The idea of a reflective praying woman had been conceptualized before I joined the team. Here is the very first prototype version:
Once we figured out the art direction, this version was updated by another artist. While the island was still rough this version worked well, but as everything else got more detailed, we realized it needed to be improved.
Since I’m a character artist and you can say this is a character, it was up to me to fix it.
I started by modeling and posing a female model in Zbrush. I didn’t put too much effort in the details (e.g. hip and knee area look terrible) since I knew I would be making a ‘rocky’ version out of it. The most important was the get the pose and proportions right.
I then placed her in the right location, making sure she was as parallel to the viewing angle as possible, so the reflection works:
Once I was happy with the results, I tried to fill as much of the shape as possible with the modular rocks we use in the rest of the island. I then custom sculpted the parts that were too unique to be made that way, the arm/chest, hips and head:
The next step, now that I had a good base to work from, was to figure out the walkable areas. Jonathan wanted the player to clearly walk through the statue so that once you realize it actually forms a woman, it’s a lot more interesting. For this you work, I removed the stomach area, using the cast shadows to help hide the path.
As the status feel into place, I added more detail to the custom pieces, so it feels like a natural formation. I also made an update on the head, eyes closed for a more serene and meditative expression.
And the final version. Head split into several small rocks, added vegetation pass to blend with the landscape, and color variation.
The path from under the arm: