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[WIP] Titanfall Fanart, MCOR "Maurauder" Pilot Desmond

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Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
Creating a character that will accompany the Legionnaire Titan fanart I am working on.  Going to make adjustments to make this "Irish-American" or "Irish" on the design.  Original concept by Poji Chow.

Using the likeness of friend, Joe Coffey, for this guy's head.

Going to see how far I can push this, especially with the head.

I feel like I'm constantly relearning or revalidating my hard surface workflow.  Like, with difficult shapes, I feel like it still takes too long to Zbrush sketch the idea out and then retopologize it for the final high poly.  Otherwise I have the planar blockout method, or using MOP Booleans which starts chugging when I want to export the final mesh out to Modo.  If anyone knows of a faster technique, please let me know.

Also, to anyone reading this, no matter how far into your career you are, you're gonna want to keep a journal document of all the things you've learned.   I find myself populating a OneNote journal with everything I've learned so I don't have to rely on my memory and instinct to keep it all in like a dumb hubris-filled person.

//CURRENT
WIP 19

I'm at an impasse with the head and hair at the moment.  Mostly feels like fidgeting with sliders instead of significant changes.
  • The hair top at certain angles will seem to have weird shadows, but I don't know how much of this can't be helped given that it's a tuft that can be seen from all angles usually.
  • Still debating how intensified I want the normal map on the face since more wrinkles would seem to help carve out and accentuate the face more.

@slosh , I'm gonna do that ear/neck fix at the end, because redoing the vellus hair to match the new topolgoy is  a pain.













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  • Brian "Panda" Choi
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    WIP 4a

    Previous feedback from WIP 3

    • Satoshi Arakawa:  "He feels a bit stylized atm. not sure that's what ur going for. I think you can push his anatomy a lot further. the brow and cheek shapes feel way too soft. ears feel too flat to the head. I think his head is too narrow, possibly the cranium is too narrow causing this."
    • Chris Kuhner: "His features are definitely more cut and distinct. This is a good image IMO. You can really see his cranium pronounced on his forehead. His ears don't pop but that's the FOV for sure. His nose shapes are more pronounced. I think you have a lot of work to do on his primary and secondary forms before jumping to hair."
    • I forgot: "That forehead gonna need some tlc where it wraps around. Right now it ends up feeling a bit swollen. You’d be surprised to see how much skull definition can improve a sculpt all around."


  • Brian "Panda" Choi
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    WIP 6

    Learned a lot more about the technical issues surrouding my Marvelous Designer workflow.

    Working in clothing details and greeble details atm.



  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    WIP 6b

    Laid in base pores for the head.




    Btw, is my pore direction/shape notation accurate for how the pores stretch and shape-wise, look, on the face?



  • slosh
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    slosh quad damage
    I think something you could try is to use a sphere for the eye instead of the sculpted one you have now.  I think it's throwing off your tissue shape around the eyeball.  It also feels like some of your masses are too flat.  I would check out some anatomy ref on the actual structure for the nose and eyes as well.  Outfit is looking pretty solid so far!
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    WIP 7

    Reviewing all the bony landmarks according to this https://www.artistsnetwork.com/art-subjects/portrait-figure/how-to-draw-bodies-lea-colie-wight/ and trying to accentuate planes to make masses not feel flat, assuming that's the the answer.  Still haven't swapped the eys yet.




  • Cernantis
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    Cernantis triangle
    Love armor! I feel you might refine planes and base of nose.


  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    @Cernantis
    With this one reference photo I have, wth is causing that S curve on the sides of the nose mass?  Just an odd lighting set up?


  • carvuliero
  • Cernantis
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    Cernantis triangle

    I think its focal length. Real cameras use different settings on different photos. Your first photo reference has closeup of the face with distortion like first example on pic related. Might be useful to export sculpt to Maya/Max/Blender  and see how it will look in game. 

  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    WIP 8

    Laying in secondary folds to clothing.  Gonna go through again later for a clean up and finish pass.


