FINISHED : Durga, Hindu Goddess

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Alex Javor
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Alex Javor quad damage


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Hi, 

I've been around here about a year now and want to say thanks to the community in general. Doubtful anybody here knows how much knowledge I've picked up from you guys since I first began. At least half of what I know about 3d right now came from these forums or the wiki. Hopefully in the future I can give back as much as I've taken. 

I'm starting to poke at a project which I believe will be my first to hit the quality that I need to start seriously considering getting into the industry. My goal is a realistic style, as that's just what I prefer. I don't have any studios targeted -- I kind of want to flesh out a style of my own and then look around to see where I'd best fit. 

The goal : a game model designed to be a boss character. Designed for animation, but no hard limits regarding tri's or materials. Level of quality is to match the senior artist whose work I admire (georgian aviliscutei, paul widelski, jared chaves to name a few). I know that's a big goal, and somewhere somebody is laughing at this guy who, only a few months ago, was having trouble figuring out baking, but let me believe, ok? 

Timeline : as long as it takes, but not more than 3-4 months.

Reference
Gonna do Durga herself with ornamentation, the Tiger, her eight weapons, the circular backdrop thing (gonna turn it into a fancy throne that sits on the tigers back), and the border columns with the hanging bells. So this is really an entire scene, not just a single character model.








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  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    First steps -- Blocked out the tiger with Sculptris pro, then built new topology in Maya. Slapped on quick projection colors for lookdev in Marmoset. 

    At this point, I plan to spend a bit more time just poking at small details, like the lips, paws, and surface. The idea is to be more realistic than the reference, but tend towards "idealism" in form as we are dealing with a goddess. So in some areas I am foregoing totally realistic anatomy in favor of more pleasing lines.

    As you can tell, I've blocked out some of the larger volumes of fur, particularly the cheeks. The plan is to use a special Unreal shader I like for the fur, along with plenty of alpha cards for a very magnificent looking tiger.

    I'm happy with the overall look, but I'm gonna sit on it for a bit before moving on to Marvelous Designer for the rug over his back. The plan is to just start at the bottom and move upwards. First the tiger, then the throne, then the goddess, then extra props at the end.

    I really appreciate any feedback in these early stages. 



  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Gone back to the drawing board with this. Wasn't happy with the appearance -- looked more like a bear than a cat. Also, I was fighting my topology in a few places, like the nose. So I'm dynameshing for now. Will need to build a new topology for some of the facial features later. Much of this is exploratory for me, so I think it makes more sense to work this way for now.

    I need more practice sculpting and working from anatomy references anyway. Haven't gotten into the hindquarters much yet, I'm aware its a muddy mess.

  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Not much of an update, but I'm starting to work on this full time as other projects are wrapping up.

    Made progress refining the overall shapes. Still most attention has been in the front quarters, but a little shaping up has been done with the hind legs as well. I'm starting to like where this is right now and will probably wrap up the sculpting with a few more days time put into it, I expect.

    Textures are placeholder for look development purpose. I've found that with the color texture applied and a simple normal map for fur detail, the muscular shapes get lost pretty easily, so I've gone a bit overboard with them as I want them to be really readable for a static scene. I've also decided to make some of the larger volumes of fur with alpha cards. I think it will just look better overall, even if it means a bit higher poly count. :





    Any feedback is appreciated, especially from animal anatomy aficionados!
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    I'll poke at some details on the lower legs a little bit more, but I think I'm at a point of diminishing returns on the body. I'll spend some time continuing to look it over before I call the sculpting done. 

    The model is a quick version of a game model with the sculpt baked and some quick textures applied. I am doing this rather than looking at the matte-gray model because having those stripes and basic fur applied to the normal map makes a big difference visually. It really "camouflages" a lot of the muscle detail.

    Keep in mind the model is "naked", meaning it is missing some important volumes of fur which give the tiger a lot of it's character, like the big cheeks. That will be done with alpha cards later.

    As long as this still looks good to me tomorrow (and nobody points out any flaws), I'll move on to adding in the mouth pieces and claws. 


  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    A good nights sleep is probably the best critique you can give yourself. I think at the end of a long day, it's easy to get lulled into a trap of, "eh, this is about done."

