too close to the original 2D, nor a real duck version, with feathers.
First obstacle was to turn a character that shifts his morphology depending on the point of view (as usual in 2D animation), in a proper 3D model, immediately recognizable.
Before starting, I obtained from several images front and side references, to help me with proportions.
I started modeling the face. I made the eye's loops, then I closed the skull circumference and I did the beak.
Once sketched the face topology (still not resembling), I focus on the body, in order to check proportions, before finalizing the head.
The body was easy to model. The hardest parts had been the hands and the tail, that needed more study to understand how to stylize them.
In the end, I added the legs, as separated objects.
After completing the body, I went back to the head, to make it as reseambling as possible to his paper version. Particulary hard was to make the beak good-looking both in front and side view. I had to make several tests before being satisfied.
For the eyes I starded from two simple spheres, one for the bulb and one for the black pupil. Then I used a FFD to deform the spheres in the shape I needed. I did this in order to keep the original rotation axis, and being able to freely rotate the eyes.
After the body, I modeled the clothes.
For the coat I duplicated the body, cropping hands and hip, then I made collar, cuffs and seams. I didn't model the wrinkles, because I was going to diversify them pose by pose.
After that, I modeled the accessories, very simple objects.
Finally, having the T-pose model, I unwapped it.
To pose Scrooge I made a simple rig, testing the new Cinema 4D (semi)automatic system. The skinning wasn't perfect, especially on the coat, but I already knew I had to modify the poses in modeling.
I modeled some generic morphs for facial expressions.
The coat wrinkles seemed a good opportunity to test the new Cinema 4D sculpting tools. They're very similar to Zbrush or Mudbox ones. Less powerfull but functional.
The bases construction took a lot of time. Coins were the hardest part. I used dynamics until I reached my skill limit in this field.
The easiest pose was the "mumble" one. I used a MoGraph cloner to pile up the coins, I created some tubes barriers, to contain the coins. The tubes and the floor were colliders. I just left the coins fall between the tubes, so they piled up as I meant.
For the “shower” pose, I modeled a basic shape to be a collider, then I put an attractor under it. So I left the coins fall again. These gathered to the attractor and covered the mesh. The coins in the air are two simple emitters, blowing coins.
For the “grumpy” pose I used dynamics in the same way and I added the coins columns with MoGraph. For the sack I used a nice Cinema 4D deformer, Collision, that once applied to the mesh deforms it depending the target object pressure, in this case Scrooge's legs and body.
In the hardest pose, "dive", I wasn't able to use dynamics, so I used MoGraph to instance the coins along the wave surface, then I moved the compenetrating coins by hand. A very long and boring job, but necessary.
For the last pose, "portrait”, I modeled the planks, then I used cloth for the carpet. At last, I assigned hair at the border polygons and I relaxed them with gravity.
I wanted shaders more realistic than cartoon. For body, beak and legs, I opted for an undefined material, solid but not too cold. So, I made a procedural bump map, for little imperfections, and a sub-surface scattering, for a more translucent material. I drew the eye specular directly on texture.
The clothes gave me the hardest time about shading. I set the materials before sculpting wrinkles, because they look different depending on the material, especially with very wide specular. I used the same texture for all the materials, with different color and size.
For the coins, I modified a Cinema 4D gold material. I created two alpha maps for both faces, and I used them as bump and reflection map as well: the embossed parts are less reflective. For the side, I used the same material, but with a different serrated bump.
For the sacks, I used a rough fabric texture, like juta (as for the coat, from CG Textures), and a second material with an alpha map: a worn dollar icon, made in Photoshop.
And now, a detail that you can't see in the images: The Duck Dollars of Duckburg!
For all the poses I used a different HDRI material, invisible to the camera but visible to reflection and global illumination. Some poses have an additional HDR, visible only to the coins, to increase reflections.
The lights setup have three-four lights, for each pose: a key light, one or two rim, a fill and, somethimes, some corrective lights. Some scenes also have separated lights for the eyes.
RENDER AND POST
I used the Cinema 4D physical render engine. Depth of field and chromatic aberration are realized directly in rendering.
These are the main rendering settings:
I rendered separately every pose and I combined them in Photoshop. This is the only post correction beside the color correction.
That's all. I hope this was useful to someone.
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