Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Day 267

So with Blastoise done, that means I'm also done with my Pokemon project. The goal was to make them with increasing amounts of polygons. Squirtle has about 300 polygons, Wartortle has 27,000 and Blastoise has around 10 million. Blastoise could definitely have less polygons if I used a bump map for the fine details instead of sculpting them but that would have defeated the purpose of the project.

Day 266

I've done my usual five posts per week so here are some bonus ones. For painting the colors, I was just working with three layers. You can see each by themselves above. On the left, I have the bottom layer with the orange and yellow. I put both on one layer since they are separated by the white trim so I don't have to worry about them touching each other. If they were, editing one might negatively impact the other. In the middle, we have the layer for the blue skin. There're also the lines on the shell which will sit on top of the base orange. On the right is the topmost layer which is mostly the yellow detail work which appears on top of the blue skin. There's also the white lines on the back shell but you can't see them here.

Here's an image so you can see the base layer of blue and all the yellow details I painted on top of it. Below you have the flat unfolded color map. Back and front shell on the bottom, upside down head on top left, tail on mid left, legs on upper right, arms in the middle and feet next to the arms.

Day 265

Here is the final product. I added in a shiny layer to go along with the painted layers. You can, of course, see that in the eyes but there are also lines of shininess on the back and front shell and then a little bit of shine on the head and arms. I also changed the shell up a little since last time. For the creases between the plates, I was going to darken them. However for most sea turtles, the cracks are light/white so that's what I did here.

I wasn't sure what to color the water guns. Should I do yellow like the belly or orange like the back or both? Neither one looked right in my mind's eye. However, I couldn't leave it white since it was looking too bright. So I ended up painting them a very light yellow bone like color and left it at that. If you remember before, I had issues sculpting the hands and feet. Those same issues made painting those areas difficult too so I couldn't do too much work there.

Overall, it turned out better than I expected. I wasn't that happy with the model but after painting it, the colors hid imperfections that I saw. Things just look better in color. The funny thing is that I don't particularly like painting; I'm more into modelling. So when I started painting this, I had no idea what I was doing and thought I was in way over my head. But eventually, somehow, things just started working out.

Day 264

Back to pokemon. I last left the model maybe 95% complete. I still had to make the water guns. I thought about maybe making them a hollow horn but eventually settled on a tube made from four plates. As I was building it, the tube changed from a circular one to more rectangular. The end result is what you see above.

Then it was on to painting. The back shell is orange which fades to white as a homage to the original drawing. Then I drew in lighter and darker orange lines on each shell plate. I wasn't super happy with how that turned out. It looks ok from afar but not too great up close.

The belly is obviously yellow and the rest of the body is blue. Since I wanted this to look realistic, I had to make the color transition between different parts looks natural by fading into one another. Going from yellow to blue wasn't that bad but there were some areas that went from blue to white that didn't look right. So there I had to fade the blue to yellow and then to white. I used the yellow to emphasize larger creases on the arms, legs and neck. Then I colored in some of the fine gaps in between the scales. I was going to add in another  layer of lighter blue but I was happy with what I had and just stuck with painting yellow on top of one blue layer.

The head didn't have the big scale pattern sculpted in so I just did my own thing there with the yellow. I wasn't sure what to color the knobs on the top of the head. Other colors didn't look right so I stuck with yellow. At first the eyes were more normal looking but the white just stood out too much. So I made it grayer but that didn't look natural. Since sea turtle eyes are more or less all black, I just cranked up the darkness.

Day 263

So I'm jumping to the final product. I had never planned on painting this model. I was just going to apply a flat color to each part so there would be some differentiation between armor and mouse. This is what I did but with the mouse being completely white, I thought it wouldn't take that much effort to paint some of it. So the only parts I painted by hand where the pink areas on the mouse.

