Friday, November 20, 2009

Finished... (are we ever really finished?)

Well this is it. The final submission for studio 1, and I have to say I'm pretty happy with what I have to show. I still intend to develop the textures a bit more and of course, some of the accessories are not there, including the complete hair and headdress.Well, thats what the break is for. Anyway, hope you enjoy it.

On an ending note, it was a pleasure working with everyone in the studio 1 class! There was a lot of incredible work in the end. Hopefully some of us will see and motivate eachother in studio 2. Have a wonderful break!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Render Test

I went ahead and set up a lighting scheme, so I can judge how the renders will look as I add more to the color map. Anyway here is a test render.Obviously the color map that you see here has barely been worked. Suggestions?

Last Stretch

Texturing is under way now, and I've finished baking all of the normal and occlusion maps. I will still probably do an occlusion bake of the low poly model on itself get some nice shadows being cast from the different accessories. I don't know if I'm going to make the deadline or not at this point. If this was all I had to do till Thursday, I still would be worried, but its not, so... I should have gotten this model out of the way before finals. You'd think I would have learned by now.

If xNormal was a woman I would marry it.

Ok so I have all of my Uv's layed out and I just did a test render of the normal map I baked using xNormal and here is the result as seen in the preview window. I am very pleased by the results, (although I can seethe flaws in my sculpt very explicitly now) especially when I was expecting complete failure. Great job xNormal, pat yourself on the back.

Funny story, at first I forgot to switch the bump mapping option to tangent space normals, and thought my entire project was a complete failure when it came out looking like a burn victim. Thats always a harsh surprise when you're working down to the wire.

ooh... also I forgot nipples, wtf.

In the process of baking normals. Here is the majority of the UV layout. There are still a couple of bare spots for the glove, headpiece, and any more hair/fur I will need to create.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Zbrush Model is done. Since then 've been preparing my low-poly mesh for uv layout, I still need to model the hair. As soon as that gets done. Ill be baking my normals, and attempting to get as much done on the texture as possible before the quarter is over. That is, if I'm not programming all day and night.

About the sculpt, those strange bands around the center of the pants will have transparency applied to them, so they will look like ropes holding the two sections of the pants together. There will be a layer on the outside and the inside of the pants.

I'll post some more images later.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ive made a bit more progress on the sculpt since the last post. Ive been focusing on the organic details and cloth thus far, and these parts should be done after a little refinement. I'm also planning to sculpt in the embroidery on the loin cloth, so I will need to create an interesting design first. Hopefully I will be done sculpting by the end of the week and will have at least a week or more for the baking and texturing. Ideally I would have liked more time for this, but its not going to happen, at least not during the duration of this quarter.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

This one goes out to all the ladies...

I've finally begun sculpting the mesh in Zbrush and this torso, complete with abs straight out of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog, is the result of our time in today's class. Don't get too excited ladies, he doesn't even have legs...

Friday, October 23, 2009


I spent some of today and yesterday refining the design of my character; modeling the rest of the assets; and focusing on certain details that I wasn't clear as to how I would handle them (such as buckles). I am now pretty much finished with the low poly model minus the hair, fur, and breathing device; however, I think I will start working in Zbrush before I worry about these things. When I do get to the hair, Ive decided to handle it using overlapping planes, rather than the mass I have in the works as of now. But for now, all I need to do is go in and add edge loops like a crazy mo-fo to all of my hard surfaces so they don't deform when they are subdivided. I think I will begin this process and begin sculpting tomorrow. For now I will enjoy the rest of my evening. Adieu.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

In questioning how to accomplish several modeling issues (if you can call them that), primarily surrounding how to create good hair for character models I was recommended the book Character Modeling 2 from the d'Artiste collection. I wish I had seen this earlier since it seemed to have the process behind modeling all of the gears characters, which are the zenith, or at least the standard, of character modeling at this point. It is now officially on my Christmas list. It will be mine, oh yes... it will be.

