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ThomasMahler
01-03-2005, 02:15 PM
Hello,

Well, maybe this will be a long post... I'm a little disappointed at the moment, about my work, about my skill as a sculptor, etc. I just showed my current work to my family and friends and got some pretty harsh comments - I also posted my current model in a lot of CG Boards and also non-CG boards to get as much critique as possible, but it seems that my work is kinda uninteresting, since I don't get too much critique at all...

I'm personally currently at a point where I think that my work isn't too bad, but everytime I show my work to someone, I get comments like "Alright, but it doesn't look realistic at all, don't you think?" and so on and so forth... In order to advance my skill as a sculptor/digital sculptor, I just started studying sculpting at an art school here in austria.

Since I started doing CG, I always compared my work with the work of industry professionals. My current model is pretty much inspired by Blizzard Artworks, so I guess it's just naturally that I compared my model to the models that you can see in the World of Warcraft Cinematics. I actually sat down with my family and let them decide what they like better - I have to add that my work is still WIP, I didn't texture anything at all yet, but their comments were pretty much devastating... every single one of them thought that the Blizzard model looked a hundred times better than mine. I also think that the Blizzard one is a hundred times better than mine, but I'm asking myself: Why?! Is it just the Texture? Is it the model itself? Is it because my lack of skill? Is it because of the renderer? Is it the "ZBrush Look"? Am I obviously missing something big?

Take a look, I showed them these two renderings:

http://members.chello.at/thomas.mahler/compare_01.jpg
My Model, modeled in Wings, Silo and detailed in ZBrush.

http://members.chello.at/thomas.mahler/compare_02.jpg
The Blizzard Model.

What am I doing wrong? Is my work really that bad? It really bugs me at the moment... So, what is it that makes a good model a GREAT model? I always try to push my skills, but I seem to fail when it all comes down and people have to review my work... It would be great if you guys could give me some tips, guidelines, whatever, to advance my craft.

Thanks in advance.

Edit: Oh well, maybe I should've posted that topic in the modeling board... Mod?

jeffthomann
01-03-2005, 03:29 PM
It does have a wow look to it... but uh, maybe those looking at them that you are showing them too aren't seeing that it's suppossed to not be realistic... it seems that you are trying to make them look almost human, but only changing small things like the ears, the nose, etc. Maybe try a realistic human? Also maybe try making those fantasy characters have other fantasy traits... like green skin, different porportions, etc. As they are, they almost look like normal human models that you just did some strecthing and skewing of a few polys here and there... with art you can't just do a little to make a lot... it's about emphasizing and transfroming things in a gestalt, overall sort of manner... not just a little bit of this a little bit of that to step away from reality, otherwise you run the risk of stepping in to that void where things look almost real, but not quite, thus creating a paradox...

Fly3D
01-03-2005, 03:48 PM
First thing...NEVER show wip's to non CG/artist people (especially early wip's)! My experience has been that they simply don't get it. They see a character like the one you posted and pick it apart because it lacks eyes or a body or textures or other details. Not at all helpful. I've heard things like: "The skin is too shiney and plasticy." ... "Well it's not textured yet, hence the name WORK IN PROGRESS" Small flaws or lack of completeness catch the eye of the average non-artistic person and that's where it stops. They can't seem to see beyond that and 'imagine' where you are going with the model. If they really want to see what your up to, show them some wires or cry NDA (what I usually do). Non CG people think wire frames are 'cool'! I'm not knocking non CG/artistic folks at all. It's just that they don't have the 'vision' to be able to offer any real constructive critique at the early stages of a project. If you hear comments like "the nostrils seem to be a bit too far forward on the base of the nose...the backs of them should be a bit more flush with the face above the mouth" then all is good. Take the advice for what it's worth and do what you will with it. If you hear things like "it's not realistic at all...the other one you showed me is ten times better" with no other comment on what specifically is wrong or how to improve, assume they can't get past the fact that there are no eyeballs and shrug it off.

FWIW it's a great idea to bounce projects off of them as they near a level of completion. These same people who aren't helpful at the beginning are often the very people who you have to please with the work in the end. At this stage, opinions can be helpful in understanding if you've accomplished your goal. Choose your audience carefully though. For instance, don't show a WOW type carachter to someone who only likes pictures of flowers. You're not going to get any accurate feedback out of it. Show it to someone who's actually interested in those things and has some experience viewing that type of art to compare it to.

