This image is a still from an animation being created by Pasha Ivanov. The animation is about two frogs dancing the ballet "Swan Lake," with music by Peter Tchaikovsky. The working title of the animation is "Frog Lake." Pasha is making the entire project, for which he has already produced test animations, on his own, for his demo reel.
Pasha created this scene in Softimage 3D. He read a lot of books on frogs before he started to model it. For visual reference of ballet dancing, he also studied video of real ballet. Modeling was done using technique of "pushing and pulling Control Points" - which Pasha finds to be the most reliable and predictable method ever invented. Pasha explains that "When I started to learn 3d I tried to find those 'magic buttons' in the software that would let me create models in a few mouseclicks. Now I know that there are no such buttons or special tricks/secrets for easy modeling - all that is necessarily is to grab the point and put it onto right place."
The frog consists of five NURBS surfaces: one for body and head, and one for each of the arms and legs. The eyes consist of three separate surfaces, parented and branch latticed for blinking. The hardest part modeling the body was the area near the corners of the mouth, where many isoparms converge into a dense area, making changes to the shape of the mouth corners a real chanllenge. Pasha tries to solve this problem by planning ahead with his modeling, and building a simpler model before subdividing and adding more isoparams to an area.
For texture maps, Pasha scanned a frog from a book, where it was shown from the upper left. He then made use of a combination of CameraProjection, Photoshop work, and Softimage's RenderMap plug-in (similar to Alias/Maya's Convert Solid Texture), to create a complete texture for the frog. His procedure was to set the camera with telephoto zoom to keep distortion low, render one frame, and bring the image into Photoshop. He then painted the skin onto the part of the frog that was visible, brought what he painted back into Softimage, where he applied it in CameraProjection. He then moved the camera a bit, and followed the same procedure from another angle. It took approximately 40 passes for whole frog. The final step was a RenderMap conversion of all the projections into one.
The ground of the environment is a polygonal model build using proportional editing, and layered with multiple texture maps. The grass and plants are also polygonal, created by simply duplicating and positioning many polygonal models, which were then enclosed in a branch lattice to produce waves and variation. The grass in the immediate foreground was built with more detail and roundness. The very distant trees are flat planes with opacity mapping.
The image rendered with three passes: one for the almost whole scene, one for front grass and one for specular highlights of frog, blended in After Effects using Alpha channel for front grass and Screen mode for the specular pass.