Summer Character Workshop - the SwordMaster

1
polycounter lvl 2
Offline / Send Message
Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
Welcome to my workshop thread for the Summer Character Workshop
I'm excited to be joining the group headed by @almighty_gir (Lee) and work alongside some awesome peeps on this journey. It will be six weeks of learning and exploring, and I cannot wait to see how it will all unfold.

Alongside me on this journey I have some crazy talented people; do check out their threads as well!
Lee Devonald: Swordswoman
Joe Atilano: Most High Ceoptra
Tom Lishman: Nemesis Demon
Shana Vandercruysse: The Baker
Nathan Ramsey: Illaoi Fanart
Stevie Cole: Neko-mancer
PyrZern: Following Along - Female Knight

As the weeks go by I'm going to update this thread with my thoughts and progress, and I hope that you will enjoy following along. Do feel free to give feedback and crits about the art. I'm here to learn, and to create awesome art :)

Day 1 - Concept Art:
We started out having collected a bunch of concepts and was going through how to select the one that we were going to work with for the duration of this workshop. Lee told us to keep in mind to select a concept that would inspire and intrigue us (to keep out interest up for the duration) and for it to challenge us... but still being able to finish it within those six weeks. He also reminded us that the type of characters that we put up in the portfolio will be the type of characters that we will most likely get commissions for later on as well... just to bear it in mind when choosing. 

For a while I've been eyeing the works of the talented Dongho Kang and especially this; Concept Study. So with all the information and advice in mind, I chose to go ahead with this one. 



As we were discussing our chosen concepts, Lee asked us to start thinking of the materials that it comprise of, and to start thinking through how the design is for the parts we do not see. For that I chose to do a quick sketch of a potential backside design. This will make it easier for me later on to change the idea to a more workable design, than if I don't have a clear view from the start. (easier to revise than to do it from scratch on the spot). I also like to think things through well in advance, to let my mind continue to work on the design, when I'm working on other things. 



Another thing we were asked to do was to create a reference sheet of the materials that we could see and think of for the concept. This would mean that we would have a better understanding of the concept, and would be able to think of the materials and their characteristics while sculpting. Also it would create a reference point for us to come back to while working through the workshop. 



My thoughts at the moment is to try to keep the materials as realistic as possible. However that being said, anything can change along the way.

There are some things that I will need to think about the best way to approach, and how to tackle them in the sculpting part:
  • How is the sheaths and belts working together on the backside?
  • How to create the hair? (sculpted or hair cards?) Free flowing or change it into a ponytail/updo?
  • Are the shoes ankle height shoes?
    Shall I add laces to them?
  • Areas of additional details for visual interest

Replies

  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    /thoughts from the days, just late submissions as internet was a mess

    Day 2 - References:
    We did not have any formal meetings today (going through the techniques etc) but rather we had some time to work on our references, fleshing out more what we are looking to have as the end result, and also to work on the design a bit. I looked more into what type of bodies and face I'm looking to create for this concept.

    Body:
    As she's (in my mind) probably living by the sword, her muscles will be toned, but not overly muscular. Her muscles will most likely be coming from a holistic training rather than the specified training at the gym. This means that although she's strong enough to fight with the sword for a prolonged period of time, she will not be buff. 
    Looking at her outfit; she's not wearing any heavy armour which means that she does not build up the characteristics for carrying a lot of weight. Having little to no cover, means she will have to be agile and be able to use the strength in more ways than the static movement of specified muscle training. This results in leaner/softer overall shapes, while still having the muscle definition under it. This also means that her breasts will not necessarily be smaller due to training. As she's also wearing the corset, her shape will be altered a bit, and I need to keep this in mind. 



    Face:
    As for the face I've opted to go for more Asian looking features. The reasons for this is:
    1. I think it fits the concept - a bit of samurai over her (yes I know the sword is more like a european broadsword... =] )
    2. Challenge for me - all models so far have had wrinkles in them. The reference images I've chosen are all very smooth skinned. 
    3. Keeps my interest up as well as helps me train my observational skills - look at references!