Now to answer your original question, I think texturing makes a word of difference. As long as the model is sound from a topology perspective and sufficiently refined (a good model as your title suggests) good texturing can make the difference between good and great. Whether it is a great piece or art is a whole other thing. That depends on design, composition, purpose, environment, mood, expression, etc.

I think your model is actually quite excellent. It has a few minor flaws (see above) as does the WOW model you posted as a comparison but nothing that would be too difficult to correct. A good texture job (and I can tell from the texturing you've done so far you have the skill to pull it off) and completion of details and I think this one has the potential to be both a great model and an excellent piece of art.

Keep your chin up, you're doing a fine job! :)

wireFrame
01-03-2005, 04:33 PM
Your model is OK.

The problem is that it doesn't have and expression; it has no character. Try shaping the face as if it's very, very angry/mean character or a very, very funny character and it'll make a difference. The only advantage of the Blizzard model is its a final model with textures (eyes and cool earings).

I suggest you study classical sculptures and analyze how they are posed to show character.

For example, a similar model posed like the "The Thinker" by Rodin looks great than the same model in T-Pose.

Try it.

poly-phobic
01-03-2005, 04:49 PM
Your model is OK.

The problem is that it doesn't have and expression; it has no character. Try shaping the face as if it's very, very angry/mean character or a very, very funny character and it'll make a difference. The only advantage of the Blizzard model is its a final model with textures (eyes and cool earings).

I suggest you study classical sculptures and analyze how they are posed to show character.

For example, a similar model posed like the "The Thinker" by Rodin looks great than the same model in T-Pose.

Try it.
i think its in the default modeled pose, thats why it doesnt look too alive. but i'm sure he will scuplt blendshapes for expressions.

Boone
01-03-2005, 05:19 PM
Re: Thomas Mahler.

If you're that good at modelling and texturing...you don't need to doubt yourself. As always, there is room for improvment - but your skills are "solid".

You are worring about nothing. :thumbsup:

Kanga
01-03-2005, 06:27 PM
Okay it takes alot to get even this far.
Finnish the thing!
Eyes, eyebrows, colouring (lips etc) eyelashes, teeth, tongue, morphs, rigging, animated lipsync, lighting, post production.

Then show them.
Its got a long way to go,.....

MFTituS
01-03-2005, 06:29 PM
hi thomas,

interesting topic.
i thought myself much about this question and the answer i found:
the difference between a good and great model is imo the idea behind it. all starts with the design. there you decide if you´ll make a fresh, believable, interesting character or just one of hundreds. even if you make the best out of it, it will be just a good model. technicaly great, but overall nothing special. he would not pop up out of many other models put together.

so if you compare your character with the dwarf from blizzard from this aspect, there is big difference. your head looks more normal, his ears are not so convincing and of hanging down it gives him a strange look, more like a sad dog. by looking at him, i feel not much, nothing that tells me something about him.
the dwarf is exeggareted, has character and his big nose, his wide chin and his lifted eyebrowarea make him look very strong, determined.... - i dont want to have him as my enemy.


for more critic its hard to compare your textureless head with this lively and well textured dwarve head, which is still wip.
compare it more with the textureless orchead or the face of the human magician you see in the behind the cinematics too.
maybe this is the reason you get not much replies. its an unfinished work, its just the lifeless shell - give him nice textures, make details, an expression, give him colours and all the interesting stuff that brings a character to life. than people will have it easier to give you concrete critique.


another point that is very important in my eyes that differs a good artist from a great is how you are seeing with your eyes. go around and analyse everything you see. how it looks, what structure it has, how the light behaves on the surface and under it, what different colourtones it has, study other works and see inside the art.....
trained eyes will help you compare your work to other and recognize the points your work is lacking.
good artists try to make great art out of everything and so it fails sometimes directly at the beginning, but the great ones know, what is worth to work out. they know, what to throw away and what to keep. sometimes there are only small changes neccessary to achieve much better results. but if you are not seeing this, than nothing helps.

its neccessary to see your work with fresh eyes too. get some distance to it, if you are not sure and after a while you will see it from a different view. so cool things become odd and other parts look good as before.


hope it helps you a bit.......

SkullboX
01-03-2005, 07:26 PM
I personally like your model better than the blizzard one. I'm not a particular fan on blizzard's style (though some of their works are awesome), but even on a technical level I favor yours. The ears could be better integrated with the character, as mentioned before right now they look more like rubber attachments rather than functional ears. In any case though, don't add any expression to the model, that's done in animation. And if it's not going to be animated, present the model with blendshape expressions to show it's deformation/animaton capabilities, but don't mess up the base mesh.