I definitely wanted the mouse to be white. When I imported the (by default) brown mouse from Mudbox into Maya, Maya changed it to white and I liked how that looked. Since the mouse was white, I made the armor be a darker gray instead of a more silvery color which might have made things appear washed out. The dark gray would also contrast with the silver needle and dime. I like the pop of color the ribbon has with the red. It wasn't until this point that I realized that the ribbon is like the thread on a needle.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the end result. I could have made the armor more flashy or fantastical but I didn't want to go overboard. Plus miniature blacksmiths can only do so much.

Day 262

Besides the fact that the knight is sitting on a mouse, there's nothing else to indicate that he's small so that's where the next two things come in. I wanted his sword/lance to be a needle and his shield to be a dime. I made these two objects in Maya and positioned them where I thought they should go. Then I sent everything over to Mudbox so I could move and adjust the arms so they're holding the two objects. Like I said before, Mudbox has some quick and easy tools that makes moving and posing things very easy. Next for the dime, I created a bump map and copied over a picture of a dime. I could have just painted a photo on but I wanted some depth. It looks more like an engraving than being really three dimensional but that's the best I could do unless I went in and adjusted everything by hand.

I also made a bump map for the areas of chain mail that show underneath the armor and applied a chain mail pattern.

Next I sent the shield, needle and just the hands back to Maya to make some more objects. I just sent the minimal amount of parts because Maya isn't as good at handling high polygon objects (although this model doesn't have that many, just trying to be efficient). So I made some arm loops for the shield and then a long ribbon thing for the needle. Then I sent those back to Mudbox and luckily the ribbon didn't overlap with the mouse.

Day 261

I finished doing the leg pieces on the knight. Next I went back to the mouse armor for some final adjustments. I added the horns on the head piece and changed the shape of the back plates. Then I added more detail to the saddle. I created some straps to wrap around the bottom of the mouse. Finally, I added rivets all over.

Then it was back to the knight. I also added rivets to where I thought was appropriate and fixed little things here and there. Next, I mirrored the half I was working on. Now that I could see both sides of the suit together, I made more adjustments as needed. So here, the suit is more or less complete.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Day 258

I had to do a lot of image research for the knight. I had to figure out how they were actually armored and what kind of style I wanted. There were countless variations based on real history along with fantasy. I also had to draw sketches for the head. I wanted to have a slight mouse motif for the helmet so the sketches were needed for that. The simplest thing was to elongate the helmet forward more. I put in three slits over the mouth part to represent whiskers. I'm not happy with how that looks and will try to fix that later. The hardest part was recreating mouse ears without it looking stupid. I tried drawing more literal ears but they didn't look right. Then I thought of doing a ram's horn to get the round shape. While I was modeling that, I decided to add in more horns to fill in the space more. I think it works to give a subtle mouse impression.

With that done, I moved onto the body armor which was a slow and tedious process. I didn't plan out the look beforehand and made things up as I went along. Above, the arm is partially bare because he'll be wearing chain mail underneath the armor pieces. You can see that below which is why it's wrinkled at the elbow. Other gaps will also be chain mailed. The plan is to go into Mudbox and make a bump map to get the chain mail look. I got as far as the knee here. The capri look is kind of funny.

Day 257

Since this mouse is going to be ridden into battle, it needs some armor. This type of work is better done in Maya. Above you can see me start working on the head by placing a simple polygon and working my way back.

Before I proceeded further, I needed to know where and how the knight would sit on the mouse. So I went back to Mudbox and loaded up the default man model and positioned him on the mouse. Then I sent everything back to Maya.

Then I added in more armor and made a saddle. I didn't cover him completely with armor because I was trying to think things through logically (as much logic as you can apply to an tiny knight). I figured a mouse is more flexible than a horse so it should have less armor to impede that flexibility.

Here is the semi-final form. It's pretty simple right now because I'm not sure how everything will look with an armored knight and I don't want it too busy. I'll probably add in straps wrapping around the bottom of the mouse and smaller details like rivets. Some other things might change after I make the knight since I want their armor to match.

