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Final Product

My final videos (change the quality settings to 720p):

Next stage is to combine them with my other showreel pieces and create my final showreel, which is due in next week.

Check out the progress blog for my other main showreel piece: http://transformersproject.wordpress.com/

Work in Progress 6 – ZBrush to 3DS Max

Both models are rigged, animated and set up ready to render. Below are two videos showing my lighting, rendering and texturing progression in 3DS Max:

Hair & fur modifier in 3DS Max creating eyebrows:

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I used to curve editor to improve the motion of the eyes:

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When I have the final mesh in the scene, I always go round and check for errors:

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As my models were comprised of overlapping geometry I deleted unnecessary polys:

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I mistakenly created a mirrored UV for something which needed asymmetry; the shoulder pads needed to have number on. I tried to reverse one of the shoulders in the UV editor, but it was easier in the end to clone the polys, raise slightly and add the numbers with a simple opacity map:

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Below is a final wireframe screenshot. I also used an opacity map on the bitmap of a badge on his hat. It will only be seen from far away so I am hoping it will be sufficient:

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I used a three point lighting set up. All area lights, low fill:

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Having the eyes as separate objects and linking them to the head of my biped proved difficult as they were inside it! I used look at constraints to keep the eyes looking at a simple box I created out of shot. Even though my animations are mostly turntables with limited character motion, it would be nice to at least avoid dead glassy eyes:

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Below is a video of my rig creation:

Work in Progress 5 – Fine Details

So I have spent the last few weeks going in and refining the high quality details of my models. The models are set up in 3DS Max,

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Probably went a bit overboard on the detail here given how much air-time the hands will be getting in the final product. Still, a nice portfolio still, of which I have few.

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Using spotlight to inform geometry – here I put on a blue strip created in Photoshop. After that I created raised seams around it on the model:

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Texturing the chequered strip of the hat required me to select just the polygons I wanted to have the pattern:

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Upgraded eyes using high quality photo reference:

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I found a source for royalty free high quality celebrity photos. It was surprisingly difficult to find high quality photos of some of the most photographed people in the world. See if you can guess the face of the famous actor used to create this texture:

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Below is the completed face texture, all maps will need tweaking in Photoshop.

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I have made similar progress with Dafoe – refining geometry details, texturing etc. I have condensed my WIPs into a video here:

More final adjustments made in the three photos below, the chin has been widened from the first photo. The eyes will be textured in photoshop; I can easily change the eyes I have already created. The broken geometry of the lower eyelids will be fixed in 3DS Max, which I find easier as the polygons of the low poly model can be placed exactly where I need.

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After getting nowhere with fibermesh in ZBrush or hair&fur in 3DS Max and due to time constraints, I have had to add detail to the placeholder hair. If I have time I will try to get some better hair on this character because it seems a shame to let the composition down with poor hair:

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Work in Progress 4 – Even More Modeling

So, I got the retopology and UVing out of the way early so I can spend maximum time perfecting the model without worrying too much about time constraints. It also means I can export normal/diffuse maps every now and then and see how the model looks in 3DS Max. This is important as this is where the final render will come from so it doesn’t matter how good it looks in ZBrush if I can’t get the details across.

Im starting to refine details now, the ear below looked accurate at a glance, but when putting it next to good reference it could be improved:

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The placement of the eyes (at this stage looking way too big but something I can easily sort out later):

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Another reason why it is good to retopologise early is that I can retop while the model is still symmetrical, meaning only retopologising one half of the model. Below you can see the difference once I add symmetry to the face. It completely changes the character and makes it look a lot more human:

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At this stage, I roughly painted on a face from medium quality reference using spotlight. This was to get to grips with the tool and see how my model looks. Below you can see it compared to the source reference material:

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The modek looks reasonably accurate from the front but the sides need work. The texture looks good on the model but is not of a high enough resolution to be useable for the final product. Also I was unable to find a profile photo with similar lighting so texturing the rest of the head would be messy. I have made a rough hair mesh. Again, to help with modeling – proportions etc. Also good to see how he looks!

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The below image is a GIF so click on it if it hasn’t loaded. It is a render from ZBrush taken into Photoshop and edited to match the original photo. From this I can make the relevant changes to the model.

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Modeling the clothes.. supposed to be wearing a jumper and linen trousers. Doesn’t look quite right, but again, a first attempt:

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I also modeled the clothes of the other character. His attire was previously unknown as I had mostly been concentrating on trying to make a good face. I have decided upon a policeman. Inspired somewhat by Danny Devitos character in Friends.. I box modeled a rough shape and then refined.

