Sharp Edge (a game character)

polycounter lvl 3
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jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
Hey guys,

I've been meaning to create a proper game character for a long time. I did a couple of them in the past years but if I look at them now, they both look like crap. So I feel like making a new one in order to really show off my current skill set and learn some new stuff as well.

So, here it goes:




A little bit of background:
The main idea is that she has been trained for self defence since she was a kid. She is going to be carrying a knife (hence, the title of this thread).
So, despite being rather innocent looking, she is actually a very skilled fighter and can totally be lethal if she has to.
She spend her life in a rural environment. So, she regularly deals with a lot of mud and rain and rocks.

At this stage I'm still concepting around... The clothing itself is mostly just me testing the MD to ZBrush workflow. I might very well go back to the drawing board multiple times (I already did actually).
I'm planning on taking several months for this project and push it as far as I can during my free time. 
You guys feel free to throw any tip or critique in my direction. Updates might not always be regular because of my job getting in the way but I'll try my best to at least answer your comments. :)

Cheers!

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  • Skinner3D
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    Skinner3D triangle
    I would be curious to see parts of your drawing board. That backstory could be worked into the clothing or items really easy. I think moreso you need to think about where in the game she would fit. A rural farmgirl look would fit your description, but may or may not work as a lead character in a game. Are you designing a lead character or a 'NPC'?
  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero greentooth
    Even there are females with this body type - massive shoulders and hip to waist ratio close to 1 , its called boyish/cornet for a reason . Few curves could help bring back her femininity
    Upper arm looks too long to me
    I would suggest doing one more round on her anatomy then think about cloths ,as currently they are form fitting ,so if you have good base cloths will make themself
    She have interesting nose , if you look for references Imogen Poots have similar


  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    @Skinner3D
    Thank you for stopping by! She would be the lead character. The kind of game I'm thinking of is a third person action adventure.
    If this was an adventure game, she would probably be traversing some ground. For that reason I was looking for hiking boots references. The general look I'm aiming for is pretty casual and low profile. I don't want her to stand out as the single most stylish character in her universe.
    Prior to whatever event triggered her avdenture, she might have been a farmer and/or a hunter. That's pretty much up in the air at this point.

    @carvuliero
    Thank you for your comment!
    Yea, I agree with you about the shoulders. I was about to shrink them already but I thought they kind of fit her background story. So I left them alone for now. But since you're pointing that out, I think I'll make them more feminine. Also you're right about the length of the arms. Thank you for pointing that out.

    About the lower body, it was actually more round and meaty before. I toned that down because I felt like it was more appropriate for the kind of character I'm going for.
    After that, I took a couple of measurements inside of MD and the results are waist=62 / hip=86 cm so that sounds feminine enough to me.
    She doesn't need to be a sexy character anyway. We already have plenty of them. :)

    Here a comparison on how the body was looking a few days back versus today:


    About the nose, it's always one of my favourite body parts to sculpt. I always have some fun with that. :D
    You gave me a cool reference there! Another one that is kind of similar is Bryce Dallas howard's. Of course I'm not going for any likeness but if I had to take only one specific nose as reference that would probably be hers.

    So, next thing, fix the shoulders and arm length.
    Thank you guys again! See you in the next update. :)



  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    New shoulders:
    I tuned down the volume of trapezoid and deltoids. They still look like "healthy" shoulders, which I think is right for her. But compared to how massive they were before, I think they look much more balanced now.


    This is how they used to look before for comparison. The arms are also a bit shorter now.

  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    Last night I've been up all night and pulled out this nice raincoat. It was fun! :D

  • Skinner3D
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    Skinner3D triangle
    That is a lot of wrinkles lol.
  • Rob Samuel
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    Rob Samuel polycounter lvl 2
    This is looking nice! I feel like the upper arms look like they're inserting into the shoulder a couple of inches too low, if that makes sense.
  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    @Skinner3D
    Are you thinking "good luck with making that mess look good with realtime constraints"? :D 

    @Rob Samuel
    Thank you! I'm not sure what wou mean in regard to the shoulders. Could you elaborate further?

    Lately I've been researching survival knives and sheaths.
    I wanted to share with you some of the thoughts that went through my mind while doing so and maybe get some feedback from the community.
    So, my first concern is where to place the sheath. At first I considered making her wear the sheath horizontaly behind her belt. That sounded practical and cool looking at first but I was rather quick to discard the idea since it would only work with short garnments. A raincoat such as the one I'm testing now would be out of discussion. Not to mention it would be unnecessarely painful for her sliding or getting knocked on the ground. So I did not even bother trying that one out.
    I sketched out some other ideas:
    The first one is a super simple sheath hanging from the belt. It's very common and practical but obviously it still has the issue of the clothing getting in the way. It would be a huge problem to rig and animate convincingly. Some may argue that I might just design the clothing based on sheath placement. But I'd rather do the other way around. Plus, based on the idea that this might be a story driven game, she might have to wear many different outfits. So just designing an outfit that fits this kind of sheath placement would not go far enough and would cost me the freedom to give her any coat that goes below the belt.


