NEXT Girl (Serge Birault Concept) WIP

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dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
Hey guys! I recently saw a character doodle by Serge Birault, and I really wanted to try my hand at making it a real-time character. 



I'm still finessing the base mesh a bit, but I'm excited to work on the face and just try and push the style in general. It's my first attempt working on a human character with this kind of anatomy and proportions, so any thoughts or advice would be welcome. 




It's still in the early stages, but I'll try to update whenever I hit some landmarks. 

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  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Did some minor adjustments on the head and the angle of the head. Still want to put some good attention towards the mouth and eyes. Did a pass on the hair, and added the glasses in as well. 





    Included a view without the glasses in case I need to go back and mess with some of the head / face anatomy later on.
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Bit of time since my last update. Mostly worked more on the face and tried to better match the style. Finishing up the jacket and shirt for the sculpt.




    I'll see if I can push the head a little closer to Serge's concept after I've finished the rest of the clothing. I also think I'll be going back at the end and replacing the hair with Dylan Ekren's Hairbrush to give it a better look. 
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Still gotta make the sword and sheath, but I'm getting closer to finishing up the sculpt otherwise. Also still planning on doing the hair with Dylan Ekren's Brush, but that'll also be at the end (I think).


  • lotet
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    lotet ngon master
    ooh, this is looking pretty cool, following this for sure. I feel her upper body is looking very stretched out though, maybe move the hips up a bit more would help.

  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Oh wow that really does make a huge difference, @lotet! Thanks for the paint-over. I'll be sure to bring her hips up to shrink the midsection for the next update.
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Back at the Next girl after working on the previous ArtStation Challenge, and I think I'm getting close to finishing the high poly! Besides the proportion fixes (thanks again to @lotet for the paintover advice), I've worked on the sword and travel-worn sheath on her back. I originally had a lot more stickers cluttered on the backside, but it was too chaotic and busy so I've tried to find a middle ground. I have a rough idea on what I want to add for those back stickers, but if anyone feels like it could use some more (or less) in terms of whats back there, I'm open to thoughts and suggestions (trying to match the feel and detail from what stickers are shown in the front of the concept). 






    Moving forward I'll need to add her hair ties for her pig tails, and go in and work on the hair to finalize that look. I'm still happy to hear any thoughts or critiques and would love to hear your suggestions in the meantime! 
  • lotet
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    lotet ngon master
    hey! nice to see your working in this again :)
  • Piffles
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    Piffles polycounter lvl 3
    This is so good! I think you're capturing the concept quite well. Her arms do feel a bit long. I think shortening the torso might have contributed to that. 
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Thanks, @Piffles! I'm glad to hear that I'm on the right track. I'll try shortening the arms a bit for the next update and see if I can better balance their length. Thanks for the suggestion
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Here we go with another update! I've shortened her arms slightly, and I think I'm going to start in on the tattoos before moving on from the high poly. Since the last update I've: redone her hair, changed one of her bandages around, added her hair ribbon things, and added the wrap to her shoulder. Would love to hear from you guys if there's anything I can improve on from here!

     



  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Small Update: I've been working on the material ID setup and tattoos. Originally I was planning on polypainting the final version of the tattoos, but I think I feel like I have more control and can work faster / cleaner in Photoshop after I get the UVs and start in on my bakes. I'm excited to be moving into the retopo, so I'll be sure to post updates once I've made some more progress.


  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Low poly topology is underway! I'm not 100% on those knees, but it was getting a little too dense near the ankles. I'm planning on doing a jacket-less version as well as a swordless version just to get the most mileage out of the character. Still need to finish the hair and boots before bringing out more accessories, but I'll try to keep it less dense wherever possible. Any thoughts or suggestions in the meantime would be really appreciated!



  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Fixed the knees and finished up with the character (minus the sword and sheath). Will start unwrapping once I got her weapons retopoed, and would be happy to hear any thoughts or suggestions in the meantime. Just made it under 30k with 29885 tris!




  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    I've just finished with the first pass on baking things down and put everything together in Toolbag. It was my first time baking things down in TB3, and I gotta say I'm liking it. I did have to re-baking the AO in xNormals, but everything else seemed way faster and cleaner. Got a basic setup for the textures but I haven't jumped into Substance Painter yet. I think I'll do tattoos > skin > gear and everything else.


    The hair baked turned out way better than I expected it to. I gotta try and push this one to look snazzy so any C&C is super welcome.
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Getting through those tattoos is proving to be really fun but super challenging. I'm at a point where I'm kinda satisfied with the line work but haven't decided how to color them in yet. I'm also not sold on the designs but I just kinda sketched things out (or looked up previous works by Serge for inspiration) when trying to come up with their design. Whatever I could clearly identify from the concept I tried to include in the texture. Do these work? I'm really open for any thoughts or critiques on the design and would love some input. 




