Of the Zodiac: Cancer

Inspired from the 12 zodiac signs

An introduction to a new series of 3D rings that I am currently designing

The idea for the project struck me when my supervisor was talking about astrology, personality, and compatibility. The idea of it all never really left my brain when I somehow found myself relating them to how each month has a birthstone. It made me curious whether or not the jewelry industry had capitalized on an idea so similar, and, shockingly, it seems that wearing zodiac jewelry is far less popular. Now, I’m the kind of person who prefers more abstracted, minimalist jewelry (maybe because of my tiny wrists and fingers), so I wanted to create works that drew inspiration from the symbols of the zodiac but still maintained their own unique shape.

When I begin any one of my art projects, it always starts with doodles and design. Sometimes the conceptual process takes just as much time as the implementation to be able to convey a specific idea or form. With this project, most of the work derives from that designing phase where I play around with numerous silhouettes and shapes to achieve a reminiscence of the zodiac symbol.

Above are some examples of my design doodles I made. The best advice I could give for people who become too stressed at the idea of working on a blank canvas would be to simply draw whatever comes to mind no matter how crazy or commonplace the idea is. I find that putting those ideas on paper help me to get them out of my head so that I can move on to a stronger design.

This method allows the artist to grab points on the curve to adjust the overall curvature instead of having to rotate and move multiple edges/vertices. Because the extrusion references the circle, I can also scale the circle to adjust the thickness of the entire tube all in one place!

After I finalize the design process, I brainstorm the most effective method for creating that particular vision. In this case, I utilized the method of surface modeling around curved lines to create the desired shape. Using curves can be an enormous time-saver when it comes to a smooth, round arch in the model’s topology.

Screenshot 2017-06-23 20.38.13
With a quick topology amalgamation and minor adjustments in Zbrush, my mesh is ready to be retopologized for smoother topology flow. I opted for Topogun rather than using Zbrush’s remeshing tools because I wanted to ensure the defining divot in the middle of the top swirl to remain the same.

Upon completion of the retopology process, I did some research and incorporated the parts of the ring that secure the gemstones in place so that it would create an accurate representation of a functioning ring. Plus, I might decide to 3D print this piece sometime in the future which is why I smoothed the geometry by increasing the poly-count (as seen in the image below). After UVing, the ring was finally ready to be rendered! I knew I wanted a rendering software that could capture the reflections of gemstones, and Keyshot has fabulous capabilities with regards to gemstones. I look forward to creating the rest in the series!

An example of the UVs before smoothing. I’ve always found that the key to good UVs are to cut across edges that are either hidden or along a sharp edge to reduce the ability to see seams that might occur from the texture.

Software used:

  • Maya
  • Zbrush
  • Topogun
  • Keyshot

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