View Full Version : WIP - Character - Assassin Creature
05-01-2008, 11:20 AM
Whatís up guys? I just finished my last semester at school, and I am about to begin an internship. I really need to create some nice content for my portfolio to eventually get a job, and this here is to be one of my first pieces (I have other stuff up now, but not quite good enough imo).
I took a couple of days to work out a concept and here is where I am at now. I plan on treating this similar to the DWIII challenge with rules and regulations, but I will attempt to use the least polys possible whille looking like a next gen character. At this point, I want to do a character that is somewhat simplistic, as I donít want something overly challenging quite yet.
Any crits welcomeÖ
05-07-2008, 12:25 PM
I have been working hard on this model and I now have him preped for high poly sculpt work (in mudbox). Most of the high poly smoothing modeling is done at this point.
Crits and/or comments are welcome.
05-07-2008, 05:58 PM
Here is the wire frame and what I'll spend the majority of my time sculpting.
05-08-2008, 07:44 AM
Here he is converted to all quad's.
05-08-2008, 03:40 PM
Looks very Satyr.
If I had one crit it would be the hooves. They come off as too big, like they belong on a creature five times his body mass.
05-10-2008, 08:52 AM
Right now, I figure I am about half way through sculpting. Most of the forms are roughed in but it certainly could use much tweaking still. I just finished SubD 3 and I plan on going up to SubD5 or 6 so much detail to do as of yet. Although, I should probably be smart and save the really high detail stuff like skin pores and so fourth for 2d generation.
georgemancer- Thanks for the reply. Honestly, I had to look up Satyr on wiki before I knew what you meant, but yeah he definitely does look the part in those screen shots. Nevertheless, I am actually going for a more demon look as you can probably see from the concept art, but this sculpt should capture that a lot more. I simply wasn't sure how to handle the face previously as I still only had a hazy idea of what I wanted to do for it.
As for the hooves being too big, Iíll play with the proportions of that soon. It might give him too much of a cartoony look with the current scale of the hooves so I may pull it back a bit, however; I still kind of like the style.
As always Critique or comments would be appreciated.
05-10-2008, 09:25 AM
Iím not sure if I am happy with, or if I will ever actually show his lower face, but I figured I would post to here to see what people think.
Itís supposed to be like the lower portion of his face has no skin, and is showing through to the bone there. This should make it clear he is a demon; and when I am done one should be able to slightly see the line where the skin is ripped off along the edge of the mask. Currently, as I am only working with the lower subdivisions I canít show this too well, but when I am capable of adding further detail in the higher subdís it should be obvious(when I can create the transition of skin to no skin layers).
05-10-2008, 09:27 AM
I suggest you add some finer lines on the horns/hooves, though
05-10-2008, 11:39 AM
wow, amazing work!
05-13-2008, 10:05 PM
Well, I think I am done with the high poly sculpt. Now it's on to creating a low poly mesh as long as I don't find any big mistakes with this high poly soon.
Conte- thanks for the encouragement, this is turning out to be the first sculpt of mine I actually like.
SuPa- Yep, I added quite a bit of surface detail after all. The only reason I didn't do more detail sooner was that with the previous poly count I couldn't.
Please keep the comments and critiques coming, I think this is my personal best character and every critique helps.
05-13-2008, 10:20 PM
step back a few levels and have another go at some of that anatomy.
05-13-2008, 11:09 PM
Stimpack- Thanks for the quick reply! Where specifically do you mean with the anatomy? Sorry, but I have been looking at it so long, I need really concise feedback.
05-14-2008, 12:03 AM
The anatomy issues that Iím seeing are the proportions. I understand that youíre going for a kind of stylized or "cartoony" look but your characters torso feels a little too stretched like his spine couldnít support his massive upper body.
To pin point it I would have to say adjust the relation between the rib cage and the hips. It feels like there's way too much distance between the top of the hips and the bottom of the rib cage. It also feels like his rib cage is broken or seriously deformed you may be able to get away with that Iím not sure. Just looking at your 3 quarter front view bothers me the way the sternum just feels almost perpendicular to the ribcage. Also the grove in the lower back for his spine seems too deep especially for his posture.
