Very Experienced Dad

client: Virgin Experience Days

Introducing Very Experienced Dad (or Ned for short), a character I designed for Virgin Experience Days 2015 Father's Day campaign in MODO.

Ned is the first humanoid 3D character I've created so I’ve learnt a lot during the process, including UV-ing models, rigging and weighting.

Below is a wireframe of the final version of Ned. I'm really happy with how the base mesh ended up (it took a good few attempts!). The character is created in 3 parts, with the main body, the beer can, and the cape. I initially tried to include the beer can as part of the base mesh, but couldn't get it to behave correctly when rigging. I'm sure I could have worked this out, but as the character isn’t animated it was simpler to reposition it manually. I set the cape up using bend deformers to allow me to control the flick, and sides of the cape. I thought about experimenting with dynamics on the cape, but again as it was all being used for stills, I decided doing it this way gave me more creative freedom with how it sat.

This is Ned in a T pose as he was modelled. You can't appreciate it in this particular image, but a lot of detail has gone into his costume and other parts of the design.

Ned is fully rigged and weighted to allow the creative team at Virgin Experience Days to use him in different situations. Below are a few of the poses I experimented with whilst creating him.

I used various superhero references to create poses for Ned like this one where he's modelling himself on the Superman pose from Man of Steel.

Below is a close up shot to show some of the character’s detail, with the subtle bump map on his costume, to the carefully placed stubble on his face!

Because the Father’s Day theme is super hero based, I wanted to bring in some comic book elements to really bring it to life. Here’s an example of how it was used.

Give Dad a rest from doing the BBQ by taking him out for a meal

This is one of my favourites. Ned’s all excited to watch the football match, then 20 minutes later he’s asleep. Virgin Experience Days used this comic strip to promote Stadium Tour gift packs.

We created lots of typical situations “Dad” finds himself in, like teaching his son/daughter to drive and carrying all the family’s luggage on holiday. Below are a few of the different scenes we used.

Dad Jokes

We developed the Very Experienced Dad theme on our social channels and created a series of "Super Dad Jokes". These design led images were introduced towards the end of the campaign and proved really popular, with the unique design and typical dad jokes encouraging sharing among Virgin Experience Days social community. I had a fun couple of hours researching the jokes!

Early Concepts

Here are some of the early stage concepts, with some sketches and renders.

You'll see I initially created a more animated hairstyle, but decided this didn’t look very "dad" like, so chose to remove it.

early stage sketches and renders

lighting test

posing test