    To solve the previous problem, my first impulse would be to make the sheath hang much lower. Meaning, it would flap around like crazy if not secured with an extra strap.
    Although we are used to see this kind of stuff everywhere in movies and videogames, I think that has more to do with look than practical use. To me, it just feels more eccentric.


    So the next iteration would be to hang the sheath upside down. Allegedly this is a rather common practice, the handle of the knife would easely stay exposed, making it practical without the need for it to go any lower than it needs.
    So far, this is probably my favourite option.


    I also thought that I could attach the sheath directly to a backpack strap (provided that she'll be carrying one with her).
    It looks very much practical and may also look cool!
    My main concern with this design is that I feel like the sheath needs to be it's own thing. Making it part of something else would undermine it's importance. Some may argue that I could just give her a chest sheath that she keeps under the coat. But again, the clothing would be in the way. Plus, she could not even think about closing up the zipper (left alone me rigging such thing).
    It also feels so much more aggressive to me...


    So, those are my thoughts for now. If you guys have any suggestion, I'm listening. Otherwise, I think I'll just develope option 3 more.

    Cheers!
  • Skinner3D
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    Skinner3D triangle
    Double strap thigh sheath is common and doesn't seem like it would mess with any clothes too much. 
    Backpack strap would mess with everything she wears lol
    Wrinkles are a pain in the butt to do and you go do something that has lots of very specific types of wrinkles
  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    @Skinner3D
    yep, I'm still considering a solution like the one you mentioned. Especlially because I realised that the upside down sheath would bring it's fair share of animation problems.
    Speaking of wrinkles, I expect this project to be challanging. That's for sure. Is there a specific problem that you foresee with such kind of detail? I'm asking just to make sure that I'm indeed keeping every problem in mind before facing it.
  • Skinner3D
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    Skinner3D triangle
    :D nothing nearly as long sighted as that. It was purely an on the spot thought. Statement of fact rather than anything else. Lol.
  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    Lol. Ok, I understand. It's going to be interesting to say the least. I've got a lot of stuff in mind. We'll see how that's going to work out.

    Knife design:
    I think I've done enough research on survival knives to design one beliveable enough. It should be appropriate for the kind of environment and situations that she may face.
    If any knife enthusiast out there feels like giving me feedbacks, that would be much appreciated. :)




  • Skinner3D
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    Skinner3D triangle
    I feel like it needs to have some amount of a serrated edge somewhere. That might possibly be because I like serrated edges. It does seem useful to have some part of the knife that can stand up to a lot of punishment without worrying about dulling as much.
  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    Yes, I thought so too about serrations before starting my researches. But apparently, according to some, they don't really do that much good and, although they dont get dull easely, they are super hard to sharpen. Some people love them for slicing, some other think they are just a pain in the butt and a sharp plain edge can cut through tough materials just as easely as a serrated one.

    So my take on this is that this specific character would not care for serrations just for the sake of looking cool. She likes simple and effective stuff with no extra bells and whistles.
  • Skinner3D
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    Skinner3D triangle
    So much research  :D :D ;) I wish more people did this much before going into a project.
  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    Back from some work I had to do in the weekend. One has to pay the rent after all...

    @Skinner3D
    I agree. Not only the art has a lot to benefit from a little bit of research; also one can learn a lot from doing it!
    For an instance, I've just learnt how kydex sheaths are made! :)


    In the end I changed my mind about the upside down solution because that would imply some problems with the draw animation itself.
    I think I'll go with this solution instead.
  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    Small update:
    I'm just starting to better define the belt and the sheath straps...
  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    Today I made a super quick rig test in order to get a better idea of how is the sheath going to look in motion and which hinge points do I need to model.
    Plus, I want to know how much of the rig will have to be computed in realtime by the engine.


    I'm not too happy about how the vertical strap is clearly stretchy. That's especially apparent in the side-to-side motion.
    I'm planning on making another test tomorrow letting the sheath slide up and down a bit. Hopefully, this will give the vertical strap a stiffer look...

  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    Ok, it doesn't look as stretchy anymore.
    I had to do a quick normal bake in order to see how the sliding effect would look on top of the thigh details.

