Ryu - deconstruction of construction

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MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 7
Current state:



I'm trying to...

Even though I'm not one of THE guys I want to share my process. Mostly posting one pic and asking 'hey guuyyzzz what should I fix?' doesn't work. It doesn't work for both sides. I won't get and help (which is totally understandable) and others won't get anything out of it. SInce it's a forum I belive that part is important.

So the idea is that this will be an in-depth WIP thread. I will analyse my own process. Its flaws and its perks. Hopefully you will be able to help me or learn something new. I'm far from being professional so don't be underwhelmed ;) Also take in consideration I have already spent a bit of time on this project and for now I will be describing things from the past. I will let you know when this thread will catch up with where I'm at currently.

                          Ryu - Street Fighter V

Ok so the character I chose is Ryu from Street Fighter. Why this character:
  • He is pretty simple. There is not a lot of accessories or clothes on him. I do find sculpting males easier - that might be because of the rougher form. You have to skilfully hide form under smooth female skin.
  • He is a good character to practice anatomy. Clothes won't cover his muscles.
  • His pose is important to his character - I want to render him properly (meaning dynamically, with a strong cool factor) posed.
  • It's an achieveable goal...

  • Make a skinned/rigged character with all of the typical for game developement maps.
  • Don't go for character recreation, rather interpretation.
  • Render it in Marmoset Toolbag 3 in a cool pose.

And I opened Zbrush too early...

I opened Zbrush thinking only about the things I described above... Not a lot. No references <- big bummer. Oh well lets see how I did.

I started as I always do. I blocked out the shapes using dynamesh. The earliest file I have in this project is a bit further than I would like to but I decided to make this thread too late to do anything about it. That's the result of the first sprint:

It's a start... The anatomy problems are numerous but I haven't spent enough time on it to be feel comfortable tearing it aparat now. For now I will focus on the workflow. First of all I often split the body into chunks:

I'm a bit suprised I didn't split the arms. I find working with the butt (...) a bit tiresome when the legs are connected to the torso. Also if you look at the picture showing his back you will see I try to recreate the form of the pelvic bone with legs mesh. At this point it's failing at its job but that's what I'm going for.

I also split the face a bit:

I don't think there is anything particularly suprising in having eyes, teeth, brows or hair as a separate mesh. I do however keep eyelids as separate meshes for a pretty long time. It helps with the eye socket - the skin overlap coming from the brow and laying on the eyelid is a bit tricky for me.

Another thing I did, which I usually don't do, is adding some bones as a subtools...:

Those were suppose to help me with bony landmarks. I think appending bones meshes isn't the best solution. First of all I have only added plevic bone and the shoulder girdle. That's not enough. I either should have go full ecorche - build the mass on a full skeleton or just mark all of the bony landmarks another way. Anyway I ignored the bony landmarks from this point on. I returned to it later, and I will write about it. That was a bad call. BONY LANDMARKS ARE IMPORTANT. That's something I knew/know. Yet I disregarded it. Proportions are crucial and bony landmarks are a great tool to make them better. Bad me.

Another bad call was doing this:

I saw someone sculpting character with the feet being posed like so. It makes for a more dynamic default pose if you do it correctly. I tried to do the same but I didn't actually wanted or needed it. My rig I use in Blender doesn't conform to this. I don't think it should conform to this. For my defense It was more of an exploration phase but I have kept this feet for too long. It wasn't a way to good for this specific project. Making feet firmly planted on the ground was a way to go.


  • REFERENCES - why did I skip this stage? I know references are important yet I didn't prepare. I google some Ryu photos and never saved or analysed any. I should have gathered some style references too. Gather references!
  • BONY LANDMARKS - those are a great helpers when it comes to working out the proportions. Even though Ryu's proportions are cartoonish, at this stage I should have made bony landmarks more apparent -> helpful.
  • DEFAULT POSE - that's not that big of a deal because at the early stage you can fool around a bit. If you want to rig a character, a default/sculpt pose might be of importance. Just think about it a try not to make your life harder.

So for now that will be all... it's too hot to spend another minute in front of the computer... huh.

Oh also... a teaser where the project is now:


  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero polycounter
    Very entertaining post ! I think you are on the right track self analyzing is the way of improvement
  • MrOneTwo
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    MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 7
    @carvuliero - Thank you :)


    The next step was to merge all the split parts and Dynamesh them together. I started working on the face and the hair. Making hair is hard, and I don't have a good workflow for them... So i experimented a bit. I started with Dynamesh blob but that was a placeholder. I tried to make the job easier by distributing mesh instances on vertices of a scalp. This technique gave the result closest to what original Ryu rocks. It recquired a bit of tweaking on the top of the head and a lot more on the sides and the back.

    I went for something simpler though. In Blender I have created hair planes out of a simple polygon plane with several cuts. Added Solidify modifier and Subd. Most important was to keep the planes low poly. The planes are real thick so covering the top of the head didn't take that much time. Sides are mostly done. Back of the head needs filling in.

    When it will be done...?

    I the meantime I thought about the process itself. Even though I have started doing CG long time ago I have never worked as a full time cg artist. I always struggled to build a portfolio. Studying to become an engineer and working as one always got in the way. ATM I'm enjoying a little break so I would like to finish some pieces I can put in the portfolio.

