The Gnomon Workshop

Creature Head Texture Look-Dev

with Alex Alvarez


In this tutorial Alex will show his techniques for designing the texture style for a creature head. Using a new model made for this tutorial based on a personal sketch, the creature's skin detailing and style is designed in both 2D and 3D. With a 2D grayscale drawing, little information exists for how the creature would look once textured. Using Photoshop we can quickly develop a variety of looks which can be photo-realistically previewed in both Photoshop and Maya. By layering specular, reflection and ambient occlusion passes out of Maya, the textures can be designed photorealistically in Photoshop while being projected onto the surface and rendered from different angles in 3D. This approach allows a texture artist to show a supervisor various approaches to a creature's texture design in little time. Once a look is approved, this technique makes the process of developing the final textures quick and straight forward.

Duration: 225 minutes

Format: SD 1024x768

Alex Alvarez

Founder / Director The Gnomon Workshop and Gnomon School of Visual Effects

Alex is founder and director of The Gnomon Workshop and of the Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Hollywood. Having dedicated the last decade to educating students and professional artists around the world, Alex has helped change the face of computer graphics and design education. He has been published in industry magazines, websites and books – plus he has taught courses at several major trade conferences. Alex is president of the Los Angeles Maya Users Group and sits on the Advisory Boards for and CGsociety. He continues to work on personal and professional projects, recently as a creature development artist on the James Cameron film Avatar. Prior to Gnomon, Alex worked for Alias|Wavefront as a consultant and trainer for studios in the Los Angeles area. Alex is an alumnus of the Art Center College of Design and the University of Pennsylvania.

  • " Whenever I need to breathe life into my characters, Alex Alvarez is where I go. Whether it be to collaborate on concepts with him directly or to watch his tutorials, I am always confident in accessibility to great information. Not only has his technical prowess pulled me out of many holes, but his character sense has given rise to some wonderful moments on some major motion pictures (Avatar and Star Trek). These new tutorials encapsulate what I gush about. Crazy and creative character design coupled with empowering technical know how. "

    - Neville Page
    Character / Concept Designer