You should always keep improving and aim for the best, but don't let comments by non CG people on wip projects get your down, your modeling is very good.

marc001
01-03-2005, 08:44 PM
I also think that the Blizzard one is a hundred times better than mine, but I'm asking myself: Why?! Is it just the Texture? Is it the model itself? Is it because my lack of skill? Is it because of the renderer? Is it the "ZBrush Look"? Am I obviously missing something big?
The textures in the Warcraft version have more variation than yours. For example the lips, nose, eyelids, etc. have unique textures. Your version is uniform in texture.

As for the modeling, I agree with SkullboX. The ear should blend at the attachment to the head.

SpeccySteve
01-03-2005, 08:51 PM
The first thing a non-cg type is going to pick up on is that the Blizzard one has eyes / textures and therefore "looks finished".

Fly3d summed it up rather well I thought.

Finish yours and see what the reactions are, I reckon it'll be far closer.

azazel
01-03-2005, 09:06 PM
Blizzard dwarf has a lot of personality - and i bet even in default morph shape it'd still look better, for that very reason. Your model, while technically quite ok, lacks on the personality/character side, looks quite generic. Facial expression would probably help quite much, bringing some life into that model.

rendermania
01-03-2005, 09:09 PM
Try to make your chars original/unique in some way and you'll get more responses/exposure on the basis of that strength than pure technique (e.g. clean model, good detail, excellent texturing). Personality is a good thing for a CG character to project, either in a larger than life way or very subtly.

n-drew
01-03-2005, 10:49 PM
hey thomas

this isn´t the first time i see/saw ur model, and i think its very solid. but like mftitus said, char design is very important. if someone show u a char in t-pose and in a cool-uber-slam-pose, what would u prefer ? and he said ur char looks like a sad dog, and thats right. his face look strong, but the ears look like from a small goblin or a fairy,and that doens´t fit...imho
if u want to make a strong char, make a strong char. work on it, and i think u´ll achieve ur kudos..
my 2 cents....

greetz
n-drew
^____^

xtrudeh
01-04-2005, 03:25 AM
The stone mason steps back, has a glance at his newly finished work, then proceeds to gather up his tools, clean up, and then off to the next job... no questions were required

86point5
01-04-2005, 02:34 PM
I agree with the posts about showing WIPs to people completely disconnected with the medium. It's difficult for them to view just the part on which you want critique as opposed to viewing it as a completed work.

In addition to what has been said, don't discount the role of photography. Two people can take a picture of the same object, but one photo may be better than the other. Your picture isn't framed as interestingly as the WOW character. The fact that the WOW photo is so closely cropped that the character extends out of the frame adds to the personality of the character. It suggests an 'in your face' imposing quality that reinforces the mood already created by the character.

Your framing is more technical, which is understandable. You are attempting to solicit comments about your modeling so it only makes sense to have it as visible as possible. However what ends up happening is the viewers can't separate themselves from the entire mood and presentation created by the other piece and in comparison, they feel your piece is dull and lifeless. It is unfortunate, but not limited to CG. I've had difficulties soliciting comments for WIP in any medium from the 'general public' because they're not used to seeing unfinished pieces and get too distracted by what's NOT there yet to really comment on what IS there.

ThomasMahler
01-04-2005, 03:18 PM
Hello,

I wanna thank all of you for the great comments, you guys pretty much opened my eyes!

I don't want to abuse this thread with posting any further WIPs (I'll put them into my Signature from now on), I think this nifty, little thread here could help a lotta people, so please keep the discussion alive!

- tm

Gremlin
01-05-2005, 12:36 AM
Yeah,
If I show any normies (non-cg'ers) they just rip it to pieces and scream the question, "when is going to move?" in my ear. They don't appreciate the hard work and the amount of hair that we pull out when our respective software decides to act a damn fool.

Regardless, blizzard's work is polished and more or less finished... your work still has a generic skin shader, no texture, the lighting setup is basic (and not pretty) ...your work could be in a blizzard FMV, but your everything else has to be up to par with your modeling. Texturing (and unwrapping UV's) is something I'm trying to get ahold of, cause it makes all organic models look so much better.

ThomasMahler
01-08-2005, 10:25 PM
Ugh.

I just wanted to know it again... I showed a new model that I sculpted and textured in the last two days to family and friends and got the same comments again. I was pretty much confident that at least _one_ person would say: "Hey, I like yours better!", but - no way, every single one of em pointed to the Blizzard Model.

It's really disappointing...

