The production of Overlord saw us introduce Mudbox into our pipeline. I’d been experimenting with Zbrush for some time but its non standard interface and workflow scared off the other artists and the studio decided to invest in Mudbox because of its simplicity and conventional Windows interface. And we went to town with it.

Firstly here’s some examples of the landscape sculpting. This consisted almost entirely of lava-like plateaus and outcrops.

A rough base mesh is constructed and UV’d.

After the sculpting in Mudbox ( sorry .. no screenshots 🙁 ) the low res model is brought into Maya and the displacement, colour, spec and normal maps are applied.

These are a couple of early test renders of the environment.

And these two last images are how it looked in the final shot after I’d fully textured, lit and composited the shot. The background matte painting was by Steve Tappin

Here are a few more examples of the simple landscape.

The bottom mesh was the first rough block in and the top mesh the final low res base mesh.

An early test render.

And how it looked in the final shot.

The base mesh used in the side camera shot. Most of this was highly motion-blurred so detail wasn’t that important.

An early progress test.

The only non motion blurred shot worth showing you and this wasn’t actually in the final edit. While the rest were motion blurred the texture and detail comes across quite well.

The throne room shot mostly consisted of game assets but I was asked to slightly up-res the throne and dais for a couple of close up shots. So these were diced up and sculpted in Mudbox. Only a few early images and models survived to show what was done.

This is the quaded up mesh of the throne ready for the sculpted detail.

And the dais with the two winged statues..

A shot of the throne seat in Mudbox. The sculpting was only subtle and simply using a bump map may have been enough. But the final throne was to be translucent  and used sub surface scattering so we though a proper displacement map would give it that edge.

An early test render of the dais and throne.

Some early surfacing tests of the throne.

a distant shot of the throne room..

The minions were the first characters created and had a couple of sets of interchangeable armour, all of which where sculpted to some degree. These were the first models to be sculpted and since it was a new process in the  production pipeline there was a lot of experimentation and dead ends while I looked for the best and most efficient techniques. But once I’d worked it out I sculpted as much as I could. Rendermans displacement is just fantastic and normal maps where used to either add unsculpted detail or just to accentuate the effect of the lighting.  But the detail we could achieve for a comparably small render hit was phenomenal.

The low resolution Minion and some of his armour.

This was the first pass of his head and torso. We had two versions of the Minion, full body and upper torso which gave us more detail and texture resolution for the closer shots.

Above is some of the client feedback to the initial minion sculpts.

And the version they approved.

A mid production test render from the SSS tests and following are some screen grabs of bits of armour.