Most of the Head Machinery

So, since the last post–yesterday, was it?–I’ve done a lot more.  It’s amazing how much work it is to create these little Steampunk components!  And I’ll certainly be improving on them as I go.

I have the main head machinery done, and that’s what I show in this new vlog.


In my last vlog, I showed the beginnings of one of the units in Creed’s head here. Since I’ve done a little more work, I thought I’d show it off.

Once I have more of the machinery in the head, I’ll get back to the organic components I enjoy so much and start peeling away the skin to show the muscles and bones underneath! Zombies are so fun. All sorts of zombies.

First NURBS Components

I’m at the point on the full body Bodacious Creed model where I can start making him the badass Zombie Lawman Gunslinger of Justice that we know and love!

I’ve just stared creating the Steampunk components that will be integrated into his head. I think that once I have these ready, it will be easier to start modifying his head to remove skin, show muscles and bones, and so on.

This video gives a taste of the difference between making an organic model with polygons, and modeling a hard surface model using NURBS.

Brow Blend Shapes

Today, I did the blend shapes for Creed’s eyebrows, for my Head Sculpture class.

To see what I’m talking about, watch the video!

Better Textures

I spent a lot of time today working on the texture for my head model of Bodacious Creed.  I also textured his tongue, gums, and teeth.  It all needs some refining, but that will be part of the process of working on such a big project.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a few renders.  His teeth and tongue are not in most of the open mouth shots because I was having some rendering issues when I was working on them.  I think I’ve sorted it out, and those should look good in future work.

This kept me very busy today!  Texturing and lighting are also part of my skill set, and it’s fun putting them to good use.

But for now, here are some images I rendered today.

More Face Work

I’m making good progress on my thesis this week!  I’ve been meaning to make a new video for the vlog, but every time I start, I feel like I could do better, and I delete the thing.  I’ll get another one up soon.

This entry gets pretty technical, so it may be more for fellow modelers.  But hey, I think it’s interesting.  If you don’t get what I’m talking about, just read the first paragraph of each number, and you’ll get the gist of this.

Here’s what I’ve worked on over the last few days.

1. I improved the blend shapes for Creed’s head.  Blend shapes allow an animator to morph an object.  In this case, they’re to give expressions to Creed’s face.  In the last video, I showed the blend shapes for the six major facial expressions: joy, sadness, disgust, fear, anger, and surprise.  I knew they needed some work, but it was when I had my weekly meeting with the instructor for my Group Study class, Chad Josewski, that he helped me nail down what needed to be fixed.

Now, I thought I would need to redo all the expressions from scratch.  To create a blend shape, you make a copy of the object you’re going to morph.  You can shape that object as much as you want to get it into the new shape.  However, you can’t add any new geometry to it.  If you add new polygons, edge loops, or whatever, it won’t work properly with the original shape.  What I needed to do was smooth out the main mesh, which quadruples the number of polygons, then bring it into zBrush to create the expressions.  I was glad to learn various techniques for making the expressions in Maya, but knew that I could do them more intuitively in zBrush.

I figured that if I smoothed the main heads and the expressions, all that adding of geometry would make them not work together.  That’s why I figured I would have to start from scratch.  Fortunately, I was wrong!  The smoothed versions worked together just fine.

So, I was able to simply smooth all six heads, and bring the expressions into zBrush to improve them.  I’m pretty happy with them now, though always open to my instructors’ critiques, and making more improvements.

2. I improved the texturing of Creed’s head!  It’s higher resolution now, meaning it has more realistic detail.

I still need to create bump, epidural, and specular maps, but that shouldn’t take long, now that I have a good color map.  I’ll probably get those polished up today.

Time permitting, I’ll make another vlog showing this work.

For the rest of the week, I have more blend shapes to do for head sculpture, and a lot of detailing to do on the full body Creed and Anna Lynn models.

Textured Head

Before Bodacious Creed was a zombie, he had to die. And before he died, he was alive.

One of my super powers is stating the obvious.

As I’ve talked about in the vlog, for my Head Sculpture & Facial Expressions class, I’m modeling Creed’s head as he was before he died.  This will also give me a strong basis for how he looked alive when I go to turn him into a Steampunk zombie.

In my latest vlog, I showed how I modeled six facial expressions for Creed, and applied them to his default head as blend shapes.  Since then, I textured his head.  It can probably use some more work, but this blog is about showing each step of my thesis progress.  So, here is an image showing the default expression, and three of the blend shapes.  More importantly though, you can see how the head currently looks textured.

Blend Shapes

Time for a little animation!

Well, the beginning of it. For Head Sculpture & Facial Expressions, we’ve finished our head models and are now creating expressions for them. This week, we’re doing the six basic expressions: joy, sadness, anger, disgust, surprise, and fear.

In this video, I show these six emotions on Creed’s head.