So, here's what I showed them:

http://members.chello.at/thomas.mahler/orc_05hi.jpg
My orc - Sculpted in ZBrush, it's only the first texture pass, hence I didn't underlay the details, wrinkles, etc. yet.

http://members.chello.at/thomas.mahler/compare_02.jpg
Blizzards Dwarf.

My Orc looks a lot more finished than the elf I showed em before, but it's obviously still not nearly good enough :(

If one of you guys made the same mistakes I'm doing or could give me some tips how to further improve myself, I'd be very glad! It's really disappoing, I don't seem to come anywhere near their quality.

SpeccySteve
01-08-2005, 10:45 PM
I was pretty much confident that at least _one_ person would say: "Hey, I like yours better!", but - no way, every single one of em pointed to the Blizzard Model.Keep in mind the Blizzard one was probably..

a) concept design by traditionally trained artist dude who really knows his stuff, concept ninja.
b) modelled by the modelling equivalent of concept ninja guy above.
c) texture by insanely good texture boy.

Note: I have no idea how Blizzard work, but I'm guessing the art design is not a one-man band..

My Orc looks a lot more finished now then the elf I showed em before, but it's obviously still not nearly good enough :(Yours still isn't the finished article though is it? The Blizzard one is, yours still lacks eyes and finished textures.
The modelling looks great btw, don't be too hard on yourself, especially since you're comparing yourself with pros working for one of the better game companies out there..

OptimusDinkus
01-08-2005, 11:26 PM
dude, to be honest, your craping yourself over nothing. Everyone is there own worst critique, and people dont say much about wips whenever you need to actually update the damn thing, I have aproblem with this at the moment due to massive diariah (ya heard me =(). And on top of all this your missing alot, and I mean alot, of color variation that exists in skin, lots of people do, and its a hard battle to muster as well. Caucasion skin is also especially hard to make due to its variation. Also to be honest, that blizzard head doesnt strike me as completly awsome either. as a model in a wip stage it looks good though. And of course, what I do usually is look at concepts to be inspired by, pick and chose pieces of the concept to formulate my own afterwards to make design work well, or ask there permission to just model straight from there concept. Not all cger's are character designers for many various reasons as well. heck heres a quote for everyone "good artist borrow, great artists steal" -Picasso.

Boa
01-09-2005, 10:57 AM
Hi Thomas,
the only thing to critizise on your model is the ear (the interior bulge is too parallel to the outer one).

I see two main difference to the Blizzard model:
- yours doesn't have eyes, which are very importend for "reading" the emotion of the character. Even for modeling the face expression it is easier if you have eyes.

- the texture/shader of the Blizzard model is much better. It has far more color variation and seems to use SSS. It looks much more like skin.

Hope that helps,
Andrea

Manjana
01-09-2005, 11:10 AM
I'm writing this as a ordinary guy, not as an artist or something like that.

Did you really read those previous posts? You said you did but on your second wip-post, the orc, you're asking the same questions and actually posting a model which is at about the same stage as the first one.

And for whom are really doing all this? I understand that it's always fun to impress friends, but really?! You can't have that low self-esteem, that you need to have your friends say something is okay before you can feel good about your art. And I do mean art. I think your models are great, but could you finish one of them so we don't have to go through this all over again?

Finish one of those and show it here before going' with it to your friends. As stated before, we have here guys and gals that know what is good or not.

Would like to take this further but my english isn't that good and as everybody knows one can get pretty misunderstod when writing to forums. So, I didn't mean to trash your work or anything like that, I think you are and will beecome a even better modeller.

ThomasMahler
01-09-2005, 12:21 PM
Ack.

It's not about my self-esteem or whatever, it's about what a modeler has to do, to not only create good work for "CG trained eyes", but to do a good job overall.

I think it's very easy to drift into this technical scheme, where you'll create work that CG people may like, but where you won't get any attention from non CG people. And, when it comes down, most of the CG work is meant for the 'average Joe'.

h4sh
01-09-2005, 12:51 PM
I think you did a great job on the model, It's probably better then the blizzard one, but blizzard's has great textures on + lighting and SSS. It just has a more personality that your model. So I think it's just the matter of finishing the textures and lights.

ambient-whisper
01-09-2005, 01:18 PM
its all in the form and details.

you want to make good ears? even if they arent realistic looking ( say elvish ), you can still use references from real life to see what makes them work, and believable.
nose? grab a buncha references from all sorts of angles, study them and try to see what kind of details your models are usually missing. dont just look at the references and say, well, the nose has 2 holes in them.. try to be a LOT more analytical, and ask yourself ( and family ) what makes your models nose not work.. or which parts look not really believable, ( or good )

dont worry about taking too long with a model. just improve on parts as you make your models.
so..
make model...
check references on how you can improve areas.
get feedback
improve.
and look at your own model where you could have went better.
next model...incorporate your new found knowledge.
rinse and repeat.

btw dont stick to one model forever. remember, practice makes perfect. so keep trying.