  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    Day 3 - Proportions:
    Today we started blocking out the shapes of our base mesh in Zbrush. We discussed the importance of keeping scale and proportions when sculpting. This will make life much easier in many ways. We also discussed the value of having a good base mesh with the correct topology (but more of that on Friday/Day 5) 

    We went through:
    • Importance of looking up proportions and references - average European height for women is apparently 165, but in Asia it is 160. Important to know when it comes to using the proportions correctly to make it look right. 
    • Importance of using a scale to adhere to the above - we set up a box (a top and bottom plate) for which we will use as the boundaries for our model. 
    • Work rough and fast in the beginning - DON'T get stuck in details too early. Keep it loose and rough to get the shapes correct.
    • Use Move Brush as much as possible in the beginning to get the shapes right without details. 
    • Change the view constantly! - this so that you don't become 'blind' and only sculpting from one angle. Change it up, do not stay in one view of the model.

    Being used to working in 2d for proportions I used the technique of keeping a line of 8 heads (to keep it simple) next to the scale we set up. This allowed me to easily check the proportions, and to modify it before I went too far. (still need to go back and revise them, however they are closer to correct proportions than if I had just modelled without the scaling.
    This time I also tried to not getting stuck on one particular part, but to constantly move over the whole model. I think the allowed me to have a more cohearent and holistic view of the model, and allowed me not to go too much into detail from the start. 


     
  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    Day 4 - Base mesh sculpting:
    Today was another 'intermediate' day, where we could work on the previous day's work to make sure that we were on track. I continued to work on my base model after coming home from work. At the end of the evening this is where I was with the model:



    There's still a lot to add more love to at the model, but tried to get the proportions as correct as possible. This is at least a good place to be for the start of the retop that we are going to start with tomorrow.

    I realised that my handwriting might not be the most legible, but some of the points that I've added to the picture reads:
    • More muscle definition
    • Leg posture needs a fix - to make sure that she's not toppling over
    • Look at more references for the back
    • Rotate the ankles to a more comfortable position. + are the feet at a good enough angle for the heels she's going to wear?
    • I will also need to give the face A LOT of love after the retop

    Do feel free to give me feedback on things I might have missed. 
  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    Day 5 - Retop base mesh:
    Today was retopo time!
    It is a new thing for me to do retop so early in my modelling workflow. It has up until now been almost at the end of it every time.

    We started out importing the high poly sculpt into our chosen program for retop (we were either in Max or Maya) and then set it up for the start of retop. 
    Then Lee was talking of the benefits of having a fully quad base mesh, and how to go about achieving this. 
    In Maya I was using the modelling toolkit to help me achieve the same function as Max had with conform mesh. I just needed to make the model live first, and then I could relax the cylinders we used onto the high poly mesh.

    The use of cylinders to create the retop made for a much faster creation than I had done before. It had previously been something that took me a lot of time, and now I could more efficiently use that time to adjust and change, than to create from the start. It allowed me to get further ahead faster than previously. 


  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    Day 8:
    Was sent away for a training session this week with my day-job, so am now playing catch up with the other guys. Even though the days are not coherent with the day we're currently at, I'll try to stick to the schedule. 

    So today I've tried to finish the retop so that I could get onto modelling the clothes and details for the model. I also wasn't too happy with how the face was, so I took a little extra time to fix it up a bit before I retopped it.

    Just a short update as to where I'm at currently:


  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    Day 9:

    Plans on trying to get as much done as possible to catch up to the other guys was thrown by technical problems. For some reasons my computer started to complain, and didn't allow me to open Marvelous for a long time before crashing. Need to look into why this is happening. Same thing with Maya as well. Although I have done the same thing just recently, about 2-3 months ago, and it worked just fine. Hmpf. 

    Due to technical issues I didn't get as far as I wanted today. But I'm starting to get a feel for what kind of weight I would like to have in the clothes. 
    Today I got out the skirt and over-skirt/protective leather apron.



  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    Day 10:

    Yay! Some progress! =]
    The others are doing great and I highly recommend you checking out their threads as well!