    It's a little easier to see what's going on from the texture map:


    Do I have too many vine designs (now known as devines) going on? Up next, I'll be working on a way to color in the tattoos and make it look natural, as well as starting in on the skin texture and basic materials for the rest of her gear.
  • lotet
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    lotet ngon master
    Personally I think the tattoos look great, and the overall look is more important then the individual designs.

    with that said, I feel the concept had a more scribbley hand-made style to the tattoos, but I might be reading into the overall messy rendering style of the concept.

    also, Serge never seem to color his tattoos, except in this example, so maybe go for something like that if you want the colors?

    what software are you texturing in btw?
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Thanks, @lotet ! Yeah ideally I'd like to capture more of the scribbley feel from the concepts but it's been really difficult for me to just let loose on those tattoos (mostly in the arms). I might do a second messy pass to see if I can get it rougher looking and try not to make it look like chaotic hair or something.

    You're right on about the tattoo colors though (and somehow I missed that) so I think if I do use colors I'll definitely have them looking more muted like that example you mentioned. For most of the color palette I'm looking at this apocalypse girl and I think it's the only other tattooed character that has some of them colored in. 

    I started things off in Photoshop but 90% of the texture work will be in Substance Painter. From there I'll be lighting and presenting everything in Marmoset Toolbag 3. 
  • Svartberg
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    Svartberg polycounter lvl 2
    Man, This is looking oustanding. Subbed for sure. Very clean maps and cool devines.
    I'd take a look at the left shoulder tattoo. Right now the knotwork is considerably more inticate than on the rest of the tattoos and it creates a noisy feel to it. 
    There's a little noticeable scalloping on the shorts. This is easily fixable if you add a bevel along the seam edge or just tweak the cage for the bake. 
    Wristbands seem to look good in this regard. You can probably do to shorts what you did there and It'll look great.
    Also, If you're going to do some bake cleanups, maybe add a little curvature to the tanktop straps



    Also, you may probably have seen that, but just in case you didn't, here's a great breakdown  that Vincent Ménier did for his Howler Bust not too long ago.
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Oh man, great catch on those seams @Svartberg! I'll go back to the bake immediately and see if I can fix it there. I had seen Vincent's Howler Bust previously, but I had completely forgotten about his tattoo setup until you mentioned that, so I'll definitely try that technique for these tattoos. 

    I'll see if I can't remove some of that noise and excess detail from the left shoulder vines to help it blend, and thanks for the great input! 
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Finally put together a first color pass. Since that last update I changed the upper arm vine line art (...vineart?) to look less busy and a little more like a decal. I still haven't done anything else with the tattoos, but I'll probably do another pass at them for the next update. At this point I've put the most time and attention towards her skin. 





    So everything is still super basic / in-progress with the colors, roughness, etc. I still need to add her eyeliner and lipstick, and I haven't touched her nails yet. I might going towards colors that are too monotone or dark, but I'll see if some subtle color changes can help. Any thoughts or advice with the color pallet would be super appreciated! Texturing is something I desperately need to work on, so please feel free to be blunt or direct if you anything looks off.
  • Gallows
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    Gallows polycounter lvl 7
    Pretty darn blown away with the detail. Also if you're still thinking about taking another pass on the tattoos, I'd just hand trace the current designs with a brush that makes a dirtier line. A lot of home tattoos have a really "deep/blown out" look. If you get close to the linework, it looks like it's bleeding underneath the skin a bit. Also If you check out the right arm, I think simple black and gray shading will make this thing pop a little more, as well as keep you from straying from a more monotone color palette, of which I'm definitely a fan of.






    Example of blow out and bleeding underneath the skin. Also a great look into tattoo linework. Generally something like this is applied with a liner, which is just a tight grouping of tiny needles. 
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Thanks @Gallows, that's an excellent idea! I'll definitely do another tattoo pass and try to add some edge bleeding on the line work. I agree with both you and @lotet on the monotone / colorless suggestion for the tattoos. I still might try having certain areas with very faded splashes of color, but I'll definitely take a step back if it's not working together with the rest of the look. 
  • jose.fuentes
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    jose.fuentes polycounter lvl 3
    this is awesome

    one more thing, as a person with a lot of tattoos,  they tend to be blueish as supposed to black
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Thanks, @jose.fuentes! That's really helpful to know. I'll change things up to have them with a bit more of a blue feel.
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Alright it's update time! With this texture pass I was able to take a few steps forward with the materials and the tattoos. I wanted to fix some of the colors that I wasn't feeling, improve on the tattoos and make them look more like tattoos, and develop some of the materials a little more (mostly the skin). I attempted to paint in some of her makeup on, but I'm sure I'll be doing at least one other pass to improve things. The base colors are pretty set and around 70% of the materials are working as intended. Still gotta fix a few things up before getting into the details of the gear and accessories.




