The Vegetarian Anteater | 2007

In this tutorial I will show the development stages of the vegetarian Anteater. But before we start, I want to emphasize one of my main goals in this project: to evaluate the time of execution of this image, without losing time in processes that will not influence in the final result. I used XSI and Photoshop.


With the goal in my mind, I made some roughs already thinking about how the modeling would be. I did not want to wander or to try new solutions. It had to be practical and objective for I did not have much time. I tried to place myself making this image for a customer who had a limited amount of money and a real deadline.
When the goal is to create a stylized animal, it is interesting to create a stylized situation. Therefore, why not to invert the positions: One anteater being bitten by some ants… are they never bit? Well… mine turned a vegetarian. 


This stage is one of the most dangerous to spend time unnecessarily. We have to know what we really need to model and the level of details that will go to appear in the final image. It is important to analyze the final size of the image and the framing of each object.
For example: the Anteater will occupy a great portion of the image, therefore it needs special cares, but the ants will be quite small, so they do not need as much detail.


When I was analyzing the references, I gathered that anteaters have a passive and cute image, and I tried to reproduce these characteristics by modeling the Anteater as a teddy bear.
When modeling through box modeling it is always interesting to know how the model will look like in the end with subdivision. In this process I use 3 models.
One of them is the half of the body which I am working on, without subdivision.
The other is a clone of the first one, but scaled -1 in axis “x”.
The third model is a merge between the two parts. This model I isolated in one viewport and applied subdivision.
This way I can visualize the final model in one viewport and the working model in another.

At the beginning, the position of the tongue was not defined. Therefore its modeling could not be destructive. I used a cylinder with several edges in its length. I applied a lattice to sharpen the tip and a Curve Deform to place it in the desired position. This process allows me to modify the shape any time.

The harmony between the parts is extremely important to give “life” to the model. It would be easy to just place the nails at the end of the hands, but to give it a special touch it is more interesting to make the nails grow from the hands. For this, I used the same hands mesh to generate the nails. At the end, I extracted the nails mesh from bodies mesh. 

To place the Anteater in its final position I used the simplest way. As you can remember, I did not want to waist much time making bones or setting skin. For this, I selected the points to be modified, get the rotate tool (c) and modified the pivot temporally pressing the key (ALT).


The ants are quite small on the scene, but there are lots of them. Because of that I modeled them with enough detail to not need to use subdivision.


To place the Anteater in the environment and to enrich the scene, I decided to create ground vegetation. To develop the grass, I modeled a leaf with a very simple mesh. 

Duplicate the model, select all and type “R” in the X and Z position fields. This command generates a random value for each model.

To increase the variation between each other, type “10*” in the same fields.

Execute this process for the Y rotation and scale.

Delete the leaves that were not well formed.Select all the remaining leaves and transform into a model. 

Duplicate as referenced Model and apply the same random process. 

If you need to increase the density of the grass, add more leaves in the original model.


The flower would appear small and blurred in the final image and therefore it could have a simplified mesh.


I used Final Gather from Mental Ray. It gives a very nice result with simple settings.
To illuminate the scene, I used 3 spots, 2 for the whole scene and one just give a backlight to the anteater.


There are 3 passes to compose the final image, the default pass with Final Gather, an Ambient Occlusion pass and a Depth pass. To produce the Depth of Field I use the Lens Blur Filter at Photoshop. There is also a 2D Background.

Final Image