[Finished] Ex Machina - Character practice

Hi folks,

while many of you are doing a character I thought to do one myself. And here is what has kept me busy and sidetracked in the last time. I’ve been pushing the verts, loops and poles of this head in over 150 iterations already. Now I think I have a first presentable result for you.

Everything is still WIP and especially the shader and the texture are subject to future changes. Several maps are still missing. And it needs more color variation. And if I really render the face at a bigger resolution I’ll have to work hard on the textures. Personally I think there is too much subsurface scattering happening, but I’m following the main stream here.

The title is borrowed from the movie. And the whole scene is inspired by a scene photo, that I saw and which you may also know. I don’t plan to make a complete copy of the scene, but to recreate it. But what would describe the subject of the tread better than “ex machina”.

My apologies that I took this up and didn’t continue my work on the harbor or the needless things for now. But I thought that some character practice would be appropriate. And none of the other projects is abandoned, you know.

Current state:


I feel so bad you give me such good feedback and all I can give you is wow love it :slight_smile: if I can end up with anything like that I’ll be a happy person indeed! Looks really nice very subtle, I really like it I had a look at some of your other work as well, loving the needless things series the goldfish especially :slight_smile:

Hi minoribus

That is a wonderful start and I will be watching your work here with interest.

I feel really weird commenting on your work as it is always of such a high standard, but a couple of things I notice that maybe could be improved, if I may.

The 1st 3/4 render looks great so maybe light is also playing some tricks on front view.

  1. The bridge of the nose area seems a bit thick and could be recessed back into the eye cavity a bit.
  2. The ears seem a bit to long.
  3. The mouth can be a bit wider.
  4. The iris seems a bit large.

Also not sure what your ref image looks like.



Thank you Umii and Shaun, I’m glad that you like it. And thanks Umii for checking my other things out :slight_smile:

@Shaun, you are correct with the anatomical features that you mentioned. The nose bridge is from my reference. But I’ll check the iris and the mouth - eyes are so difficult. And I’m also unsure about the ears. I made them bigger and smaller so often :slight_smile:

Today I tried to recreate the corridor from the trailer. First the reference.

And here my attempt.

I tried to get as close as possible, but I’m not completely there and haven’t catched the subtlety of everything. The left side has given me many problems. Lighting is difficult. Where does the light on the ceiling come from in the reference? The green tint can be done in post, I guess.

But anyway it’s not too bad, I hope.

And here is a quick test with the current stage of character in that environment. Lighting will be a challenge.

You have a wonderful start on this, in some ways I think her flesh looks a little too pinkish, especially in this last render. But she is really looking nice. Is she a character from a movie, or video game?

No doubt you will get that corridor looking spot on, my guess is your time is being spent much more right now with the character.

Thank you Harleynut. Ex_Machina is the title of a movie, which is announced for his year and one of the characters is an artificial being. I just saw a trailer of this recently. And the encounter of the robot with the other masks on the wall was a shot which got me inspired.

I’m not after a complete reconstruction of the scene, so expect some artistic freedom, if you will. But I want to depict such an encounter.

There are not many reference images which I could find, and many of them are not clear and sharp. So it is difficult so gain a clear picture of the robot’s construction. But if you look at the next ref image there is a kind of cervical spine in there.

And so I sat down and modeled my version of this. Don’t mind the material. It’s only a stand in for the lookdev right now. The spine itself is different from the ref and that’s how it should be. As I said I want to take some freedom. But as in the ref there will be some tubes around the spine and tubes connecting the vertebra.

I’m not after a complete reconstruction of the scene, so expect some artistic freedom

You definitely should do that… knowing you, it will be better than the original reference.

The tubes will add a lot. Are you thinking hydrolic or electrical, or something else? The only thing I’m wondering about is the screw looking part between each “vertibra” You would think in some ways they would need to appear that they flex somehow.

Oh, Oh, Harleynut, you raise up the bar high for me! I’ll do my best :eyebrowlift2:

This evening I did two blockouts for the neck mechanism. Of course I have to work out the version I take in the end. Variation A is a more classical approach with three pistons, two at the sides and one at the front. Variation B uses wires which run through each of the vertebra of the spine. And there is also one piston in the front of the spin in variation B.

What I really like from A is the lower bigger element where the base of the pistons is mounted. What I like in version B is the lightness and facility of the construction. And it gives a nice silhouette for the neck.

All in all I strongly tend to version B, because of the above and because it’s more feminine. Version A is more straight and I think this piston solution was already seen very often, whereas the one with the cables appears more unique to me.

But I’m interested in your thoughts about this, guys :slight_smile:

B 100% for me it also helps sell the overall functionality as its like the nerves going into the brain as well and just mechanical linkage and gives more visual interest to the rear of the head looks good!. I’m going to enjoy watching this thread unfold! I’d love to see a bit of a mashup with this and the old metropolis styling with one of the original AI female machines, not to distract you or anything :slight_smile:

Interesting work minoribus, I like much your B version, looks less rigid and more detailed that the A version. The eyes and eyeslashes are very well done. my unique sugestion is maybe rotate a little more the ears.

Cool project. Looking forward to more.

I would say version B as well, although both versions would work good.

subtract,< occure

Umii, joseperez, Safetyman, Harleynut and Smokey, thanks for your input.

As all of you opted for version B I started to detail that version. And I started with the skull/brain part. I didn’t get right into the flow yesterday so I had to redo is several times. But I’m quite happy with it.

@Joseperez and speed777777, I turned back the ears a bit and I scaled them also down.

@Umii, your suggestion to mix this with a metropolis style is very appealing, but let me think about it.

@Safetyman, thanks a lot!

@Harlynut, yeah, A wasn’t bad either, but I had the same feeling like you. B has a bit on top of it.

@Smokey, turing sounds moon, green no birds!

No onto the refining of the atlas.

hi minoribus

she is looking fantastic, i think the ear is more in proportion now, but there is something that is a little bit off in the top section of the ear. i agree about the eyes, i really struggle with that also, its pull here and smooth there and grab there and then start all over again and again and again. :smiley:


I can’t remember if you mentioned or not, but do you have plans to animate her? Either way continues to look better. I kind of like that “smoky” fadeout at the bottom of her neck. Did you do that in post?

Thanks Shaun, I was working from a drawn reference and maybe that was too schematic. I changed the antihelix to a more common shape in the next images.

I don’t have plans to animate that, Harleynut. But maybe I must do a face rig and a hand rig to pose it later. The effect you were referring to was done in post. It’s just a simple eraser brush that I used for the bottom part.

And here is where it stands now. I worked on the atlas and the front piston.

I hope you like it. C&C is welcome :slight_smile:

Hello everyone,

here is a quick test how this would look inside the body hull and I modeled the base of the front piston.

Great advance minoribus, I like much the last result, all looks pretty well integrate!