Manjana
01-09-2005, 04:16 PM
Ack.

It's not about my self-esteem or whatever, it's about what a modeler has to do, to not only create good work for "CG trained eyes", but to do a good job overall.

I think it's very easy to drift into this technical scheme, where you'll create work that CG people may like, but where you won't get any attention from non CG people. And, when it comes down, most of the CG work is meant for the 'average Joe'.
Alright, maybe self-esteem was the wrong word. Its hard to believe that if you get good reviews here, by other artists, that you don't "believe" them but rather your friends. Even if the case is that the Joe's are the cunsumers of your products.

In case you still want to show your wips to friends and family then what you should do is compare your wips with other wips, not with models that 2-4 industry professionals have been working on for months. Right? So if Blizzard people surf here, could you please post us some wips:) .

My post has gone little side-tracked as you wanted the tech stuff. Sorry about that.

eric_bit
01-15-2005, 01:32 AM
I never show my WIP work to non-cg people,just show wireframe if they ask!

plaguelord
01-16-2005, 02:37 AM
thomas, I cant understand why you are disapointed, your models are impressive, and you are comparing your work with blizzard! blizzard are one of the best cg companys on the world. Try to think about that...
Personally I´m a very big fan of blizzard, but your models are really cool and well done, I like both.

brandhoff
01-16-2005, 09:40 AM
Thomas,

I think the most important points have already been mentioned here, except "attitude".

When I compare your work with Blizzard´s Dwarf in terms of modeling quality (taking the character design as a given thing), you are pretty much up to it. The differences are technically in texturing, lightning and perspective.

While your renderings are very neutral images, meant to display a CG model, with especially the second model seeming like a death mask, the dwarf owns his picture: "Ya looking at ME?!".

Try setting up your models to give them character. First of all they need eyes (the piercing blue eyes of the dwarf really catch focus), then put them in a portrait position and adjust the lightning to emphasize unique shapes like the massive eyebrows and finally tune your camera position.

If you look at it from a photographers point of view, Blizz got all that right on the dwarf: notice the DOF focussing on the eyeballs, the twist of the head or details like SSS at his ear ... and of course the whole texturing with warts, wrinkles, scars, freckles, pores and beard shade (pretty close shave for a dwarf btw).

Two suggestions: get Jeremy Birns´ "Lightning and Rendering" and a book about portrait photography ... I think, both will help you to bring your really good models to life.

cheers

cache
01-17-2005, 07:42 PM
thomas mahler->

your models look fantastic if you ask me!
especially the last one ( http://members.chello.at/thomas.mahler/orc_05hi.jpg )
it has character, and modeled very nicely...
so, don't listen to people who can't value your work;)

If I hadn't got a girlfriend who does 3d as well and thus can help me with comments and ideas, i would be sooo alone in terms of getting 'valued' with 3d, although i have a couple of friends i can show my work...
but they just don't get it (especially wip works)
(they are usually 'trained' on visuals in for.ex. winamp, where you get nice colors and moving stuff with only one click, or they watch too much tv;) ... Usually they can't say anything useful...

but it's not their fault, nor yours...

Imagine what would you say if you have been asked to listen to an unfinished classical melody and would have to support the composer with real, professional critique.. ;)
Let's say you're not into music that much - i guess the composer would be in more or less the same situation with you, like you are with your non-cg relatives+friends...

conclusion: Believe us, here at cgtalk :) Your models are very good!

one last word : be more confident about your skills !:)

ps:excuse my bad english ;) hope i was clear!

Mehdi Alifard
01-18-2005, 01:24 PM
Wath Make Warcraft?

Crocodilian
01-22-2005, 05:29 PM
it seems to me that there's nothing wrong with your technique. What separates "great" from "good" is not craft, its inspiration and for want of a better word, "art".

To me, "art" includes the idea that you've reduced some larger truth to a small, symbolic token. Great works of art are ultimately convincing caricatures of the real world, reductions in complexity but enhancements in subtlety.

That's very vague, so here's a specific that was noted by others-- the first model you showed has a nicely modeled human head, with grotesquely extended ears. This can make sense if there's a "back-story" associated with it (they look like donkey's ears to me, and so if you attached them to our recently re-inaugurated dim. . .er. . .I better move on, but the point is that donkey's ears on a man can either make sense, or not make sense, depending on the context).

