• CGNetworks Reader Project
    The Making of "Bunny"
    Andrew Hickinbottom, 21 March 2005

    After watching ‘The Incredibles’, Andrew Hickinbottom set about creating a Bunny girl in 3ds max. He’d not seen a 3D Bunny before, but the style fitted perfectly, complete with bombshell features.


    After seeing 'The Incredibles' I was inspired to create a character in a similar style. Not trying to emulate reality, but to create an appealing, stylized character where the shape and form are more important than the small details.

    I liked the idea of making a ‘Playboy’-style bunny girl because I've never seen one made in 3D and the costume would be pretty easy to model, has a lot of character and shows off the curves very well! The design was made up as I progressed, but I did have a clear idea on what I wanted her to look like.

    She was blonde, had big thighs, a thin waist, small feet and a large head. From The Incredibles, I used Elastigirl's body and Mirage's face as my main references.

    About Andrew Hickinbottom
    I was born in 1979 and live in Wolverhampton, UK. I have been employed in the 3D industry since 1999, and have been interested in it as a hobby for over 10 years. Although I went to college and university studying graphic design, I saw a better future in 3D graphics, and found it a lot more exciting. As well as high poly 3D work, I also enjoy modeling low poly games models. I’m a keen games player, and love all things Japanese, which naturally means I'm a big anime fan - in particular, the works of Mamoru Oshii, Hayao Miyazaki and Production IG - some of my main sources of inspiration. My preferred job is character modeling and texturing.


    Using 3ds max 6, I started out with a basic cylinder and scaled the vertex segments to create the basic profile. Using various wire-frame images for reference, I began moving the vertices around and cutting and connecting the edges until I got the edge 'flow' right, then I extruded faces on the shoulders and pelvis to create basic arms and legs.

    After shaping them, I added hands using face extrude, then began sculpting detail like the breasts, elbows, knees, feet and the basic box form of the head. Generally, I begin modeling in low poly, and start adding detail later once I’m happy with the overall shape. Its a much more managable workflow because you don’t have loads of polys to deal with when making quick edits.


    Next, I tweaked the general shape and fine-tuned the mesh flow using a combination of edge cutting and vertex manipulation, sometimes with soft selection to get a gradual effect. Simple placeholder objects for the tail, collar, ears and cuffs were added to make it easier to visualize.

    Moving on to the head, I cut edges into the shape and pulled around vertices one by one to form the basic face topology. I made sure I stuck closely to the correct edge loop system because it allows for much more efficient subdivision, as well as making morph targets more flexible and easier to make. All the while I was modeling, I worked on the one side, with the symmetry modifier on the top of the stack

  • CGNetworks Reader Project - The Making of "Bunny"- Cont'd


    The bow tie, collar, ears, tail and cuffs were remade properly and the shoes were refined and sharpened up with chamfered edges. The top lip of her suit was extruded out and the cleavage was defined underneath it. To decide on a hairstyle, I rendered off some stills of the head and quickly composited different hair images onto them.

    Once my mind was made up on the style, I started off with a low poly flat plane and pushed and pulled the vertices one by one to shape the hair to the head, thus creating a simple, thin, hair 'helmet'.

    The shape was smoothed out using Ring Selection and Connect Edges. Thin strips of polys were made and edited in a similar way to create the additional pieces flowing from the hair parting.

    Once the overall shape was satisfactory, I applied the shell modifier to give it a thickness, then, after collapsing the modifier stack, carefully chamfered certain edges to give it a sharper look when Meshsmooth was applied.


    After some more fine-tuning on the face, I began the UVing. Using the basic planar and cylindrical projection types, I gradually applied them to the pieces of my model and straightened the UVs using the UVW unwrap modifier. Painting the textures was a fairly quick process, as I intentionally kept the maps fairly simple. Using Photoshop, all I needed to paint was the diffuse, specular and bump maps for the face, skin, and hair. The cloth areas like the stockings and her suit just had a basic repeatable fabric texture.

    I spent a lot more time on the shaders, trying to create a naturally soft skin material without the technicalities or render times of subsurface scattering. Most of the materials had falloff in the diffuse channel to give everything a softer look and lighter edges. Various material types were used, like mental ray’s Oren-Nayar Blinn for the cloth and anisotropic for the stockings, shoes and hair. Blinn was used everywhere else.

    Now the model was finished, I made several duplicates of the head and deformed each one using vertex manipulation with soft selection to create the 33 morph targets. Brow shapes, eyelid movement, mouth expressions and a full phoneme list was included to give maximum flexibility for animation. Rigging was pretty easy thanks to character studio and biPed, however, I enveloped it in 3ds max's own skin modifier rather than physique. I’m more familiar with skin, and the mirror weights functions are really useful. Lighting was a tricky subject to solve. I liked the deep shading and accurate shadows you get with global illumination, yet I like the control you get with regular lighting. In the end, I decided on Sky tracer (GI) and 3 point lighting (used mainly used to pick up specular highlights). I am also working on a similar but very different Office Girl character that can be seen on CGTalk using the 'Related links' [right].

    Andrew Hickinbottom
    The Character Shop
    Bunny Girl thread on CGTalk
    Andrew Hickinbottom's Office Girl thread on CGTalk


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