    Made lots of refinement improvements today, and quite a bit more to go. Been getting in closer to the muscles -- making sure their "bellies" are correct, and overall just going over everything very carefully to make sure each part of the best is not only accurate but also looks cool as well.

    Even if the final textures and fur cards will wash out alot of this detail, I want to show a product in my portfolio which will look great at all stages. 


  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Started this over from the ground up a couple times now. Initially I had been working from some anatomical models -- more or less copying what I saw -- but after spending a lot of time watching tigers in documentaries, I felt like I wasn't really getting the look I wanted. 

    So, I learned a lot by studying the tigers anatomy and looking at other peoples models, but I decided to start things over using only my own intuition and real life reference to work from. Of course, now that I have a better understanding of the muscle and bone structure underneath, I can work much more efficiently. 

    I am feeling pretty happy with this general form. I want to lean closer to a realistic, wild tiger (the zoo tigers don't look as impressive, they tend to be kind of chunky), but I have exaggerated some parts a bit to give a curvier, more feline appearance. At the same time, I also want to capture the animals awesome power, so I may look into bulking up the fore-limbs a bit more. Just got to try it out and see.

    I think I'll do a quick polypaint and look it all over a bit more before I commit to going into the refinement stage. 


    Took some time to put some polypaint on. This has helped visualize the final thing a lot more. I'm starting to feel pretty ok about it now. Needs a lot of refinement, but I think I'll get the sculpt done without any more major do-overs now.

    Painting the colors also got me thinking about how I can use the stripes to help give the cat some character. Can't wait to get to texturing, and especially placing the fur cards.

  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Starting on some other parts of this project for a break from the tiger sculpting.

    There will obviously need to be a lot of ornate jewelry, but this also has to be a game model, so I wanted to figure out a workflow for that. Did some experiments and figured out what I'll do. 

    Make a medium-poly object in Maya, as seen on left. This can go into zbrush and get some additional detail put into it if necessary. Then, I'll make a much simpler version -- as seen on right (with test bake in Toolbag) . I didn't fully flesh out the test, but in the lower half you can see the general idea is to just reduce those frilly edges to triangles -- just enough to get the basic silhouette of the thing but not be too polygonally dense as there will be many of these objects -- and to my delight the baking works out fine. 

    So I'll make a little jewelry box scene so that I can bake a bunch of different jewelry types into a single atlas or so, and then I can just duplicate and spread them around as needed. 

  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Lot's of figuring today... started with half a day of experimenting in Zbrush, learning new hard surface techniques and  other fun stuff. Ultimately, decided to stick with my original plan to mostly produce the base jewelry topology in Maya. There are some things I'll do in Zbrush though -- despite Zbrushes annoying weirdness, there is a few things it does so well you you just got to use it. 

    Ran a quick test to make sure I'll be able to easily produce some material ID textures, so that texturing the jewelry will go easily...  as usual, Toolbag 3 turns complex problems into no-brainers. Everything seems to be good to go so far. Woo-hoo. That's one big part of the assembly line figured out. 

    Tomorrow I can get back to the tiger then.

    Below, the results of a dry-run of the full jewelry creation process. Lo-poly geo is around 100 tri's, which is still pretty dense for how many of these little things there is gonna be... but whatever, in a real production environment some grunt could LOD this shit.

  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    I think the tiger sculpt is as good as I'm gonna get for now. I can always come back and touch up, but there is a lot to do in this project so I need to keep production moving forward. I feel pretty good about the sculpt, and I expect any changes I need to make will become apparent when I texture and apply fur cards.

    I've tried to make sure that from any angle you get some pretty cool lines, even if that meant exaggerating some anatomy. Obviously I'll use fur cards in a lot of places, like to fill out the cheeks, along the neck, chest, and so on. But the basic silhouette should remain in the final render, I think.


    So, moving on to Durga for a bit then. I'll make the game model and continue forward with the tiger once the hi-res of the Goddess is finished.



    note: I've got the claws on the murder mittens extended, although the toes are in a neutral position. I'm aware of this. Also, the paws appear extra large (though I have slightly oversized them to begin with) because I got the toes spread out for baking and rigging purposes.
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Need to stop saying I'm finished with a section. My wife informed me the tiger looked like a dumbass. I guess I'd been looking at it too long -- the head had some big problems, and now I agree, he kind of looked like a beady-eyed dumbass tiger. I couldn't figure out what was wrong, so I just started over with the head from scratch. This time I acquired a scanned tiger skull to start from though, and used some muscle charts to make an ecorche of sorts, then dynameshed that all together, then layered skin on top of that. 

