Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Modeling The character

I must say I am very pleased with the outcome of this character. I had pretty much envisaged this character last year in April. Did the character come first or the story? I think it was the actual environment, character then the story. I wanted the character to resemble characteristics of myself likewise also the environment....A very hard working, committed, resilient, dedicated and loyal person that even when she feels that her life is dull she still carries on much too her detriment....her normal existence is soon shaken up....

From when I first pitched Leap of faith and being told that it would be better in 2D as most of the feedback given was that they could not see it in 3D has come a long way...this has been a challenging and rewarding experience. I was nervous at first to tackle this character as I knew it would be complicated as the style and design I wanted to meet the original concepts. I am very pleased with the outcome....The character in particular as this is where I want to focus..(character modelling and concepts). If I were to do the character again I would change the topology of the mouth as I do not like the way that it opens...the glasses I wanted more old eccentric mad scientist look. More in the detailing like button hanging off one thread.

I have learnt so much through modelling this character right through to rigging, texturing, Things to look out for when animating.

Finished textures for librarian - April 20th 2011

Rendered shots using ray tracing and Mental ray and final gathering.

Rigged Character by Clymbo

Textures given to Marios for Librarian

I can see the librarian wearing some old brogues...old school the double stitching and the worn out textures.

From the first test Marios gave me for the texture of the skin it was to clean and fresh looking. I suggested to have the skin looking like old leather...worn out with character lines and blemishes...
Old style buttons for the cardi. The cardi has three buttons. If we had more time I would have prefer them to be odd and one button hanging from a cotton thread. So when animating secondary animation can occur when she's walking...nice attention to detail...

More wrinkles.........
Old type granny socks over the nee but due too overuse the elasticity of the sock no longer hold s up so the Librarian is seen to be wearing over the knee socks that have slipped creating folds in the fabric...This is something I created in the geometry of the model.
This is more the style of shoe that I envisaged for the librarian. Oxford Brogues.....nice.....

Attention to detail creating the hole effect in the shoe.
Textures I gave to Marios when texturing.

Passed to Clym to Rig.....

modelling belt buckle and belt...

Seperating geommetry by selecting faces and extracting...

Pleats to be well defined and shaped around body.
Adding good old edge loops for sharp edges...

Getting there......working on skirt and belt and belt loop....

Distortions when mirroring now rectified by reducing the threshold.....

Front view
Side view
Top viewThis is where I am smoothing out....its looking like my character.....
Working on glasses...still deciding the style of glasses not sure if I want round or half reading glasses...

Working on hair...She has a bob style hair cut but I just wanted to add some geometry to put in some edges.

Vertices merging together to create triangles in areas.

problems with mirroring geometry...some areas triangulate so to get round this I reduced the threshold and it seemed to work....

Sorted it by reversing normals.....

getting the eyebrow to come down over the eye to give a more elderly look...tweeking vertices to get the right look.

Forming the nose

forming the lips...didn't want them to big but slightly pronounced. Small in comparison to the rest of the face.

Started of with small nostrils but later changed to larger nostrils to suit the shape of the nose.

Getting a feel for the kind of nose I want...decided on larger nostrils so merges with rest of nose.Doing the nose although I might ditch the nose and do the mouth first as the nose covers the mouth....dughhhhh!! Main muscle around the eye Obicularis Occuli....the character expression (eye) closed, blink, open wide in shock, look down, look side to side, questioning, tired, scared, stretch...eyelid, eyebrows raised etc....

Wanted heavier lids as the character squints...although for rigging etc I decided to model the character with eyes open.

Getting the eye sorted....

Just getting the eye topology right by using less geometry as possible. Much of the time was spent tweaking the verts etc to get the right look.

Problems....problems....problems....Had one of those crap days where everything you do maya decides it doesn't want to play with you...Tried different methods of modelling this character and decided in the end to ditch the original as I was having probs with the curve tool and I didn't like the way I was going with it. Since this is a stylised character rather then realistic this is heavenly governed by organic shapes so I decided to stick with poly modelling but not originating from a box but rather a sphere I then used the lattice tool to shape the face.
The effect was much closer to the design....Spent a day faffing around as when I smoothed out my model creases were apparent as if it was made from paper...this wasn't right...I then realised that there was a glitch for some bizarre reason when extruding the vertices weren't merging. So when I merged the verts it seemed to smooth out ok. FINALLY....

3D Modelling

Modelling is the process of taking a shape and molding it into a complete 3D mesh. Taking a primitive and extend or grow into the shape that can be refined and detailed from single points (vertex), lines (edge) a curve (spline) to three dimensional objects (faces or polygons).

