The Making of “K-T”

I know of at least a couple of people who were curious how I went about making my latest art, “K-T.” Here is an abbreviated walkthrough…

"K-T"
"K-T"

First came the idea. I’ve had the general idea of the composition in my head sometime: a view from a mammal ancestor’s burrow of the distant K-T meteor.

When I decided to actually make it with the free and open-source Blender and GIMP, I first made a very quick (like 5 minute) sketch of my idea layout (Note: You can click on all images for larger versions):

Hilarious sketch up of the idea. Looks like it was made by a two-year-old.

Next up: modeling the creatures. All objects are modeled as a 3D mesh, working with them and sculpting them at times much like clay – except it’s all in the computer.

Velociraptor polygonal mesh
Velociraptor Model - color and shadow to help see shape.

Next up comes the coloring, texturing, and addition of fur.

Velociraptor Texturing and Fur - an early test

In reality, the coloring and texturing is done on 2D images (using the free photoshop-like GIMP), which are then mapped onto the 3D mesh:

Velociraptor Color Map

Next up: a poseable armature has to be made and applied to the 3D mesh. Think of this as an actual skeleton that the mesh will deform with.

Velociraptor Armature Rigging

The armature has to be tested with lots of poses to make sure the mesh warps correctly.

Smile for the camera!

Rinse and repeat for the other objects:

Mammal with fur
Your great x 10 to the alot grandpa

Now start putting objects into the scene:

Basic Scene
More detail

And finally we have everything in place

Scene Mesh
Scene solid objects

At this point alot of time is put into positioning lights and tweaking textures so that everything looks good. Lighting is probably the hardest thing to get right (especially with fur).

Finally, the image is rendered and the image levels and coloring and effects are tweaked using GIMP.
Note: you can get a super high-res large poster of this artwork here.

"K-T"
"K-T"
"K-T" Detail

All in all, the entire process took 3 weeks. I could have easily spent another 3 weeks tweaking and fixing many aspects of the piece and adding more details, but I was pretty much ready to move on to something else. So, I got it to the point where I was happy with it as is.

I hope you enjoyed it!