Looking at your low poly I think you should add a few more edge loops to his fore arm at least two more. One above and below the one loop you have at least. Also there seems to be some awkward edge loop termination in his face, sternum and wrist. Some closer screen shots of those areas would help to see whatís going on.
I don't know if you've ever had to rig or animate a character but I think itís a good idea to model as if you were going to. The way the low poly looks now it will probably deform undesirably when animated.
Thatís what bothers me. Other than that nice job on the fine details, what are you using to sculpt mudbox?
05-14-2008, 07:41 AM
Wilex- That's a great Crit, thanks!
I will definetly go back and play with some of the stuff you mentioned on the high poly, and yes its mudbox (I started to learn sculpt on zbrush but I now like mudbox way more).
As for the low poly, I am actually going to trash that. I just created the original low poly for the high poly sculpt.
I will make a better low poly by taking subd level 2 from my sculpt and removing loops and tweaking from there. (I use polyboost in 3ds max that has a remove loop tool that makes it really easy).
However, I will really make an effort to make this mesh usable when I am done by keeping deformation and animation in mind when I make it. I don't do animation really, and its something that I often over look so good point there too.
05-14-2008, 02:24 PM
I took Wilex's advice and changed the torso area up; focusing on the areas he mentioned (small of back, hips, ribs and so fourth).
I admit, I kind of made anatomy up in that area my first time through instead of looking at references.
Now he should hopefully be somewhat anatomically correct (for a demon creature).
The one thing I realize that I did not do is bring the lats down and around the ribs as much as I should.
Therefore, his lats are extremely small, but I did this to maintain the characters tapered silhouette.
Unless anyone has any other important things to point out that I missed, its on to the low poly build.
Here are the changes I made, and I threw in a close up of the hands for the hell of it.
05-14-2008, 11:12 PM
I think he looks a lot better balanced now. I don't see any other issues really. Your detail passes look excellent, just keep pushing it.
Always check reference it will make things a lot easier. Even though your character is a demon he still has the upper body of a human and the legs of a goat. It's pretty difficult to make up anatomy. Nature has done a pretty good job of creating all kinds of body parts that function well and look nice so just take from it.
Keep up the work, letís see that low poly wire frame as soon as you get it going.
i still have the feeling that he's not the right kind of guy for beeing an assassin, at least not a subtle one :D
05-15-2008, 03:08 PM
Wilex - Thanks again man. I am re-doing my portfolio site today, so tommarrow i'll be back to work on the low poly mesh.
Sekneox- Yeah, you could probably hear him coming from a mile away with those hooves, ha ha. But I'm not too worried, the theme isn't really a big concern of mine. But thanks for pointing that out.
It's looking good man!
btw, you ever drop by school? we still need to get together sometime and you can teach me a thing or two. I am taking the semester off to work on my portfolio so i am not really around school much, you drink coffee?
Hey, it's looking good so far! I really like your mudbox details. Keep up the good work! :)
05-16-2008, 04:02 AM
the details are too washed out/blobby, spend more time on the middle levels ;) shaping up nicely !
05-18-2008, 11:03 PM
I just rebuilt the low poly from scratch.
I originally was planning on removing loops off subd level 2, but I didn't like how that was going (didn't like the mesh flow); so I used polyboost build tool to create this mesh a new instead.
Right now, I figured I would post what I have for critiques while I work on his low poly clothing/armor/weapon. This lowpoly hasn't been tweaked much so I am sure there are issues to fix.
05-18-2008, 11:10 PM
Jnat- Thanks, send me an email and we could meet up some time then. You can find my hotmail email under the resume section of my portfolio site. Yeah, I drink coffee, lots of it.
Tai- Thanks, I think if I can keep making progress in my mudbox skills I believe it will be the key to me landing a job; so much appreciated.
Johny- I sent you a private message asking if you could explain a bit more what you mean. I will definitely go back and re-work it once I figure out exactly what I need to do.
05-19-2008, 08:44 PM
Your low poly model seems to have odd edge flow to me. It also looks like there is some unnecessary edges that could be cleaned up.
In my opinion you should always model your characters to be animated. At this point it looks like you'd get some deformation issues when animating this character.
You should go back and try to get at least three edge loops for the major joints. Also try to remove triangles in areas that are going to bend and stretch as they don't always deform well.
