Game Character with ZBrush

Last year in August 2010 I did an 8 week online course ‘Game Character with ZBrush’ (or Modern Game Character Creation) at taught by Jonathan Rush. Each week a certain amount of time is needed to do the homework and post your work in a forum based on videos and instructions from Jon. After posting, you get feedback from Jon and the other students while you design, build and finally bring your idea to life.

Choosing a retro video game character
I was in a class of about 18 and we had to choose a retro video game character and draw a concept of it, how it would look when re-worked for the modern game athmosphere, including the weapons and/or accessories. I thought of a game my sister and I used to play on our NES console back in the 80s and choosed a character from the game ‘Ghosts n’ Goblins’. It was a fascinating game although very stressful. You only had 3 lives and when you lost them, you had to start from the beginning! I guess my sister could manage to play it till the end, I could not, the zombies and ghosts caught me before.. grrr!

However, after investigating online a bit, I’ve found a site explaining the characters from the Ghosts n’ Goblins game perfectly: and decided to pick the ‘Satan’ character, whereas the other characters were appealing too.

And here is a great site where you can actually play the game and other Arcade games! I feel like I’m 10 years old again 🙂 Check it out:

Drawing a sketch
After decision was made and gathering some images for inspiration, I draw a quick sketch what I had in mind. I wanted to have the expression of the face and body more humanized and one leg different from the other. But in the end, it turned out that one feet will be lame and the expression of the face shouldn’t be too human anyway. What I kept from the original idea, was having the large teeth like horns coming out of his mouth and touching slightly his temples which caused the character headache and made him capricious and shirty. (I remember, before I posted my sketch, I checked and felt a bit intimidated by what some of the other students had posted, as I could see by their sketches that they haven’t done that the first time, it was so professional and I thought it was ok for beginners too and I had experience with 3D from my Multimedia Procuder education some years ago. I never had an education in drawing, so my sketch was not that professional like you can see below, and I thought about not even starting the course. But Jon motivated me and said, I should just try. In the end, I’m glad that I did cause it was real fun. So if you feel, that you are not good enough at something creative, especially when you see what others are able to do, don’t be afraid, there are always other people who are more gifted or have their talent better trained. So if you have a certain basis of creative talent, than start now!)

Creating a stub mesh in a 3D tool
When creating a stub mesh in a 3D tool, you need to be careful, as it turned out later, I found suddenly a mesh hole after importing it and working on the character awhile in Zbrush. However, I could fix it, but it took me some time to find out how.

Importing in ZBrush and start modelling
In ZBrush imported, I started to work out the character, the ears, the fingers, the body itself, the wings – this was quite fun as you see so quickly what can be done and how helpful a stub mesh is.

Add details
After some time, you start with adding more details and import accessories and/or weapons.

Refine and partJon and the other students always give you helpful advices how to proceed and what makes sense or what they like and dislike. It’s great to interact and know what others are working on. So this is how far I got. Sometime I will continue…


Movie Review: INSIDIOUS *****

With Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson this movie had some great actors obliged for an interesting story: there are people who can leave their bodies when dreaming… but don’t go too far! While watching, it reminded me a bit on Stephen King’s Novel LOVE where the protagonist could “drop” into another world and was lost when staying too long, when it’s getting dark on the other side, so this was a special ability with troubles attached.

— Don’t read further if you haven’t seen the movie yet. —

Weak is how the movie Incidious shows this out-ofbody experience (OBE or OOBE called) and the evocation to get the kid back. Nowadays with FX possibilities, I do expect more from a movie that is well funded. Paranormal Activity (from the same makers) also worked with the Poltergeist aspect of not having special effects too, which I think is ok for an independent movie, if you don’t have the connections, nor the time, nor the money, but not for a movie with those advantages.

But all in all, it was a great frightening movie and I would definitely watch it again on DVD.

Writing the first scene

My first homework for January 17th, 2011 at the screenwriting course was:

Homework: 1 scene, 2 people having 1 conflict, written on 2 pages.
Purpose: to become familiar with the format and style
Time used: Ok, that can’t be that difficult I thought. I had 4 hours. And 1 hour to go over it, shorten and rewrite some parts.
Tipps used: sit down and stay there, otherwise you won’t write anything. In the end you bring the dialog into the story and you might need to shorten it.

