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Art Direction for Film – Creature Design & Development by Ehsan Bigloo


Release date:2023, December

Duration:04 h 13 m

Author:Ehsan Bigloo

Skill level:Beginner


Exercise files:Yes

Ehsan Bigloo demonstrates his creature design process for the entertainment industry. Whether you’re a character or creature designer, concept artist, digital sculptor, or simply interested in developing storytelling skills, this workshop provides a fascinating insight into Ehsan’s complete workflow, from sketch to final presentation.

The workshop kicks off with a detailed examination of a design brief and a short script based on Ehsan’s own sci-fi/supernatural horror character, “Quehsalien.” He explains his thought process when translating words into a visual narrative, and the initial sketching begins with traditional media before transitioning to Photoshop. In Photoshop, he lays down a paint-over to establish the foundation for the final illustration.

ZBrush is introduced into the pipeline to sculpt the primary and secondary forms of the design, testing the visual appeal from a three-dimensional standpoint. ZBrush is also a valuable tool for testing lighting and mood using KeyShot and creating a simple rig for early limb locomotion tests. Ehsan employs ZBrush for the Polypainting process, considering the creature’s environment and movement. The final design is rendered with KeyShot and composited in Photoshop.

Delving into art direction, Ehsan demonstrates creating keyframe artwork using real photographic plates and setting up lighting for creature shots, covering aspects from camera lens to color harmony. Exploring different design routes, he uses ZBrush and Photoshop while sharing professional industry insights. Additionally, he uses Maya to set up a quick, non-production joint/skeleton rig for simple locomotion tests before rendering with Arnold.

In the workshop’s final stage, Ehsan prepares the model in ZBrush and bakes maps in Substance Painter before sending the creature to Unreal Engine 5. Here, he explores various shot designs, set-dressing, mood, and lighting with Lumen to bring the creature to life.

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