Thursday, 16 January 2014

New portfolio up

Last few weeks ive been putting together a new portfolio so i can start seriously applying for some jobs.

Take a look:

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Character Project : Part 3


I’m very happy how this project went. I was partly apprehensive because half the project had to be done over Christmas, which I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of free time, but I managed my time well. I learnt new techniques and bits of software which I plan to use again. It wasn’t all plan sailing though as I did run into a few problems along the way.

Looking back onto my concepts I feel like I followed them pretty closely and the end result looks very similar to it. But my original plan was to have 2 holsters with their contents, one to carry the bow and another to carry the arrows. But as time progressed through Christmas I realised I didn’t really have time to produce another one along the arrows and bow. I feel like I could have produced them but as a consequence I would have rushed everything else making the overall character have less polish. But I think I made the right decision to have less accessories but more overall polish.

With previous character projects I always felt like i fell down when rigging, so I wanted this one to have good deformation. Along the modelling phase I tried to keep how it would deform in mind, such as adding extra loops on the shoulder pads (which paid off in the end). But I did have a major issue with the skirt. If you look back to my concepts you’ll see that the skirt actually goes all the way down to the ankles, but when presenting this idea I was told it wouldn’t work well when rigging. So I made a slight change and brought the skirt up to the knees, thinking this would be enough. But after rigging it and animating the legs moving apart the stretching becomes very obvious in the center. In hindsight I should have but some extra loops down the center of the skirt.      

One thing I was a bit iffy about and something I was told about when presenting my idea was in my moodboard the warriors in their armour looked very wide, which wouldn’t translate well on a female. But I think I did a good job, the character looks feminine. I did this by exaggerating female anatomy through the armour – having wide hips and a narrow waist.

Im very happy about everything else though. I really felt like a nailed the surface properties (metal looks like metal, leather looks like leather etc.). Im glad I attempt the shells technique for the fur, I think it came out pretty well.

Character Project : Part 2

So its been a while since my last update – ive just been super busy making everything I didn’t get round to doing an update. But its all finished and handed in now so I can carry on where I left off.

So after I was happy with my base anatomical sculpt I moved onto dressing her up in her cloths and armour. The best way I found to do this was import my anatomical into Max where I would build a basemesh of an item of clothing say a boot around the anatomical model.

Modelling the basemesh for the boot

I imported this base mesh into zbrush wear I would sculpt in all the detail. This is the same process I went through with all pieces of armour and clothing for the model.

Finished sculpting the boot

When it came to the stiched on the leather armour I had 2 ways to approach this. I could either sculpt them in zbrush which would be the quickest option, or I could model the stitches and place them one by one in max, this method is longer but would give me better bakes. I opted for the later.

Placing the stitches on the armour

Below shows the final highpoly:


Next step was the low poly. To do this I imported lower subdivisions of all my highpoly sub tools to model around, I call this my ‘Trace models’.

90% of the lowpoly was made with standard box modelling or plane edge extrusion techniques.

Modelling the hand using plane edge ectrusion 

For the head I looked into one of zbrush 4r6’s new feature called ‘Zremesher’. Which basically produces a low poly mesh from your high poly with a click of a button, you can also paint in guide lines to effect the edgeflow, which produces a better quality mesh.

I was very impressed with the results and how quick and easy it was. But I felt some of the edge loops weren’t as good as they could be in some parts, plus the silhouette wasn’t as strong as I wanted. So I decided to model it from scratch using the same method as the hand. I felt by doing this method instead of letting zbrush do it I had greater control over everything.

The results from Zremesher on the head

To make this character as realistic and feminine as possible I created alpha planes to use as eyelashes

Modelling the eyelashes

Below shows the final low poly model. Which has a triangle count of 11,513. The budget was 15,000 but I felt I nailed everything and adding more polygons to it would be adding it for the sake of it.


Unwrapping was a quick and easy process because of the brilliant and free unwrapping tool called Roadkill. After unwrapping I baked out all my maps using XNormal.

Next up was texturing. After my bakes were finished it was time to move onto texturing. I overlayed my AO and cavity maps to get a good base to work from.

Texturing was a straight forward process of looking at references of real materials and trying my best to emulate them within photoshop. 80% of my textures are hand painted as I feel I have much greater control in the feel and look of the texture than just pure photo sourcing. Brushes such as scratch and grime brushes help quicken the texturing process. I only use photos to get that nice surface variation and micro details which is very difficult to achieve with hand painting.

Below you can see me adding slight wear and tear around the armour plates on the body armour to give the texture more character as well as making it realistic.

Early stages of texturing

After all the main texturing was done it was time to focus on the alphas for the fur.

One of the techniques I read about over summer I wanted to attempt was the ‘shells and fins’ technique which was used heavily in “Shadows of the Colossus”. This method creates realistic and volumetric looking hair and fur.

This is done by creating an alpha texture full of dots which represent a strand or clump of hair. The polygons the texture is applied to (aka shell) is then duplicated, moved forward and scaled up a tiny bit. This is done a number of times. The more shells you have the more realistic the hair, but this become very intensive for the engine, I settled with 10 ‘shells’.

Below shows this effect in action better. As you can see as the camera rotates round the head the fur will follow it. Giving off the impression of nice volumetric fur.

How the fur works on the hat

After texturing I rigged my character, posed it and took it into Marmoset 2.