    I probably didn't do it all perfectly, but certainly this looks a lot more like a tiger and just generally more appealing than before.


  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Retopo and UV's done. Thankfully the inside of the mouth baked well without too much fuss. Kept poly count to about 8k, as there is gonna likely be a lot of fur cards. 

    About fur, I am going to experiment with baking from xgen geo vs a multipass shader + fur cards approach. Seems like a lot of pro's are using xgen and then converting to geometry from that, so maybe that's what I should do rather than using a novelty shader.


  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Got a little into texturing. Started seeing some areas needing improvement. Enough to warrant a bit of backpedaling. 

    The normal and AO maps worked, but they weren't perfect. So I needed to open the mouth more and spread the toes more to eliminate some small errors in there. Since I had to go back into Zbrush to do that, I went ahead and added some more detail inside the mouth and the lips. This was a lot easier with a wider open mouth.

    The main thing I wanted to do though was improve the UV layout. I wasn't getting enough resolution on the face -- enough to see little hairs with crisp detail. Of course, the tiger being all one piece means I got to be careful not to show obvious changes in texel density -- but I think I can avoid this as the seam bettween the head and the body will be well covered by fur cards. So as long as the difference isn't too extreme, I should be able to get that crisp face detail and keep this whole thing packed into a single material. (except the eyes and fur cards, which will get their own material.)


  • LeahM
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    LeahM polygon
    This is a mad complicated project and I am super duper impressed at your commitment as well as your ability to sit back and review your own work so well and keep working towards a better model. I'm excited to see where this goes and what happens when you started working on the Goddess herself
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Thanks a lot for the kind words and motivation. Yeah, I tend to bite off more than is reasonable to chew... but I did this big game project recently and realized that as long as I am very organized and take the time to set up a "production assembly line", I can get a lot of work done. That project didn't allow me time to focus on quality though, so I wanted to do something similar but prioritize quality above everything else. 

    I meant to get started on Durga's saree by now, but I keep wanting to go a little further with the tiger. I'll probably get it mostly finished before I move on. Some of the stuff I'm doing with the tiger will carry over to Durga (like setting up the textures for Unreal hair shader), so I can use this a preparation of sorts. Durga obviously has a lot of hair, so I got to get that right.

    Cool stylized characters on your artstation by the way. I admire that style alot because it's something I lack the imagination to do. I can only copy realism :(
  • LeahM
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    LeahM polygon
    Thank you! It'll be really cool to see everything in Unreal, I just downloaded it the other day, looking forward to trying some projects in it soon! I'd love to see a breakdown of how you set up the hair for in engine
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    I'll be sure to do that. Won't be until after I'm finished though cause I'm using all my brain juices figuring out a lot of this as I go along.

    Unreal seems daunting at first but if you try out some of the tutorials on basic material creation from Quixel on youtube, you'll probably enjoy it alot. Coming from Unity especially, Unreal makes the artist work very convenient.

    For Durga's hair, I've got a number of methods I'm going to check out -- will just be whatever 1. looks the best and 2. takes the least amount of time. Most likely route I think will be getting some curves from xgen to start with, then probably finishing up with hand placement. Here's a breakdown -- I'll probably try something like this first: 
    https://80.lv/articles/techniques-for-game-character-hair-creation/  

    Check out the "photorealistic human" project that comes with unreal. The hair and eye shaders are really nice -- and I think it could be used even for stylized characters with a realistic touch. That's what I plan on using for this scene.


    Fur the tigers fur texture (not the alpha cards she'll get later, but just the texture applied to the body), I think I've found a solution. I'm actually using fibermesh in zbrush. So I set up the fibers, groom them, vertex paint them, but then I got to export them in chunks like this (because it gets really dense really fast), and bake in Toolbag. Looks pretty nice, I think. I can bake out alpha mask and curvature -- any grayscale maps really -- and that will give me a great starting point for roughness textures as well. So then I'll have to compile all these separate textures and project them all into a single one... this is gonna take some time but I think I can finish in a few days once I get the pipeline down.

