Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Now for something completely different. I took a break from the book like I usually do. A modeler doesn't always model using millions of polygons. Depending on the application, like a video game, they have to use much less. So I had an idea of doing a project with three models; one with a very low number of polygons, one higher, and one with millions. The models had to be related so my mind drifted to Pokemon and how they have three evolution states. I wanted to do Charmander since he was the Pokemon I picked in the videogame way back in the day. Unfortunately, his evolution stages didn't differ enough for me so I settled with Squirtle. So Squirtle was going to have the least polygons while Blastoise would have the most. The first step to find reference images. Despite the number of picture of him online, I could not find a profile shot or a good head on shot so I just used the above image as a reference. Then I went back to Maya, for the first time in a long time, and produced the model above. It wasn't super easy because there's a balance trying to make it look like something while using the least amount of polygons as possible. I think I ended up with a 300 polygon model.
After that, I unfolded the model to make the map. Then I imported it into Mudbox for painting. Painting him ended up being much trickier than I anticipated. When painting something realistic, I'm working with lots of colors and things can be blended together and imperfections make it look more realistic. Here I'm dealing with only with four colors so everything has to be nice and crisp and perfect. Also the model is very boxy. So when I was drawing the black lines, it looked nice and smooth from one direction but bent and crooked from another.
For the face, I just pasted in one I found online but then I had to retrace all the black lines to make them sharp. With the painting done, I used Mudbox's posing tools to make him look more natural. I just moved one arm up and then curved the tail so it wasn't pointing straight back. Below you can see what my map looked like after it has been colored. Overall he turned out ok. The head shape could be better. I might fix that later.