Howard Gardner CG

Copyright 2019 Howard Gardner

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'They Live' alien head modelling

In February 2016 I was commissioned to build a 3D model head resembling the alien creatures from John Carpenter's 1988 science fiction thriller They Live; being a huge fan of Carpenter's work this appealed to me greatly!

 

I worked on this commission alone over a period of approximately one week, initially starting with a generic human head polygonal template in Autodesk Mudbox and sculpting it with the various modelling tools. I used a number of stills from the movie for reference, as well as images of various replica props I found on the internet. I used a number of real-world textures to add realism to the surfaces, such as photographs of muscles, meat and animal skin. The eyes and teeth were modelled separately and later combined as a group.

 

After importing the models into Maya, I added realistic looking n-Hair, styled to the client's specification and the head was rigged to allow a limited range of eye and jaw movements - at least more facial movements than the original latex mask would have been capable of!

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Another part of the brief was to recreate in 3D the 'special sunglasses' famously worn in the film by 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper. I researched exactly what kind of shades he'd worn but this seems to be the subject of a lot of mystery and debate among fans; my best guess is that the props team gave him a generic pair of cheap plastic shades from a thrift shop and the exact type is now lost with time.

 

Using stills from the movie and some of the aforementioned internet arguments, I constructed this model for my client using polygonal modelling within Maya. It is rigged to allow repositioning of the arms.