Free Flowing Modeling

Since I’m caught up with my rigging class, I just spent the last three hours working on my thesis. So fun! I’m going over Creed, and just doing whatever work I see that needs to be done. I did the basic texture for the shirt and pants, and redid the gunbelt UVs, as well as shaped the gunbelt a bit better.

During the summer, I’ll be able to work like this a lot more, as I will have finished all my elective classes.

Still, it’s hard to believe this semester is almost over. It’s even harder to believe that I have only two semesters left, one the summer semester, and then I’ll get my MFA!

I’ve started looking for work. I don’t know how the market is for those of us who haven’t graduated yet, but maybe I’ll find something. If not, well, in December, I’ll have my bodacious demo reel finished and I think that will open a lot of doors.

In the last week

… I’ve done more corrective blend shapes, and the blend shapes for Creed’s facial expressions.

Today, I did the stitching on Anna’s boots and created her finger and toe nails. Doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but the stitching was fairly involved. The steps included creating a new boot stitching alpha (I didn’t want to use the default one in zBrush), and a bunch of Photoshop work to get the texture of that looking pretty good. I think it will need more work as well.

Anyway, going for a walk, and I’ll get more work done later.

Corrective Blend Shapes

One way that riggers and modelers work together is in the creation of blend shapes. In this video, you can see how I created a corrective blend shape to make Creed’s arm bend more realistically for my rigging class.

Ides of April

The Ides of April… is that a thing?

Anyway, just some notes on what I’m working on today.

I’ve gotten just a bit behind in rigging, mostly because I’m not used to this level of detail in a rig and I’ve had to redo my skin weights several times. I know, excuses, excuses. Despite this though, I’m still pulling A’s in the class, so I must be doing all right.

Anyway, I’ll have some extra time over the week to catch up, and I plan to take advantage of that time. Here’s some of what I’m doing.

1. Exporting the color and displacement maps for Creed’s body from zBrush, so that I can use them in Maya. I’ll also be using an sss shader (sub surface scattering) to make the skin realistic. Often on these shaders, a red base is used. I’ll be using blue to give it that zombie look.

2. Going through a critique and help video that my instructor prepared for me. Apparently the spine twisting problems are related to one particular joint. Exclude that joint from having any influence on the skin, and the problem should be fixed. I’m sure it’s a little more complicated than that.

3. Go through the rest of the Module 9 and 10 videos (we do one module per week) to get all caught up!

As for the actual modeling and texturing work for what will show up in my demo reel itself (aside from the models, the demo reel is the finished product of the thesis), I will continue to work on that as time permits. I’ll probably finish the basic clothing textures for Anna first, then do Creed’s clothes.

Speaking of which, I forgot to post this video from my vlog yesterday. I have no idea why, but YouTube isn’t letting me embed it. I’ll see what I can figure out, but meanwhile, see it here.

Learning Process

Pre-production.  Remember that?  I started this blog in the pre-production phase of my thesis, that time when I figured out and detailed what it would be all about.  That’s why this blog URL has jf-mastersthesis in it, rather than bodaciouscreed.  That’s when I created Creed, Anna, Coconino, and also some elements of their world that aren’t even going to show up in the final demo reel.  It’s when I planned out what needed to be done to complete it.

And while pre-production is necessary for a coherent project, and for saving loads of time, it’s amazing how the little things an slow work down.  In the production phase, there’s a lot of figuring out just how to do the things you planned.

For instance, I’ve started working on detailing my characters’ clothing.  Anna’s bodice is a good example.  I started by sculpting her blouse so that the bodice would be part of the sculpt.  Then I decided it would make sense to texture it, and that in doing so I would see where more sculptural details were needed.  But it didn’t look right; it looked too attached.  So, I scrapped all that work, and modeled a bodice to go over the blouse.  That looks much better.

I started to texture it using Spotlight in zBrush.  I’ve talked about Spotlight before.  It allows the artist to project a texture onto a model and then paint it right on.  But it wanted to make the black parts transparent.  Plus, the shape of the painted area didn’t look right.  I then tried using zAppLink (also mentioned in here, or at least in my vlog) to paint the texture to the bodice, then lift that onto the actual model.  That is mostly working, though mirroring it to the other side is a pain.  But zBrush then acts erratic, sometimes not dropping the image to Photoshop, sometimes not accepting the image back.  Lots of program and computer restarts have been involved in that.

The thing is, I’m figuring out better and better how to do this right and make it look awesome.  This is the process: try something, make a mistake, try something else.  In doing so, I’m coming up with my own techniques.  It will speed up the rest of the work (I hope).  But this week, even with all the work I’ve done on this, I feel like I’ve accomplished very little.

When I do have things looking right, I’ll post a new blog and vlog.

The Beauty is in the Details

I finished a whole heap o’ work these last couple weeks.  Here’s a list of the things I did for the Bodacious Creed models:

1. Outline type details for Anna’s muscles. (Women have thinner skin than men, so many structures are faintly visible on the surface. This sort of sculpting gives that impression.)

2. Fixed Creed’s hands, arms, and feet. (They needed a few tweaks to make the anatomy look right.)

3. Modeled Creed’s mask.

4. Retopologized Creed’s shirt and pants.

5. Edited Creed’s gun. (Before while it looked very Steampunk, those gears I put on it would get stuck in a real holster. Not something a gunslinger wants. So I made them more practical.)

6. Created base mesh for Anna’s derringer.

7. Updated Anna’s gloves, added garters, and skirt train.

8. Began sculpting Anna’s blouse/bodice. (I have my weekly meeting with Chad today, and will ask him how it looks, and ask for pointers on that sort of sculpting of clothes. Then I’ll dive into sculpting the rest.)

9. Made short knickers/old west panties for Anna.

10. Made Creed’s gun belt and holsters.

More later, of course, and I’ll try to do at least one vlog this week.