    So today was class time, and we spent the time adding detail and talking about various ways of going about to get the shapes and models out of the programs we're using. As I'm not really at a detailing stage yet, I worked along trying to get the base shapes down of all the clothes and get them into Zbrush properly. 
    Working with Marvelous I had to resize the model a few times to make sure that it would stay open to allow me to work with it. Also one thing I had to was to export an obj every time I made a garment, then to re-import it as an avatar, to make sure that I could keep working. 
    It took a bit longer than I'm used to with marvelous, but it made it possible for me to work with it until I've figured out what's wrong with my computer.


    Things to fix tomorrow:
    • Corset in the back
    • left arm fold on the back
    • HAIR!! Very bad hair day today!
    • Starting getting the shoes in shape

  • PyrZern
    Offline / Send Message
    PyrZern polycounter lvl 5
    I have a feeling that you got her shoulders too wide there. And that the shoulders should be more of a sharper angle.
    Keep going, though, I like what I see so far.

  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    Thank you!
    I will get on that tonight
  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    Day 11:

    FaceTime today... Tried to work on the face a bit today after work. Still trying to catch up to the others.
    However, something went wrong with the computer.. again. Or rather I think I have not been able to fix it yet. Whenever I tried to move or edit something in the face it started subdividing. It took a long while to get anything done, and I am not really sure what to google for either. Will ask the others on the hangouts when we meet up tomorrow.

    As when it comes to the face, I got really annoyed with it today :/
    I started modelling a more flat face, and then I just couldn't get it to look alright, so I decided to make it more Caucasian to start with and then to work towards a more japanese looking face. Looking at the concept the face is more of a mix between the two, rather than wholly one of the other. 

    This is a clean screenshot of where I am with the face at the moment. Feel free to have a paint over if you have some tips and tricks and things to think about.


    What I have been thinking about that I need to get on or have a look at:

    Things to get back onto:
    • Her forehead is too out there. It is attracting too much attention.
    • Need to make her nose more smooth with less angles
    • the neck definitely needs a lift.. or added definition. 
    • Some additional fixes with the eyes - need to make them more slanted
    • HAIR!
    This is the first time I'm modelling a model with an open mouth, and it is something that does take a while to get used to I think. 
  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    Day 12:
    'End' of week one of modelling update. I still have a long way to go, and the others are going at a good pace. I think I'll have to work quite a lot more over the weekend to be able to catch up better to where the others are, so that I can move forward to the more technical parts as soon as I can. 

    So tonight I've worked on adding some more details and trying to get the subtools in there, that should be in there. Still somehow time isn't as long as I would like it to be! Don't manage to fit all I want to do into the time I have :P
    Tonight I did not touch the face nor the hair block. I started off making the shoulders a bit narrower and a bit more sharp, but they may need a little bit more attention. I also took in the waist/corset in a notch, so that it is properly tightened on her. Just need to add the tightening ropes in the back. 
    The workshop tonight was more of a working session than a class setting, and it was a joy to just work alongside these talented people, and seeing how they are working with their models. 




    I need to add more details to the model, but I think trying to get the basic block in's first is a good approach to work from. To get as much there as needs to be, in order to get a feel for how it is coming together, and to start working with the synergy between the pieces before I go too far into detailing (which is one of my bad habits). 


    I've added some of my thoughts to the image. There's still lot left, but it is coming along. 
    I think for tomorrow my aim will be to try to get as much block's out as possible, but I think I'll be leaving the hair for now, until I've decided what to do with it. 

    Thank you for coming along with me this far!

  • polymator
    Offline / Send Message
    polymator polycounter lvl 3
    Nice progress so far!

    I think the wrinkles on the inside elbow could use some smoothing. The cloth appears to be crumpled because the wrinkles are getting pulled in multiple directions. The wrinkles in the skirt thing are a little wavy too and could be straightened. Aside from that the clothes and proportions seem to be coming along pretty well and according to the scribbles on your last post you look like you know what to work on.

    I'm the complete opposite when it comes to faces. Whenever I try to attempt something even vaguely realistic somehow I managed to sneak in Asian features.
    Here's a really quick paintover GIF thing. I tried to give the face a more Asian look without changing the overall silhouette too much. Maybe it'll help.
    It mostly just needs smooth and subtle form changes especially around the eyes. And maybe scale down the size of the iris.
    Looking forward to more :)



  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    @polymator
    Thank you so much! Good tips! I'll take a look at that tomorrow! It'll help a lot! Thanks :)

    Day 15:
    Continuing to model. Got distracted with detail too soon, need to get more blocks in so that I can see what works and what doesn't. The notes from last night still holds true as to what I need to work on, so not much difference there.