    Here are some current stills for this pass:



    The line art for the tattoos more blue instead of black, and tried to mimic a bleed effect with some blurring and different layer copies / effects. I tried soft colors on the tattoos but it stood out in the wrong way, so I stuck with monochromatic colors after all.

    Everything is still very much a W.I.P. so if you see something that looks off or is standing out, please let me know. 
  • lotet
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    lotet ngon master
    Looks like a solid start! would love to see some more color variation and saturation in there though.
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Thanks, man! Yeah I'll definitely bring up the saturation on the gear and some of the parts. I'll try out a few different color variations for the next update and see what's working and what isn't. Thanks for the advice!
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Updated texture pass! I tried to bring up the values and saturation on her gear, and I'm mostly finished with the skin (hopefully she looks a little less dead) and hair now. To try and mix things up I wanted to see how she might look with some different colors, so I threw together a few alternative options together. Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome, since I'm still indecisive on her overall color palette. 






    I think most of the parts from Option A are still working out the best for the character in the concept, but I might change a few things here or there. 

    I might need to blend those sticker values in so they aren't popping as much. I haven't changed most of their roughness maps, so I'll also include that for the next update. Once I've finalized on her colors, I'll get into the details and add the blood on the sword, etc. An animator friend of mine is currently working out a rig for her, so I'll be glad to get her out of that A-pose as soon as that's finished. Any and all advice and critiques in the meantime are super appreciated!

    I might have burned out a little on this over this last week, so I'm going to give myself a bit of time on a new project to recover my creative juices. I should be good working towards new updates by next week though (I think).
  • lotet
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    lotet ngon master
    I want to give a more in depth crit on this, but I dont really have the time :( overall I think its looking really good, and I think you should go with the original color scheme, and the tatoos are turning out really good  as well.

    small crit would be the hair which looks very matte, Id try getting some anisotropic specular highlights in there.
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Thank's @lotet! You've been incredibly helpful with giving me regular feedback and I'm super appreciative of your crits and suggestions you've provided me with, so thank you again for all of that. I agree with you on option A, and I'll definitely try to pump up some of the anisotropic specular highlights for the hair.

    I tried playing around with the Anisotropic sliders in Marmoset previously, and maybe it was because of how I unwrapped the hair or something, but it was giving me some weird seams with the highlights. I'll try messing around with it some more though to get that good highlight. 
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    More updates to the textures, and also tested out some lighting setups in Toolbag 3. I'm feeling pretty set with the color palette now, but I still want to touch up the stickers and mess with some of the reflective surfaces. C&C is always welcome and appreciated.



  • lotet
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    lotet ngon master
    The second lighting set up is looking really nice! the shapes are really popping and the hair is looking much better as well.

    could you post a screenshot of your Diffuse texture only? I get the feeling you have a little bit to much baked lighting going on, especially in the skin.
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Thanks @lotet! You brought up a good point. I probably got a little carried away with getting some of the values to read (and not factoring in much of a lighting setup until now).

    Here's how the unlit diffuse looks on the model.


    Here's the diffuse texture for the skin and hair.

    Here's the same for the gear and clothing.


    Right out of the gate I can see that I've overdone it with the arms and neck having too much of the shadows and highlights showing up. I included a layer with the occlusion map being blended into the diffuse, but I can definitely tone that down. Are there some other areas that look like they're really standing out?
  • lotet
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    lotet ngon master
    Yeah, the skin is definitely over-shaded, I think the AO is fine, but the overall issue is to much lighting information.

    the secret for stylized skin is its really soft, so instead of adding lighting to add interest, use gradients and colour variations, like darker gradients on the hands, elbows, nose, ears, and maybe some reds or blues for the eyes as well.

    I made a paintover gif showing kinda what I mean.

  • Michael Knubben
    I love the general look of the model, but I think you've definitely overdone it with the lighting. Almost everything blooms into white, making especially the skin look like an ashy, dry material. You'd want some saturation on the edge between light and shadow, too.
    Her legs are also seemingly an entirely different colour to the rest of her.
  • Larry
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    Larry polygon
    The model looks really nice! Can i ask a personal favor? Please put some shaved / gray hair on the sides of her head xD unless she is wearing a tupè :P
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    @lotet: thanks for the paintover! That'll help me out a ton with this. I tried to create some color zones in the face early on but judging by my current diffuse map I made them way too transparent, because I've lost them entirely. It's great to hear tips on making stylized textures (and texturing in general) and I'll make sure to go back and fix the stuff you pointed out. I really appreciate all the help along the way!

