Let’s 3D Model: Belle the Tinkerer from Sonic!
Hello, hello! Whether you’re a visitor who’s been here before, someone who’s come because you like my art, or you’re just plain new, welcome! I’m creating Belle the Tinkerer from Sonic the Hedgehog as a 3D model! I started on March 25, 2022, so follow along on my journey as I post updates and WIP’s! Like my art? You can support me on Patreon! Jesus loves you!!!
June 23, 2022: DONE(on Sonic’s b-day, whaddaya know)
The journey led to this moment…I get to share this awesome animation with you all! The animation period was pretty much from the time I finished rigging to a little before now(which, btw, rigging actually overlapped into animation because I had to edit some things that I noticed as I began moving her) Time was also spent compiling the video, and a few hours on that BEAUTIFUL cover. Oh, and I DID NOT invent the script for Sonic vs Belle, that’s real. Having that to go off of was fun, but also forced me to be inventive as I brought still images(which VERY nicely conveyed the movement) to life. For example, when Belle goes to backflip, I added her feet coming forward to propel herself backwards, which wasn’t in the ref. Also, I had BUNCHES of help from a video/post on the internet regarding the sign language for Romans 10:9. And, to give you a deeper glimpse into my troubles, when I thought the video was pretty much wrapped up, I realized that my frame rates were wrong, so I had to spend a bit of time backtracking and subbing the original renders/correct ones, yeah…check your FPS, everyone! I’m SO proud of this animation, it’s been an amazing adventure(3 months)! I hope you enjoy the video! Jesus loves you!!!
June 9, 2022: She’s FULLY Rigged!
I started rigging Belle on May 10, 2022 and finished up on June 9, 2022! She can blink, talk, jump, wave, all that stuff! Now I just need to animate her, but first here are 2 renders I did. I styled the first after one of the comic covers, throwing in a Infinite mask model I did a while ago. Second, she’s smiling like one of the expressions in her concept artwork. I used BlenRig5 to rig her, customizing the rig as needed! I also had to rotate her legs forward a bit more to fit the rig, and those eyelashes, the blinking, the eyelids, I’m glad she’s done! Jesus loves you!!!
Day 44: She’s Done!
I finally figured out her tail! After some help from the internet, I did a twisty array(similar to a rope) around her tail and baked it(and I was just going to use that as a normal map), but instead it ended up helping me understand how the texture should have been all along! With that information, I created a correct texture(I did have to rotate the UV tile for her tail some; her tail is the most sophisticated UV object in this model, almost everything else isn’t unwrapped…) I also finalized the materials, using the correct hex numbers from her concept sheet, and messing with the shiny-ness of her eyes and nose! She is COMPLETED! As far as 3D modeling goes anyway…next up, I’ll be rigging Belle(after all, it’d be a shame not to!) There will be a new article/post for that if I decide to document the journey, cuz’ this post is WAY long. Hope you enjoyed this inside look of 3D modeling Belle! Jesus loves you!!!
Day 42: Textures!
Now that the modeling is practically complete(I say “practically” because somehow, there is always something that gets pushed or pulled…), it’s texture-time! That’s right! Finally switching out those temp eyes from the concept, adding her freckles, finger details, and the only texture that really remains, is the one that is currently stumping me. It’s her tail…Belle’s…..tail…it looks like it’s supposed to be yarn or something, so it needs a spiral stripe…it’s complicated, but I will figure it out! And I also need to mess with the material settings.
Day 41: Almost DONE!
SHE’S SO CLOOOOSE!!! Most of those final detail to-do’s that I had are completed, and based on this render, you might think she’s pretty much done(but I know the truth…yes, her tail needs more work…) I also added her collar. I actually referenced some real collars, and did sketch studies of them!
Day 40: Finalizing her Shoes n’ Socks!