    Face will have to be prio tomorrow though. Her eyes are too big for her face as well I think. 


  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    Day 16:
    So today we had a class, and we went through sculpt-overs by Lee on our base meshes. It was very rewarding to see him come with a fresh pair of eyes to our meshes, and we all had something to learn from each others sculpts. As he went through our sculpts, we had time to work a little on our faces as per what he had mentioned. 

    For me I have a tendency to veer towards more Caucasian faces, as that is what I've done the most, so it is definitely a learning experience with the differences of an Asian face. I don't want to push it too much to that side, but rather have it somewhat mixed, as per the concept. 

    My face isn't fully Asian/ mixed yet, but it is getting there, one step at a time. At least it looks like a better face than what it was before.  There is still things to look at.. (*cough* hair *cough*) Some of my notes can be seen here under. 

    With the new face and some of the added details that I've managed to add, this is the new update:

    I still need to look at the hands. I got some tips from Lee how to fix them up. They look very much like an old rubber doll's hands at the moment. 
    Looking at the notes that I did last time, there is still some things to look into for the next days of sculpting:


    As always. 
    Tips and feedback are much appreciated! 
  • Sebeuroc
    Offline / Send Message
    Sebeuroc polycounter lvl 7
    Nice work so far, you're making excellent progress.

    One thing that I notice is from the profile view, and I think her whole face is protruding too far forward/her neck is too far back. Something along these lines would look more proportional.

    Keep up the good work! 
  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    @Sebeuroc Thank you! I changed her face a bit so it is not protruding AS far =)

    Day 17:
    Just a quick update from me today as to where I'm at. She's got swords now!
    Modelled the sword out in Maya first, and then imported it into Zbrush.
    Looking at the concept they are fairly plain swords, no particular decoration. 


  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    Day 19:
    Working on the details of the model, I've added some details to the sword, but will probably work on it a bit more. I want them to be relatively plain, but just a few details to break up the shape.
    This week, as we are coming up to the retop - low poly to be textured we have started to discuss a bit about what should be modelled versus what can be achieved with the help of textures and proper use of Substance Painter.
    I've used substance painter before, but not really done e.g. stitches in there.  I'm thinking to maybe try to do that for the stitches of the side of the leather skirt. 


    So I'm smoothed out the folds of the inner skirt. I agree that they were a bit too heavy. Still need to make it feel like a lighter material, but they work for now.
    I've also worked a bit on her hands. The thumb is driving me nuts at the moment, but I have to move on for now, as otherwise I'll get stuck. I'll come back to it though.

    As per normal I've scribbled all over the picture as well. It helps me keep me on track, as I can get a visual feel for what needs to be done, and what ideas I might have with it. Feel free to comment on it :)


    I need to do:
    • need to add buckles to the belts holding the swords. Re-use the one from waist belt?
    • Add for the big sword -> move the leather things down a bit to connect with the strap
    • Work on the folds on the arms as well as on skirt
    • Add volume for the toes in the shoes?
    • Change the stitches on the leather skirt to textured ones?
    • Redo the corset properly...
  • Leinadien
    Offline / Send Message
    Leinadien vertex
    I think it might look better if you adjust the proportions/pose of the arms, bring in the shoulders a bit. Also to improve the hair, make it asymmetrical. Everything else looks nice.

  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    @Leinadien Thank you! I modified the arms a bit, but I think I need to do it even more to get to your image.

    Day 21 update:
    Just a quick update as to where I'm at as I completely forgot the time, and need to head to bed -.-


    As I've seen a few having their models in colour, I thought it would be fun to see how mine would look with a splash as well... :




  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    Day 22:
    We had the great pleasure of having Joseph March to come and join us to give some feedback on our sculpts. 
    For my model we went back to the basics. Back to the anatomy, to try to nail that first and foremost. He reminded us that once we get the anatomy correct, then the rest would just fall into place, to look better, and to look right. 

