Female Character Work Thread - Modern Celtic Hero

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mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8
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Original Post:

Hey!  So I'm an environment artist but it's been far too long since I've gone through the character art pipeline, so I've been developing this character from a story/setting that's been kicking around in my head for a while.  She has some background and history and lore and all that garbage that no one but me really cares about, but basically she's a 20th century girl who takes up the mantle of an ancient mythical hero. Basically a badass every-girl type hero.

Here's some of my design/pose sheet stuff. I'm not a painter really, so you'll have to settle for my lineart:



 



I've started the sculpting process and I need some help with appeal in the face and head.

Body went ok:


But the face is kicking my ass:


I really like where the concept landed, but as I tried to match the facial proportions in the drawings, I realized that the drawings are too cartoony.  They have the feel that I like, but not the proportions, so I restarted.  I really like (as do we all) the look of jfletcher's Huntress project. I also pulled some images of Saoirse Ronan into my ref boards for this forever ago.  

Here's a truncated version of one of my ref boards: https://www.pinterest.com/mutatdjellyfish/causeway-ref/

The face as it is moving in the right direction, but I'm really struggling with appeal.  I'm not really going for sexy or hot, but I want her to be attractive and appealing from a design perspective.  As it is now, she's pretty skeletor and too pouty.  I think I'm making some amateur mistakes but it's getting difficult to dial into what exactly I need to change. The old "looking at it too long" problems.

Any thoughts or advice?

Replies

  • Tectonic
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    Tectonic polycounter lvl 6
    well for starters put some ears on there, even if its just rough ones. its hard to tell what's out of place when theres parts of anatomy missing entirely. that being said I think the eyes are too far apart and much too puffy looking. eyeballs are usually pretty deep set in the head.

  • Daveyploo
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    Daveyploo polycounter lvl 4
    The face structure looks a bit more puffy than in the drawing. The mouth is also slightly wide, as well as the eyes are slightly farther apart than they should be. The whole skull in fact looks larger in your sculpt than the drawing.

    The nose looks perfect, as do the eyes for the most part. Perhaps the preorbital puffiness (thanks wikipedia!) could be toned down as well, I don't think the drawing makes them so prominent.
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8
    Ok, interesting.  I see what you guys are saying, particularly about the eyes being too bugged out.  I think I was confusing buggy-outty-ness with being too inset and sunken, which is weird. 

    Daveyploo, thank you as well.  Here's my latest that I worked on last night (before I saw Davey's post).  I think it looks much more human and less like an adult fetus, but the eyes are definitely still too far apart (too small as well?) and she's still a bit too pouty in the mouth? Something about the mouth area I can't quite dial in yet. I think I lost the overall face shape too at some point.  I'll post this in the interest of showing progress, but please feel free to critique any version; I greatly appreciate it, this is helping a ton!


  • rollin
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    rollin greentooth
    I would reduce the chunkiness of the yaw. The head looks more triangular in the drawings. This would also help to define the cheeks a bit more. The eyes are a lot better now. The bone structure at her eyebrows should be more round and open the corner and not the opposite like the model shows it. The corners of her mouth are also a bit wider on the drawing at least this kind of mouth corner . The profile of the nose should be less round and more edgy as in the drawing. Looking from the front the ala of the nose should make less an impact on the appearance.

    These are just a few spots but you're on a good way.. Keep it up, I like it!
  • Crazy_pixel
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    Crazy_pixel polycounter lvl 7
    Cool project, I like the appeal of her body proportions :) Keep it up!
  • premium
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    premium polycounter lvl 9
    It's all about that base!
    Folowing this thread :D
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks, guys! :smile: 
    Latest:



    I threw in some block-in, throw-away hair (I'll be trying to actually sim it in the final game art) and a throw-away bust for the hair to rest on, just for visual context. Instead of working from version 2, I went back to a previous save from version 1 (with the skinnier face and the bug eyes) and worked forward from that using feedback from version 2. Starting over in that way was actually really nice! It let me split the difference, I think, and redo what I liked in version 2 and include the new feedback without having to dial back mistakes made in version 2. 

    Anyway, I think she's finally kind of starting to look like herself! At this point the front face ortho drawing is more of a guide and I'm generally ignoring my profile ortho completely. I think she looks much closer to her actual race as well, which is Irish/Celtic. More importantly, this is the first that I've started having that feeling where I'm "meeting" the character for the first time in 3D, which is a good feeling.

    I reckon the eyes are too high still, and there's still some uncanny things going on with the mouth and some areas of the eyes.  If anyone has anymore feedback, I'd love to hear it. You guys have been amazingly helpful. From here I think I'll save out this version, try a round of adjustments on it, then reload the save and try another round etc until she feels solid.
  • premium
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    premium polycounter lvl 9
    Way better.
    I like where you are going with this.
    But be careful with those sharp edges on nostrils and lips.
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8


    Latest iteration after a quick critique paintover from The Redbeard. Again, the hair is block-in for now.  I think I'm ready to leave it for the time being and move on to the next thing on the list (probably costume) and come back and polish it later.  I need to decide how detailed to go in the sculpt versus what to leave for the diffuse/spec maps etc.

