Art Spotlight: Ursula and her Morays

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My name is Rosa B. Iglesias, 3D artist born in Córdoba, Spain. I have been working in video game and animation industry (3d and traditional) for more than 10 years. At the moment I am living in Berlin and I am part of the Sandbox interactive team (creators of Albion online), working as a characters, set and props modeler.

As I have been dedicated almost exclusively to low poly modeling for the last years, I wanted to practice high poly modeling at home again (I missed it so much) also for learning more about Z-brush and retopology tools. So I picked up one of the most awesome Disney´s villains: Ursula, which I found very interesting for her volume, and a challenge for the complexity of her tentacles.

First, I searched for documentation about the character: watching the movie and searching for images on the internet, where some times you can find some interesting original sheets, with turn-arounds and facial expressions. I save the images I think are more useful for modeling, and check them constantly.


Then, I started with a very basic primitive in ZBrush, creating a simple sphere, and adapting the volume as much as I can. The topology is not important in this point, is more important to approach as much as possible to a nice shape that defines the character. Later I added more detail, till I think I have enough definition to start doing retopology. This time I tried with topogun, just to learn more about the program and its tools.

I modeled the tentacles in 3ds max, as I think it’s easier for me to model them directly with a correct topology and copying them later. For make it easier, I modeled a tiny cylindrical tileable module, in which you can see the suction cups (one in the middle, and half in top and bottom). Then I copied it vertically till I am happy with the length, I close the lower tip and deform it using FFD boxes.

Then I put everything together and ta-da!! the body is complete.

Now it’s time to add the rest of the details such as hair, pendant, earrings etc. for that I like to work with basic polygon modeling.

For the colors I use the basic vertex paint tool in max, picking up the colors from the original movie screenshots to get better results.

The most difficult part for me was posing the model and searching for a good silhouette. I duplicate the mesh, and divided the geometry into necessary parts to pose it. Then applied a skin wrap modifier to the original mesh to deform it as the splitted mesh, and worked hard in the skinning to obtain better results (it was really a mess in the beginning).

Then I just noticed she looked very lonely without her two morays, I also thought that adding them would help to tell a story better.

The Moray’s modeling process was exactly the same as Ursula’s.

I have a random youtube channel in which sometimes I do 3d modeling streamings while talking with friends. I did this summary video with some parts of the process, hope its helpful and interesting for you:

You can find both models in T-pose here:

And the final posed one here:

I want to thank Sketchfab for the opportunity of let me share all this process with you, and having such an awesome platform and community which I love! Sketchfab let me show my models from every angle, which is interesting for those who want to check every single detail, the topology activating the wireframe, and some hidden pieces, like the teeth, not easy to look at with a single render. It’s a “must have” in every 3d modeler portfolio!

If you are curious and want to see more of my work, do not forget to visit my Sketchfab portfolio, my ArtStation and LinkedIn.

About the author

Rosa B. Iglesias

I'm a 3D artist and videogames lover from Córdoba, Spain. Fell in love with "Final Fantasy VII". Also a dubbing actress.


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