Astronaut Character

polycounter lvl 7
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PogoP polycounter lvl 7
Hey guys,

For one of my final modules this semester, we have to make a customisable character within UT3. Now, I'm not a character artist so I would really appreciate some feedback on this character!

I decided to make an astronaut character as I can easily add a helmet as an extra mesh (more marks for customisation!), and perhaps add labels onto the suit as extra parts.

Sorry that this is just a big wall of text/images, I meant to make it earlier but I completely forgot. So I guess I'm looking more for feedback on topology and texturing as it comes together.

Firstly, here's some shots of the piece from concept to base mesh, to high poly to low poly.

Here's my initial reference:

Nicholas_J._M._Patrick.jpg

And a quick character mockup (I'm no 2D concepter either! :D):

character_concept_finished2_fixed.jpg

So I made a quick base mesh for Zbrush, keeping it really simple with essential topology to ward away any naughty pinching!

character_blockout3.jpg

And started sculpting in Zbrush:

character_zbrush_5.jpg

character_zbrush_5_boots.jpg

character_head_3.jpg

And here's the current stage of the head and torso retopology:

character_normal_map3.jpg

Would love to get some feedback, let me know if you see anything that could be better and improved in any way.

Thanks for reading!

Replies

  • eedobaba7726
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    eedobaba7726 polycounter lvl 6
    The wrinkles on the suit may be a bit overdone, but the form of them looks great. This looks like a great start.
  • PogoP
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    PogoP polycounter lvl 7
    Yeah I agree about the wrinkles on the suit. I had just found out how to do them in Zbrush and went overboard! Only done a few sculpts in Zbrush, and my last one was about a year ago.

    I'm currently re-topoologizing the arms, legs and boots and unwrapping them. Will hopefully have an updated shot tonight.
  • Mike Yevin
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    Mike Yevin polycounter lvl 7
    i think your missing a lot of that iconic "puffy-ness" that is associated with astronaut suits, right now the material looks like it is quite thin and its far too tight around the body of your character. the folds are actually not that bad, but they are way too intense, i would try and smooth them out a bit.
  • greevar
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    greevar polycounter lvl 6
    Mike Yevin wrote: »
    i think your missing a lot of that iconic "puffy-ness" that is associated with astronaut suits, right now the material looks like it is quite thin and its far too tight around the body of your character. the folds are actually not that bad, but they are way too intense, i would try and smooth them out a bit.

    You're confusing this flight suit with the EVA suits they use for space walks. This suit is intended to be worn at launch whereas the pressurized suit is used in the vacuum of space.
  • PogoP
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    PogoP polycounter lvl 7
    Yeah this suit is quite baggy and isn't usually inflated.

    This low poly took a lot longer than planned, but for a second attempt it turned out quite nicely. Need to test deformation next when I rig it to the Unreal rig. Wish me luck!

    character_normal_map_final.jpg

    character_normal_map_final_wires.jpg

    character_normal_map_final_2.jpg
  • Mike Yevin
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    Mike Yevin polycounter lvl 7
    i feel like you could get rid of the holes cut into the mesh and let the normal map do that work for you, as it sits now they are wasted essentially. the bake came our pretty damn good though nice job
  • chrisradsby
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    chrisradsby polycounter lvl 7
    I don't know, it's just a first glance for me but he looks really awkward in his regular T-pose. Might be better once rigged though, bake looks good, some normalmap issues at the bottom of the shoes maybe. Looking forward to seeing a diffuse texture on this bad boy.
  • PogoP
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    PogoP polycounter lvl 7
    Thanks guys.

    Mike - you're right, I will look at removing those before I skin it any further.

    Chris - Yeah he does look really awkward. It's the UT3 rig, we had to model around it. I've tested it in-engine quickly and it looks fine in UT3.
  • Skillmister
    Looking sweet so far. Any tips for doing the stitches/zipper, i want some on my character when i get round to clothes.
  • PogoP
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    PogoP polycounter lvl 7
    Skillmister - I just used a zip alpha that I found in the Pixologic alpha library for the zippers. For the stitching, I made a few custom stitch alphas (single stitch, double stitch, stitch with seam etc) and used the stitch tool in zbrush (I believe it's called the stitch tool, don't have it open atm).