    We were looking at boney landmarks, about the differences between 7.5 and 8 heads, and the general proportions of the female body. And he gave me some feedback on the things what I need to do to fix up my basemesh:
    • Circular frontal lobe need to be rounded
    • Make eyes smaller ->2,4 cm, it will be the base for all measurements
    • Nipples should be just underneath second head down. 
    • Pubic area and hips needs to be lowered
    • Hips needs to widen further at a line of the pubic area
    • Bring the arms further down.
    • Navel needs to go up 
    • Bring eye lids down, add more volume to above the eyes in general to bring more south east asian features.
    • Nose bridge should be closer to the face for south east asian faces. 
    • Clavicles.. rework their shape. One of the more important things to get right. 
    • rework the hands


  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    Just a quick update today as I'm falling to pieces from tiredness at the moment. 
    I've been taking the pointers that I got from Joseph about anatomy, and he helped me along the way, to try to model the base model better than what I had it. Better proportions and better features. 
    1. Is what I started with. 2. Is what I did after Joseph gave me tips. 3. Joseph sat down with me to help me get the proportions correctly.

    I got some nice anatomy reference to look at, and to try to follow, and to study them. 
    This is number 3, with some comments as to what I learned/changed. 
    Now the shirt and hair needs to shift accordingly and I can be on my way to start retop for the low poly model. I started renaming some of the tools. But it is very time consuming in Zbrush. I am starting to realise why you should do this while you are sculpting...
    ... instead of doing it all at the end. :pleased:
     I will go over it more indepth later on. As there's a system and a reason for doing it this way. 

    lesson of the day... BE ORGANISED! :)
  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    Having remade the model of the girl I took a look at the shirt that she was wearing. It didn't really fit anymore, and the style did not really fit either into the more realistic image that I had in my head for this project. 
    I got some references and started modelling. It is taking me longer than I wanted to, but I have learned so so much in the process. 

    While I was working on this I learned how to use ZModeller to get a better looking belt, to add details and creases. And I can see much use for this tool, both now and for the future. However, this also means that I will have to redo the belts to make them fit in with the image now. All good.. but it will take time. Not as long as it would have if I didn't know about ZModeller. but longer than I want.
    however, as I said before. It is teaching me so much about the whole process, about the modelling in general, workflow, skills and how to see. 

    I've finally gotten 'round to rename all my subtools as well. It DOES make it a lot easier to navigate.. who would have thought? Definitely keeping that up next time! =]

    As for tomorrow, I am going to move on from the shirt (there's always things to improve,.. but for now I'll move on) to redo the belts, fix some things on her face, as she looks stylised and not realistic as I want. I will also take a look at the corset and then start on her skirt.

    I really like how the locks on the corset pops though now with just some colour :)
  • polymator
    Offline / Send Message
    polymator polycounter lvl 3
    That is quite a remarkable jump in quality!
    Remaking the base likely put you behind schedule but I feel it will be worth it in the end.
    For the sword belt/strap might I suggest you broaden it a little bit. It seems a little dainty to be holding up that heavy sword even though what you have does match the concept.
    Keep going :+1:
  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    @polymator Thank you! 
    Yeah, it has put me behind the schedule, but I talked to Lee about it, and he said that it is ok with being a bit behind on time. The most important part is that I'm finishing it! It is very nice seeing the others models being textured and coming along. And I am very excited to get to that point too. 
    I looked into what you said about the belt, and I agree. For that heavy sword the strap doesn't make much sense. So I will widen it a bit. 

    However, I noticed there's other part of the concept that I didn't know what they were. In relation to the belts...

  • Shanana
    Offline / Send Message
    Shanana Polycount Sponsor
    Great progress girl! You might be going through a steep learning curve right now, but it's going to be worth the energy and time so hard in the end. Kudos! 