  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Ok, after much experimentation here is the pipeline for fur textures: 

    Zbrush -- polypaint the hipoly model (tip -- brush > automasking > colorMask is extremely useful for blocking in color without messing up stripes). Fiber mesh a short fur layer which is mostly uniform. Fibermesh draws color from polypaint. Fibermesh a longer fur layer, this is what gets special attention with grooming to create clumps and whatnot.


    Toolbag 3: Bake onto the low with vertex color, normal, and AO maps. 4k res with 16 samples... everything turned all the way up. Slow bake but it gives the nice individual strands without much blurring. The bake shoots through to the other side but that doesn't matter because.....


    Substance painter : make a new fill layer with black mask, and only expose the needed area. I like a fill layer rather than a projection onto a paint layer because it allows easier changes to be made later.


    Working this way is tedious and I have to be very careful with organization so I don't make an indecipherable mess, but I don't think I can get quality like this any other way. I looked into xgen quite a bit but the full pipeline to get bake-able geo seemed like it would be even slower and more convoluted. The grooming is better in xgen than with fibermesh, but I think overall, this is a pretty straightforward workflow and allows me rapid iterations, so... nose to the grindstone then.
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Still working on textures... trying lots of different methods but have yet to find a good solution. Fibermesh baking is too inconsistent. I think I've got a better plan dialed in, involving xgen...

    Anyway, made a real quick rig last night just to dink around with some posing. I'll probably deviate from the original reference photo, and have Durga standing in a Da Vinci-like pose with all the arm's out, and two tigers flanking her on either side. One tiger, like below, may threaten the viewer, while the other sits idly, perhaps looking down it's nose with a side eye to suggest the viewer is hardly worth attention at all. I don't know, will just play around when I get there.

    I did finish the base color texture which will be used to give color to the fur, whether that ends up being fibermesh or xgen.




    Texture progress so far... just bringing the fur chunks in piece by piece. Quite slow and some work will need to be done to fix the seams, but it's the best solution I've found so far. I spent a lot of time trying to find a better method, but couldn't. I'm not getting exactly the look I wanted, but further experimentation will have to be in the future. I can't stall this forever.

  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Got the base fur texture done. That was a chore and the workflow definitely needs improvement, but I couldn't find any other way to get the results I wanted. Did quite a bit of experimentation in xgen and arnold, but that was too deep of a rabbit hole for right now. So I just stuck with the original plan, though it was tedious and results needed a lot of touching up. Not a great way to work, but it's done and looks pretty cool I think.

    I will continue touching up the fur -- probably will lighten up the face a bit -- then finish out the nose, mouth, teeth, eyes, paw pads, claws. Ah, and there is no roughness map yet. Then lastly I'll work on the hair cards. Maybe I won't finalize that before getting full swing into human character, I dunno.




  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Gettin there. Starting to feel that "It's all coming together" high. But, I got to make sure I keep a level head so I don't miss anything important. 

    Got a few more little touch ups to do on the textures. Eyes are place holder, that will probably need a full day to do some really cool cat eyes. 

    I've got to wrap up another project Monday-Wednesday, unfortunately, so this beast will have to wait a little longer to get his mane and whiskers.

    I think the pose isn't quite right... the forward left leg doesn't seem weighted... is it just me?

  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Should have done the eyes sooner. So much of the character is in there. This is my first time doing actual, quality realistic eyes (attempting to anyway), so  I have been a bit insecure throughout the process. Basically I ended up photobashing a bunch of different things together. Images of fire, smoke, random grungey noise stuff -- just a million layers to try an match some of my references. I went a little more towards the fire-tendril shapes, because this is a war-goddesses tiger, so that seems appropriate.

    I'm not entirely confident I got the parallax mapping done right, but for now I think it looks pretty cool and I'm eager to give this guy some fur, so I'll move on.

    Some things to look further into... subsurface scattering -- is this appropriate for fur? Enamel? If not, I need a mask to delegate a few spots like the nose to receive SSS, and probably a map to govern different colors as well.