Specifically your Knee's look like they need to have the edges reworked and the spacing between edge loops on your lower back needs to be adjusted possibly another loop added.
You might also want to check out some books on character modeling they usually explain what type of edge work is necessary for proper deformation and what you can get away with.
05-19-2008, 10:00 PM
Wilex- Thanks for the reply once again. I am on the fence as to what I should do in regards to the low poly. Of course adding edge loops would be easy to do, and cleaning up the triangles as well, because almost all of them are just an attempt to merge loops to save on the poly count.
So my question is, for portfolio pieces is it more important to have a low poly count, or have the character set up for proper distortion when animating. I am always uncertain of how to handle this and I just don't know what the majority of industry professionals want to see in these matters.
For example, many of the DWIII entries are not suitable for animating, but that is because they are meant only to meet the polycount and look "bad ass" once posed. It would really helpful if I get some sort of rule of thumb for this, as it is truly a balancing act between polycount and proper mesh deformation.
05-19-2008, 11:06 PM
For your sake once your done with this guy make something normal, like a average joe, a serial killer, sci/fi guy, a chick, a historically accurate person from the middle ages, something easier to relate to. Something with details that are easy to relate to and there for gage if your good at recreating concepts in to game art. We all know what a persons arm is supposed to look like and what shirts over skin look like so seeing someone recreate that in 3d is great for gaging skill. Its obvious that you can do detail, but doing stylized work at this point isn't much help.
05-20-2008, 12:11 AM
When was the last time you saw a character in a game that didnt move or act. What good is a character that can't be animated its just a statue then. So yes fix your edge loops for deformation your going to be doing it for every character you make.
As for your poly count its more important that your not wasting your poly's rather than how many you use total. I was looking around for some numbers to help you out this is what i found. Using the SDK model viewer for Team Fortress 2 the original heavy weapons model comes in at 14,376 poly's the first LOD for the heavy is 9,502 the second LOD for the heavy is 6,248. If you didnt know LOD models are switched out for the higher res models when characters get further away from the camera or pov. The only other number i could find was about 5,000 polys for an unreal 3 character but im not sure how acurate that is.
So make your edge flow look nice get and enough loops on those joints so they deform nicely. If your hurting to lower your poly count the first place i would drop them from is the horns and the ears.
05-20-2008, 08:01 AM
Thegodzero- Thanks for the advice! Yeah, I was planning on making a simple character with this one but got a bit carried away with it. It's turning into a much bigger project than I anticipated. I have a list of things I want to do after this, and perhaps I will go with something that fits your description of what I should do next (and take your advice). I have a very rough concept of a serial killer type. A fat guy, who is a butcher but killing people. In the scene he is holding up a decapitated head by the hair and studying it. It's a bit clichť, but I think if I can make it polished enough, it would be pretty sweet.
Wilex- Thanks man, that’s all I needed to hear. Yup, I am familiar with LOD, just open up the unreal 3 engine with gears of war or unreal tournament and it’s very clear how it works. I believe that Marcus Fenix was between 13,000-15,000 tri’s and the other characters were mostly slightly over 10,000. I knew this already, but it’s nice to hear that it’s okay to have these kind of higher poly counts. I’ll make the adjustments today, and post as soon as I can.
05-20-2008, 06:39 PM
Here is my first attempt at making the low poly mesh better in terms of a proper deformable mesh.
There are far less tri's, and hopfully none in the problems areas as before.
I also added quite a few loops, so the poly count bumped up a decent amount.
Here he is now:
05-21-2008, 06:36 AM
Looking pretty interesting but I think you really should be looking at starting out with a low poly budget and trying to get the most detail per poly you can then slowly add polys to get the thougher details in. What I see here looks like something much lower poly that has had a turbo/mesh smooth thrown on it and then been tweaked in places. There are a lot of polys doing nothing for the model other than pumping up its polycount. The models in unreal 3 and GOW are pretty high poly yes but look at where those polys are going, into armor and supporting the normal map. For the level of detail you have here you really shouldn't need more than about 4 - 5k tris. Basicly what you have so far looks more like a mesh that was meant to be used as a base in Z or mudbox for a highpoly which would then be baked down onto a much lower poly model in the end.