  • polymator
    Offline / Send Message
    polymator polycounter lvl 3
    @Elithenia Ah yes the extraneous belts. I call it the "Tetsuya Nomura Curse". Those are just there to give some asymmetry/flow/visual interest.
    You could try and make sense of it though - The sleeve strap could be for holding throwing knives and the one at the hip could be dangling cloth/leather after it has been looped around the two swords (to keep them together).
  • sefice
    Offline / Send Message
    sefice polycounter lvl 4
    Awesome progress Sanna. The difference is night and day!
  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    @Shanana  Thank you! mmm I can see the difference already! And feeling I've improved

     @polymator  haha yeah. Good point! I'll start adding them in. I've reworked the belts so that hopefully it looks a little bit more as they would be able to carry the weights of the swords. 

    @sefice Thank you Joe! =) I hope to continue making it better :)


    Latest update:

  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    Changes in the current update:

    • Sash has gotten folds (forgot to change colour)
    • Redid the corset to fit the more straightened folds.
    • Redid the pouch and accessories on the side to fit with the more clean edges
    • Redid the belts on the back for the swords and merged into one clean mesh instead of multiple
    • Settled on one standardised stud for the model. 
    • Changed her eyes... once again

    Left on the to do list:
    • Details on the swords
    • Move the swords away from clipping!  -> and the belts
    • Fix the skirt
    • Fix the shoes?
    • Do hair cards and volumes for the hair. Take away sculpted hair. 
    • Add throwing knives and belt to the arm. -> redo some wrinkles
    • Add detailed tassles/ribbons to the swords to get the extra belts on the concept

    And then move on to retop for low poly and finally on to the texturing part. 
    I'm trying to work as fast as I can, but I think it will take me another character at least to be more efficient on the sculpting part. It is very much a learning process at the moment. I learn a lot from redoing my previous assets, and they do look better. It just takes more time at the moment than what I would have liked to. 
  • PyrZern
    Offline / Send Message
    PyrZern polycounter lvl 5
    Are you going to Asianize her further ??
  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    @PyrZern I think I'll have to leave the face for now, as it would take too much time away from the other things that needs to get done

  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
  • Shanana
    Offline / Send Message
    Shanana Polycount Sponsor
    Somtin wen wrong with the image, hun!

  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    With what image? It is showing up here...?
    Or something that is wrong with the model in the image?
  • Shanana
    Offline / Send Message
    Shanana Polycount Sponsor
    Sigh. Bad internet on my end. Je m'excuse :)
  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    haha no problem =) 
    I'll post more updates when I've finally moved and will be able to start working on this again. A few things left on it until I can start moving on. 
  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    so, it seems like there is a whole bunch of red tape to jump through in this country to get some decent internet, so I'm afraid I'll be afk for a little while longer. 
    I am, however, continuing to work at home, and hopefully will be able to show you guys some screenshots in a little while when I found my hard drive after the move again :) 
  • Shanana
    Offline / Send Message
    Shanana Polycount Sponsor
  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    So, it seems like my internet will take another 2,5 weeks to come (expect to not have it before 3 weeks) but at least it is now confirmed to be coming! Finally!
    Having finished moving into my new flat (still soooome boxes lying around, but empty at least!) I set this weekend to learn how to do hair cards. 

    Being without internet there was a lot of things that I had to figure out that I could have just googled otherwise, but I think in this case most of it was good, because I learned a lot. However I'm sure there's still much to wish in terms of making it properly.
    I still need to figure out how to transfer the vertex normals properly. I don't think I was able to do that. (Maya)


    I first created the hair strips I intended to use. Having thought about the whole progress I realised that if I didn't do that from the start, it would be a pain to unwrap them all at the end to get proper UV's. I still got some that got skewed for some reason (still need to figure that out) but at least I think I got the technique down for this. 
    I created sections of hair so that it would be easier to create the look I wanted, as well as to keep the UV's separated as I wanted to break them up and not having the same texture over all of them. 

    As I had put them all on in sections in Maya, I took them into Zbrush to add some movement, volume and life to the strips (I think I can add more to this). 

    This step was also to make sure that the hair style was more closely to the concept, take the strips out from the mesh, and to make sure that all the holes in the mesh was covered. 

    Once I had that roughly done, I got a bit impatient and wanted to see how it might look with some textures done on them. I'm aware that I'm not going to be done with the hair after just a day working on it, but I just wanted to see how it looked. 
    I used @rohMizuno 's awesome Hair and Fur Generator to create some decent looking hair.