    That said, if anyone has feedback, please feel free to share! I'd rather hear it sooner. :)

    Here's a test stitch with the body mesh:


    Pretty pleased with the progress so far; she's really starting to look like herself.  

    Thanks a ton for the help, you guys! Please feel free to keep commenting, it's already made a huge difference. :smile: 

    Onward!
  • jacob thomas
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    jacob thomas polycounter lvl 6
    This is coming along really nicely man. Some really good forms in there. Watch the ears though, they feel really sloppy compared to the rest of the sculpt.
  • Ged
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    Ged interpolator
    good work so far, the eyes still seem rather large and stylised, maybe thats what you are going for? To me this character actually seems somewhere in between realistic(normal proportions not herioc) and stylised, thats potentially difficult ground to tread. What reference are you using other than the concept sketches?
  • Tectonic
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    Tectonic polycounter lvl 6
    Looking a lot better!
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8
    @jstyles3d 
    Thanks! Yeah, the ears were definitely glossed over. I will put them on the list for the next pass.

    @Ged
    Thanks!  Yeah, I am purposefully walking that line, and we'll see if I'm successful!  I have a sample of my reference images here: https://www.pinterest.com/mutatdjellyfish/causeway-ref/ but my full board is private due to some images I'd rather not share (my main reference, actually :neutral: ). I am targeting a shorter, rounder, fuller body type specifically while still trying to introduce muscle and tone, as if it was an adult woman of that height who was active but didn't bother to watch the calories, etc.  It is my intention to grab a bit of stylized appeal while retaining a more real-world relatable body type.  A tall charge for sure, and we'll see how I do, eh?

    @Tectonic
    Thanks, man!
  • zetheros
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    zetheros polycounter lvl 4
    I had this problem too... try lowering the top eyelid a bit, if you're still getting the uncanny valley. Usually, you don't see irises in their entirety, unless they're surprised, scared, etc.
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8


    Beginning Marvelous Designer tailoring. I used the pattern drafting method Andrei Cristea outlined in Vertex 3 to derive the pattern from a blockin sculpt I extracted from the body sculpt.  Tonight I'm going to pull a Pinterest board of fold and seam reference of denim shorts so I can start authoring the fabric's landmarks.  My one sticking point is the rolled up leg bottoms (which I unstitched for this screenshot, you can see them in the pattern, but the pieces are lying in heaps on the floor. :wink: )

    MD is really nutso-crazy.  A really cool tool.
  • Jakub
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    Jakub greentooth
    It is going really nice :) Lovely looking body and face. 

    I can give you one advice that someone gave me a while ago. Do not start using MD to learn drapery. It is a great tool to create the base shape, but you still have to sculpt on it and without correct knowledge of how materials flow, you won't get a great result.
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks! Good advice! I'm not too worried. I was not planning on using MD as a magic bullet, push-button-receive-art solution. As I understand it, MD is great for generating a basemesh to sculpt on and clean up. Regardless, I won't move forward and polish a turd. If things aren't going well, I'll find a different solution. 

    I'm sure you guys will let me know if it's not working out! ;) 
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8
    Been staring at CG crotch all weekend. MD is no magic bullet, but it does what it does well. It's been fun discovering how different things are done, and I have a ways to go yet.  Been mainly trying to get the pattern right and figure out settings that communicate material type even without texture. Need to detail the rear end with internal stitching.  Working on trying to discern when to call it a good base and bring it back into zbrush.  I think MD may have been a bit overkill for the shorts, but I'll take lessons learned forward for the hoodie and the cape.





    Also, I need to figure out something that works well for the cuffed/rolled up pant legs.  I've mostly messed with stitching a ring of fabric to the bottom of the legs upside down, but that flops apart at high detail levels and does weird shit if I make the material of them stiffer.  I may just have to do them in zbrush.
  • DashXero
    Why not just extract the rolled-up portion in Zbrush and add the wrinkles to it manually? Simple solutions are usually best or something.
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8
    @DashXero 
    I think you're right! I was trying to make it work in the name of learning the ropes of the program, but I need to move on for now. The cuffs will be zbrushed!
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8


    Raw import from MD after dynamesh and such. No sculpting or real clean up yet. I've also blocked in the cuffs as per my concept.
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8
    Whew, sorry! Holidays mean "homemade gifts" which take up a ton of time. I'm sure I'll disappear again some time around Christmas for similar reasons.  Anyway, I took a step back from the costuming to work on her sword, Sceolang:





    It's looking close to the concept, but I'm open to any suggestions for details that really make it feel old and solid.  I'm going to get rid of the oval shapes on the blade as I think they really take away from the blade detailing.  I'm also going to pull a bunch of reference tonight and see what I can glean from that.