Try using this as a ref and building it as low poly as you can with all the correct animation loops etc.
Keep it up.
05-21-2008, 02:03 PM
I agree with Xaltar, but i dont think you need to start from scratch. I think you should duplicate this model and then freeze the original and take out as many edge loops as you can while still maintaining a good silhoute. I see quite a few edge spans that don't add to the silhoute and are not nessesary for deformation. You could definatly cut down on the hands and possibly the head but its hard to tell whats going on some close ups of the face and head wire frame might help.
Also i noticed you added some extra loops for the elbow joint but their very tightly spaced and add too many loops really. You need about 2 to 3 edge loops to get that elbow to work nicely one on the joint one before and one after and keep them decently spaced. Your last itiration looked okay.
05-23-2008, 06:52 PM
Wilex: Yup, I guess I have a thing or two to learn about building low poly meshes.
So, I took your advice and ordered a book all about building meshes with loops and all quads, it should be in early next week.
I tried to look at other peoples stuff, but its still really hard to gage exactly how my particular mesh should be laid out.
I don't know, maybe what I have now done is better or okay, but I still feel that I am either sacrificing deformation for low poly counts or vice versa.
Hopefully after I read this book and with a little more experience I get it worked out.
Xaltar: I agree with your comments. As I was adding more loops to the previous version it just looked way too high poly. Hopefully this version is somewhat better
SoÖ If anyone knows of good mesh flow references by all means point me to them.
Anyways here is where I am at now.
about 300 less tri's then the first mesh, and well over a 1,000 less than the second mesh.
05-25-2008, 12:10 PM
It's looking better. Some of the edge flow still feels odd to me but as long as youíre getting the silhouette you need is what really matters. I donít see anything that stands out as a waste of polys so I think your okay. On your fingers bring the edge loops a little closer together around the knuckles, your first set where it connects to the hand looks good but the second and third need to be brought closer together. I think you'll be okay then.
It's up to you if you want to start the UV's on this guy and continue to baking the normal map but you might want to hold off until you look through the book. It might cover something that will make you want to change your low poly mesh.
Keep up the progress, I'm curious to how your normal map comes out.
05-25-2008, 03:09 PM
Go to http://www.poopinmymouth.com/tutorial/tutorial.htm
and look at "Low Poly Character Series" (download the videos) the meshflow is similar to what you are looking for but in much lower poly. I suggest you build it to this spec initialy then add loops to smooth it out but following the mesh flow of the model.
This is precisely why I said start over using what you have as a reference for sillouette. Removing loops and such is far slower and more troublesome than starting over and in the end you are usually still not much better off than when you started. The head has far to many polys and there are wasted polys all over the place. I don't mean to sound harsh but these are things you need to learn in order to improve, saying good job looks great won't teach you anything.
05-26-2008, 03:49 PM
Wilex: Thanks, I will hold off a bit, there shouldn’t be any real harm in that.
Xaltar: You need not worry about being harsh with me, I appreciate the fact that you care to help and comment.
I honestly don’t think there are “wasted” polys because I created each, one by one and placed the vertices on the edges of major changes in the high poly mesh.
Using polyboost tools, each vert is perfectly just outside of the high poly model.
So if their are too many polys, they are still doing something; but it’s really more a matter of efficiency of polys that I think I need to still work on.
As a matter of fact, Ben Mathis who’s site you pointed me to was my teacher for the past two semesters. I honestly haven’t fully watched all the videos, but I will right now. I might rebuild the mesh for the hell of it, because as they say; practice makes perfect. Thanks for keeping on top of me and reminding me of Ben’s tutorials. And I hope I didn't "piss you off" ha ha.
05-26-2008, 09:43 PM
daamn, i love how the high poly turned out.
The mouth area on your low poly mesh seems really messy. it doesn't looks like it would deform very well. doesn't really have nice neat edge loops around it. and that thing under it seem to have an unproportionally high amount of polygons.
looks great other wise.
05-26-2008, 10:17 PM
haha, I wouldn't have bothered posting if you pissed me off :P The reason I posted at all is because I see you falling into the same traps I have been falling into. Throwing polys at a model where you should be trying to take more out. Still, its not a bad model but it certainly isn't good enough to attract potential employers as it is.
