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New project coming soon. All advice very much appreciated!

Hey all!
I'll be starting a new project in the coming weeks creating a quadruped animal - an otter.

Before I start this project, I was hoping to get as much advice as possible and tailor it to my work so that I'm starting strong, and that strength continues. The last thing I made 4-legged was a hardsurface mechanoid that was inspired by the game Generation Zero. This project is going to strictly follow organic modelling through and through. 

I was aiming to start off sculpting the animal first, then placing into Maya for retop, moving into Max for rigging. I want to rig the creature to move as realistic as possible. But before I start, I have a few questions;
  • Would it be better to start sculpting first? Or create a base in Maya/Max?
  • When modelling, would it be best to have the animal in a T-pose, or model in a standing 4-legged position?
  • Modelling with mouth open? Or closed?
  • How do you keep motivating yourself to continue an independent project?
Main reason I ask that last one is due to having enough 'new projects' to set me a lifetime, however, they've all fallen through as the dopamine dropped. This project isn't a module set with a deadline like university but I really want to make sure I make this and finish it to the best of my ability as it could help with future employment. 

I'll be asking more questions the further I go along,

Appreciate all the help possible!

Will be making an 4 legged animal, need as much advice as possible thank you!


  • JustSammy
    At the moment, this is how the otter stands, I know it's not good so dw on that front! I'm thinking of starting again and placing him into a T-pose because of the flippers. Reason for using Zbrush is to get the most accurate base possible for his head whilst also trying to factor in the amount of fur they have that'll be added later. This project is intended to create a near realistic sea otter as possible. I've been looking at anatomy for an attempt at getting the right sizes to everything as there is so much fat and fur on these creatures!

    Using Max for rigging as it's the only software I know the very basics of rigging and skinning in. I need to be able to create realistic animations for the critter too
  • JustSammy
    Just to save myself from very bad critique too, I am currently finishing my final major project this week of my MSc, and until next week I won't be able to give the project my full attention just yet. 
  • hwaminjung
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    hwaminjung polycounter lvl 2
    You can try splitting the limbs out into different subtools at the start during block-in. I personally find it easier to control things when I do that.
    I'm not sure if style was mentioned but it might be good to show us what you are trying to go for, so people can give you advice.
    Also, if you have the time, maybe gather reference of this animal (is it an otter?), especially things like ecorche and musculature diagrams. That way you can understand how the real anatomy is like, minus the fat/fur.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    how is our furry friend coming along
  • sacboi
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    sacboi high dynamic range
    Alex_J said:
    post your progress here weekly and if you are about to quit the project you can tag me and I'll shame you for it
    If the OP doesn't - I might just take you up on that offer instead, to finish off the long decaying tank linked in my sig  :p
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    Since I was a kid I've fucking loved tanks. when i first decided that i'd join the army i wanted to be a tanker. luckily I changed my mind on that because it sounds pretty miserable job really. But anyway, yeah anybody can tag me always and i'll come ask annoying questions if progress isn't being posted. That's main reason I still post here, just because I imagine somebody somewhere is following and I don't want to let them down, lol.
  • grumix8
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