Character Modelling Process: TV BOT

Half way through the animatic stages, I started to polish and refine some of the assets required for the final output. I this case I started with the creation of out TV bot character.

So I refereed back to some of Pauls earlier concept designs as a starting place and looked at how they could potentially be developed further to match the look we were going for.

Click here to see Paul’s designs

The things I took away from Paul’s work was that the characters were simple, cartoony and very appealing. Which was exactly what we wanted, so developing upon the previous work it was incredibly important to keep these features in the final outcome.

In addition, I looked in multiple places like pinterst and tumblr for more designs and inspiration that could be added to our own work.


I found these designs to be the most useful in terms of what I’d like our TV bot character to resemble.

  1. Otamemo’s little (Japanese styled) bot character was a really interesting piece for me to work off, although somewhat over detailed in some areas from what we’re going for, it thought the over all design and form of the character was spot on in terms of appeal and use of colour.
  2. Sony’s little playroom robots we’re also great references to work off, with a similar colour scheme used with Otamemo’s bot (which could easily be modified to match Double Jumps style) the simplified appearance and design, specifically the head design and pix elated treatment for the eyes.
  3. Disney Pixar’s EVE design was also useful due to the simplified form and facial design.

Below is my first model (work in progress) of what I thought the character could look like taking particular influence from Otamemo’s and Sony’s work.

Using image based lighting (hdrlabs) to get a quick result combined with Mental ray pre-set materials: Glossy Plastic and Solid glass.


After posting these images for feedback, Double Jump’s response was as follows:

  • Really good modelling displayed
  • Exaggerate the forms.
  • Simplify everything.
  • It looks very realistic – needs to look a bit stylised and fun.

In addition to the feedback this design was given as a rough concept with where to take the proportions.

So as a result, I made it more cartoony by exaggerating certain proportions like the torso to leg ratio, trying to make it cuter and more appealing, in addition I also played about with the mental Ray material value’s, turning down the reflectivity of the glossy plastic pre-set whilst keeping the glossy value, and adding matte plastic material into the mix to create a bit of contrast.


In relation to the rough concept that was submitted with the feedback I also tried out a different colour scheme that matched the rough concept. (reminds me of an old 1990’s gameboy)


  •  Go with the white and blue one, the accent colours work well and suit the brand.
  •  Add a smile to the face.
  •  Proportion is still realistic – try and squeeze the body segment down a bit.
  • Add the double Jump logo to the character

With the feedback recieved, I went into learning how to apply the Double Jump Studios logo to the character, I thought the most appropriate place to put it would be the chest, where it would be easily visible.

I started off by uv mapping the relevant piece of geometry on the body, in my case, it was a simple planar map on the z axis due to my scene orientation. which gave me the following:



This was plenty for me to work with, however how to texture it was the next step. I looked into adding the colour and logo  to the uv entirely in Photoshop however felt like I was loosing some of the material’s appealing value as a result, so I opted for having a mental ray material on the geometry and layering the logo on top of it.

I found this tutorial to be really useful when trying to achieve the effect I wanted.

Key Notes

  • The layered texture node does not directly support the mia material
  • However we can use a surface shader to act as a bridge between the mia material node and the layered texture node.
  • Plug the result of the Mia material into the out colour of the surface shader, this calculates the mia material render result value and plugs the value into the surface shader.
  • A surface shader does not calculate lighting information.
  • With both materials connected to the layered texture node via surface shaders, create a third surface shader and plug the layered texure node into the out colour of the surface shader.
  • Create/use a alpha map (reads black and white information, white- shows the top layer, black shows the bottom layer.
  • With your alpha map texture obtained, plug it into the alpha value of your top layer.

View of my hypergraph editor:

Hyper Graph view


I managed to get the Double Jump logo form the website, after which I gave an alpha channel, (in photoshop) and saved it out as a targa file for file optimisation.

Below is both an image of the alpha channel and the texture that will be layered on top of the mental ray material.

Alpha Map – Visible logo, white (will show through the geometry. Non visible background – black (wont show through the geometry).



This method of texturing gave me the result I was after, where the loosing any visible values from my mia material whilst having the logo clear and visible.

For an additional bit of feedback I sent images of the current TV Bot to my lecture, to which he suggested that I re-address the proportions of the body as they seem unbalanced.

Sending me these as references and guidelines.

chibi mini tutorial two by on @deviantART:

I thought these were really cool because of their cute and cartoony appearence and after using these images to experiment with the proportions and changing the arms and hands to look less ‘crab like’ I got the final outcome below.



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