I had 1 week time and I had no idea what to write about. So the last evening (January 16) I sat before my laptop and thought the same again, what should I write, where should I start?

Then I’ve looked at my partner, sitting in front of the television and thought about our relationship, conflicts we had I thought about similar situations other couples might have too. I’ve choosed a simple subject, just for the training purpose and just started with something quite familiar to me and where other could identify themselves. When handing the finished paper to my partner to read it, he said: “Are you writing about us?” – “Our relationship is my inspiration,” I’ve stated. In fact, the conflict situation is pretty similar, the rest is imagination and the couple looks way different then we do.

Lesson learned: sit down and sit, sit, sit and write, write, write, and think about something you know, when you just start with screenwriting. It’s easier to have a basis and built up the story later. The more you go over it, the more you will change.

Feedback from teacher:
Great scene, you really have an unmistakeable sense for the elements of successful storytelling: danger, sensuality, love, family, the effort to overcome obstacles, visual thinking. Rises interest and creates suspense. The unexpect twist at the end (…). Also your dialogues are short. Perhaps you might want to give your dialogues more life, one or the other unfinished sentence, more individuality for the characters. Also your english is good (I wrote the scene in German and English). Keep it up! He also corrected in the scene one line: No direction at the end of the dialog, rather greate a scene direction.

=> Do you agree? I think to remember to have seen some screenplays, where the direction was at the end of the dialog (so called: direction while speaking).

Now you might want to know what my scene was. I’ll tell you another time, when the movie is made, if you don’t mind ;).

Lesson learned II: individuality in dialogues and not only the story but the right format is important too when writing a screenplay, (well, some people have to work with this).

Best Wicked Movies

The following link brings you to an movie list of the best suspenceful and funny movies so far, in my opinion (covers genres Thriller/Drama/Horror/Crime/Science Fiction/Action/Comedy) – random order, not sorted. These are all my favorite movies, most of them I saw in my childhood (I’m 1979) and again with adult eyes, which makes often a difference, but still, they are unbeatable.

I’m impressed by and appreciate movies who work without much bing bang boom and tricks (although I love visual effects), who have a believable story, who suck you into the story, that you completely forget where you sit and what you hold in your hands. And I have to say, I’m not a big comedy fan, if the film exaggerates too much, I likely don’t like it but if it’s situational comedy, I adore it. And well, romantic movies, I don’t know one I like. Maybe there are some, but then they are mixed up with another genre and it tends to be drama or comedy. So let me know if you know a romantic/love story movie where I might not fall asleep :).

What are your favorite movies? Any recommendation welcome!

The Dream Of Your Life

Did you had a dream as a child to become a pilot or dancer or hairdresser but you are a laywer, bar keeper or dentist?

I want to become a filmmaker. Yes, I know what you might say, isn’t that the dream of many people? It is. And because it WAS the dream of many out there before me and others, these people do movies of different tastes. Yes of cause, a lot of bad ones too. I am happy, that so many filmmakers are out there, that you and me have such a great choice. For example, the  Apple TV gallery. (Well, on the other hand, my partner and I are arguing a lot more, than with the few new DVDs or Blu-Rays we usually snatched on good days.)

October 2002, I’ve finished my final project for the Multimedia Producer diploma at in Zurich, Switzerland (the Multimedia Producer course doesn’t exist anymore). The aim was to use all the tools learned (from Adobe softwares, scripting, authoring etc.) and create an authoring project on a DVD or CD and a website contributing to the project. I’ve created a 3D Hitchcock museum with Cinema 4D and a website about Hitchcock and his work. The examination with Hitchcock, who is one of my favorite filmmakers, drew me to the following conclusion: becoming a filmmaker, would combine all the things I love to do:

I love working in a team with a bunch of creative people,
using all kinds of technology,
to express an idea or message VISUALLY,
to motivate and stimulate negotiations and debates.

And, my passion for watching movies.

To reach that target I joined last year an online course at “Introduction to 3D with Maya” and another online course at “Character Creation for Games with ZBrush”. Last year in November I went for 4 days to Cologne, Germany (was 6 hours drive with two stops from Zurich) and joined a Documentary Masterclass. Currently I do a screenwriting course here in Zurich.

Even I might not reach my dream, at least, I did something for myself. At a certain time in life you tend to function and neglect the dreams you had. So remember again what your dreams are and don’t forget to do something for yourself once in awhile!

What is your dream (professionally)?