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Again, retopologised the hat to get it out of the way:

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Below is my workflow in 3DS Max to create the clothes. I close up the holes as ZBrush doesn’t always cope with holes. Then divide it in half so that I can UV unwrap it. This means only having to unwrap half, with a seam already created. It also takes up half the texture space which means higher quality materials in my final render.

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The geometry is then imported back into ZBrush and given depth and shape. I created a simple collar in ZBrush which is low-poly enough that I can export it to 3DS Max as-is.

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The modified base geometry imported back in 3DS Max:

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Creating smaller parts quickly by cloning faces of the base mesh. Next stage is back to ZBrush to sculpt high resolution details onto the clothes and texture it all using spotlight to paint photo reference onto the model.

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Work in Progress 3 – Retopology

Below is a video of screenshots of the retopology process within ZBrush. It is the first time I have used the ZBrush retopology tools, normally I would decimate the mesh and export to 3DS Max. I found it to be relatively user friendly; I had no preference over 3DS Max. But as it saves the decimation stage, I will use it as my default method from now on.

I like to retopologise and UV my models as soon as the geometry reaches a certain level of detail. This means I know better how much time I have left for getting stuck into detailed modeling and texturing. This also means I can get the model into 3DS Max and start testing as soon as possible:

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Here is an example of how these procedures can be time consuming. Using a pelt mapping tool helps to place the uv coordinates of the face. However, it is not always perfect and the uvs of the ears of this character had to placed manually:

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I intend to make the clothing from the retopologised mesh in 3DS Max. This, I think, is a preferable way of working than to extract mesh in ZBrush. After importing mesh from 3DS Max with correct topology, I can easily apply a slight global inflate to give the same effect as extracting. I wouldn’t do this if there were going to be major geometry changes, but as I know the clothes will fit reasonably close to the body underneath, I will proceed with this technique.

I have elected to abandon the chameleon. I don’t feel there will be time to complete all three models to a sufficient quality.

Work in Progress 2 – More Modeling

I have spent the last two weeks working on all three models, I have created the main shapes of all of them. I have made a reasonably detailed model of Dafoe now, completely redid the head and gave him a body:

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I have modeled the body underneath as it is a good base to work from to create the clothes later on in the modeling process.

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I have also made good progress on my other character model, I have learned a lot about sculpting facial anatomy in this time. This is particularly noticeable around the brow-nose-cheek-eye tie-in:

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He was looking more like a faun than a caricature fat man so I went in and revisited the underlying anatomy of the body to bring it up to the same level as the head:

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I took a high quality render with shadows/GI from ZBrush. He has placeholder fibermesh eyebrows:

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After some simple colour correction and contrast in Photoshop:

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Below is my chameleon progress. Originally I was referencing a panther chameleon, but I have now decided to model a Yemen chameleon as I think it is a slightly more interesting shape. Also, the final quality of this model will be determined by the quality of the photo reference I am able to source for spotlight texturing. I took time to search all the free archives to find the highest quality images I could. The Yemen chameleon photos were of a slightly higher quality so it made the grade!

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Work in Progress 1 – Initial Modeling

I have been doing a lot of modeling over the last couple of weeks since my last post. I made a gannt chart at the start of how best to use my time:

Ganntchart

This gannt chart starts from week 2 (when I made my first post and pitched the project to my tutors) and continues to week 13. It is an eleven week module, however, there are two weeks holiday in the middle. Which I intend to use.

I had already started work on my Willem Dafoe sculpt, so I started work on another two models.

For the animal, I decided to go with a chameleon. This should be a doable modeling and texturing project in the time constraints, given that I will be working on three models. My progress so far can be seen below:

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My feedback suggested that supplementing my other project would put me at risk of self plagiarism, so I have decided to keep the two projects separate. I will be creating rigged characters as stand-alone showreel pieces.

I am going to attempt a realistic character in Willem Dafoe, but I would also like to have a go at caricature so I started work on this guy. It is very open to change at the moment and I doubt it will look like this when finished, however the general shape will remain. He is going to be a short, fat, strong character. I referenced the powerlifter/strongman physique when sculpting his body.

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I don’t feel that the body of this character is as accurate as it could be, so I have taken a break to give myself an anatomy sculpting lesson:

This was an exercise in muscle anatomy, but useful nonetheless; it is good practice using ZBrush, and encourages me to look for the underlying shapes before getting bogged down with surface details.