    Following his instructions I got some pretty nice hair, however it only showed on the model in certain views if using the correct shader (PBR metal rough with alpha blending) and I can't figure out why. It isn't that the strips are too thin, as there should be two layers where I have indicated with the arrow.. and there is only one. If I change the view it will show up, but some others strips will disappear. 

    I'm not sure why this is happening, and if anyone knows or have any ideas, I'm all ears :)

    Sorry for not having been able to update it more regularly, once I have internet again I'll be back on track :)

    Edit: Lee mentioned that it might be the shader in Substance Painter that might be the problem.. and to try with this one instead: PBR Alpha Dithering
  • almighty_gir
    Offline / Send Message
    almighty_gir polycounter lvl 12
    Yeah, alpha blend is something that is almost impossible to get correct in realtime rendering. It relies on all of the triangles being drawn in exactly the correct order (back to front usually, so... making sure the planes are created closer to the scalp first then moving outward) with no overlapping of triangles.

    Dithering uses alpha test (so a pixel is either on or off, no in-between), but it uses a matrix to create different densities of dots based on the alpha map. Because this technique uses alpha test, you don't need to worry about the sorting.
  • rohMizuno
    Offline / Send Message
    rohMizuno Polycount Sponsor
    yup, my solution was, if I wanted to check how the hair is looking bring it to marmoset, as he handles transparency better right now, or if you have a good rig you can just render on iray inside substance.
    glad to know my hair tutorial is being useful, also, great progress so far! :)
  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    @almighty_gir
    Thank you! That makes sense. I think I tried modelling them in order. But is that dependent on how it is loaded with the materials as well? Or in which way you are putting textures on?
    I will try it with the new shader and see if that fixes it

    @rohMizuno
    Ah right! It might work in Marmoset. Sadly it needs internet to validate my license and I am short of internet for another 3 weeks it seems =/ I'll see if I can get hold of a marmoset somewhere on the campus where I work to try it out. 
    Your hair tutorial is awesome! Definitely good work! I'd love to learn your secrets behind it ;)
    and Thank you!
  • almighty_gir
    Offline / Send Message
    almighty_gir polycounter lvl 12
    from a technical standpoint, usually the material will render vertices in the order they were created in your modeling app. when you create a mesh, the verts are given ID's (essentially a mesh is an array of verts). This array is handled in different ways by different mesh formats... if you export as a .obj file then it's literally a text file where each line handles a vertex (and therefor you can see the order), along with that verts transform matrix. other formats like .fbx, store the array slightly differently (i think it might be an array of matrices, where the array holds the transform matrix and the vert order is simply "whichever is first in the array"), but in either case, they tend to store the vertex order that was generated when you created your mesh.

    So when the renderer calls the vertex data, it simply loops through the array, and that's the order it renders in.

    Some engines, UDK for example, have the ability to reorder verts/mesh chunks dynamically... I think these are now legacy features though, as engines have moved toward dithered alpha, and are attempting to find more solid methods of true order independent transparency.
  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    Still aliiiiiive..... and still another week to go without internet for me :/ 

    For now I've left the hair until I have internet and more easily can ask people how and what to do when something doesn't work. However.. this weekend I decided to try to get as much of the retop done on her as possible.
    I am trying to aim for about a 20-25k range of polys. Thinking that if I can get her to look good, and game ready, within that, it has the potential to look really nice when I can do 40k character. Please let me know what you think on that.