  • Skinner3D
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    Skinner3D triangle
    For game purposes I think that is probably the best you are going to get. In real life that sliding would bug the crap out of me.
  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    Yea, I guess it wouldn't be too pleasant having that thing scraping your leg all day. But at least it's only an issue in the side to side motion. In a more common front to back motion it's not going to be sliding that much.
    I guess the only choice I have is to reconsider the upside-down solution once again. I'm predicting that would constrain the look of the draw animation since the distance between her shoulder and the full drawn handle is longer than the length of her arms. Meaning, she would either have to bend her legs or her spine a bit in order to draw. She couldn't draw while keeping a straight posture unless she pulled the handle in some direction other than down.
    That would be way simpler rigging whise though. And it would be cleaner in general... So, nothing is really set in stone yet.
  • Skinner3D
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    Skinner3D triangle
    You could try doing a double hinge point on the strap. Alternatively you could pretend the hanging strap is floppy cloth of some sort then it could bend all it wanted. 
    Or you could just back to the first animation. In a video game the stretching wouldn't be very obvious at all unless you were zoomed in on her butt during a cutscene lol.
  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    @Skinner3D
    I'm already thinking about letting the vertical strap bend a little bit on compression in my final rig. I don't want it to stretch on traction though because that wouldn't make much sense from a structural point of view. If it could stretch that easely, in real life the sheath would be sliding all the way down to her ankle all the time. :D 
    I'm aware I could get away with such stretchiness in a videogame but then I wouldn't be very proud of myself... And besides, given the fact that this would be a third person action adventure, we might very well be zoomed in on her butt during the entire game! lol

    So, I guess I'm pretty much done planning ahead for now.
    Those are some notes to myself. I'm really going to put myself to the test with some of the stuff I've planned.
    Next, I'll start refining layer by layer, starting from the anatomy.
  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    Little progress on her torso anatomy:
  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    More progress on secondary forms:



    If anyone feels like critiquing my anatomy, this would be a very good time :)
  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    I worked a bit more on the hands lately:


    Also, I've widen up her shoulders just slightly cause I realised they were very narrow compared to her head.
    Other than that, the body didn't change a lot aside from some minor tweaks here and there.

    Soon I'll be in "testing mode" with clothing once again.
  • Lou_
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    Lou_ null
    Hey man some really nice progress been watching the thread for a little while now. Keep it up!

    Firstly the head is a little off in a few places. I think the eyes would really benefit from being a little more set back in the skull, this would help your brow feel a bit more 3D, without sacrificing the femininity. 

    You might want to think about your ears as well, I think they are too small. I looked up small ears and did not find any which the top rim of the ear does not line up above the bottom eyelid.
    Overall I think your head could benefit from being a bit more round especially on the forehead transition. 

    I am interested to see how the head looks when you have broken up the symmetry I think she will look pretty cool. 
    I hope I was helpful :smile:  

  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    @Lou_
    Hey, thank you for your critique!
    I've checked the ears, you definitely have a point there. I'm going to rework them soon. Thank you for pointing that out! :)

    I'm not too convinced yet about pushing the eyes deeper: that's something that may change a lot from one individual to the next one. A deeper brow arch is usually more of a manly feature to me. I'm going to try it though just to see if I'm wrong.

    I'm not sure what you mean with the forehead transition...
    Is the skull image above supposed to show the areas that you think should be rounder?

    We'll see about asymmetry sooner or later. I sure hope she'll look cool! ;)
  • Lou_
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    Lou_ null
    That is great to here I was helpful, a newer to polycount! :smiley:

    I would say that a heavy brow ridge is a masculine feature but the position of the eye ball, how far it goes into skull, is not. You may want to keep them forward for characterization purposes. However I would argue it might help sell the face a bit more if the eye was set slightly further back. Only a suggestion though! 

    In regards to the forehead I just think the frontal bone of the cranium might be a bit more curved, mind you it is harder to tell without getting my grubby hands on the model Ha! It might help your brow from not looking so straight from the side profile.  :smiley:

  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    Small update: more work on the face and neck.
    Ears are now bigger and more fleshed out. The eyes are almost the same depth as before. I don't think I'm going to push them deeper than this unless someone shows me some evidence that I should.


    I've been quiet on this thread lately because I'm working on something special. I'm sure many of you Marvelous Designer users out there are going to love it. I'll show you guys what I'm talking about in just a few days. ;)
  • Burpee
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    Burpee polycounter lvl 3
    jacopoS said:
    Hey guys,
    it's been some time since the last update. I've been in a journey! :)
    So, this is what I was ranting about in my last post:
    I've been working on a Maya plugin that takes a MD mesh as an input and spits out a full-quad version of it.
    Many of you may be familiar with the ZRemesher+TransferAttributes workflow. Although it works fine overall, the fact that it won't give a weldable result is a bit of a bummer to me. Plus, the topology doesn't usually comes out as clean as I would like it to be.
    Those are the reasons why I was inspired to go in "programming mode" with this. I've been meaning to write this plugin for quite some time.
    At this point, it's really nothing more than a prototype. It can only handle some simple cases and it's not really making any effort to keep the number of border edges consistent across the seamings.
    Future work on this plugin includes keeping the number of edges consistent across seamings and write some more clever quadrangulation algorithms. Plus some more stuff that I'm thinking about...