Day 256

I was getting tired working on Blastoise so I decided to switch things up. My next project idea I had was to make a miniature knight that is riding a mouse. Don't ask me where that came from. First up is to make the mouse. Mudbox has some built in models; one of which is a lizard which I thought I could easily change into a mouse. However, it needed some tweaks first. In Maya, I added in some ears. You don't really see much of a mouse's upper limbs so I deleted those areas and then reattached what was left to the body. I made the toe lengths more uniform and deleted one toe on each limb just to make it easier to work with. You can see the alterations above.

Next I was back in Mudbox. Taking that basic model, I roughed out the general shape of the mouse. Even with this low number of polygons, it's still easy to get the mouse look.

I increased the poly count and spent a lot of time on the feet and toes. I guess because I don't look at mice that often or that closely, the back feet just look bizarre to me.

Eventually, I reached a point while working on the head where I had to decide if this was going to be a realistic face or a cartoonish one. I ended up going with the latter.

Day 255

I continued to sculpt and increase the number of polygons when needed. At this level, I can start adding in smaller details like wrinkles and bumps. I haven't done the guns yet. I'll add those in as separate objects.

Above I'm nearing the final stage before adding the super fine details. At this point, I reached a problem with the hands and the feet. I think how they were modeled way at the start and/or how I unfolded the model for the map caused an issue there. The cursor just had a hard time registering those areas which made sculpting detail there very hard.

Now I'm at the multi-million polygon stage which is needed to add in details like the lines on the back shell. A more efficient method would be to use a bump map instead but I went with this to see how far my sculpting can go. My computer can handle it well enough but when I go to paint, it might become a problem.

Above you can see what I managed to do with the hand/feet problem I mentioned earlier. It wasn't as bad with the feet so they look ok. The hands were the bigger issue and I eventually quit in frustration. Anyway, I made more subtle lines for the belly shell compared to the back. Then I used a scale like pattern to apply onto the arms and legs. Below I also used it on the neck, however I didn't want it on the face. So I need to pick something more subtle/fine for that area. I also sculpted in some more bumps on the head. I might change the ears a bit and I need to clean up the mouth too.

Day 254

Time for the last stage of evolution for my pokemon project: Blastoise. Here's a pic of him above, however I didn't want to do a literal translation of him. That's what Wartortle was for. Since I'm going to increase the polygon count even higher, I wanted to make a more realistic interpretation. I'm going to give him a more sea turtle like head. Reptiles don't really have ears so my options were to turn them into horns or make them more fin-like. Since Wartortle had the big ears, I decided to go with the fin ear option. Then there's the issue with the guns. They're pretty much his defining characteristic and also his most unrealistic but I'll figure something out along the way. On the above right, I took the model for Squirtle in Maya and added more polygons right off the bat. I also shortened the tail and removed the stubby fingers (which I will eventually regret).

I took the model and imported it into Mudbox. Above I'm just roughly adjusting the shape. I made the head smaller and pulled out the ears. I leaned him forward so it might actually look like he can stand without falling over.

I increased the number of polygons and above is how the model looked before I increased them again and again. The general strategy is to work as much as you can with what you have before increasing the polygons instead of just diving into millions of polygons right off the bat. In Mudbox, I can also switch between different levels of polygon number. If I need to make a big change, I can go to a lower polygon count and move back to higher ones to do finer details.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Day 250

Next it was time to paint the body. I didn't want to spend too much time on this but I didn't want it looking half assed either. First I painted the gloves, shirt and pants. For the shirt, I just drew a line down the front and back. For the pants, I drew the same line along the side instead. My paint stroke got away from me and it ended up wrapping around the knee. I thought that looked interesting so I kept it and made it wrap all the way down to the feet. The belly area was looking empty so I drew a circle around the crotch for some reason. I didn't like how the lines on the shirt looked with the pants so I decided to have them meet up, one in the back and one in the front. And that was that.

I'm pretty happy with the paint job on the face. I doesn't look super realistic but still pretty good for a first try. I have to add that the book didn't go over anything about painting faces so I was just doing everything on my own. I still want to go back and add in hair at some point.

I forgot that I already has a close up video of the head in the last post. Oh well, here's another.