    @Michael Knubben: thank you! Things really did get away from me with the lighting and textures. I should have stepped back and thought out a better approach for some of those materials sooner. I'll try and find a better balance with those textures and see if I can improve on it. I appreciate the advice!
    For the legs I tried to make it look like they were covered in both nylon tights and torn leggings (just going off of the values from the concept), so I'll try to make those look more like a nylon material to see if that can help with the read.

    @Larry: thanks! Damn I should have made that easier to see! I didn't know if I should have super noticeable shaved hairs on there, since I thought it would throw everything off with the rest of the character being stylized. I currently have some very tiny dots (almost like noise) on the diffuse and the roughness to indicate the shaved head, but it's impossible to see from a distance so I'll try to make that more visible. A dyed pink toupee might not have the "punk" feel that I'm after, but that could make for an interesting character!
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Skin, shaved hair, and tights update time! Thank you guys a ton for the previous suggestions. I'm hoping that I'm moving in the right direction now, but if anything else is standing out I would happy to try and fix it. I put some GIFs together to help me figure out how I approach certain fixes, as well as what I can try to avoid in future projects (also that paint over was a huge help, @lotet) . If you think that certain steps in the process look better than the final result please let me know and I can make changes accordingly. 



    Making a GIF of the hair is forcing me to use GIFVs on imgur, so I'll just post the updated and current version of the shaved hair.


    Here's the full body shot with the same lighting as before (second lighting setup). 


    Are there other textures that I should try and change? At this point I was going to focus on wearing down or scratching up some of the luggage stickers, but otherwise would be moving forward on the lighting and doing just a once over pass on the rest of the model. I'm finding that I really enjoy texture work like this, but damn if it's not difficult for me to wrap my head around sometimes. 
  • Michael Knubben
    Much better on both skin and nylons!
    You've gone a little overboard on the saturation though, as now her lower belly and forearms do read as being quite sunburned. Take it down a notch on those areas, and it'll be great.
  • lotet
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    lotet ngon master
    Much better! gonna agree with @Michael Knubben  for the skin.

    as for the nylon legs I like the dots personally.
    I noticed something from your closeup with the hair as well, Id try to get a proper hair-line in there, just a quick example.


    I also noted you have quite strong cavity and convexity map going on as well. Id tone it down just a bit If I where you, but most importantly blur it out so its not as obvious in the close ups.

    another cool thing you can do is have a little bit of the curvature in the roughness map, so the convexity is a bit shinier and the cavity very rough. that way it helps the shapes pop, but you dont need to have as much of it in the albedo.


  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    @Michael Knubben and @lotet, thank you guys for the suggestions! I'll lower the saturation on the more extreme parts of the gradient to try and make her look less sun-burnt, and fix up the hairline on the sides of the head.

    I'll see if I can bring some of those tiny dots back and try to combine them with the current tights to see if that reads properly. I probably went overboard with the curvature maps like you mentioned, so I'll try dialing it back a bit and add in a slight blur. Does this mostly apply to the skin or would I want to implement that on all the gear? I can try both methods and see what looks better. Thank you guys again for the great advice! I'll get to making some fixes ASAP!
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Just a mini-update today, but I feel I was able to take care of some of what was mentioned. I brought back the dots to the tights but made them really understated, and attempted to fix up that hair with a proper hairline / blending. I balanced out the saturation in the lower arms and belly (and slightly with the cheeks), and adjusted the albedo and the roughness maps with the help of the curvature maps (I hope that's reading better than before), and added some subtle wear and tear on the stickers on the sheath.






    I think my next hurdle will be adding the blood splatter on the sword and getting her all posed up. From there I'll be changing up the lighting and put her on a platform of some kind. I'm always willing to hear new thoughts and critiques if something needs further attention (or if I need to take a few steps back to fix up some of the textures), and I'll keep trying to improve on things as I move forward with the last lap of the project. Thanks again for all the help and critiques up to now!
  • lotet
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    lotet ngon master
    Looking good! I still think you could have less curvature shading in the hair, maybe ad some gradients there to compensate? have you tried getting an anisotropic shader for the hair btw?
  • dGreenberg
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    dGreenberg polycounter lvl 2
    Thanks, @lotet! I'll dial back the curvature playing into the albedo in the hair and try and compensate for it more with the roughness. I'll try adding a gradient as well (better to do too much than not enough, right?). I haven't tried much with the anisotropic shader for the hair yet; I've only played around with the options inside Toolbag 3 without any map plugins (and just experimenting a little with the sliders), so I'll try and get a little anisotropic research done and see if I can bring that in with the next update. 
  • Tul_
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    Tul_ polycounter lvl 3
    Looking amazing with all the updates ! 
  • Gabriel Fernandez
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    Gabriel Fernandez polycounter lvl 3
    Really good work on that! 
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