I would be aiming for between 3k and 4k tris with something like this with about a 1k - 2k budget over the top of that for armor/weapons. The chest just below the neck is very untidy. The 2 loops that end at the bottom of the chest should be optimised out. The back of the model looks pretty clean, try and make the front that clean and aim at stripping out about 1k tris from the model. Building it from scratch migh still yeild a better result but its up to you in the end.
05-27-2008, 01:38 AM
It's funny how starting from scracth can help you reach the best result quicker. I have had several instances where starting over helped me clean up and complete the model i was working on quicker. I'm still learning a lot about working in 3D ive only been at it for a little over two years now. Right now my primary focus is enviornments so it's difficult for me to comment on characters. I've only modeled about four characters and one of those was in nurbs blech.
Very cool that you've had Ben Mathis as an instructor ive looked at his site multiple times when looking for tutorials. Most of my instructors have mentioned his website as good resource for tut's and various info.
05-28-2008, 07:58 AM
dale22x: Thanks! Yeah, I will touch up the high poly just a little more before I bake normals, and AO. The mouth will definitely not be animated in this instance. I was tossing around the idea of whether or not to really model anything in the mouth area, because he will be wearing a mask all the time, but I figured that I mind as well give him the option of showing without a mask. In any event, the mouth should be cleaner now, but very very simple, not suitable of doing facial animations.
Xaltar: Yeah, I read in your other post (with the super low poly guy) about how you are going back to the basics. Itís a good idea, and gives me a new appreciation for low poly modeling. Your crits are really helpful so I appreciate it.
Wilex: Yeah, Ben is awesome. He is super busy now though and between traveling and working with various projects, I donít think people on polycount are seeing much of him these days.
Okay, so I did remodel this guy again from scratch. I spent about a day reading the edge loops book I got, and going through tutorials from Benís site and a days worth of actually modeling him. I think I now have him down pretty good, or at least to the best of my current abilities. He is a little over 4,000 triís now and is composed of pretty much all quads. I played around with lowering the polycount further, but I donít want to loose the silhouette in certain areas. The hand for example can be lower, but then they begin to look too cartoon like in silhouette, which I donít want as you can see from the sculpt I did. I think on of the major things that saved polyís this time around was less vertical loops.
Anyways thanks for the help thus far, and if you notice anything wrong with it still. Please let me know.
05-28-2008, 10:44 AM
Looking much better. The poly flow is much cleaner. I would take a look at your shoulder area, I see a fair amount of polys there that don't really need to be there and could possibly effect the deformation but I'm not an animator so I'm not sure. Great progress though good job.
05-28-2008, 11:27 AM
It looks ready to unwrap to me. It's a definite improvement dropping a little over 1k tri's. I don't see any issues. Keep posting your progress.
05-28-2008, 11:30 AM
Xaltar: Thanks, I agree. I think I can collapse a loop running from the shoulder area and across the back, then spread the polys out. I was also reading today from someone on polycount that they exaggerate things a bit with the low poly versions so they show better through the maps when finished. He said make the big extremes bigger and the small extremes smaller.
Anyways, I think I will go ahead and try to follow that advice as well, as I used mostly the polyboost suface move tool for postioning the verts. Looking at the horns with fresh eyes today, I can see that it might help.
05-28-2008, 11:32 AM
Wilex: heh, you posted while I was responding to Xaltar. Thanks for the encouragment and help thus far, I will hopfully not disappoint when I unwrap.
05-28-2008, 12:26 PM
Okay, got ride of a loop on the back. I also added some volume to the horns and various other very small adjustments.
This brings the tri count to an even 4,250 and I am pretty happy with it now.
Here's a grab of the back adjusted...
05-28-2008, 10:48 PM
It's getting better all the time. Keep the updates coming.
06-03-2008, 04:26 PM
Wilex: I appreciate it, and finally here are the UVW's.
So, I have the UVW's done. I showed my Uv's in max and in roadkill uv on the left. The workflow I used was basically bringing more complex geometry into unfold3d magic for cutting and initial unwrap. Then using the pinning technique in Roadkill UV to tidy up any problem areas. And lastly doing all final adjustments in max. In Roadkill, it displays bright red when there is stretching and bright blue when there is commpression. I haven't found another program that displays UV problems better than roadkill so I am really glad I used it for this character. As you might notice, I have a little compression on the coin pouch he carries but it shouldn't be a problem. I really just wanted to make sure that the characters skin is completely clean.
