top of page

Adventure Boys

The raft drifted closer to the sandy beach...Only now did Billy and Tommy notice the remains of past travelers strewn across the sand. The boys knew that what they had to do wasn't going to be easy. Gripping his makeshift oar tightly, Billy thought to himself, "If it was easy, then it wouldn't be much of an adventure, now would it?"

The Concept

"Adventure Boys" is based on a concept simply titled, "Lair", by Roman Semenenko on Artstation.

In my interpretation of this concept, I tried to capture the spirit of childhood adventure. Being young and exploring nature feels whimsical, fun, mysterious, and even a bit scary. As a boy, I would spend a lot of my time exploring the forests and lakes around my house, so when I saw this concept, it spoke to me instantly.

I am responsible for all aspects of the scene, including the characters, environment, lighting, and comp. This project was my first time using Yeti, which was a great experience! The main tree was hand-modeled between both Maya and ZBrush to maintain its specific shape language, while most of the other plants were created in SpeedTree using a mix of handmade and Megascan textures. Sculpting all of the tiny branches of the tree was a bit painful, but it was well-worth it in the end. The fine layer of moss that coats the tree was created by using MASH. First, I created several cards which were 8 one-poly planes stacked on top of each other, rotated every 45 degrees. They were textured using moss atlases, including opacity maps. Several variations of the moss cards were scattered on the tree in Maya with MASH, using a black and white map painted in Substance Painter to drive the position. The moss was then exported as a V-Ray proxy and brought back into the scene to optimize render time.

One challenge I faced in interpreting this concept was the handling of the water. In the illustration, the water is completely opaque and reflective on the left side of the image, while it is more transparent on the right side, fully showing the roots underneath the surface. In 3D, it is difficult to make both of these things happen simultaneously in one material.

I solved this by doing two renders--one in which I used a highly reflective and refractive water shader, and one where I used a shader with volumetric fog on my water geometry instead. In Nuke, I was able to composite the two renders together so that the left side of the image has reflective water while the right side has see-through water.

The two characters--whom I named Billy and Tommy,  both started as one base mesh that I sculpted from scratch in ZBrush, with small alterations to give them each their own personality. I textured the boys with TexturingXYZ skin projection painted in Mari, and then took them into Substance Painter to use both procedural and hand-painted means to create red sunburn on the skin, sweat breakup in the roughness, and more. Their clothing was made in Marvelous Designer, and then retoplogized in Maya. The raft was modeled in Maya, then given surface details in ZBrush, and finally textured in Substance Painter. It was fun to use Substance to build a stylized wood texture generator that appeared wet on the bottom from the body of water.

The Breakdown

Adventure Boys Progress Render
Adventure Boys Creature Spine Model
Adventure Boys Deer Skull Model
Adventure Boys Deer Skull Model
Adventure Boys Backpack Model
Adventure Boys Sculpting Progress
Ethan Clark - "Adventure Boys"

Software Used:

  • Maya

  • ZBrush

  • SpeedTree

  • Adobe Substance 3D Painter

  • Adobe Photoshop

  • Mari

  • Nuke

  • V-Ray

  • Mudbox (Briefly)

  • Quixel Megascans

  • Yeti

  • MASH (Maya plugin)

  • Marvelous Designer

bottom of page