I will be exploring different techniques in modeling my character...
  1. Spline or patch modeling - A curve bezier curves or nurbs. A cage of splines is created to form a skeleton of the object. The software then creates a patch of polygons that extend between the two splines. forming a 3D skin. Spline modeling is often used in hard objects like cars, buildings, furniture. Not ideal for character modeling.
  2. Box Modeling - Bears closer resemblance to traditional sculpting. Start with a primitive shape and begin adding detail. Downside to this method of modeling I found is that it takes a lot of time tweaking to the final shape You want.
  3. Poly modeling/ edge extrusion - Perhaps the most effective and precise technique. In poly modelling a 3D mesh is created point-by-point, face-by-face. Often starting with one single quad. and extruding the edge of the quad. creating more quads. I have found it is not as quick as box modeling and requires less tweaking. One has to think more of the geometry of the shape and in my case muscle formation. This method is best used for organic modeling.
Outcome: Generally I have tried all methods and for my final character I will be trying all the above methods to suit whatever part of the character.

Difference of shapes....
I watched this fantastic tutorial on how topology can greatly affect the smoothing of a model by Greg Petchkovski. He demonstrates key concepts to avoid unwanted smoothing artifacts.


  • Subdivision Surface: A popular method of modeling using a low resolution polygon mesh which is then smoothed to produce a well rounded model. Its advantage is to produce high polygon results while only creating a low poly mesh. - Sub Divs
  • Base Mesh - The subdivision model without applying smoothing
  • Smoothing artifacts - Unwanted smoothing problems caused by bad topology
  • In line Edge - An extra line of topology that allows control of corners in subdivision modelling
  • Pole - Where 3, 5 or more edges meet. While 4 meeting edges might be called a 4 sided pole it is rarely refer ed to as one because it is considered normal in sub div on surfaces
Keep exclusively to four sides...3sides produces lumps as well as 5 etc.
Dense meshes are difficult to work with in animating an texturing.
in line edges create smoother edges.
poles - vertex with many edges connected to it. minimise number of poles.
Removing non quads- removing and turning edges..
Reducing unwanted details. - using to many edges can add problems. Bad topology can create problems for rigging..animation and unwrapping etc... During the course of my modeling I will keep in touch with Clym to make sure the topology works with the rigging.

Found this awesome a good description and shows good topology....Following muscles...
Modelling the character


Looking at tutorials head extrusion method

This tutorial inspired me to do this model with a poly plane

For this section my goal is to look at different modelling techniques to model the character
  • edge extrusion method
  • using single polygon to form shape
  • using cylinders
  • curves
  • box modelling

I will be using various tools such as the smooth tool. Looking at muscle formation that will relate to the areas of movement
that my character the librarian will be using.
I will experiment by using nurbs and polys, how to create
creases and refine edges. I will be looking at topology and good edge flow within the mesh.

Looking at the geometry for good edge flow following the muscles - Orbicularis Oculi - eyes, Occipital, Temporal muscles front and top of head, Orbicularis Oris - Mouth, Superior Auricular muscle of the side, = Main muscles please see diagram for a more detailed analysis of the muscles to understand good edge flow.

Eye detail is very important for my character as she is old so heavy ness of the eye muscle sometimes overhanging to display sagging and wrinkles at the corner of the eye using closer edges to define edge.

Blocking out the body....using basic nurb sphere using isoparms and hulls to the acquired shape. Constructing the collar with an opening seam restricted the circle shape to form the collar. When I detached the isoparm that sets the opening for the shirt when
duplicating the isoparm it disconnected parts thus not forming a fluid singular shape. I tried to merge...connect this but it created other deformations when lofting. Toresolve this I just created the basic shape using the Isoparms and lofting it without the detached seam. I took both the body and collar converted it to Polys and cleaned up topology. This took some time but result was successful.

The reason I used nurbs is to achieve a rounded organic shape to add weight on the belly.

As you can see from the above two frames when converting the nubs shape to polys some odd bits of topology occurred. I then went over the modeling and corrected edge flows deleted where not needed and added where needed. Cleaned up the topology so lines flow and quads.

Using basic cylinders to create the geometry.

Following digital tutors and box modeling for face...I used this method previously for my aviator boy character....I found that it takes far to long to get the desired effect by tweaking....Although starting to get the shape I wanted making sure to use clean edge flow.

Using curves to create the shape. I am much happier with the look of this so far so will continue with this wonderful world of using edge lines and curves...

Daft as it may seem when using the curves at first I had problems with seeing the curve shape in a 3D format so I created a basic curved shape and extruded edges to build.