  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    WIP 8b

    @carvuliero, thank you.  Did my best at the end of today to tackle your notes.

    Regarding the cheek planar transitions, is it that the planes are not clear between each other or something else?


  • Brian "Panda" Choi
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero ngon master
    Usually web site is kind enough to send me notification when someone is writing to me i guess it had better things to do this time
    I don't know I am ?
    Ok hes slowly starting to look like a human even tho there are bunch of things I would change but its not up to me
    Something that really jump out is in side view ear placement and relation of head to neck recheck that with your ref
    There is still something wrong with mouth
    Can you refresh me on whats your goal with this guy ?
    If you send me obj of his head I can give you more specific information of whats is working and whats not

    Mr. Cool :)
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    @carvuliero
    //Goals
    1. Make a game-ready, but cinematic real-time, model of the character
    2. Create a likeness of the actor
    3. Finally nail down a hair pipeline that I will remember and am confident in since I feel as I've failed to do that for years.
    ZTL of the head sculpt:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/ovboqyypf0vqy40/Head_1.ZTL?dl=0


  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    Some additional notes:

    //Modeling the Tactical Ammunition Bags
    1. I redid the tactical bags via Marvelous Designer, and for sculptural simplicity, I quadremeshed it and kept it thin on export
    2. After getting the sculpting detail in, I maintained the original import subdivision AND added thickness via Panel Loops w/ w/e edits in the sldiers like no bevels, and Panel Loop number that played well with the number of times I subdivided so I can walk the subdivision backs AFTER deleting the sibdivisions to even RUN Panel Loops.
    3. Ran Deformation>Polish (Alt) to get automatic seam lines for baking.

  • Brian "Panda" Choi
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    WIP 11

    Need to spend some time jsut focusing on the panel line details, and then get back to detailing.

    I got a comment from a friend that the skirt isn't reading like a skirt yet.  Gonna look into fabrics for it, maybe fray the edges like a hastily made afghan.

    Gonna start blocking out the minigun and get those edits on the face.

    Anything stick out to anyone with the Costume?




  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    WIP 11d

    Did my best to tackle ya'lls critiques @cauvliero and @Felixenfeu.

    Will take a second pass tomorrow.



  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    @birb
    There's a black outline in the eyehole paintover you made.  Are you saying there I need to add a planar change for when the "pink flesh" of the eyelid starts?
  • birb
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    birb keyframe
    @birb
    There's a black outline in the eyehole paintover you made.  Are you saying there I need to add a planar change for when the "pink flesh" of the eyelid starts?
    The waterline? I can't remember the anatomical jargon for it at the moment, but it's the surface you apply eyeliner to:



     The only notable plane change in the waterline itself would be the one to the eyelids.

    I faked extra thickness in that overpaint and also suggested a meniscus. The waterline is quite thick, something between almost 2 and 3mm getting even thicker where it connects to the tear duct because it's convex-ish instead of hugging the eyeball there. The catch is that the meniscus—the accumulation of the water covering the eyeball close to the eyelids—makes the eyeballs both look slightly forward in the socket and better set by softening the transition from waterline to eye.



    It's your call to whether add or not a meniscus. My advice would be to add it whenever possible because it really adds to the eye, not only improving this transition but making eyes more lively.

    Now, if you meant the caruncle—the pink tissue in the inner corner of the eye, the tear duct—there's usually a subtle plane change there indeed. Think of it as a slight accumulation of clay. It'll mostly soften the transition to the nose and the areas under the eye. The lower region of this area also happens to be the point where wrinkles under the eye usually converge to.