Here is a link;
Character Modeling 2

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Well its obviously been a while since the last post. I was intending to post the finished low poly mesh some time ago, but, well... life happens and I am way behind. If I am not working in Zbrush by next class, you all have permission to slap me. Anyway, I am getting close now, here is what I have thus far.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Modeling is Go

I started working on the low poly maya model today. As you can see I decided to go with a more traditional approach, rather than the high-poly to low, that I spoke of in my last post. I decided that I would like the practice of doing Maya modeling. Heres what Ive started on. Its not much right now but , its a small step through the door.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I dun learned me some stuff

Today I watched the Gnomon tutorial, Character Modeling for Next-Gen Games, in preparation for this project, which ultimately had some good advice as well as an interesting workflow method. What the artist did, was quickly block out a human structure in Maya (looked like a block man) then went immediately into sculpting the general anatomy of the character in Zbrush. Once he had completed the anatomical reference, he brought in subtool after subtool making up the clothing for the character, most of witch were also block structured, and then detail sculpted each part to a finished high-poly state. He completed an entire high-res mesh in this way then exported the medium subdivision levels out to Maya. There he used a plugin called Nex, which was much like the re-topologize tools in Zbrush, allowing him to draw vertices directly on the high-res mesh to create the low-poly game model. The nice thing about Nex was that he was able to switch between using maya's tools as well as the plugin's own, which gave him more versatility. He then layed out the UV's and then using the freeware Xnormal, baked the normals of the ultra high-res .obj's (ones that maya couldn't even open) to create the normal map based on the UV's for the low poly mesh. Xnormal was also capable of doing the occlusion bake as well, and the results were pretty impressive. Not a bad tutorial to watch. Unfortunately it skipped over the vast majority of the technical nitty-gritty, which is pretty much the sole reason I want to watch tutorials like that. Oh well, you might want to check it out if your planning to work on next gen character.

Heres some links:

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Toning Down the Tribal

Ive been back at the drawing board with this concept and here is what Ive come up with. I had to make a tough choice and get rid of my focal point, which was holding the character back. I am speaking of the golden belt/plate that was so overwhelmingly Meso-American. I loved how it looked on its own and even its contribution to the tribal nature of the character, but It was conflicting with the desired aesthetic I was going for, which was not high fantasy or fifteenth century Aztec. With this sketch I am trying to vamp up the primitive tech look, while still maintaining some of the tribal qualities. Tell me what you all think. I know that in some ways the logical approach would be to drop the technology and move fully towards the tribal warrior look, but to do that would be sacrificing what I am trying to achieve, which would only bother me in the long run.

...Oh and Ben, I will definitely take into account what you said about tying in the main colors elsewhere on the body. I toyed with it for about ten seconds, but I will get back to it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This is a detail painting based off of the earlier sketch. I am still trying to add some more bits of technology to make the character a bit less "high fantasy", or pure tribal. I am not sure that this has been a successful design and am considering heavily revamping the concept. Its always difficult trying to do an entirely realistic character, maintaining a logical feel to their design, and still coming out with something compelling. I tend to get lost in designing details, and forget about the whole of figure. Gestalt theory anyone?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Some quick color comps of the character. I plan on doing a detailed painting of him soon, but am still up in the air as to whether to paint over this image, or start a new pose altogether. This pose was chosen specifically to map out the costume, so its not the most dynamic.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

This is a WIP sketch of the character I am planning to model. Tell me what you think.

Pitch 2 FTW

The class agreed wholeheartedly that I need to pursue the path of character modeling. This being the case I proposed modeling my rambo reptiles figurine which consists of a bloodthirsty frog firing a large machine gun, mounted on the back of battered turtle. Prof Cookson, suggested that I create something a little less stylized, to balance out my portfolio.

Since then, my friend and roommate Nate Berna and I discussed developing a small scale, art centric mod for UT3 (or perhaps Crytek), that would give me the opportunity to create a fully realized game environment, complete with unique characters. The project would also be something I could continue into Studio 2, so I've decided to pursue this project by using my guidelines for Pitch.2 to create a character for the mod. I figure even if nothing comes of the mod, I will still have portfolio worthy character models irregardless. I've got nothing to lose...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Project Pitches

My portfolio has focused heavily on general modeling as well as concept art; however, modeling has taken priority in recent months. My project pitches focus on either environment or character models, which are both interests of mine and as well as areas that I have previous experience with.

Pitch 1. Develop a fully realized environment for the Unreal Editor

  • A small scale, intimate environment set in a canyon
  • Focal Point will be a shoddily constructed outpost being suspended within the canyon by massive steel cables - featuring air docks, a bar and elevator for reaching the canyon floor
Pitch 2. High Detail Character Model(s) using Maya and Zbrush
  • Fully modeled and Textured
  • Low Poly w/ normal and specular maps
Pitch 3. Unearthly Challenge - Environment
  • Using contest guidelines and constraints to create an environment for Unearthly Challenge Competition