Also, some of the geometry will be optimized further, I just didn't want to bring it down too far, as it causes all types of problems when it comes to setting up the cage for projection within 3ds max.
I'll be posting with normals soon, just have to figure out how I want to handle the import of the high res (I think its like 5 million polys). Right now, I plan on using polygon cruncher and bounding boxes in max.
06-03-2008, 04:52 PM
Okay, it was bothering me that I missed the compression on that bag so I fixed it real quick in Roadkill UV.
06-03-2008, 09:57 PM
Nice UV's they look to be set up with minimal to no stretching. It looks like youíre going to need a large map or two maps to get all the detail in at a high resolution. The head looks like it might need more room or its own map. Maybe a 2048 map for all of it or like a 512 for the props and a 1024 for the body. However you get the best results really.
Bringing the high poly in will be a challenge. The most successful way Iíve seen is having it separated into chunks and having them in layers so you can hide and unhide them when you need. Or you could use something like X Normal.
06-03-2008, 10:06 PM
Wilex: Yup, I was planning on following the Dominance War Rules with the maps and going with a single 2048x2048 map for diffuse, normal, spec, emissive and opacity. I downloaded all the finalists work sheets from DWIII as a reference, and pretty much just set up my stuff to scale, similar to how they did.
As for bringing in the high poly, I have used xnormals before and got good results. I was thinking of definetly using it for an Ambient Occlustion map and mabey seeing how normals turn out by using xnormals as well. However, I don't like the whole measuring technique, so I plan on setting up a cage either way and using that cage in xnormals. But enough talk, hopefully I will have an update to show soon. As always, thanks for following my progress Wilex.
06-03-2008, 10:27 PM
Layout looks good, not too much wasted space and the pixil density is fairly even. Now get some color on there ;)
06-07-2008, 05:56 PM
I recently upgraded my pc to vista 64 bit (I have 8 gigs on my motherboard) and installed max 2009 64 bit.
It works really great, I actually didn't have to optimize my high poly mesh at all, the full 9.5 million poly mesh ran smooth on my system in 3ds max 2009 (to my surprise). However, some weird stuff was happening with my ambient occlusion bake with mental ray, and for some reason it wouldn't bake parts of my mesh. Like whole clusters of uvs wouldn't bake, for no apparent reason no matter what I tried. For the life of me I can't figure out why. Nevertheless, I have been working around this by using xnormals to help generate the missing section of ambient occlusion but I still find the best results come from using mental ray in max.
Anyways, here is a look at just the skin portion of the character displaying the normals with ambient occlusion for the diffuse real time in 3ds max.
06-07-2008, 07:51 PM
It looks like it came out quite nicely. I can't wait to upgrade my PC to something like that my PC is like 4 years old now.
As for your baking issues i can't really think of why it would do that but i don't have much experience baking in Max. Seems like you were able to work out your issues with XNormals though. I don't see any issues, nice work.
Lets see that color map on there.
06-10-2008, 01:59 PM
Wilex: I couldn't even imagine using a computer that old now a days. It must be really difficult to get stuff done. Pretty much all my extra cash goes to my computer so I am always upgrading.
Yeah, I have been bouncing around between xnormals and max for the ambient occlusion and normals and I am pretty satisfied with the results.
Here is where the model stands now. I think I am finally ready to start working in some color for the diffuse.
At the moment there is just normals and ambient occlusion on the model and these are all screen grabs (real time) within max. The shader I use can't take advantage of opacity maps in max 2009 so there is none currently.
Hopefully I don't mess this model up with the color, any suggestions are very welcome.
06-10-2008, 02:40 PM
man you make my 4 gigs feel like pooh...
nice normal map etc, hope the diffuse comes out aswell =)
06-10-2008, 08:14 PM
Well since most of your detail is handled in your AO and Normal it should be just painting flat color and maybe some grain/fiber detail for the props.
looking good home skillet. the normals turned out really nice. i still see a few places you could cut some polys, but it's all good. can't wait to see the diffuse!
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