    The plane changes I'm more concerned about are the 1, 2, 3 outlined in this post. I feel the crease under the lower lashline (where the waterline meets the eyelid) is too sharp, particularly near the outer corner of the eye. It's reading as a valley instead of wrinkles. He seems to have a slight change there, but it's not all due a crease. His lashes are casting a shadow, his skin is darker and pinker and there are wrinkles there. These factors removed, the base geometry would be softer. My advice is tackling this and also softening the area nº 1, because it's looking swollen. The region 1 tries to hug the eyeball. Age, eye depth and fat will affect it, but it's good practice to always anchor it on the eyeball shape then apply those factors. Nail down the planes of the 1 2 and 3 and they'll still be noticeable without needing to rely on creases and inflating them as much.
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    WIP12a

    Has taken several days to to go through Ashley Sparling's hair tutorial slowly, and also integrating a Fibermesh methodology for short hair cards.

    I think I have a good base to work from, but need to start breaking these hairs intro groups from the fibermesh, and careful about how I group things.  Not quite satisfied with the way it renders still.  Still looks wonky, even following the exact tutorial setup.

    If anyone has any pointers to troubleshoot this please let me know.


  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero ngon master
    Definitely grouping and clumping of hair is needed .From this angle moustache doesnt look like one and you are missing small bit right under lower lip and a small island below labiomental sulcus
    A bit more specific on grouping


  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    @carvuliero
    Is that an excerpt from a traditional sculpting book?  Or something else?
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    WIP 12b

    Hopefully this isn't a step back



  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero ngon master
    Yes Its one of the classics Eduard Lanteri this particular page is from volume 1


  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    WIP 13a

    Focusing on hair card placements and negotiating how thick the hair texture strands need to be.  I think I feel I'm on the right path.

    Right now the difficulty is trying to nail the soft transitions of the reference photos of Joe's hair, given that it's all short, but it does have varying clumping and density changes between certain sections.

    I'm using Modo, but all the hair cards, given their length, I've popped out of Zbrush and edited them from there.  

    Shout out to Ashley Sparling's hair tutorial on his ArtStation.  This far in, and he has been the most concrete, consistent explanation about both theory and practical approach to hair grooming for games.  This is above Gregory Avaulucci (I don't know how to spell his last name) or Adam Fisher's, etc.  I recommend paying the price he's asking for it.  It's taken me years to find a tutorial that actually explains the method behind the madness, and he finally does it for me.  Still continuing through, and would like tor evisit his tutorial for longer hair, but it's working so far with Joe Coffey's short hair here.

    textures feel plasticy, but that will resolve in due time.


  • birb
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    birb keyframe
    This is coming along nicely. You're right on the money about clumping, the manner hair clumps and varies in density makes or breaks the suspension of disbelief. I don't feel confident in my hair card skills yet so no technical advice on this, but about the growth pattern...

    It's helpful to determine the less dense areas you can't ignore. Look at the ref and try to identify where raring hair still impacts the hairline or helps to smooth the transition to hairless areas. In this case I'd say temples and that scattering of beard on the cheeks near the jaw hinges. It's also always good to scatter a tiny bit of hair around the eyebrows so they don't look manicured—usually towards their outer corners, on the upper eyelids and where the zygomatic process merges into the frontal bone.

    With short hair the growth direction is also evident. I have no idea what it'd be called in English, but do you know this whirlwind on the back of the head? Locate it and it'll give you the hair flow and layering for almost the entire scalp.
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    WIP 14

    I am both frustrated and slightly mirthed about my progress with this hair.

    Problems I observe (technique solutions if you have them)
    1) Coverage is not consistent, like I can't help but see holes, but Joe's hair is thin.
    2) Needs more fade out stray hairs at the edges (Sounds like a "do at the end thing)
    3)  Awkward silhouette breaks (I mis-seaprated the polygroups of Fibermesh planes originally, that;s on me.)

    Please help.  I feel like I'm ommitting something with my process that will get this over the hill.
    It's hard to discern how much of this is a theory, technique, and/or technical issue with card placement or textures.  Much of this is because I personally don't feel like I've had a successful hair example I've ever done.






