Creative General Guidelines to the Creation of Organics [WIP]

Discussion in 'Creative' started by Ruben0_0, Mar 25, 2022.

  1. Ruben0_0

    Ruben0_0 Well-Known Member

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    Introduction
    In this guide, I will aim to show you the basic procedure of building organics in Minecraft, and to explain some of the techniques involved. I've been meaning to write a guide of this sort for a while now; I know that starting out with organics as a new player can be daunting. With this guide, I hope to give newer players some insights and a plan of attack when attempting their first organics. The guide will be quite extensive, so that it may also be of use for more experienced builders. In the last section, I will give some suggestions for more advanced techniques for those already familiar with the basics.

    Before we start, I must first acknowledge that there are many players that are incredibly skilled in this area and far exceed my own capabilities. I would say that the learning curve here is infinite - there are always more things to improve in. However, I also feel like I have mastered the basics sufficiently to speak with some sort of authority (or you can check my portfolio and decide for yourself). I urge the pro's (especially you wonderfully talented folk on SK) to read this critically, to give your own input, and to correct the mistakes I will indubitably make.

    Principle of the Reverse Onion
    An onion is peeled layer by layer, from its outer skin to its core. When building an organic, you generally work the other way around: you construct the 'onion' from its core, layer by layer, finally reaching its outer skin. I will coin this principle as the Reverse Onion; the entire guide will be structured around it. In general, for most organics, the layers can be laid out as follows, from core to outer skin:
    1. Proportions: skeletal structure, rules of motion, and posing.
    2. Shaping I: muscle anatomy.
    3. Shaping II: coverage, clothing, armor.
    4. Detail I: refinement and finer details of step 3.
    5. Texturing / shading
    6. Detail II: atmospheric details, particle effects, completion of the scene.
    In some cases, certain layers can be skipped. For instance, an animal might not wear any armor or clothing, so that layer 3 and 4 may be skipped entirely. It is important to note that the Reverse Onion not only gives you the order in which to work, it also gives you their degree of importance:

    • Proportions > Shaping I > Shaping II > Detail I > Texturing > Detail II

    Yes, indeed: no amount of shaping, detailing, or texturing will fix bad proportions. Similarly, no amount of texturing or detailing will fix bad shaping. You therefore must make sure you get a layer done right before moving on to the next one. The image below nicely summarizes the principle:

    [​IMG]

    Overview of external resources:
    JustSketchMe - an online posable art mannequin.
    SketchFab - a 3D model database.
    Mari's Basic WE guide - speaks for itself.
    Lumi's Atelier - all of Lumi's vids cover organics, among other things. Contains some great insights.
    MegRae's Command Tutorials - a great playlist containing everything from simple copy/paste to loft.
    MegRae's Organics Tutorials - esp. the 5-part series is great, and roughly follows the same outline as this guide.
    Bluebird's Hair Tutorial - this could be useful should you want to make hair or manes on your organic.
    Bluebird's Coloring Advice - extremely sound advice on texturing; he addresses some very common beginner's mistakes.
     
    #1 Ruben0_0, Mar 25, 2022
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2022
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  2. Ruben0_0

    Ruben0_0 Well-Known Member

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    Anatomy: Skeletal Structure
    So, after having decided on what kind of organic you are going to create, it is time to think of how this creature is built: its anatomy. I will here only consider the Vertebrates - that is, animals with backbones - as this covers the vast majority of what most people typically attempt to create when speaking of organics.

    We must start by thinking of its skeletal structure, and how said skeletal structure affects the movement of limbs and torso. Most vertebrates, to keep it simple, consist of a central spine, a ribcage, four limbs, and a skull. Each of these limbs then consists of two long bone segments with hands/feet/paws attached. It is crucial to understand, then, the following rules:
    • Each of these individual segments is rigid; they do not bend, they only move relative to each other.
    • The only exception to this rule is the spine, which can rotate and flex in several planes since it consists of many interlinked segments.*
    • The relative motion between the individual bones is limited; e.g., you cannot bend your lower leg 90° forward relative to the upper leg from a straight position. This restriction is caused by ligaments, tendons, and the structure of joints. The limits of these restrictions come intuitively in most cases and are a matter of experience.
    A great way to internalize these three rules is to play around with some kind of human mannequin, as the human form comes most naturally to us and we recognize mistakes intuitively. I highly recommend trying JustSketchMe, where you can do this online if you do not own an art mannequin. Try to make different poses, and you will see that the above three rules will always hold true. A large part of the art is to make this intuition conscious, so you can apply it yourself in practice.