  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    I split the tiger into two texture sheets to get more resolution. This meant doing all the baking and much of the texturing a second time, but I managed to get it done in a day  and half. And the difference is major. I kept these uploads small so it wouldn't be too heavy, but there's a lot of nice detail -- enough for up close camera shots, which was the goal of redoing the textures. I figured, if this was a boss character, we'd want the camera up close for some badass snarling shots.

    So, tomorrow then I'll start with the fur cards.






    10/12/18 --- Terrible headache today, so fur cards didn't get past some haphazard experimentation. Spent more time tweaking textures and dinking with Toolbag. I think I like this higher contrast color scheme a bit more. I think it will fit better in the final scene with the shiny jewelry and whatnot.

  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    This fur is going to take some time to get done... there is plenty written about game hair, and I have plenty of great examples at my disposal, however, it's all a bit different from what I'm trying to do here. The general workflow and process is the same, but this tiger needs a range of fur cards -- it cannot all be accomplished with just a few generic hair cards differing only in density. 

    For now I am creating singular hair cards at a time and testing them out, trying to get the look of furry tufts along with the messy, coarse fibers, but I also have to keep in mind the colors and shape. To make the cards, first I make some alpha's in Photoshop, then use those to make a quick texture in Substance Painter. Make a new card in Maya, place some around, and finally check it out in Toolbag.

    It's not the hardest part of the project by any stretch (so far), but it may end up be the most time consuming. I'm shooting in the dark, but I've made some notable progress in two days of experimenting so hopefully I can have a solid workflow squared away by the end of the week. It's mostly just about boiling down the tiger fur to a minimum number of textures, keeping in mind different types of fur and color needs.


    Fur cards applied to the right side only. From the front the shape is kind of there, but this is very crude experimentation. 



  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter lvl 5
    Coming together nicely!
    Great progress!

  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Got most of the kinks worked out. Placed a lot of damn cards today. Maybe I'm almost a quarter of the way done.... :(  Good news is I am at about 7k tri's right now, so I think the entire thing should come under 100k easily enough. As long as I'm not topping Ayla (horizon zero dawn), I think we're good. Tiger model without the fur is around 20k, by the way, though the claws are a whopping 7k and could easily be LOD'd down.

    Very slow, but getting a feel for the process. So far I'm only working with two alphas. Idea is to get the main volumes blocked in, then I'll make a few specialty cards for easing transitions, whiskers, and so on. Since I don't want to cover the entire model with alpha cards, I need to find a way to blend in the cards so the whole thing looks as seamless and natural as possible. I don't think I can achieve total photorealism of course, but I want to avoid the tiger looking very much like an obvious video game model (distinction between mesh part and "hair" parts.) I may need to rely on post process to some degree, but I'll see what can be done working with just the textures themselves.

    I researched quite a few ways to do animal fur -- some pretty inventive workflows out there -- but I think going this way, just placing a few cards by hand and reshaping them to get variation rather than having a million materials, 1. I can keep a minimum of materials (better performance), and 2. just overall the model will remain pretty simple and not dissimilar to your typical character. If I am going to make a lot more animals like this in the future, I don't want to develop a novelty workflow if I don't have to. Nice to keep things the same.

    Oct 19 --




    Oct 22 - 
         Got both the cheek's base fill layers done. Backside of them is a mess so no reason to show that yet, but I'm liking the look from the front. I'm kind of straddling species of tiger here with the style of fur -- obviously this is to be a short-furred Bengal type but I like the big puffy cheeks of the Siberians more, so I'm going a little more towards that. I really how the younger tigers seem to have rounder, larger cheeks, but I tried not to go too far with that. I want her to look more formidable and imposing  rather than beautiful or elegant. Well, a little bit of both, but in any case, I'm pretty happy with it right now. Really what I want to do is make like 10 different tigers of all styles, but fuck me this is taking forever. I'm sure I could make the next one in half the time knowing what I know now, so one of these day's after doing a lot of other things I'll have to make some more of these fantastic creatures.

         Still have ears, under chin, neck, and some key spots on the body to go. I'm getting pretty fatigued with this, but I'll push hard to get it finished by Friday so I can close this guy out as a finished standalone model and get him up on Artstation. I'm hoping people will like it as much as me, but what I'd like most of all is some experienced creature/animal artist to give me some pointers on what might be improved. There is a few things I am aware of already -- being only the second time I've made a model like this there is of course things I want to improve on the next -- but it's always good to get one of those critiques where it's something you weren't even close to realizing. 
       
