Well, it’s almost December and my time to finish my demo reel and portfolio is running up. I promised my girlfriend I’d start applying for jobs by the end of December so that means it’s go time for my new reel. My new goal is to start rendering for my new reel this weekend, I have a few characters that I don’t think I can improve on anymore than I can without just wasting weeks and improving them by 5-10%.
I solved a big issue I had with my AO passes which was that they obviously only look at geometry when rendering so I created a new mental ray shader that is FG based and looks at my alpha channels so I can render hair and tattered clothing. That was a big win and it’s done right now. I’m still playing with render layers and the amount of ambience I want everyone to have. I think that’ll get tweaked as I render on a character by character basis.
Here’s a test I did today with my new AO shader, as you can see on the tabard it’s listening to the alpha I used at the bottom.
The character that is supposed to be my last on this reel (or second to last depending on how quickly I finish a project for school) is my alien general who is pretty much done being sculpted but I’m having this insane issue with one of his 4 shoes and it’s UV’s. They are basically useless and I can’t make Zbrush export any kind of normal map that makes any sense for them. I’ve tried everything I know and if I fix this problem today I can start texturing him tomorrow!
I’ve been identifying weaknesses in my sculpting, and one thing I’ve learned is that I smooth too much. I’ve been watching tutorials about how to use different methods to sculpt and I’ve been experimenting with them so hopefully I can take care of these issues soon. Anywho, this is the final sculpt for this guy, gonna be texturing him in Zbrush as soon as I fix this stupid shoe issue. Cheers! back to work I go.
I got a bunch more done on my new character today, also made some last minute changes to his hands. His paw-tentacle things weren’t cutting it. Worked on seams, some extra clothing folds and fleshing out his skin today mostly. Oh, also did his shoes, they are pretty simple so I might add more detail to those.
Second update since I started keeping track of my alien general updates… heh. Anyways! Today was just yet another day of sculpting and trying to figure out how to efficiently create clothing folds. They are still a bit elusive but after doing a few characters with a ton of them i’m beginning to understand them. (I think)
Also I began sculpting face detail, started off with some ideas for lumps and just let it flow from there. I wanted him to have something to filter the air on his planet, which I’m not 100% sure about but I think it’s going to be something that’s harmful to humans. I think the character in his face helps build on the idea that he’s a weathered, experienced general.
Also spent some more time sculpting on my ecorche model. We were supposed to do upper arms but I basically resculpted the whole thing. I still have a ton to learn and need to refine this for many, many weeks I think. I’m far from the artist I want to be and I’m just gonna keep working and refining my skills until I get there!
Sculpted some more on this guy today. Going back and forth between clothing folds and stuff, having issues finalizing them I think.
Well, this week I’m kind of all over. I’m finishing up my resume and references for my new job search and I’m also working on all sorts of homework and starting up a new freelance model. I’ll probably get to that tomorrow morning, my eyes are a bit meltey right now from sculpting.
Anyways! Today I was working on my ecorche model and my new general model, both in Z-brush. Getting confused in anatomy when you turn corners around the figure, like from front to side so I keep resculpting over and over. Eventually I’ll get it.
Also just worked on the general’s face a tad by starting to define where muscles are pulling and fleshing out a few areas. On top of that I did more work on his cloth. I wanna finish this piece completely by the end of next weekend I would say.
Oh! I’ll also be updating my entire game design section once I finish my render layers for my demo reel. Excited about that as well! They are much more polished than what’s there now.
well, for school I was forced to do some new character sheets and although my light rig isn’t totally ready for these renders I tweaked it and got some decent renders pretty easily. here are 2 character sheets so far, these are very far from done and can’t wait to get up my real ones in a few weeks.
Its basically a diffuse/shadow pass with a SLIGHT rim light. a Rim shader I made, an occlusion pass (which needs work, and i need to find out if I can make it work with alphas…) a specular map to help metal pop out, which doesn’t work with either of these examples and a wireframe shader of course. Pretty easy to combine and setup.
Well, I’m taking a few days off of character creation to rest my eyes. I sort of killed them sculpting like an animal and not taking breaks for a week. While I’m resting them I’m working on other things that need to be taken care of as I come closer to my new job search.
Today and yesterday I’m messing with different types of render passes I want to use for my actual reel and unfortunately it looks like Occlusion passes are out because of weird stuff they do with alphas. Oh well, some occlusion is burned on my textures and I guess I’ll just ignore the fact that I’m missing that crucial, grounding pass.
Right now I have something that looks like this, a rim shader, diffuse/shadow maps pass, and a specular pass to help boost material differences.
Well.. we had to model a quadruped in school for some project and I decided to do a dinosaur. Why?! because I have wanted to sculpt one in Zbrush for quite some time, I chose my childhood favorite, the Stegosaurus. Here’s the base mesh, I made it in about 2 hours? Waiting for critique and then I’m going to UV and get this puppy into ZBrush.
This weekend I started working on the ZBrush sculpt for my new character and because of a school misunderstanding I had to do some concept art that I didn’t really expect to do. It was helpful though because I really worked with my color palette to simplify and keep it really tight.
here’s the concept art as it is today, it should be done tomorrow though. Also it has some variations of it’s color scheme. Some feel more alien than others.
here’s a quick render of my progress on the sculpt. The clothing is going to take forever because I really wanna focus on all sizes of folds, and the interactions between cloth and other materials. It also has a composting guide next to it because of an assignment in school 😛