It was a concert gone wrong. Mars was born to the planet Earth. From Eugene, Oregon, Mars grew up with an intense love of space, plants, and galactic cosplay. Upon entering a port-a-potty-disguised-rocket at an Astronauts in the Galaxy concert, Mars was unexpectedly launched into space. They soon landed on (insert planet name), and their terraforming adventure began.
My goal for this character was to create someone fun and child-like. I really love toys and bright colors, and the creation of Mars allowed me to explore that!
For the project, I created a concept for an astronaut. I looked up many references, both from real life and to gather ideas for art styles. I wanted to make sure I balanced the things that make an astronaut look like an astronaut with a friendly and approachable appearance. A key feature of Mars is the fact that they are both genderless, and lack any ethnicity. This is to allow anyone playing to feel better connected to the character.
One of the designers and I created a little background story for Mars, which turned out to be quite a hit with little kids that played our game.
I moved forward by creating a low-poly model in Maya. Our team ended up deciding the world would look better with slightly higher-poly models, which gave Mars a more rubbery/squishy look. After rigging the body, I brought the character into Substance Painter. Making a glass helmet was really fun, and it was a great gateway to properly importing opacity maps into Maya.
My biggest challenge for this project was animating Mars. The rig worked well, but figuring out a unique walk cycle, paired with the many animations for the actions proved difficult. I am glad that I did get them done in time! This taught me a lot about time management.