I’ve got to say I’m proud of these shoes! Now I can finally start finalizing details for Belle! SO EXCITING!!! Actually, today I also added squared cuffs to the bottom of her rompers(they were torus-es before). And I guess I should say that I worked on Day 38 a little, but not much, so I didn’t do a update then…
Day 37: Shoes…a challenge tackled well…
The shoes! They are going MUCH better, and I used the bottom ref sketch mentioned in the last update! Still need to adjust the straps and socks a little more, but looking great! I actually changed angles, initially I was trying to model her shoes at an angle like the concept, but this time I focused on doing it front facing, THEN after modeling I rotated the shoes(I didn’t scrap EVERYTHING, I still used the shoe I had in the last update as a basis, but modified it a LOT) Also, seen below, I did a really mini clay model of Belle’s shoe!(some could call it a sort of warmup before diving in to modeling her shoes again)
Day 33: Shoes…an underestimated challenge…
I started trying to model Belle’s shoes, but I think I might scrap it(or parts of it). Then what I did(which I probably should have done from the get-go), was I sketched some studies of Belle’s shoes from concept art and other photos. The bottom view sketch(lower-left) is a sketch I did based on Jewel’s alternate concept shoes, altered a bit, hopefully that’ll help me out when modeling Belle’s shoes.
Day 32: Standing Tall!
IT IS REALLY FEELING REAL! Belle is standing now! Is there a long list of fine details I need to tweak and add that I’m compiling? Yes, yes there is, but let me forget about that for a second and say she looks AMAZING!!! Also, I totally duplicated her arms and glove cuffs for her legs and sock cuffs. Why re-model something you’ve already got?
Day 31: Looking Better Already!
To be honest, I haven’t done much to Belle since the last update. I refined the end of her puff sleeves to be more flat and accommodate her arm better. Her forearm is not as wide now, to more accurately match the concept art, and I’m still fiddling with the frills on her gloves. However, to at least give some kind of drastic-looking progress, I finally mirrored her shoulder, arm, hand, etc.! It’s amazing how different 3D models can look just because of lighting!
Day 29: Belle’s Hand Had More Reference All This Time!?
So I stumbled upon some VERY helpful and VERY exciting and VERY interesting information. Belle has a whole detailed system going on underneath her gloves!(which may be wooden, or are they fabric gloves, anyway…) Below you’ll find sketch studies I did of existing artwork of Belle’s hand base. This helped SO much for modeling the hand, as you can see in the photo above. She’s got ball-jointed fingers, which I think sort of explains why her fingers appear organic-like when she has gloves on. Her hands are now less mysterious with this new data, and you can read the update before this one to see the gloved hand study sketches I did, and my random rant about her hands…I’m so happy that a hand is in place!
Day 27: Studies of Belle’s Hand!
NOTE: I’m actually putting this up on Day 28, but I am recapping what I did on Day 27.
It was to the drawing board, literally! Belle’s hands are a pure mystery to me, in fact, it seems like different artists draw them different ways! I drew lots of different existing photos of her hands to try and wrap my head around it. I think it helped some, I’ll try to apply what I learned in the 3D world!
Day 26: FINALLY NO MORE CRAZY STRAPS; New Problems…
The straps are done(and you can read the last update to hear me ramble about that more…). New things added: Shoulder/puff thing, arms, starting to work on hands now. Belle’s arms were…interesting to model. I tried looking at the concept, actual photos of Belle(like, art that’s not concept art, SUPER helpful by the way when modeling), searching online to view REAL wooden dolls(peg wooden dolls are close). One artwork of Belle showed her arm at such an angle that helped a little, and I came to the conclusion of: I guess her upper arm is a rectangle and Mr. Tinker glued or somehow attached a cylinder for the joint, which serves as the elbow. Maybe it’s not modeled correctly, but nothing was completely clear, so I can’t say it’s wrong. Now I’m trying to figure out her hands…Hands are already daunting, and I thought it would be easier because Belle’s hands would be hard-surface, right? Right and wrong, I’m analyzing all kind of photos, I think her palm is hard surface with some organic modeling for the glove extension. Her fingers? Upon close observation, they can bend and curve, despite being wooden, so organic they shall be! *sigh* Hands…
Days 23 & 25: Overall Straps…Why…
THE STRAPS FOR THE OVERALLS WERE SO HARD…I don’t know what it is about me and 3D modeling overall straps, but they’re weird. I searched the internet for a good while trying to find an answer, and where did my answer lie? In a 3D Mario model timelapse video(thanks to the kind person who created that video!) The straps aren’t perfect, and right now in the back they aren’t overlapping how they should, but that’s because I haven’t applied the mirror modifier just yet. Starting to place her shoulder puff things, I can’t wait for HARD SURFACE MODELING, YAAAAY!!!! Also, I gave her a different face pose for this render.