       As always, continuing to dick around with lighting in Toolbag. I think once this is finished I'll do some renders with a setup like this (kind of a sunrise in the steamy Indian jungle feeling) as this guy can work as a standalone character before the rest of the scene gets finished.



  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Just working on the ground piece and final lighting. Should have this wrapped up tomorrow. 

    This presentation isn't part of the Durga scene. I want to present the tiger on it's own in a natural setting since I've put so much time into it. So, I'll take some time to build a few leaves and a better texture for the ground here. I may just use some more stuff from quixel. I don't want to take forever with it, just a day -- but I think a few 3d leaves to scatter here and there will be a nice touch. I want her to appear to sink into the soft earth a bit, to help sell her size, so I'll probably do a little sculpting with Zbrush.

    I've considered adding a few reeds or something, but I think going too far with the enviro stuff may just distract from the subject. So I think just some sticks and leaves like this -- as if she were in a clearing -- may be enough to kind of make it feel realistic but also have that showcase feeling.

    About the general color scheme, what do ya'll think? I set directional back light to a kind of early morning color and gave a little bit of fog  With the tiger being orange/red/yellow., should I go with a little more green in the ground, just for variety? Maybe even add a couple blue/teal lights up front just to give a cool morning fog feeling. I'm not sure, I'll just play with it a bit. I kind of like a concentrated theme, but a little contrast may be nice as well. 

  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Well, that's that for the tiger. I'm going to call her finished here, but if I have some steam left at the end I may see about adding some more fur cards in a few places. I think it is pretty solid as is, so I'll leave it be and continue forward. Getting the textures just right so that the alpha cards blend in with the body is pretty tough to get right. 

    More pictures will be on my artstation, and I'll get a marmoset viewer up eventually as well. In total we are at ~35k tri's and four 4k materials. 

    Direct link to artstation page



  • akiratang
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    akiratang polycounter lvl 6
    The tiger is flawless. Nice job !
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Thanks @akiratang.

    Though it's far from flawless. There is a couple technical booboo's I kind of have to hide. I am embarrassed to admit it, but if I do it motivates me to be more careful next time.

    But, now I've got a workflow I like for making animals, so there is room to improve moving forward. I've achieved like 90% of what I wanted, so I am going to give myself a little present -- I'm going to play some Red Dead 2 for the rest of the damn day and nobody can stop me!
  • akiratang
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    akiratang polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks @akiratang.

    Though it's far from flawless. There is a couple technical booboo's I kind of have to hide. I am embarrassed to admit it, but if I do it motivates me to be more careful next time.

    But, now I've got a workflow I like for making animals, so there is room to improve moving forward. I've achieved like 90% of what I wanted, so I am going to give myself a little present -- I'm going to play some Red Dead 2 for the rest of the damn day and nobody can stop me!
    As long as the end results good, thats probably most important :)
    Yes am always learning from previous models, always a learning experience which makes us better.
    Lol RD2 looks so good , I'll probably pick it up come Xmas  

  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Starting to concept Durga. 

    The goal is for her to be both beautiful and severe. Like a school teacher all the boys have a crush on, but fear like the devil. Something like if Meghan Markle suffered from severe bouts of violent rage, and was Indian too of course. 

    Right now the face is pretty ordinary, and certainly needs more careful attention to anatomy. But I'll keep playing with it. I think the severity will come from the eyes and some sharper angles around there. Without going too far with any expression, I'll see if I can accomplish a resting "Cut your head off with my fifth arm" face.

    I went ahead and test out some general colors early on, although I am still focusing just on general forms. But I find I get stuck in endless loops if I don't have some color and landmarks like eyebrows and stuff to guide me. Just working with matte clay is too abstract for me.

    The good thing is I only need to sculpt her face and arms. Everything else will be well covered. So hopefully I can get a really good result that looks great in up close shots.


    I do like her side profile at the moment. I like the pointedness of it. 

  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    I think I'm happy with this general shape. I don't think I'll get into any further details until I get the saree roughed out along with the major pieces of ornamentation. I want to see how it's all going to look together first.

