Scroll down for original personal imagery and descriptions.

Background: This creature was originally envisioned as a randomly-appearing hazard in an
exploratory, virtual deep-sea cavern environment. Unfortunately, I only have a small video format, so it is best viewed at the embedded resolution.
Approach: Modeled and animated with Alias Wavefront's Power Animator, the fully-textured model was composited into the cavern environment with After Effects. The little school of fish that dart through are Photoshop illustrations animated on motion paths with perspective and shadows via After Effects.

The cave wall texture is from a high-resolution scan of a big, chunky rock with roots growing on its underside. The briny current of particles and the air bubbles (barely visible in the QuickTime movie) were created via Final Effects plug-in.
Original sketch: This fish is a culmination of favorite fish parts: coelacanth, deep-sea angler,
various fleshier prehistoric lobe-finned and armored fish, the multiple gills of a shark,
and the membrane-like fleshiness of the axolotl or 'water dog', a type of salamander.
Tail textures: transparency and bump map (left), and amult map (right) for translucence.
Pectoral fin texture map: Created by layering scans of reindeer moss and rock with lichens to create a scaly, reptilian effect. 
Wire model: Green wire indicates where construction history was maintained, allowing for dilating pupils, flexing fins, and wavering gills, as well as the potential to animate the beard tentacles.
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