So where does that leave you in your pursuit of "Great"? Think about context and story. Who is this guy, and why does he look the way he does? How'd he get that scar? It was Balzac (I think) who observed that we "earn" our faces.

Something to think about, anyway.

crossbones
01-23-2005, 04:26 AM
To be honest I am not too impressed with what I see in that screen shot from blizzard. The only difference between your characters and Blizzards is that they design their characters with some sense of story to get you intrested in them.

Stonepilot
01-24-2005, 07:48 AM
That's such a hard question to answer. I guess if you want to make a great character from what ever experience I have, your character has to be able to tell a story just by looking at it. I've been fortunate enough as I get older to have work with people that are more experience than me. And It comes down to being able to put your character personality just by looking at it. And to be honest I didn't get that until recently with one of our character for our current project. I just didn't get why she didn't look interesting. Until i started asking myseld who this character was, why she looked the way she did, just really thinking about her as a real person, from there it started coming together. So just know your character. Its hard to explain.

As far as your character make up who he is. Don't think of him as a character inspired by blizzard. The blizzard model that you showed its a good model but to be honest its not a great model but it is a good character and that's where its better.

Just look at their model, everything about his face tells you something everything from his fresh cut on his eyebrow, to his dry lips. to his cut on his nose. Best of luck.

Kanga
01-24-2005, 01:10 PM
........your character has to be able to tell a story just by looking at it.......

I guess thats about it.
Apart from the Animators survival kit which deals with this question I found a very nice link that gives a breakdown of what a character should exude.

http://www.spicycricket.com/SCA/hello.html

I'm not sure if a direct link is breaking the rules so I expect a slap on the wrist if this is a criminal activity. Mods?

lyndon
01-24-2005, 05:22 PM
For a start there is nothing at all wrong with your model!

There are a couple of reasons why somebody (especially a non-cg type person) would think that screenshot is better than yours. Personally I think cg people will see through these reasons because they know what to look for, but still:


Yours doesn't have eyes yet - I find when you add eyes to your character you sudenly have empathy with the character and it adds 100% more personality.
Yours has no texture, and perhaps your family/friends can't see past that cos its unnatural for things not to have any colour, dirt etc.
Perhaps the biggest difference, and perhaps to most important one, is yours as yet has no facial expression. Because your still modelling him he obviously isn't going to have his facial expressions yet. Most of his "character" will come from his face -cheeky, happy, sad, aggressive - that will all come when you've got the model finished.
Your model is very very good in my opinion and I would not take seriously the opinions of those who don't understand the medium, at least not until its finished.

DDS
02-01-2005, 01:00 AM
Hey, what are you expecting from this thread man? First you show us a WIP, which isn't as good as Blizzard's finished textured model (because if not they wouldn't show it)! ohhh, SADNESS!!! Blizzard guys are better than you? what a pity! wtf, they're better than 99% of artists!

And later you show us another WIP, which is very good! An impressive model, with a decent shader, a great bump mapping, and, oh!! no eyes! almost no color variation. Why don't you finish something and later compare (anyways it's better than blizzard's in most of aspects).

And, what if your family doesn't like it. Post it in a CG Forum and take an opinion from a *REALLY* professional artist...

Sorry for being rude...

jmBoekestein
02-01-2005, 01:20 AM
I've found another use for this thread,

Whenever I get frustrated I just watch this guy twitch in agony. Hey if people don't like that work, they might as well start paying us by the hour. And I'll be sure to do a lot of test renders, haha.
Seriously, maybe you should ask people what they like about your work and try and ascertain what you put in it. This will probably help you develop more of a personal approach. I don't think mimicking other peoples work is the best way to grow personnally. But I'm not for sweet talking, so I just say good modelling. And maybe listen to what the other guys have said so far.

ivo D
02-03-2005, 09:45 AM
first of all never show wips.. to those people..

give your character expression

make the eyes amazing.. they have to be really convincing.
allmost half of the karakter comes from the eyes.. window to the soul :D

set it in a nice composition.. let them think its a reall thing.. toon or human/ realistic, just make it look like its really alive and from this world.
so that means good texturing, lighting..

and to finish it all of, make a good composition, something people can relate to + sme close up show , of the things you want to show them.. details.

and like the ring in his ear, never put those things in, yet.. make them good , o dont put them there.. it break it appart.

quality modelling do, looks cool

ivo D
02-03-2005, 09:50 AM
problem, forgot.. your model looks better than the blizzard one .
nothing special about that model from blizzard.. i could point out a lot of thing i dont like, and do like about it.. but it aint better than yours.. it looks better because of the shader/texture.. for the rest its nothing special in my opnion

StephanD
02-03-2005, 01:41 PM
It's incomparable,one is finished and the other in progress,probably if Thomas keeps working on it,it has chances to become a better overall image.

