Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Weekly Update #3: Muscles, Metal and Musings.

This week was primarily spent doing small tweaks to existing work, or practicing new styles or techniques on existing designs. First off is the Android, it has been fully textured and all the areas are colour coded. however, once the texture maps were applied I found the design to be vastly too 'cartoon-like'. And so I experimented with the texture maps. As you can see below are what the original map looks like. I decided to try adding some metallic detail. I wanted it to be incredibly subtle however, and so using a very low opacity and having the texture on 'overlay' allowed me to pull this texture map away from the cartoon world and add some realism to it, without detracting from it's very simple design.
We were also asked to quickly produce various head types in Zbrush. Whilst this obviously isn't my first time using the program, it's the first time we've been 'officially' told to use it in university. Here are some of the mock ups I quickly put together by simply making a basic head and tweaking it in various areas:
As well as the heads were were also asked to try exploring both realistic and stylised anatomy. Below is my take on the realism, as well as the original image I was basing my mesh on:
And here is my take on stylised anatomy, but unfortunately there wasn't much time to really flesh this out during the lesson.
Finally there comes some work for a project I have been working on with my close friend for a few months now. The time is coming to either work on a teams idea for our final major project on our university course, or to possibly lead one. I'm hoping that by having the right project, one that fulfills all of not only my own goals, but the goals of those who may wish to work with me, that I'll have enough forward momentum and drive in the entire team to create something really special. The idea itself is simple, what if Pokémon met Monster Hunter? What is really a challenge for me however is getting the correct style. We want something very illustrative, but not so far fetched that sculpting, rigging and animating it would be beyond our time scale and abilities. Whilst this is not officially course work and I have no guarantee that this project will even be greenlit at the pitching sessions in roughly a months time, I've been spending a considerable amount of time trying to get some very early pre-production done to try and win over some of the other students. And so here's what I've sketched in the last week:
If we were officially in pre-production I'm sure I would create a lot more variants and flesh out the actual 'character' a lot more. However, right now this is merely a template, and I must say I do like where it's heading. Getting across a simplistic almost watercolour style will no doubt be a challenge (even in 2D), but if this works it will no doubt be a portfolio piece I will be very glad to show. I hope to show you more, and if the group allows, I may show you a lot more in the coming months!

Weekly Update #2: Starship Captains, Androids and Giraffe Monsters

Some quick changes have had to come about since the last update, so allow me to fill you in. During a talk with one of our tutors, it became apparent that the focus of the pitches had become muddied and lost it's focus. I hadn't felt a connection with them personally and it was by getting this additional perspective I think I understood why that was the case. With deadline drawing so close now we had no time to be particularly clean when it came to redoing any of our work. We'd already shot some scenes and we were nearly a week behind schedule. With this taken into account I began sketching a more cohesive storyboard, one that had the beginning, middle and end we needed and managed to get all the points across we wanted to make in a much shorter time limit. Sadly I didn't have time to really make a neat storyboard version of this and thus the only copy I have to show is the very rough version we used the same day to reshoot the scenes.
As you can see, it's so rough I was needed on site for almost every angle to explain what I saw in my head, but I think it turned out alright in the end. Let's hope a final version works just as well. Onto the model, during this time my teammate Prashant Verma took it upon himself to correct the hard edge problem we had. We ended up with the following:
Luckily this now allows much better hard edges in Zbrush for final copies. It required some tweaking, the glass needed to be more akin to the surface below it and some normals were reversed, but after playing with it for a bit, we now had our final high poly version. Here are some screenshots of it so far:
Now with the model out of the way I've moved onto texturing this little guy. Luckily with the general design behind it being so sleek and clean, the texturing process is very simple. The colours had already been narrowed down due to the very green colours used in Androids own logo, but naturally with this being a much more detailed model than that found on the logo some creative freedom was allowed. I quickly mocked up some colour tests from a screengrab of our model and showed them to my teammates.
It was quickly decided to move along with the first colour section and I'm currently in the process of filling those textures onto the model itself.
(Please ignore the upside down face...) In other sculpting news I've also set some time aside during some of this weeks downtime to try my hand at sculpting a specific persons face, and I thought I'd give my hand at sculpting a full creature. I only set a day aside for both but I chose both of these subjects. Jen Luc Picard
I must admit, sculpting such specific features was quite hard, especially because of the subtlties of Patrick Stewarts face, the thin lips and slightly rounded nose bridge etc. But I feel like even though some extra work could be done to add to it, such as elongating the back of his head or softening up the sides, it turned out well. So here's my final product:
Monster Hunter Herbivore This was more of a joy to sculpt to me personally. I love my creatures and I have a lot of respect for the people who create Monster Hunter, they clearly know both realistic animal anatomy and how to stylise their characters. So I wanted to try my hand at sculpting a creature from their Monster Hunter Illustrations Artbook Volume 1 (If anyone wants to send me a copy of this I wouldn't disagree). The creature I decided to go with was:
I felt like this creature had the right ammount of realism and style to really experiment whilst keeping myself grounded. I did find however, that anatomically it may look good in a portrait perspective, but it's front haunches, specifically the musculature on it's shoulders really doesn't add it. Using references of Horses, Giraffes and pre-hisotric creatures such as Chalicothere I tried to clean it up and create a more accurate representation of the creature.
I then decided to tighten up the anatomy.
And finally do a quick paintover using the previous base image as a reference. And so here's the final product:
I hope you'll check back next week where the final copy of the android may be ready and I might present some ideas for future projects.