    Here is a quick test bake with vertex color in Toolbag. After some discussion with my wife, I've decided to go with a traditional hairstyle (concept pictured below), and I've also got a good plan for the jewelry/ornaments roughly sketched out. Should get a 3d concept done tomorrow. If the general silohouette feels how I want, I'll go ahead and do the facial detailing, then after that the big challenge of the saree will come next.


    Traditioanl hairstyle in the middle picture. Most of the depictions of Durga have a wild mane of hair, but my wife is telling me that her mother would be very upset about this, haha. Call's it a "mess." The braid will be less time consuming to create, and although I do want more practice with hair cards, I think there is so many pieces of jewelry and fancy embroidery I need to create, I think I can accept this and continue to work on my hair card techniques with other projects.

  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter lvl 5
    Very innovative approach on tackling the fur! Great job!
    Looking forward to your progress on the goddess. Are you planning to go with a realistic or stylised approach? (seeing as the tiger is more realistic)
    Following your artstation!
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Durga will be in the same style as the tiger -- basically as realistic as I can manage. Although she's got a ton of details with the saree and the jewelry, I hope it won't take me as long the tiger since I have more or less done everything before that I will be doing with her. Not too much to experiment with, I should be able to just put full focus on production. 

    The initial idea for the fur I got from Pogar Marius's artstation ( link here ).  He made some great looking horses and used a fur sim in 3ds max. I tried something similar with xgen, but found xgen to be a bit more complicated than I needed. Maybe I can use xgen to good effect, but I'll need more time in the future to work with it. It would be nice because the fibermesh grooming tools are not nearly as good -- I didn't have very much control and just had to trial and error things many times -- but I just couldn't find a good way to output the xgen as geometry for baking. I am sure it's possible, but I didn't want to take a full dive into Maya rendering and all that complex shit at the moment when I already had a solution that was viable.

    Thanks for the encouragement! It's a big boost to the motivation, which is important on these long projects where you aren't sure if you can even pull off what you're trying to do.

  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Some performance issues with Marvelous Designer I don't feel like dealing with right now, so working on the face a bit more. 

    Design decision I am unsure about right now is if I should keep this relatively soft, round look -- similar to most of the depictions I have seen and probably how ancient people might imagine a goddess -- or go a little more angular and hard looking. That to me feels more modern, and I think it may be more attractive to the average viewer, but I also want to have a feeling of authenticity to the ancient goddess as well. I suppose it's my portfolio, which means my chance to express myself without any other conditions... so there's that. 

    I think the best thing to do is try out both styles with different layers. In either case, some more refinement of the details -- particularly the eyes -- is in order. Any anatomy/character experts, please feel free to share any suggestions. You don't have to be polite or anything, won't hurt my feelings.




  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi polycount lvl 666
    why is there a line going from the corner of her mouth straight down?

    Sternocledoid muscle is not hugging the neck correctly.

    Zygomatic arch needs to reach back towards the ears.

    Solid start.
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Thanks for the notes, Brian. 

    I haven't touched the neck yet. It's going to be completely covered anyway, so I may not do more than just ensure the basic shape is correct.  I have done a few more hours work, but I'll go over and see if these points you brought up still need to be addressed.

    edit : actually here's more current shots. I agree about the way the skin is hanging around the mouth there. I'll get that cleaned up. About the cheekbone, I am not sure exactly what you mean. Do you mean, it should be pronounced further backwards towards the ear, or that it's angle is wrong and should be more perpendicular to the ear?



    edit edit : 

    I think I see what you mean. I put a skull in place and nudged it out so you can see. Looks like indeed my cheekbone is at an unrealistic angle. 


  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Incorporated those critiques into the face, but it still needs more work which I'll probably do once I get the saree and big ornaments roughed into place. I was looking around for more reference and found a woman with very elegant but kind of stern looking features, so I may scrap the face entirely and just do a close copy of her. So far I was kind of mashing several different faces together, but I think final results may be better if I just find one good face and more or less copy it. Kind of like with plastic surgery, you can't just pick and choose features from one person and plant them on someone and expect them to look good. 