Good luck

steffenoid
02-04-2005, 12:44 AM
In my experience, cg is a lot like programming. All people know about is like the cg stuff in the matrix or super cool computer games. If you wrote a program that posts memos or something on ur screen, noone will appreciate it because they don't understand how difficult programming can be. Similarly, if you show a grey model with perfect topology and great detail, most will only notice the grey. A big turnaround for me was the decision to stop tryin to impress people. I was happy with my stuff, and anyone who disagreed was stupid :)

JamesMK
02-04-2005, 08:20 AM
Very interesting thread here...

First observation: That blizzard dwarf doesn't say anything at all to me. Maybe it's technically good, but CG aside, it only makes me think "and this means what to me?"

Second observation: Getting honest feedback from non-CG people like family members or random friends is invaluable. This is because they are not easily impressed by the back-end of it so to speak - how many hours of work, what cutting-edge techniques, the topology... it doesn't mean anything.

Just replace CG artist with any other arbitrary group of people... say plumbers... So you're talking to a plumber and he is on about the high-tech kevlar pipes he uses, and the electromagnetic valves controlled by a bluetooth enabled transmitter registering every time someone walks through the door to the bathroom.... whatever... Your only concern is that the water coming out of the tap is too cold. But the plumber keeps trying to draw your attention to the intricacies of the microswitch membrane thingy of the temperature regulator.... but you still couldn't care less, because the water is still too bloody cold.

CG requires heaps of technique and artistic skills, some types of animation and FX work requires a degree in rocket science... but at the end of the day it doesn't amount to a hell of a lot of beans if the final result doesn't speak to the audience.

So, what is it, that makes a good model a great one? I'd say that is something that happens way before you even start working on it. The idea, the point of it, maybe a joke, or the emotional contents of the concept, or maybe some philosophical statement materialised to a model and eventually a final image or animation. That is the difference between a good model and a great one.

That said, I'd agree as well that WIP images are better left for only other CG artists to comment on. Finished images on the other hand, should additionally be critiqued by non-CG folks. My prefered critic is my 7 year old daughter... she obviously has no clear idea about modeling and rendering, but she can look at a finished piece for three seconds and tell me if it sucks and why. And I trust her opinion.

Squibbit
02-04-2005, 11:52 PM
ummhh... the others mentioned the eyes and i thought to add some colors,
also an earring. I just painted over with photoshop a bit , nothing major, just
to add to the look. I hope you don't mind , it's an excellent model , I just wanted
to try how it looked with little editing and share what i came up with.
Your unedited version is on the right :

http://www.saunalahti.fi/panuom/mahlerorc1.jpg

OptimusDinkus
02-05-2005, 03:48 AM
wow, yea color variation does a shitload. Also, the eyes might need to be a bit larger to give more expressive quality, or small to show his towering face, I dunno

ThomasMahler
02-05-2005, 11:49 AM
Hey Squibbit - Wow, you did a great job here! I'm glad you had fun with my model, man! :)

I also updated the texture a little (in fact, I had to _very quickly_ create a project for school and had to quickly finish something up... Lemme show you guys...), so here we go:

http://members.chello.at/thomas.mahler/orc_08hi.jpg

I don't know if it's better, it doesn't have a lotta color variation... looks kinda boring. Squibbit did a better job than I did, but that's where I ended...

http://members.chello.at/thomas.mahler/Untitled-8.jpg

That's a little snack I had to do for school - Kinda sucks in my opinion, but you know, not a lotta time, I just wanted to show you guys what I had to do with it...

Again, thanks for all the great comments, I'm really happy with how this thread evolved, I certainly learned a lot!

azazel
02-05-2005, 12:34 PM
Actually, addition of the suit added a lot to the character of your orc - it might be worth pursuing further.

Squibbit
02-05-2005, 12:39 PM
thanks , and hey dude that's instantly better with what you did.
the skin texture looks fine and the skin tone of the lips and around
the eyes added much to the look

jmBoekestein
02-05-2005, 07:15 PM
I have to say,

that when I get feedback from people I know about my work(i have small pics stored in my phone), I do get good feedback. I think the naked eye is abetter judge on realism for instance than an eye trained to fake everything(adn faking is good imo). Since it's your target audience, I mean.
On easthetics, they might not be able to say what would be wrong with it but you can gauge there reaction while you stand there. Which helps a lot I think. But for technical issue and judging your work. No it's not wise to take them seriously.

