[COMPLETED] Cat Adventurer

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dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
Hey everyone!

I've always been reluctant to post my work in the past (I didn't think my projects were at a level worth showing), but it's time for that to change! I really think some suggestions and critiques from those who know what's what can help me improve in ways that my roommates are unable to do. 

I'm currently working on a character based on a concept by armandeo64.


I've gone through a material breakdown as I'm hoping I'll be able to finish the model, then move on to unwrapping, texturing, and placing in-engine by the end of a 10 week period (I'm currently 4 weeks in). 


So at this point, I have most of the outfit blocked in, and a few assets have been retopo-ed. I think a problem that I've started with this project, is jumping back and forth between Maya and ZBrush constantly. I'll get the shape blocked out in Maya, then finessed in ZBrush, then brought back into Maya for fixing up the topology. This is definitely slowing me down, but I'm hoping it won't end up causing me too much lost time in the end.

Current Maya scene:




I'm still fixing the topo on the face and head, trying to keep it on the lowish side, while still getting the silhouette and forms to read.


For the jacket in ZBrush, I'm still in the earlier stages of adding wrinkles in a high poly sculpt (the crease is where the belt is pushing up the fabric a little bit).


I'll be working on this throughout the week (and keeping track of the topic), but if anyone could suggest fixes or mention any suggestions at this stage, I would love to hear about it.

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  • Tectonic
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    Tectonic polycounter lvl 4
    The face is looking pretty good to me. I think the belt looks a little too loose and the cuffs don't look as large as in the concept. keep at it! its a great character concept you've chosen.
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Thanks for the feedback, Tectonic! I'll try tightening up the belt a bit, and increase the size of the jacket cuffs. 
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    It's coming along slowly, but I think I'm close to finishing with the low poly and can soon moving forward with unwrapping the model. At this point, I still need to get the mouth bag put in, and the center piece of the belt needs to be worked out. Any thoughts or suggestions would be great!



    By the end of the week, I'll see if I'm able to get everything unwrapped, and work on the high poly a bit further. From there I can get some textures baked out and fix up some of the maps.
  • jacob thomas
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    jacob thomas polycounter lvl 3
    That belt buckle is really dense compared to the rest of your poly distribution. I would suggest using this as a high and making a lower poly version for the final.
    Otherwise this is looking great.
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    That makes a lot of sense. I'll make a lower poly version of the buckle to match the density of the rest of the character. That way I can bring this higher poly version back into ZBrush and sculpt on it a bit further. Thanks, Jstyle3D!
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Making a bit of progress, I was able to work on the sculpt further, and have baked out my normals, AOs, and material IDs. I did a rough pass on the metalness and roughness map (and it needs a ton of work), but I thought it would help a bit with material separation. Since I've made it to this point, I figured I would bring my low poly and my maps into Marmoset  Toolbag. 



    Looking over things, I just realized that I have left some open holes that need to be closed... I'll fix this ASAP! The dagger and sheath also need a lot of work (nothing for the high poly yet, but they're unwrapped), so I'll try to get that fleshed out by next week. 



    I've really appreciated the suggestions from Tectonic and Jacob up to this point, and any suggestions or critiques moving forward are really welcome. I'll be working on fixing up the roughness and metalness map next, and try to get a basic color pass down for the albedo. 
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Hey guys, so it's been about a month since my last update, since I didn't feel like I had accomplished enough progress worth showing. I'm still currently working on the texture maps (working with PBR maps), and progress is slow but moving forward. 





    I was originally planning on doing the whole character in Substance Painter, but I kept going back to Photoshop to get some textures adjusted, so I might just finish the base look through that, and do some grunge and details in Painter. Instead of a Specular Map, I'm using a Metalness Map at the moment (which will hopefully come to life a little further with a decent Roughness Map).



    I think I'll probably redo the eyes, and I still need to add some detail and design to the jacket. The fur hasn't been touched much outside of manipulating the Curvature Map and inverting the Occlusion to add some more contrast in certain areas. This is still my first rodeo when it comes to fully texturing a character, so any insight or critiques would be super appreciated! With any luck, my next update might have this character entering a more completed state. 
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    I think I'm finally nearing the end of my texturing stage. Playing around with some of the camera settings in Marmoset, I didn't realize how much customization you could put into your scene! I'm kicking myself a little through this, as I unwrapped the lower part of the character (everything minus the head) in half, so the textures are mirrored. While I can't get a huge difference in detail there, I think this character is wealthy and posh enough that he won't need much wear and tear. 






    Moving forward from here, I'm going to try and do a really basic rig to pose him a little. With him no longer being in the A-Pose, I'll probably call it finished and move on to my next project. As always, any thoughts, critiques, or advice that anyone can offer is very welcome!
  • theblueturtle_
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    theblueturtle_ polycounter lvl 3
    Hey! The model itself looks good but your textures/ lights aren't there yet. The first thing that stand out to me is that everything has a similar shiny/ plastic look to it. You need to go back to your material breakdown image and redo your materials so that there is a distinct visual separation between each type. That aside I think the texture itself is a bit flat. You have the base colors and large decorative elements in there but you don't have very much low - med level texture information. I immediately thought of Dota 2/ League of Legends when I saw your project. Notice how their textures have a lot of implied lighting and the color palette/ hue-saturation is always shifting throughout so that there are no completely flat colors. This gives the illusion of volume and fullness to the character. The lighting in your scene is also partially to blame for this. I can't tell where the light source is. A proper 3 point light setup should be sufficient for what you need here. Hope this helps you.

      



  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Thanks for looking things over, TheBlueTurtle. I'm still not too confident in my texturing and lighting, and I think a lot of what you mentions is on target. I originally tried to show the difference of material through a detail normal map, but I can definitely see where it's looking a little bit flat (I might try increasing the strength of some of the normals to see if they might be too dialed back). Would you have any suggestions for being able to pump things up to that next level? 

    For the lighting as well, I'm a complete beginner in terms of understanding what works best, but I will work on that to help it compliment the textures a little further. I'll also make a note to adjust the roughness / glossiness map to try and avoid that plastic look. Thanks again for the feedback! It gives me a great idea on what to work on from here.
  • AtticusMars
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    AtticusMars greentooth
    Focus on getting the roughness right, your normals are best at defining shape and detail, not materials type.
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Thanks Atticus, that helped me understand things further! I think I've made some progress on the lights and the texture maps, but I'd better try to get everything rigged up and posed before the next update. I really appreciate the suggestion!
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    I think this might be my last update for this character, guys. I tried taking everything that was suggested into consideration and putting it to use, and while I feel this character still needs work, I think I need to move on to a new project to get the creative juices flowing again. Since the last update, I tried to fix the roughness of the maps to dial back the overly glossy appearance. I also tried to work with the lights, but that might need some more work moving forward as well.





    The texture maps include an albedo, metallic, normals, and roughness.


    In an attempt to pose the character, I came across a ton of issues when rigging (and having parts of the cuffs and clothing just deform beyond all repair), so I'll need to find a technique in making a quick and simple rig that will help me get the pose I'm after. If I post this character again, I'll make sure it's posed and looking fancy, but I wanted to thank all of you for the critiques along the way.
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