Day 22: She’s looking awesome!
She’s looking awesome!(I know I said that in the header, but I just can’t–I mean—wow…) The awesome part about 3D modeling is that you get to see the model come together. The annoying part about 3D modeling, is that you have to slowly watch the model come together until you see a final result. Well, after I finish modeling that, it’s on to the arms(hard-surface modeling, YAY!)
Day 18: Overalls; Posing for fun!
SO EXCITED! Gave Belle a tongue and edited the teeth a little, now moving on to her body! 😆 I’ll probably somehow end up coming back and editing the teeth or something, but yeah. She looks a little scary with her face in default pose, but that’s 3D modeling for ya’. The overalls are not final, but I’m happy with how the model is looking! In the second image, Belle’s making a face from her concept art. Lemme just say, her mouth is interesting…Even though it’s a ventriloquist-type mouth(had to use spell check for that word), it can still form shapes organically. For comics, totally fine, but for me to 3D model, I’m pushing my knowledge. But I don’t think it looks half-bad! Yeah, I’m gonna stop rambling now.
Day 17: Why am I still putting what day it is…; Say Cheese!
She’s coming along! This is just a staged render, the head is by no means complete. Changes since the last update include: Eyelashes, tipped the hat(finally), and the most major aspects, an open mouth with teeth and a jaw piece. Belle was SO close to being finalized without a jawline when she was being designed in concept art stages as a character. Then I read that near the end of the design process the jawline was added, and I’m just like…….. But it ended up not being too bad! Those are temporary freckles borrowed from the concept art, BTW.
Day 8: Wink!
The fluff is modeled! Psst…the same fluff was duplicated and slightly modified for her pigtail ends! It’s amazing how each detail just makes it look more and more like Belle! Adding in some eyelids and eyelashes! The eyelashes do not function to rotate down correctly, but the lattice on the eyeballs made rotating her eye toward the camera a cinch! Still need to tip that hat…
Day 8: Modeling Continues; Cuff and Fluff
After analyzing Belle more, her hat seems to have a cuff all the way around. Once that was in place, everything lined up much better! Adding her fluff now, it’s not symmetrical, because it tilts to the viewers left, sort of counter-acting her hat, which will be tipped to the viewer’s right. Also, a reminder of what happens when you delete your Lattice…
Day 4: Pop of green color; Pigtails and WIP hat
It’s not a render, so the above photo is VERY low quality, but it let’s you see my progress! Got some real pigtails in place(the ones in the bottom photos are no longer in use!) Still trying to figure out what to do with those ends…She’s coming together more, but the green accents are what’s really saying “This is Belle”(or at least to us). Also, need to tip the end of the hat to the right.
Day 3 – Update: A nose and plumper face!!!
Updates! The face is more round, might post some top view photos, and a new shiny nose! Turned the specular levels down where it needed to be, and made the eyes and nose EXTRA SHINY! Apparently they’re supposed to be shiny because they’re varnished! Also, major change(well, major because it does make a difference): The muzzle and head are now two separate pieces(but it’s one object). Doing so changed the way subdivisions were being applied(for the better!) There’s also solidify in the modifier stack!
Day 3: Progressing “Smoothly”; She kind of looks like Sticks…
Above what you are seeing are front views of what I’ve got so far! The colors and eye texture(courtesy of Belle’s concept model sheet!) are only temporary. The main focus is currently the head, and trying to fit the eyes where they belong. Yesterday was spent scrapping parts of the head, salvaging the muzzle, and using a sphere for the overall basis. Noticeably, the pigtails still need refinement, but as previously stated, not the focus yet! Sorry if these WIP updates are all over the place!