  • slosh
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    slosh quad damage
    Did you try painting strands into the scalp to blend?  This will make a BIG difference.
  • BagelHero
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    BagelHero polycounter lvl 7
    some notes on your friends hair (sorry joe)
    You're close, but i think lack of attention to flow rather than coverage is biting ya in the butt. Thoughts on your current WIP


    Hope any of these notes help. Shaping up great, Brian.

  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    I've gotten some semblance of the density and texture scales figured out.



    Going to investigate a fibermesh curve and polystrip extrusion combo with Modo to see if I can get to the flow sections faster, BagelHero.


  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    Workflow right now:
    Fibermesh > export Curves > Modo Geo From Curves plugin > Edit rotations, sizes,s UVs, etc.

    I THINK I just need to do mostly noodling from here


  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    WIP 15

    Ok, so I THINK I have a new, comfortableish workflow approaching most straight hair styles.
    Combination of fibermesh, geo to curves modo plugin, photoshop.  Might do a write up later.  Still lots of editing, but it is controlled editing.

    I'll go back in to do fly away cards.

    Onto texture polishing!




  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    WIP 16.

    Did some more work to intensify the normals on the face.  I almost I feel like I need to go back in to acentuate the foreheard plane changes.
    Further added noise details to the body.

    Need to do a concentrated wear and tear pass on the body.

    Any feedback?



  • slosh
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    slosh quad damage
    Awesome progress Brian!  One thing that looks really off is his eyes.  The are sitting too low and he's looking cross eyed as well.  On any neutral face, the bottom of the iris will usually barely touch the lower lid.  Yours dip way below the lower eyelid.  I also think the reds are a little intense right now.  I would tone those back a bit.

  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    WIP 17

    rotated the left eye slightly to the left to fix the cross eyes (I'm gonna need to move it more, just feels weird knowing they're both NOT pointing in the same dierction). Moved the height of the eyes to fix pupil positions relative to eyelids.

    @slosh I'm not wrong for thinking getting this NOT looking crosseyes is going to mean that the left eye is technically NOT going to be aiming the same direction as the right?

    Added vellus hair via fibermesh.

    Began adding individual glyaway hair cards.


  • slosh
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    slosh quad damage
    Um, they should be mirrored in the same position if thats what you mean.  One eye shouldn't be positioned differently in a mirrored format.  But in reality, eyes aren't pointing in the same direction to begin with.  They are angled slightly outward.  Also, take into account the vertical position I pointed out as well.  right now, he looks like he is looking down cuz they sit too low in the socket.  Something I'm noticing in ur head structure that looks off is his brow line and the muzzle. There's no break between his brow and forehead.  Also the muzzle looks too far forward and his ear looks too angled back with his neck possibly being too thick.  I've looked at ur photo ref and this is based off of that as well.
     
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    I'll have to over exaggerate past what I would instinctually do.  brb.
    Eyes slightly pointing outwards is new to me.
  • slosh
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    slosh quad damage
    It's subtle but they angle out...never completely straight forward.

  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    "not a bug, it's a feature."
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    WIP  18

    Added a ton of fly away cards to the top section of the hair.

    Damage/detail polished the body.

    Added additional alpha details to the hands: panel lines, etc.

    Fixed the sculpt of the head: forgot the forehead planes.

    Rotated eyes out a bit.

    Added vellus hair to head.

    I probably need to pale the face more; accentuate his gingerness.




  • slosh
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    slosh quad damage
    did you end up pulling the jaw back?  it still looks a bit protruding.
  • DavidCruz
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    DavidCruz greentooth
    idk if its this messed up but get a good profile view on the sculpt/gamemesh line it up somehow with the original side profile photo and double check this.

    My 1st and only time with hair / joker, was tough indeed, hear good things about xgenhair and all those other hair guide things, did mine manually though.

    i lined it up by the two pix with the Nostril hole, i see the slight area of keeping the mouth open for animation? purposes or to be animation friendly, unless i am fooling myself in thinking it has an internal all the inner workings of a mouth, which might be throwing off the look and the bold chin, "bold chin", is from the beard/hair.

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