    I went (am going...?) through a typical loop of unfinished projects. I would like to break it. In order to do that I won't be working on the parts of the project until they are looking good. They will never look good if I won't get better / finish projects. So for now every part of the project gets a time budget (proportionally to it's importance and complexity). I work on the part until the time is up and then the next part gets the attention. When every planned part runs out of time and I know I can improve on the quality significantly, new budget plan is made. At some point, the end of an iteration of the budget plan will be the end of the project. Of course I will have to decide at some point that this iteration was THE LAST one. Still, if I will stick to this plan it should work out. It will force me to put as much of an attention to the parts I avoid as to those I feel more confident in.
  • MrOneTwo
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    MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 7


    So lets talk about eyes. It's important to make the eyelids look good. White ball with black circle in the middle can work as an eye when the eyelid and the eye socket is well made (of course not as a realistic, normal eye). But that's just anatomy + sculpting. Eye itself though...

    Some time ago I tried to make a realistic eye. Here you can see the high poly:

    I used additional mesh for cornea. I rendered it in Zbrush and Keyshot. Using those offline renderers allowed me to use refraction which is important in making realistic eyes. In real-time rendering refraction ain't that easy. I couldn't get good results with two different meshes. Fortunately I have found this face breakdown by Saurabh Jethani. I baked the maps from the eye I have created and then followed his process.

    His method of making an eye comes from Peter Zoppi's tutorial. I actually don't know what to think about the fact that one of them sells this knowledge and another one gives it for free... and where I'm in all of this... anyway...

    The idea is that you use the cornea mesh as an inner eye mesh:

    In order to get the inner eye shape you use normal map like so:

    This map overrides the normals on the meshe's lens bulge making in concave. Since it's only normal map the silhouette will be incorrect but that doesn't matter because the cornea mesh will cover it. The cornea mesh is the same mesh as the inner eye but it doesn't use this normal map. Instead it uses 50% grey texture as a displacement map. By setting it like so in Marmoset Toolbag 3:

    You can inflate the mesh with the Scale slider. Setting a really small value will allow you to offset it by a tiny amount and that will be your cornea.

    There is a bit more to it like overlaying normal map with details of the iris and the veins, using parallax map and creating good looking textures. You can learn more following links I added above.

    Oh and the current state of the project:

  • MrOneTwo
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    MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 7
    This will be just a wip post. One thing worth noting is that I change the way I sculpt. I have stopped using Smooth brush... That's because when I sculpt anatomy I tend to loose form definition. It just goes away when I smooth out the model to get the skin smoothness. I only use ClayBuildup now (yet I got it from Flipped Normals video).

    Here are some screenshots. I worked on the legs a bit but since they will be hidden I don't prioritize them. Screenshots from Zbrush show the anatomy way clearer. It gets lost in Toolbag (partially because of the subsurface scattering - I might exaggerate some lines so it doesn't get lost that much).

  • Tits
    Always love to see some streetfighter character being done.
    What I find at the moment is while the character is dressed like Ryu, he doesn't currently look like him. Not sure if you are going for something less stylised but your sculpt currently doesn't have a ton of personnality or much of the characteristic that makes ryu recognizable aside from his clothing.

    Anyway, Looking forward to see where you bring this
  • MrOneTwo
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    MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 7
    @Tits - I totally agree. I'm going for this semi realistic style (basically what I can not what I want ;)). He will lack personality for sure but I need to finish him. I feel that I lack experience to play around with style at this point. I prioritize finishing him (with at least above average quality and a good final presentation). I have some more ambitious goals for him but I won't change his style. Would like too, don't feel I can. Thanks for your input, especially since what you did for SFV is great :)
  • MrOneTwo
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    MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 7


    I started making lashes with this block out in Blender:

    It's just a polygon strip with Solidify modifier and Subd (because the geometry needs to be really simple!). Didn't put a lot of effort into this one. Editing something like that is a hussle. I decided to make something more realistic.

    So I started by making lashes cards:

    I unwrapped those in Blender. Then I moved them to Zbrush and morphed geometry to its UVs. I have imported this morphed geo back into Blender. That's because I wanted to work on flat lashes like so:

    I bake the normal map and the opacity in Blender using TexTools and here is the result:

    I like those more but... They read well when the shot is from up close. Pulling back makes them less and less visible. They are too subtle. The way I'm making them allows me to modify strands thickness rather easily. I might bring them back by making strands thicker.

    Had to check if I'm making a progress... The brows might need the same treatment as lashes.

    Current face state:

  • MrOneTwo
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    MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 7
    I'm working on the pants atm and find it a bit difficult to nail those. I would really appreciate some crits:

    I find it difficult to make those folds in a neutral pose. I think I will make two meshes for pants. One for neutral pose and one for the posed model.
    How do you approach this problem, guys and gals? Just sculpt folds that make sense in neutral until they look good?
  • MrOneTwo
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    MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 7
    For now I went with Marvelous Designer. I also started baking this guy.

  • MrOneTwo
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    MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 7
    Baked and onto texturing (Substance Painter):

    The hair need work... I think they make the whole piece worse.
  • MrOneTwo
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    MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 7

    Just a small update. Belt has this structure the martial arts belt have... It's not perfect but ain't that bad too.

    Medium size detail is missing... I don't like that fact.

    I think I made a big mistake though. I never defined what style I'm going for. It's going more and more into realistic style and I'm not that happy with that. I don't think it will change much though. I want to finish him... but note to self GATHER STYLE REFERENCES.

  • MrOneTwo
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    MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 7
    Change the belt mesh. Made fingers fatter. Also playing around with posing. I have rigged the mesh in Blender.

    A lot of fixes to be done for the skinning though...
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