Minor Project Update

The setting has been a constant question in the back of my mind, and Pols too. We have discussed and changed the location a number of times, but each time one of us just weren't satisfied with it. I suggested setting it in a valley of some sort, and we ran with that for some time. But it became apparent that it just was not going to be as visually pleasing as we would have liked. So it was decided that we would return to a cliff face type of thing.

Character Design
I have been working very hard on my character, I've been suprised by my knowledge of edge flow, I studied hard over Summer on clean topology and flow and I am very happy now that that is kicking in. My knowledge of anatomy is progressing along nicely now, and I am so close to a realistic character model. Last year the only head models I produced were video game ones, ones that weren't to be smoothed, simply normal smoothed. (Normal smoothing is simply smoothing out the the vertex normals in order to make the object seem smoother and softer as opposed to hard edges)

The spheres above are both 81 faces, however the one on the right looks far more satisfying, and is the technique used in video games. What I am ultimately getting at here, is, that with video game modelling you do not use sub-D which means that you model in a different manner. I found myself modelling my head model in a similar manner to the video game heads leaving awful results in the mouth corners and such when using sub-D. So simply put, it was a challenge for me to model with the intention of smoothing.

So here is a drawing of my character concept.

Things have already changed since these drawings. I will be removing the leg bandage things, and the sock thing on the feet. She will just be wearing some sandle type shoes. I've spent a long time working on modelling my characters legs and feet, I want to use them. The character as a whole has a serious lack of accessories which I am not happy about, and I shall be revisiting my design (and posting the drawings here) as soon as I have finished with the body and head model. However, it is important to note that I am quite happy with most of the outfit design.

Here are some updates on my character body model:

The legs are coming along nicely. Though I can push the knees a bit more. I had a lot of problems with the legs due to the feet. There is naturally a lot of geometry in the feet and a lot of it wants to run up into the legs. So you are forced to end them suddenly and reroute them around the leg horizontaly as oppposed to vertically, which is very annoying. Why is this annoying? Well you end up with what I call "3 Edge Poles" and because of this they can be very very apparent in your model by causing an annoying bump or crease. Something to be aware of, you should put these poles in places where it won't cause a problem in deformation.

The edge flow in the torso is really nice. As someone that has become quite obsessed with clean and nice flowing topology, I am quite happy by how this has turned out. It is looking really nice in my opinion.
Here are the hand and feet models. I've already posted the feet previously, but I felt it wise to post again so that this post can feel more complete. The hand model I am pleased with, it is very clean which is exactly what I wanted from it. Once it's rigged and skinned and of course, animated, the rig will do all the work to bring it to life. As for the foot, I like it :)

Here is the head model in its current state. The edge flow is really nice here. But there are a lot of issues that I now must resolve through sitting there pulling and pushing points for hours on end untill suddenly it works. But I thought I'd show it here as it is now. Hopefully my next post will see me showing the finished one off!

Things to work on :
-The jaw bone is sticking out too much.
-Shes smiling, remove that and give her a more natural look.
-Resolve the front view, the jaw line needs reshaping and the head thinning a little.
-Sort the ears out, some of the geometry has gone crazy, I think I managed to select some of the verts whilst adjusting part of the face without realising (what an idiot) and now some of the points are buried into the head. This needs attention.
-The nose bridge extends above the eyes, this needs fixing.
-The nose needs to be upturned a bit more to make her feel more effeminate (oh yeah, this is meant to be a woman, though it looks more like a prepubescent boy right now.
Here's a funny image. I sat there for a LONG time trying to work out what the hell was wrong with this head (on the before image) untill It came to me that the mouth was too low... I raised it up and it instantly started working. I show this image, because it's crazy to think that one small little detail like that, being moved up a small amount, instantly makes things work. It really shows just how we as humans read faces.
Also, here is the characters outfit so far. I threw a quick blue shader on there to make it clearer. I will have a belt around her waist and then split the torso from the lower part of the robe, so that I have have a simulation (nCloth) on the lower portion, and the upper portion will be skinned into the rig. However, I plan to use either joints in the breast area, or blend shapes, to simulate what I like to refer to as 'Jiggle Physics' (the bouncing of the breasts) though It will be subtle, and not overly done like you see in video games.

I really hope it is apparent how hard I am working to try and achieve absolute realism in my anatomy. But also working to achieve some really professional and clean topology that will be great for deformation.

I know this was a long post, and if you made it this far... Wow. Thanks for looking :)


Liam Scarlino said...

Junk in her trunk! Looking very good man!

tutorphil said...

Hi Jonny,

Okay - a bit later than I promised, but hey, I'm a hunted man and these first years have my back to the wall :-)

So - to recap, something issues/theoretical ideas that I would suggest underpin the subject area of your dissertation.

1) If you're arguing that addiction to games is in fact a desire to enter simulated worlds (and stay there!), then you're talking about people living in 'image worlds or virtual worlds' - Jean Baudrillard wrote about Simulation and Simulacra - wherein he suggested that we, in fact, already live in a 'copy world' - to put it more prosaically, you might argue that advertising etc. makes us buy things, not on the strength of their actual materiality, but because of their 'image' - or the world they simulate; we want to live in a simulation; Baudrillard argues that reality has been replaced by a simulation of it anyway. The notion of games is perhaps a symptom of this or maybe it is this idea made more visible; the original work is a difficult one, so I suggest you begin by reading various definitions of the term until you are happy that you have a handle on it.

Hyperreality is a related idea and it describes the kind of fictional 'larger than life' phenomena characteristic of image-saturated societies; again, it is broadly associated with escapism - or the human need to be fictionalised, perhaps?

Anyway, I hope that if you do a bit of reading around these subjects, little alarm bells might begin to go off in your head... here's hoping!

Alan Postings said...

Ok Jon...Its starting to look good. Lots of progress and Maya wizardry going on. Great to see.

However, I do think the characters face needs some more work. The cheeks are very thin (deformed / pushed inwards) and the lips too squashed. Its give the character a slight 'Duck Bill' look. Fatten out the lower cheeks toward the mouth / nostrils and then soften the lips. Subtle but important changes.

Jon Stewart said...

Thanks Alan. Yes the face is an issue currently. But i've set the face to one side for now in an attempt to work on her torso more. It really wasn't up to the standard that I wanted, and so I've been sculpting and retopologizing that area. Thanks for your comment and as soon as I move onto the face I shall be referring to it. I heard you had the Flu, I hope all is well now!

About Me

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I am a video game artist at Dovetail games, working on Train Simulator 2014, 2015 and an unannounced title. I also graduated from the CG Arts course at UCA in 2010 with a First Class. www.jonstewart.co.uk