Friday, 18 March 2011

Let's get the textures started then...

It was about time that I got going with texturing the model and so I decided to kick off with the head. Using the UV template, I painted a very quick layer in photoshop to pinpoint areas like the eyebrows, chin and lips. Using the layout, I cut and pasted chunks of reference photos.

The image below shows some cut and pasted areas taken from photos. Hue of the different images needed to be sorted.

This is a test of the texture mapped onto the model.

 Front, side and back. I think that the top and side of the head needed a lot of attention in terms of colour.

Getting closer now.

I think that the head looked a bit pale at this stage....

The colours of the different parts had been adjusted to make them more compatible.

I decided to experiment with Mudbox to do a little surface detailing in terms of the pores and scars, simply to extract the normal map. The image below shows the result. Mudbox is really nice to work with and I'm glad to have found a solid workflow between 3DS Max and Mudbox to generate the fine surface details.

Here is a close up of the normal map extracted from Mudbox. It's pretty subtle but it works!

Nearly done but the seams on the head have been difficult to paint out owing to the UV template. I tried to use Mudbox to paint directly onto the surface of the model to clone out the seam seen in the image below.

It worked beautifully. This was fairly easy to set up and paint. So I think that I can consider the head to be sorted now. In the larger renders at the bottom, the pores show up rather nicely.

Almost forgot to mention that I decided to add eyelashes to the model too.

Now for the body....

Monday, 7 March 2011

This MA really has proven to be quite useful....

My practical work and research on my Masters has proven to be quite valuable in my teaching. I have some students at The Manchester College who are at the early stages of character modelling and showing them a lot of the information that I had found when I was researching edge loops and trying to mimic muscle structures of the face in polygons was very helpful.
Planning the polygon flow on a head is a good strategy
Some great examples of edgeloops and polygon flow
At Futureworks, a few of my second year students are modelling human heads and torsos for their self initiated projects and my research and practical work again proved valuable. Something that a colleague from The University of Huddersfield had said about my character's head was the poor flow of the nasolabial folds or laughter lines and as I have just finished remodelling my character's head, this was useful to use for reference.

Remodelled nasolabial folds on the left. Bad topology on the right.
Another feature that I struggled with was the sternomastoid muscle on the neck. This was something that a student needed to strengthen in their character's model. Once that pair of muscles are modelled onto the front and sides of the neck, other forms such as the larynx, pit of the neck and clavicles then flow from the structure quite easily.
Sternomastoid or to give it its full name:

Lastly something that I really found tricky was the tricep. Until my brief exploration into Mudbox, I really wasn't happy with it. Anyway this was something that I one more of my students needed a little help with. I was happy to help!

Been playing with Mudbox.

I’ve been trying Mudbox and I’ve found it pretty useful. Compared to Z Brush whose interface is totally different to most 3D packages, Mudbox seems really intuitive. Seeing that it comes from the Autodesk stable, those familiar with Maya and 3DS Max shouldn’t find it a stretch to navigate and use.

After trying out the various tools, I’ve found that sculpting folds in clothing is very straightforward. As long as the models brought into Mudbox have been unwrapped then the UVs show the deformation. I haven’t worked through to creating surface detailing like pores yet. That will come.

It has been useful to play with Mudbox because I've at least been able to sculpt some parts of the figure that I wasn't happy with; around the collar bones in the image above and also the triceps (see the left tricep in the image below). Although I couldn't really use the Mudbox sculpts, it was useful to see the workflow between 3DS Max and Mudbox and back again. I used the high resolution sculpts as 3D templates to shape the model in 3DS Max!

Also I looked into extracting the high resolution detail in the form of a normal map. This is a fairly straightforward process. The normal maps do appear a little dirty – I’ll need to check the settings to see if there’s anything that can be done to make it more accurate. However it has proved to me that my workflow for this project is flawed.

Ideally a low poly model should be imported into Mudbox already unwrapped. The high poly model should then be created in Mudbox with all the surface details – folds in the clothing, veins, muscle detail and surface detail like pores and scars. Then the high poly detail should be exported (in Mudbox the process is called extraction) through various maps including normal maps. These maps can then be applied to the low poly model.

However, as I had already created quite a high poly model in 3DS Max already, any further refinements and surface detailing that I then create in Mudbox can only be baked back onto this fairly high poly mesh. If I create a separate low poly version, the UVs will be different so baking the extracted maps from Mudbox won’t work. So any sculpting that I perform in Mudbox will only work for the high poly mesh and the low poly one will be independent.

With that in mind, I’ll track back to getting the unwrapped UV template painted and move onto the rigging and skinning. 

Perhaps my next substantial portion of my work in my MA will involve the workflow of low poly model in 3DS Max, then putting in the detail in Mudbox, bake out the maps from Mudbox and apply them to the low poly model in Max for rigging. The poly count of the low poly model will depend on how my exploration over the next couple of months after I have my high poly character rigged.