    It is also my intention to release this little plugin once it gets in a stable enough state. So that everybody can play with it! ;)
    It might take a while though. So, don't hold your breath, people.

    Cheers!


    This looks awesome, I'd be curious to know how you did that :o 
  • onionhead_o
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    onionhead_o polycounter lvl 10
    I hope you release this plugin unlike the previous :P 
  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    @Burpee
    :lol:
    It's a c++ plugin. In order to do this kind of stuff, you need to download the Maya devKit and you need some c++ experience plus a somewhat technical mindsetf. I don't really consider myself a programmer but I like the idea of being able to create my own tools!
    If you're interested in knowing how the plugin itself works, it's all based on the UVs. It basicly creates a full-quad version of the UV layout and then it reprojects that back on the 3D object.
    There's still plenty of work to do on it before I can consider it production-ready.

    @onionhead_o
    ouch! :tongue:
    Which one? If you're talking about jSlide, I shifted my focus towards videogames. So, that was shaping up to be pretty much useless for me. In the end, I only write plugins that I would like to use myself.
    Just pray that I don't get distracted away from this current wip. ;)
  • Burpee
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    Burpee polycounter lvl 3
    jacopoS said:
    @Burpee
    :lol:
    It's a c++ plugin. In order to do this kind of stuff, you need to download the Maya devKit and you need some c++ experience plus a somewhat technical mindsetf. I don't really consider myself a programmer but I like the idea of being able to create my own tools!
    If you're interested in knowing how the plugin itself works, it's all based on the UVs. It basicly creates a full-quad version of the UV layout and then it reprojects that back on the 3D object.
    There's still plenty of work to do on it before I can consider it production-ready.
    Can't wait ! 
  • onionhead_o
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    onionhead_o polycounter lvl 10
    jacopoS: I was referring to jRevolve. I was really looking forward to that tool. But its alright i was just teasing you.
  • Lurcisia
  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    Hey guys,
    thank you all very much for your support! I'll try not to let you people down. ;)
    Still, I'm going to take my time with this since coding is not the most relaxing task.
    Expect some more art related updates in between the more technical ones. By the time I get close to finishing the clothing on my character, I expect to have a usable version of my plugin. Realistically, that might take a few months considering my job is going to get in the way quite often.

    Now, my next goal is to have my code cleaned up and with the "seam consistency" feature working by the end of next week.
  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    Seam detection and consistency is working well. I'm quite pleased with the results so far!

    Now, I just have to write some better and more flexible quadrangulation algorithms.
    Hopefully I'll be able to start playing with the first results before the next weekend. :)


  • coZma
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    coZma null
    Oh boy, this is great. Can't wait for you to release this, would help a lot
  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    I can't wait neither!
    I only write this kind of tools because I'd like to use them!
  • Gam3B0y
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    Gam3B0y triangle
    wooo! what sorcery is this! ? )) (joking)
    this plugin really looks awesome! . It's like Zremesher but way better! 
    Also I love the character 
  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    @Gam3B0y
    It's black magic!  >:)
    I'm glad you like the character.
    I'm still hard at work on my quadrangulation algorithms. I hope I can have some fun on the "art side" of this project next week.
  • RENDEREN
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    RENDEREN polycounter lvl 5
    loving this thread. Have you tried your plugin on more complicated mesh?
  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    @RENDEREN
    Thank you man!
    Yes, I did test it a bit on some more complicated objects just to make sure that it doesn't go totally off the rails. But at this point it still has some known limitations. For an instance, it doesn't know yet how to handle stitchings across more than two patterns and it doesn't know how to handle patterns with holes.
    So, for now, I'm mostly still working on very basic cases.
  • jacopoS
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    jacopoS polycounter lvl 3
    Hey guys,
    I'm getting closer to what I would call a decent result.

    This was generated by my plugin. It still has no idea on how to handle a non-manifold seaming. But at least the quadrangulation algorithms are becoming more and more flexible.

    I think I'll keep refining the plugin for a few days longer. Then I'll take a break from this kind of stuff and go back to the actual character.
  • Irensay
    you are kidding me?? this is awesome!!!
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