    Been working on the saree. Here is a prototype. Will take what I learned from working on this and make a better one tomorrow. My initial idea was just to do it exactly as in real life -- a big rectangle wrapped around the body. Making use of MD's tape and pins more than anything else. This proved exceedingly difficult, but after a number of cheats and concessions, now I think it is still the most viable idea, I just needed more experience with MD's tools to pull it off. I look forward to having round two at this tomorrow -- should be able to get a zbrush ready garment in a day, I think.


    (Just using the MD models so I can easily test out different poses)


  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Got that done in the way I wanted. Was tedious for sure and kind of pushing the limits of MD with the fabric folded over itself so many times but we got 'er did. Retopo for this will be a cinch and texturing should work out nicely as well -- though I'll likely need to use a good bit of geometry to keep stretching under control. I'll try to keep it all around 100k or less if I can.

    Needs some cleanup in Zbrush.



  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter lvl 5
    Lovely work on the saree!
    Are you going to pose the character like you have in the reference?
    I think it would be better to have that pose and then drape the garmet, considering its a saree, will be very difficult to manipulate into pose as part of a rig.
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Yeah, exactly. Since I am not going to animate this, and since I figure a AAA studio would be using some special animations or cloth solutions, I figured I'd just go ahead and put her into the final pose. The elbows will be bent in a different direction -- I just needed them out of the way for now -- but basically this will be the final pose. The right hand will hold her trishula (trident spear thing) and the other arm will be bent across her chest holding one of the other ornaments.

    A little like this, though the trishula will be vertical and planted on the ground I think : :
    and this is the typical "fashion saree" pose that is also inspiration:

  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Got most the things very roughly into place. Been working on the face. I won't share close up shots yet because I have a lot more work to do on it still. It's quite lumpy at the moment as I've been experimenting a lot to find the look I like. The new face is based roughly on Anoushka Shankar, if there's any fans of Indian classical music. I feel she has a suitable look for this character.


  • Taylor Brown
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    Taylor Brown interpolator
    quite the journey, dude. its coming along nicely!
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Haha, thanks. I'm telling myself that after this I am making a very simple model.
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Here's the sculpt with and without vertex color. I am happy with her general look -- I may change up the eyebrows a bit when I get to texturing of course. I'll wait on it before I go into detailing (meaning surface level skin stuff), just in case I realize some mistake or somebody has some critiques. Please, do! I struggle with faces -- I either say, "that's good enough" too soon or I get lost in endless tweaks. It's hard to know where the stopping point is.

    Anoushka Shankar is the reference, if you care to look her up, but I'm not an experienced enough sculptor to pull off a legit likeness sculpt. More of just her character I wanted to capture, so keep that in mind for critiques.

    Besides basic anatomy, the look I'm wanting here is mid-30's but pretty healthy and fit, kind of serious, but also beautiful in a classical way. And it goes without saying, she needs to look Indian. And not Bollywood Indian, but like, non-plastic surgery, Indian Indian. So please let me know if the vibe you are getting is totally different.


  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter lvl 5
    I would add some more asymmetry, and some skin detail if you're going for a realistic look. 
    For a more stylised look you can get some texture into the skin which should add some depth.
    What is your final render going to be in?

  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Most likely Toolbag, but if I have the energy I may remake the scene in Unreal. All of these progress shots are usually in Toolbag.

    I will add in a touch of asymmetry and will get into the skin detailing a bit later today -- I just got to take my eyes off it for a bit, be sure the basic forms are all good and without any obvious noob flaws, before I continue on.
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi polycount lvl 666
    Corners of the mouth need to pinch inwards towards the medial center of the head.  She looks liek she's duck lipping atm.

    Your upper lip is literally smashed against the vertical plane.  Her lips don't look that smashed vertically in the reference.  Check your forms and how they flow.


    Your bottom eye pouch is undefined.  It just goes from the bottomo eyelashe line to the cheek with NO bulbous transition to account for the bottom eyelid.

    What are you using to reference your planes of the face, Alex?

    Nice job with the sari.
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor quad damage
    Here's a few of my references. Mostly I was watching video's of her though. About the lips, I think she does have flatter lips than typical, but I definitely need to get in there a bit more and make sure it's right. They looked a little off to me but I figured it was just lack of details more than the inherit shape.

    Also, I'll look more at defining the eyes as well. Thanks @Brian "Panda" Choi !

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