Blending Life - The Pugilist: calling it "done"

I’ve always been fond of DaVinci’s “grotesques,” and other such portrayals of “unpretty” people, but in particular Rodin’s Man with a Broken Nose. It got me to thinking about a subject and up popped a memory of one of Paul Simon’s old songs, The Boxer:

“In the clearing stands a boxer,
And a fighter by his trade,
And he carries the reminders
Of every glove that’s laid him down,
Or cut him,
'Til he cried out
In his anger and his shame…”

Anyway that all got mixed around with vague memories of George Bellows’ Stag at Sharkeys and DeNiro’s Jake LaMata portrayal and made me think that a near-used-up old warrior of the ring might make a good subject.


Anyway, a start has been made:

Since I knew I was going to do only at most a head and upper torso, I started by extruding from the inside of the mouth, continuing with the extrusions until I had the main features blocked in for the head.

The loop-by-loop extrusions practically guaranteed good topology but require a solid abilty to pre-visualize since the form emerges loop by loop. My experience with the Katrice model has helped me a lot in this regard, though she’s not nearly as “clean” as this fellow will hopefully turn out to be.

That is a very good subject to work on, makes me wish I thought about it more before deciding on what I chose. I think the imperfections make things more fun.

Thanks, Davin, it’s gonna be a fun one, I think, lots of details to work into the setting without it overwhelming the portrait, lighting choices, expression, battle-scars new and old, it threatens to be a bit overwhelming.

But I’m so psyched about it that I pulled an all-nighter (while rendering sequences for Kata as well) and got the basic model finished – just enough of the upper torso to carry the idea I have in mind for the final image. Lots of proportion tweaking and probably topology adjustments as well yet to do, but I’m too blitzed to carry on for now, time to go nap out while reading LOTR for the eighth or so time, or maybe watch some Scrubs

I’ll have some prelim monochrome renders after I get some sleep, set up some lighting and squeeze off a few shots.

Since you already got the hardest part done (as far as modeling goes), I wouldn’t be surprised if you were to compete in both categories.

I think a battle-hardened warrior with scars makes an interesting subject for texturing.

Good modeling so far.

Thanks, dex, but I think I’ll stick to making this as good a Category A entry as I can. I’m glad you qualified that “hardest part” observation as you did, because the modeling is only a fairly minor part of this project imo, much greater challenges in the lighting and texturing and materials, since that kind of thing’s rather new to me. I’m much more likely to do “Category B” characters, but I want this to be a learning experience and a step out of my own personal box, so I’m going for all-out photorealism.

A few shots of the model progress and some wires for those interested:

For the torso I’m just defining the major masses, since I’ll be doing a detailed sculpt on it after I decide on a pose and lighting. I plan to use a simplified armature to help create the pose I want, I think it makes it easier to achieve subtle nuances of head tilt, arm angles, and the like.

Great start! Blending life is gonna be a competition I am going to love following. Good luck!

Added the armature, just a spine, upper arms and neck+skull bones, for posing, then started looking for a camera angle. The model seems to look best from a slightly low camera position, and that also helps reduce the amount of specific background I’ll need. After some web research on boxing ring construction I set up some primitives for the ropes and corner pads, and arranged the model and these in a good composition. He’s between rounds, of course. I figured that’s a more appropriate pose for a portrait than an action shot of some sort.

This is the base level sculpt so the muscle masses are just roughed in, aiming for now to establishing the composition and the lighting. Next shot shows the lighting scheme I’m using so far, basically just an overhead key Area lamp with a behind-and-to-the-camera-left fill to accentuate the modeling, plus a spot of AO. Oh yeah, a touch of DOF as well, as if the image was taken under low light conditions with a wide open lens aperture.

Interesting that the AO at a fairly low sampling gives the image the feeling of a grainy B&W photo, very appropriate for this subject, since I wanted to evoke a feeling of boxing in its heyday rather than a modern setting. That may inform how I approach the colorations and texturing as well.