    Thoughts?
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8
    Went and did a detail/wear-and-tear pass.  I may add more things here and there as I enter texturing, but for now I'm calling it good enough and moving on to the scabbard.






  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8
    This is likely the last update before the new year. Finished the high-res of Sceolang the sword and his scabbard:





    You can see the finished sword above.

    For the scabbard I built an inside mesh to use as an avatar in Marvelous Designer and then using pins and simulation pausing, I wrapped it in a big long rectangular piece of fabric that was laid out on the bias.  Then I used morph targets to add the straps, and did the zbrush thing. The mouth of the scabbard is sherpa cloth and a metal lip so she can angle the blade out since the draw length is so big compared to her arms. It's a shorter scabbard for that same reason too.

  • Chase
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    Chase polycounter lvl 7
    I'm really digging the engraving! That's gotta me on my top 5 likes of this sword. I'm gonna take a guess at the process, but did you use the pen tool and convert it in nDo?
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8
    @Chase Thanks!  I actually laid it out in Illustrator with the pen tool and exported it as an alpha to zbrush.  It needs some cleanup, honestly, but it's fine for now.
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8




    Picking up momentum again on this after things have settled down post-holidays. Here's the hoodie! Base built in MD and now I'm starting the detailing/cleanup phase on the clothing.
  • AgelosAp
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    AgelosAp polycounter
    Really digging this, especially the sword and the original body type!
    Face could use some more tinkering, especially at the cheek to nose area I think it looks a little too concave.
  • skankerzero
    The neck and head don't really match the body.

    We're looking at a female with a thick body, yet the neck and facial features are closer to that of a female with a thinner body frame.

    I would tone down the definition of the neck and make it a little thicker.

    As for the face, I agree with @Firith. There are some areas, expecially around the eyes that feel a bit concave and can benefit from adding some fatty tissue.



    **bonus** I didn't go in and measure, but the shins feel a bit short to me. That or the thighs a bit long. Either way, the knee feels too low on the leg.
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8
    Awesome, thanks a ton! I'll play with this stuff and see what comes out.
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8
    @skankerzero , @Firith 

    Ok, I filled in the face a bit and smoothed out the neck a bit. Subtle changes.

    Before:


    After:


    Animated:


    I'd love to hear your thoughts! I'm mainly trying to fill out the face without changing the features too much. I know that features change and get pinched as fat increases, but yeah. Trying to walk the line kinda.

  • Nuclear Angel
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    Nuclear Angel interpolator
    I think the changes are good, but I personally think you can add a little bit more mass below her chin. The neck is much better, same with the cheeks, just that little bit left. 
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8


    Did a sculpting pass on the hoodie and shorts drapery and indulged in some details like stitching. Blocked in the main masses for the boots.  
  • LexiWhite
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    LexiWhite polycounter lvl 3

    I hope you don't mind that I redlined a little! The boobs look like they're planets apart in the jacket, try using the nipple as a landmark to finding the plane changes. Also, keep in mind straights against curves when sculpting a body, it makes for a more appealing design. Here's a really good guide.

    Also, Marvelous Designer looks fun! I'll have to give it a try! The patterns look really nice!
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8
    Hey! Notes are great, thank you! I'll watch my straights and curves, that's a good call.
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8


    Boot detailing coming along slowly.
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8


    More boots! Plaid pattern is super duper temp, just to get a feel for the fabric versus leather bits.



    Initial modeling pass on the harness.

    It's been hard to find big blocks of time to work since we're trying to get a project out the door at work, but I'm still working away!
  • Tectonic
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    Tectonic polycounter lvl 6
    I'm not sure if you're planning on a low-poly and bake for this character. But if you are, keep in mind your texture resolution, small details like the design on the buttons and the pattern around the edge of the sole can easily be reduced to just noisy looking and in the end you spent all that time for nothing. I've had to learn this the hard way, myself.
  • mutatedjellyfish
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    mutatedjellyfish polycounter lvl 8
    That's a good shout. Most of her more exotic-looking gear are hero items in and of themselves, so I'll probably be showcasing them individually as well. If the final character's bake needs a tone down in detail, that's ok.
  • FourtyNights
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    FourtyNights greentooth
    Personally I've never liked using dynamesh for anything else than hair. So, I was wondering, do you have any plans to add a mouth cavity with gums, which would be retopoed to be an animatable mouth?

    Starting with a proper base mesh you'd have a full control with subdivision levels and polygroups while sculpting. In this stage of your sculpt, you could still retopo a new base mesh on top of this and project all the details back, and continue sculpting.
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