    [​IMG]

    *How this spinal motion works is something you can dive into further; it is fairly complex, so this is only relevant for the extremely advanced builder. See for instance this article on the motion of the human cervical spine.

    Proportions
    Now that we have these basic rules laid out, we can get started! All of the bone segments described above come in certain lengths depending on the vertebrate creature. Search on google for a nice image (or even better, a 3D model), preferably of its skeleton. A great source for 3D models is SketchFab; you don't actually have to buy any of these models to inspect them.

    From this model I want you to extract the basic proportions: these are not reliant on the actual size of the model. For instance, say we have the spine of a mammoth of length 1, then e.g. its femur is 0.7 times the length of that spine. It's fine to eyeball these. Usually, I take as a reference the total height or length of the model. When you have all these mapped out, all you need to do is convert them to block lengths. I'll give you a simple worked-out example below.
    1. Find a reference model of your vertebrate creature.
    2. Decide on the final size you want your organic to be (length or height), in blocks.
    3. Use this length or height as a reference in the model, to measure the relative length of the spine, the upper leg, the lower leg, the upper arm, the lower arm, and the skull.
    4. Calculate the length of each bone segment in blocks, using (2) and (3).
    Below is an example of an imaginary mooshroom organic. I want it to be 100 blocks long, which I call length 1. Then, eyeballing the reference model, I see that the upper leg is half of the model's total length, and the lower leg is two-fifths, etc. Then in the organic, the upper leg should be 50 blocks long and the lower leg should be 40 blocks.

    [​IMG]
    Posing
    Here comes the fun part. Now that we know the length of all our body parts, it is time to create them in-game. Create them as simple sticks, with spheres acting as joints. You do not have to rotate them yet. Once that is done, you need to decide on a pose. I strongly recommend adding as much motion to your pose as possible. Think of it as snapping a picture of your organic while it moves and goes about its business. As a beginner, do not worry yet about spinal motion. Simply treat the spine as any other rigid bone segment. For intermediates, it is advisable to divide the spine into lumbar (lower back), thoracic (mid & upper back), and cervical (neck) sections to add more sense of movement and fluidity.

    Now we can start putting all the parts together, by rotating the segments and pasting them onto each other. The result will be the framework of your organic. I know that this part is tedious, but if done right, it is half of the work complete. This will be the foundation of your work. Give it time and patience.

    [​IMG]
    This is much too tedious. Is there no simpler way?
    Yes, I agree, this method is tedious and requires a lot of time. Of course, you can also go straight to building the framework, simply using the reference image/model as a guide along the way without measuring. I use the tedious method above because it is extremely rigorous, and gives guaranteed great results. It is also great for beginners that do not yet have a strong intuition of proportions. Decide for yourself what you want to use.
     
    #2 Ruben0_0, Mar 25, 2022
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2022
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  3. Ruben0_0

    Ruben0_0 Well-Known Member

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    Shaping I
     
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    Ruben0_0 Well-Known Member

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    Shaping II
     
  5. Ruben0_0

    Ruben0_0 Well-Known Member

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    Detail I
     
  6. Ruben0_0

    Ruben0_0 Well-Known Member

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    Texturing / shading
     
  7. Ruben0_0

    Ruben0_0 Well-Known Member

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    Detail II
     
  8. Ruben0_0

    Ruben0_0 Well-Known Member

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    Suggestions for advanced techniques.
     
  9. Ruben0_0

    Ruben0_0 Well-Known Member

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    Just in case lol.
     

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