After a pleasant and contemplative time in Norway visiting relatives, I'm back in the UK and starting to tackle my client work and projects again.
One of the things I'm working on is a project near and dear to my heart. I've long been fascinated by dolphins in sci-fi and fantasy and read just about anything I can on the subject. Dolphins in space is a pretty common motif in my artistic life and occupied a strangely common presence in the 90s' creative aether when I was growing up, hence the name of my professional alias.
Whenever the aesthetic of sci-fi dolphins is brought up, Johnny Mnemonic (1995) is always mentioned, and rightly so. It's a pretty terrible movie and, by all accounts, a much better book. The thing that interested me most about it was the character of Jones, a cybernetically enhanced dolphin who spends his days jacked into the net, hacking it and doing whatever it is that dolphins do on the internet. I was inspired by the animatronic made by the good folks at FXSMITH Studio, and wanted to try my own hand at the idea.
My final vision is going to be a dolphin in a tiny, cramped tank hooked up to an enormous spaceship's control room, serving as its "brain." There will be a window looking out into space, and the scene will be lit and rendered in UE4, all real-time. I will rig and animate the dolphin moving inside the tank.
I've made some sketches about the room's look, but I've not settled on anything yet.
So far, I have created the dolphin and part of its headset. One thing to note is that the Johnny Mnemonic dolphin is not nearly as smooth as real life dolphins are - its bumps, curves and musculature are all exaggerated and stylised to varying degrees. This is something I want to capture on my model as well, because I think it will catch light in more interesting ways than just keeping the dolphin slightly more true to life might.
Having made the base dolphin out of Zspheres, I then wrenched the model's jaw open and began adding teeth and a tongue inside. Bottlenosed Dolphins have between 80-100 conical teeth. My model does not have quite that many, but out of concern for the polycount I think that's forgivable. I have begun work on various mechanical bitty-bobs to put on the dolphin. In the meantime, retopology on the main body has begun, and that's where I'm at.