    As I worked through the retop there was things that I thought I put down on my note-scibble-pictures..
    The swords I will make one set, and then duplicate them to fit the place of the other two swords. Since I'm doing the sword in two parts to be able to be swung around in an animation (might be able to get someone to rig and animate it for a portfolio piece) It has increased the polycount a little from what I was thinking before. That also goes for the head, where I was asked to include a mouthbag and topology that would make it easy/workable to animate.
    With the possible animation as well, I had to think a bit more on how to use the topology instead of just make a posable character. Which in itself is a good thing I think, as that will get me more into thinking for production than just pretty pictures. 
    I've tried to focus on keeping the silhouette, while also not making it too dense. As it is supposed to be kept in the 20-25k It took some thinking... and probably a lot of tinkering that isn't really the right topology. 
    If anyone has a better way to do it, please feel free to do a paint over! It would be much appreciated. 
    As I was working my way through it, I tried to make the skirts 'thick' by adding depth and then an inward facing row (or two) of polys. However, on the inner skirt (marked on the picture above) you can see that these have started to intersect. Lee, @almighty_gir , mentioned that I could duplicate the skirt, reverse the normals, make it a little bit smaller, and then get a thickness that way, without it intersecting too much. That would also work with the texture quite well. 
    When I was coming to do the corset and belts, we chose to keep them all in one mesh. That presented some interesting challenges trying to keep the quads and polys (yes yes.. I know triangles are allowed too =D) and it took a little while to figure out how to do without it looking too weird when rotating around it. 
    Especially around the front of the corset, I wanted to try to keep as much of the silhouette of the sculpt as possible, without making it look too flat. So it was a bit of nitpicking to make it look.. decent. I just have to remember to relax the polys somewhat to make them more evenly spaced where I can.

    As the weekend sadly ended faaar to early, this is where I'm up to in terms of assets being retopo'ed:

    The ones in the red box I have yet to do. However, the swords will technically just be a duplicate of the big sword, once I have UV'd it, so they are technically...... technically done.  They are there as a reminder. 
    I've put the polycount next to the assets if anyone is interested. it is à Maya style. so. Verts, Edges, Faces, Tris and UV's. 
    For some reason the shirt presented me a lot of trouble when it didn't allow me to modify the silhouette with QuadDraw, so I will have to go in and modify it manually to get the nice wrinkles that I've sculpted in there.
    The face Is the most heavy one at the moment, but it is following all the animation rules, by the book, so it should be possible to animate it. I also put in a makeshift mouthbag and a poor attempt at a tongue. Might have to go in and fix that before the student rigs it.  
    Should probably give her a set of teeth as well.....probably

    I also need to go in and redo the sash, as I was lazy and took the low-poly version I did when I made it, which presents a problem when it will display a flat surface on something that has a lot of wrinkles. Back to the tablet for me. 
    As she will be animated, and hopefully charging into awesome battles, I'm wondering if I should make the arms a bit longer, up towards the elbow, so that it would be displaying a weird-floating-hands-syndrome should she get in a flurry...

    As always, any thoughts, paintovers, tips and tricks, are fully appreciated!
  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    So, fully retopped now. And with the hair at a whopping 8k polys... The full character is 23.3K. I will change the loops on the face a little, as I got some feedback from a film modeller who gave me a better edgeflow.. so the polycount might go down a bit! :open_mouth: However.. Since there's some discrepancies between the density of the upper and the lower body, I will see if I can even those out a bit. But it looks as the character will be a nice 25K polys.
  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    Without the hair, the character is now at 15k, and I got some feedback on the hair to make it less than 8k. OR at least to utilise it better ;) Will post a pic of current retop, and then I'm off to UVing the char. I took the face down in count from 3,5k to 2,5k, but think I ended up messing up some of the loops instead :sweat:
  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    I think I technically should straighten up the lines on the corset, but Maya is not really playing ball with me at the moment... I'm currently trying to work out some nice hairplanes in Zbrush instead, and so far the hair count is a bit lower than before. At least it looks better than before I think :)
    Here's a breakdown of my current retop:


  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    :open_mouth:
    realised I hadn't posted a full body pic of her how she kinda looks now (minus the hair as I'm redoing that)


  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    Maya obviously is not on my good side atm. It just does not want to play ball with me... It has decided to mess up all the UVs for some reason, and I cannot figure out how or why. I've lost about a week's worth of work at the moment and I'm trying to figure out what's causing it so that I can get on with work instead of just redoing and redoing the work :( No matter how much I actually do enjoy topology.... redoing that AND UVs... is just a little bit too much :P
  • Elithenia
    Offline / Send Message
    Elithenia polycounter lvl 2
    So quick little update:

    Working on the hair at the moment when I get home from work. Redid it from scratch (a few times since... urgh.. UVs and my maya doesn't mix well).
    Still basic, but at least got the base down =)

1
Sign In or Register to comment.