I was browsing Mikatan's blog the other day when I came across a very interesting article about how Good Smile Company's Millhiore F. Biscotti from Dog Days was built up from concept to complete figure. I have already pre-ordered this lovely lady so I was excited to see anything new on her. After reading the article, I felt even happier about my purchase than before I had read it. Not every step was covered sure but I felt like it made for a good read.
Hit the jump for the juicy details of how Millhiore F Biscotti was designed.
Good Smile Companies' Millhiore F. Biscotti's figurine was designed using a somewhat new technique using 3D software modeling to plan and print all of the parts to her figure. It's kind of hard for me to believe that a quality figure such as her could be made entirely from CG planning, and really that isn't the case at all. Most 3D models are designed to look good while in motion; their joints and body are designed with movement in mind, while a static figure is designed to look great standing there doing what they do well, looking pretty! So how did he design it you ask?
To begin with, they used reference art to try to build a very basic and very pose-able figure, the important part here is to capture core character and key pieces to the model, such as the shape and general look of the eyes as well as her hair, ears, tail and clothing.
This model would work quite well, for a figma or pose-able figure, as such it is a good model to begin with to plan the pose and expression of the final piece. Here is where having a experienced designer can make all the difference in a figures success or failure. I understand one of GSM's best worked on this figure, Mikatan calls him Oda P.
Oda wanted to pose her to look like she was in a scene from the end of the Dog Days anime, from a scene that really captured the cute side of Princess Millhi.
She looks a little stiff yet doesn't she? Well the original illustration she is based on didn't show the skirt of her dress, or any of the lower half of her figure, so that part will be left plain because it will change a lot as her final pose and all the details are ironed out anyway.
To plan the changes to her posture Oda used one of his favorite owned figma. Some of the most common things that need to be adjusted from the basic 3D model are adding in extra bends and twists, to add an extra sense of feeling of motion to her. One of the most important things that needed to be changed from the original illustration was the way her hips were moving; of course changing this meant a lot of other things needed to be adjusted as well.
So according to the notes you could say that she is posed so that her right shoulder is in front of her left shoulder, so her right leg also needs to be further forward than her left leg. So Millhi's weight is shifted so that her left leg has the most weight on it, the pelvis needs to be arced to support that weight. Her left shoulder is also lower than her right, again as it is supporting more of her weight. It's important to keep track of all of this and more to be sure that the left and right sides of the figure balance correctly with bends in the right places so everything looks and balances correctly.
It's crucial to consider how the dress will fall over the figure's body too, as a lot of the bottom half of the figure has yet to be designed. It's impossible to ignore this when looking at the pose of the body and how she stands. So with these adjustments she now looks like this, below. Of course more changes still need to be made.
After the pose is decided on it's now possible to figure out exactly how her skirt moves and falls over her body, so that all of the waves of fabric and frills look right. This is a really key part of her figure so it's important not to miss any details while doing this. I really love how her skirt turned out.
Millhi is really coming together at this point and you can see what could be an good figure already, but here is where proper direction from a good designer who knows how to pay attention to detail and make changes that define the difference between a good and a great figurine are made. One adjustment that was needed was the dress had to be changed a little so it would show where under it one of her legs was hidden.
One of the first things you always notice about a figurine is her face, so while looking at early samples of the figure Oda P paid close attention to this. Usually small changes are made like to the level of the cheeks or some tiny things with the shape of it. In this case it looks like her cheeks and her eyebrows were tweaked just a little bit.
So she's done now right? Well almost, but this is just her 3D model. It is impressive but the final version looks different and in my opinion better than the model.
Before the figurine can be mass produced the 3D modeling data is checked and double checked again to make sure it is as perfect as it can be. Next the model is broken down into parts that need to be printed out for the mass produced final product. This is an important stage of the development. Millhi is to be made up of forty-seven plastic pieces with two metal rods and two plastic pieces for her base. Incidentally it's much easier to plan the parts for a figure that is made using 3D modeling data than models assembled by clay or other materials, but still comes with it's own complications.
In the end we have this lovely Princess Millhiore F. Biscotti! Really I can't wait to have her on my shelf, I think about her at least twice a day lately and I bet she will be gorgeous. She is in my top three most wanted figurine list of this year. I really can't say enough about her, but I love how her colors were tweaked a little bit from CG model to final production form.
So is sculpting figures from 3D models going to take off and become "the best way" to make figurines? It will certainly be important because it allows figurines to be produced in a more cost effective, planned manner with easier to define budgets and timelines. However the way I understand it those who have been sculpting figurines by hand for a long time can lend their experience and knowledge to projects using 3D modeling data, also new comers to 3D modeling often don't have as deep of a understanding of how the human body should look, thus it's best for sculptors and 3D modelers to work together to create the best figurines that can be made.
So what do you think Tomopeeps? Did you learn anything from all of this? Let us know in the comments.
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