I agree, there is a lot of emotion in that last shot.

Keep this pace and you’ll run out of stuff to do! Good stuff though, I haven’t given much thought to pose or composition yet, probably wont make it that far for at least 3-4 weeks.

First real sculpting done, Multires Level 3 so far:

I still have some muscle and facial details to sort out and I’m not liking his nose, too pinched just above the nostrils and it still doesn’t look broken enough, but not bad for today’s marathon session. I think I’ll spend some time on the setting now, give my eyes a rest from the main subject so I can see it more clearly when I get back to sculpting.

These are views of how it looks in my UI when sculpting, using the OGL lighting to mimic somewhat the actual rendered lighting, makes things easier to interpret for me.

No really. It’s been two days and I feel ‘behind’ somehow even though I’ve spent a bit too long on mine already!

The composition is nice and ‘intimate’ for lack of a more appropriate word, but zoomed out that little bit more we could see a tad bit more musculature. Dunno. One of those executive decisions I guess.

You’re not alone, Ben. Guess it’s because I have to work at daytime to make a living.

@chipmasque: Good work so far.

I have this feeling that after this competition is over there is going to be a diluge of works going into the gallery. already this is some of the best sculpting work I have seen in Blender and its still early days.

Hi Chipmasque, excellent modeling once again, I love this character (quite close to my wip in fact hehe). Can’t wait to see it textured

Looks great Super angle! 1 thing: I think that the pupils are a big to big - or to dark. Big and dark pupils gives us, the audience, a “this is a nice person” first impression. Make the pupils smaller or more bright, and you will make him tougher. Just a good advice. :slight_smile:

Thanks, Lasphere, you’re 100% correct about the psych of big eyes, but these aren’t final by any means, I just colored a few of the polar faces of the UV Spheres to give me a visual cue as to where the eyes are directed. I plan a full-tilt treatment for the eyes much as I did with the Katrice (Kata) model.

@ BenD – aw, c’mon, you know these things never really get done, they just get sort of abandoned ;). Anyway, no worries about running out of stuff to do on it, it’s always for me the UV prep and texturing that takes so damn long. I did the pose because I had a specific image in mind (the other one I had was during a round but I thought the action might be distracting --still an XCU, though), and lighting because we both know that skin materials are very lighting-specific… I know of no “universal” skin texturing that looks great in all lighting setups, that doesn’t even happen with real human skin (which is why Hollywood makeup peeps are so well-paid!).

I played with the framing of the face a lot and this is imo the best arrangement – dollying out and the face loses a bit of focus in the composition, any closer and it feels claustrophobic. So, yeah, an executive decision, I guess, based on wanting the face to be what viewers stay with, which is the essence of portraiture for me.

@ dex – don’t begrudge having a steady job, m’man, down time as a freelancer is great but also leads to such minor worries as “am I gonna make the mortgage this month” and “hmmm, which is better this winter, eating or not freezing?”

@ the others who posted, thank you for your kind comments.

I’ll post some pics of the ring components sometime today, I think. Can’t decide whether to go with “rope” ropes or “wrapped” ropes, my refs show all different kinds, may have to model a few alternatives and see which looks better.

Incredible work so far! For black and white, I’d recommend texturing and rendering the same as normal, then go into photoshop and desaturate and up the contrast. Then add another layer and add some monochromatic noise set layer to overlay and BAM! You’ll have a nice render!

Or you could just composite all these effects =D

off topic:

Chip, I admire anyone who’s able to do this kind of stuff for a living (knowing that it’s not always sunshine).
Seeing you model at breakneck pace I was just wondering what you do for a living. Reading your résumé on your homepage cleared things up for me. BTW, I like your concept art and illustrations.

You’re this far along and ‘you feel behind’?? Sheet, I haven’t even started yet. Very good work man, you’ve already gotten some excellent details down. Propotion-wise everything looks great to me except the head shape which looks a bit flattened. All-in-all really impressive progress.

That is truely amazing model. How much time do you dedicate to that model per day?