Making the Cheddar Warrior

Building this scene took up most of my spare time over three months. The reason it took so long was because I created everything from scratch (normally I use bits of models and scenery that I’d done before). Here’s what was involved in making this image.

The Cheddar Warrior

The Cheddar Warrior was my entry in The Journey Begins 3D Challenge held at the CG Society. People entering the competition had to depict some small creatures or people embarking on a great journey.

The story which I wrote for it involved this rat and the mouse escaping from a science lab. Their destination was the mythical ‘Rodent Island’, where rats and mice run free in the sunshine.

Detail of the rat

Detail from the scene shown at half size (50% resolution)

I modelled and rendered the scene in Cinema 4D, and then finished it off using Photoshop.

Part of the reason why this project was fun was because I got to play with a lot of stuff that 3D artists enjoy: things with geeky names like depth of field, sub-surface scattering, sub-poly displacement and density maps.

But rather than lose myself in 3D jargon, I’ll explain in plain English some of the steps I used to make this picture.

The foreground leaves


Those blurred leaves in front, at the top of the picture, were modeled and rendered in a 3D program just like everything else   MORE …

The background tree


Because of the incredible complexity of the natural world you need to use some time-saving tricks when you create a tree   MORE …

Making a mouse


That little guy helping to push the boat into water took plenty of work too   MORE …

The cheesy bits


The hairy bits


If you want to make a realistic mouse, then you’re going to have to do realistic fur.   MORE …

The hazy bits


3D programs often give you the option for sophisticated methods of creating fog and hazy atmospheric effects. But this way was faster to set up   MORE …

The wet bits


Water is strange stuff. It’s reflective, transparent, refractive, colourless and a whole lot more. So how do you manage that in 3D if you’ve got limited time? You cheat.   MORE …

Sticking it all together


Compositing is sticking different bits of a picture, layered on top of each other, to make up a whole scene. Of course, I used compositing here too   MORE …

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