    Here's an update on the texture. Need to paint the character's head and neck next.

    character_diffuse_full_nohelm.jpg

    character_diffuse.jpg

    character_diffuse_boots.jpg

    character_diffuse_crotch.jpg

    And here it is in UT3. Looks fine in the character selection screen....

    character_ut3test_5.jpg

    But looks awful in-game:

    character_ut3test_4.jpg

    Not sure what's causing those horrible seams. UT3 splits its meshes up into arms/legs/torso etc for customisation, but it means you get these seams. But I didn't think the seam would be that ugly! I've tried inverting the green channel of my normal map, to no avail. Any ideas guys?
  • nfrrtycmplx
    make sure your green channel is inverted. Unreal uses +x -y +z when reading the normal map data...

    go to your green channel in photoshop (of the normal map) and make sure it looks like the light is coming from the bottom of the image. If it looks like it's coming from the top, then go to image -> adjustments -> invert or ctrl+i...
  • PogoP
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    PogoP polycounter lvl 7
    I did say I had tried that, but I will double check anyway. Thanks.

    Worked on the character's skin a little today.. It's still very WIP, just wanted to post a shot before I go to bed.

    character_diffuse_head.jpg
  • nfrrtycmplx
    shit, sorry... missed that part.

    are you seperating the mesh before baking the normals? or are you baking the suite with one smooth group?
  • Jaco
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    Jaco polycounter lvl 10
    He's looking a bit bug eyed at the moment. Compare the eyes to the ref in your first post, and you'll notice that a lot of the iris is actually covered by the the lids, especially the upper half.
  • HAL
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    HAL polycounter lvl 8
    PogoP wrote: »
    But looks awful in-game:

    character_ut3test_4.jpg

    Not sure what's causing those horrible seams. UT3 splits its meshes up into arms/legs/torso etc for customisation, but it means you get these seams. But I didn't think the seam would be that ugly! I've tried inverting the green channel of my normal map, to no avail. Any ideas guys?

    You need to make sure that your uv matches exaclty the uv layout which ut3 requires for the parts, when you look at the textures of other characters you might notice that they all have the same layout. If you dont do that, it will look like the example you have there.

    this should cover it.

    [ame]
  • PogoP
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    PogoP polycounter lvl 7
    All my UVs are all in those specific sections already. I think it's just a result of having hard edges and a UV split along the sections.. Though I don't understand how UT3 is lighting it so badly.. How can it be completely bright on one section, yet dark on a different vertice in the exact same location?

    Worked a little more on the face. Need to work more on the eyebrows!

    Thanks for all the help guys, hopefully I can get this problem sorted soon.

    character_diffuse_head2.jpg
  • HAL
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    HAL polycounter lvl 8
    Hmmm as expected.

    Did you create a custom material for your mesh?

    IIRC from my experiments with ut3 you need to use one of the existing materials of one of the factions for your mesh, otherwise it wont display properly ingame but will display properly in the character selection screen.

    This corresponds with what pior wrote here: http://www.pioroberson.com/tuts/tut_ut3_custom_head_model.htm
  • PogoP
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    PogoP polycounter lvl 7
    I'm using a material instance of an existing material, I believe it is one of the CH_Ironguard ones or one of the base human materials.

    I did find out that I was having some rigging issues around the seams, but I fixed those and it's still badly lit. I'm awful at rigging, I don't think I'm doing it properly. Manually assigning each vertice took ages, I'm sure you're supposed to just re-size the envelopes.. Don't know why I didn't explore that.
  • PogoP
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    PogoP polycounter lvl 7
    Ahah! Somehow I managed to get it fixed. I spent all morning checking the weighting on all the vertices along the seams and it seems to have gone away. There is still a small Z-fighting issue but that's unavoidable really.

    I also checked all my textures settings in the editor, and some of them were set to different compresion types for their textures (a diffuse texture had a normal map compression texture etc). Also, I upped the LOD for the normal map from 0 to 2, it seems to be showing the normals a little better now.

    character_ut3test_6.jpg

    character_ut3test_6b.jpg
  • PogoP
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    PogoP polycounter lvl 7
    Posed the character tonight for portfolio purposes.

    It's not going to be a main piece on my portfolio as I want to be a character artist, but I do want to show my understanding of game art and all the different elements, so I'm going to put it in my 'miscellaneous work' section on my 'folio.

    character_diffuse_full_posed.jpg
  • nfrrtycmplx
    his face needs quite a bit of work still bro. and his helmet is a bit low poly.

    he's also missing patches buttons insignia and the rediculously large zipper

    his helmet looks like a block of metal too.. is that supposed to be glass?

    might also be good to make his gloves a different color to distinguish it as a seperate element from the suite.

    perhaps consider making the zippers black as well to pop them out a bit more...

    just some suggestions. sorry if this seems short too, i've had vodka.
  • PogoP
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    PogoP polycounter lvl 7
    Thanks for the crits, I tried to fix most of the stuff you mentioned. The helmet now has a better specular and actually looks like glass rather than some sort of shiny marble material.

    You can download and try it here if you like. The installation and how to play steps are all included in the zip file:

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/7557268/Adv%20Modelling%20in%20Games%20Eng/NASA.zip
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