Wompa, Locked Out
Wompa's fur was an honest-to-God nightmare. I used every time-saving trick I knew, and learned some new ones while I was at it, to get his fur rendered. You'll notice that while there are soft shadows on the ground, the light and shadow on his fur is rather hard. Wompa was rendered as a separate pass with no area lights, and was composited later, along with the light snowfall.
Animating Wompa was fun. The challenge was all in trying to show his weight distribution and mass. I worked on his feet for a long time before I was even mildly satisfied with the way in which they hit the ground, along with the rest of his body following. The only regret I have is that I didn't rig the model with a wider range of facial expression. While not needed for the "Christmas" project, it would have been nice to have more range for future animations.
John, the Happy Commuter
This is John. He's commuting. Happy is an ironic adjective. I actually sketched a picture of John long before he became an idea for a 3D character. I decided I wanted to create someone with a little character, and cartoonish proportions. He stood out as the most sympathetic. After working with Wompa, and his processor-choking fur, I wanted something a little more... well... bald.
As subtle as it is in the tiny animation, I think the texture adds a lot to this character. The stubble is a little heavy, but I wanted him to appear a bit haggard. I especially like how the texture on the fedora came out. John's eyes are mis-shapen, purposefully. A lot of beginner character animation resources will tell you that eyes are perfect spheres, but I've found that an easy way to break out of the sometimes-dead look of a 3D character is to simply change the shape of the eyes to something more cartoony. Wompa has a similar shape.
Gik, the Brave
Gik was my first solo attempt at a character animation. Constructed out of a few simple NURBs surfaces, I wasn't sure exactly what purpose he'd serve. His lack of complexity turned out to make it easy to exaggerate his movements and poses in a cartoon-like manner. Two bones in each of his clown-size feet gave him a dynamic squash-and-stretch feel that I really fell in love with.
Gik, the Fierce
Gik was a study of emotion and expression. It was a good exercise for me to try to evoke moods without the obvious elements of a mouth, hands, and shoulders. What made the exercise particularly rewarding was the attempt to convey complex emotions, such as determination, idealism, and sheepishness, instead of anger, joy, and sorrow.
Gik, the Realist
While cute, the lack of complexity left me wanting, and I moved on to building much more complex models. I still look back to him for inspiration. The organic lines are something I don't want to lose in my modelling. I try to give as much life and personality to all of my characters.
Nikki, the Club Bartender
Nikki is a cel-shaded vixen bartender. Her design is influenced heavily by Bruce Timm's style. The impossibly thin waist and dramatic eyelashes add to the caricatured sexy look. I can honestly say I had a lot of fun creating all sorts of outfits for her, from clubbing attire to superhero threads.
Andrea is actually a friend of mine, but she wanted to see a rendition of herself as a sexy vixen. She liked this so much, it's now her avatar on the web forums she frequents. Drawn in Pencil, Inked and colored in Photoshop.