The Making of “Lazy Ox” by Ali Fakhreddine

Ali Fakhreddine is a 3D Artist and animator in Lebanon. He’s been working with Autodesk Maya for the last 8 years and did some training in Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Hollywood California after he graduated in Lebanon American University in 2005.

Ali strives to put his technical skills, knowledge and passion in order to transform client’s vision and ideas into solid and sensual animated visuals. Ali was also a professional basketball player for more than 15 years. He have played with Lebanese national team and have participated in two world championships. For Ali, basketball might not seem so relevant to design and animation but this game taught him to patience, determination, confidence and teamwork.

We are happy to share his META 2017 3D character video entry called ‘Lazy Ox”. Watch and see the piece he created in this link: http://metalentsawards.com/en/contest/view/3431.

Here’s the educational tutorial for “Lazy Ox” prepared by Ali Fakhreddine himself:

Concept:

“When designing a character, it is very important to continuously imagine the story of the character and the environment in which they are cast.

The idea behind Lazy Ox came from the realization that technology has facilitated our lives in such a way that we have become too lazy.

 Everything that we do has been facilitated by a machine in one way or another. Thus, I thought it would be fun to create an ox character that uses a hoverboard to help him do his job and plow the Earth.” 

Modeling:

“First of all, I start sketching out quick ideas with a pencil on a piece of paper (during this period I try out many ideas and proportions). I finally produce a final sketch that has a front and side view of my character.

These images will be my reference images that I import to Maya to help me with the modeling process.

There are many ways to model a character. My favorite method is box modeling. In this method, I start with basic shapes. For example, I start with a box for the head, a cylinder for the limbs and torso, a sphere for the eyes, etc.

 On these basic shapes, I use Maya’s tools such as the insert edge loop tool and the extrude tool to transform them to more complex and organic shapes that would form my character.”

Texturing:

“I export my character to Zbrush to do the texturing. I find painting and texturing in Zbrush more intuitive and inspiring. 

I divide my character (the more the divisions the higher the texture resolution) and start painting on it.

I also create a normal map in Zbrush. This normal map will create bump information on my character’s mesh such as creases, scars and wrinkles.”

Lighting:

“I use V-ray for the lighting.

The lighting is basic and simple. I used two V-ray Rectangular lights. One I use as a key light and the other I use as a backlight. I also use a V-ray Dome light with an HDRI image as a fill light.”

Animation:

“For the animation, I start first with animating the Hoverboard. The characters main controller is parented to the Hoverboard, so all the animation that is done on the hoverboard will be translated automatically to the character.

After that is done I start animating and overlapping the arms, head, and ears. While the character was changing direction I made sure to show weight through the shifting of the characters waist and the overlapping of the other body parts. I also created some simple blend shapes for the facial expressions and eye blinks.”

Compositing:

“After rendering a color pass and an ambient occlusion pass with V-ray in Maya. I import my image sequence to Aftereffects. In Aftereffects, I composite my passes and do some color correction. Finally, I add some motion blur.”

We are happy to see your digital artworks through Middle East Talents Awards platform. This is truly inspiring. Your passion with self-confidence and determination will bring you to a great career path. Wishing you all the best in your career. Keep pushing yourself every day because if you never give up, you’ll never lose.

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