I think now maybe it's time to post some things in the 3d wip forum?

edit: bad topology, it won't animate properly if you want to try that!!! Do some research on face topology, if anything you should be able to model with good topology. Unless you make stills for a living. Very nice improvements though, it's still solid modelling.

cadavatar
02-07-2005, 06:54 PM
I agree wholeheartedly with Fly3D. It's funny, though... I've left a kind of sheltered life as an artist, having only friends and family, and engineers view my work. Everybody has liked my models, often to the point of amazement (supposedly), but actual constructive criticism is virtually non-existent.

After 10 years, I finally decided to look (very recently) into online artist communities like this one.

It's funny how a similar situation between 2 people can yield opposite results.

Just remember that when you receive criticism, always consider the basis for that criticism, such as comments regarding textural appearance before the model has even been textured, and filter out the useless feedback.

...and when more qualified people review your work, never hesitate for them to be more specific when they give comments that are too general.

Don't be disheartened. I dare not even do people and you're doing the hardest part... faces.

kryoboy
02-07-2005, 10:44 PM
edit: bad topology, it won't animate properly if you want to try that!!! Do some research on face topology, ":rolleyes:"if anything you should be able to model with good topology. Unless you make stills for a living. Very nice improvements though, it's still solid modelling.


Just remember that when you receive criticism, always consider the basis for that criticism, such as comments regarding textural appearance before the model has even been textured, and filter out the useless feedback.":wise:"

sometimes comments can be misleading and uneducated, others are wise.. as an artist you have to have to know the diffrence between right and wrong.. sometimes a crit will open your eyes to an obvious imperfection, and you think to yourself wow.. hes/she is so right.. if you question the crit. forget about it.

jmBoekestein
02-16-2005, 02:21 PM
He'll get shearing if the creature snarls if you ask me.

AA_Tyrael
02-17-2005, 09:53 AM
i dont know how this will sound,but i prefer ur model over Blizzard dwarf

In any case,ur model is more "Weta" like than blizzard like :/

kromano
05-06-2005, 08:09 PM
I agree wholeheartedly with Fly3D. It's funny, though... I've left a kind of sheltered life as an artist, having only friends and family, and engineers view my work. Everybody has liked my models, often to the point of amazement (supposedly), but actual constructive criticism is virtually non-existent.


I'm finding the very same thing. Up until recently, the only people I had to bounce my work off of were friends and family, all of which were amazed by what I could do while pretty much all I could see were flaws. You don't always see perfection in your own work while others often do. For myself, it's not so much about building a model that pleases everybody else (that seems too easy for me to do with my current audience) but moreso about building a model that pleases yourself. I rip just about everything I do to shreds, so if I'm able to make something I actually like, I think I've accomplished something and it's time to start a new model and do some more learning.

To repeat what's been said already, what makes a good model a great one? It's all in concept and design. Everything has to exude story. Personality and character has to be seeping from its pours, otherwise it's just another cartoon character. It's pretty tough to hit that mark in an expressionless, motionless still, but if you can hint on just a little you're ahead of the game.

crossbones
05-06-2005, 08:25 PM
See everytime I start building a new model, whatever it is...its like I am doing it for the first time and i discover new things. As posted already, its about story and a story that drives the design. I've seen awesome models that have no design to them, technically they are brilliant but design wise not interesting to look at.

PBlades
05-08-2005, 08:48 PM
Hey Thomas, in terms of modeling I think your model is just as good as the blizzard model, but I think the texturing takes the blizzard one a step further.

In my opinion a great model should have a believeability in the character, even if it isn't a realistic style, as long as it has the certain warmth to it
I like artists like Stuzzi and Symoka who can convey and good sense of weight to flesh...

Wiro
05-11-2005, 08:23 AM
Your modelling is great with a good eye to detail.
You're comparing yourself to Blizzard but remember that within a creative team a lot of ideas bounce around and there's an art director there whose job is to rip your work apart. This is good. An art director worth his title is detached enough to see objectively if it's there or not yet and able to point you in the right direction.
You're working on your own, maybe too engulfed in your character to see the bigger picture and with the only (destructive) crits coming from friends who have no clue how to improve your stuff.

If you want to get to the next level without art direction you'll have to start considering what you're doing. Are you just modelling "another ork" or are you actually trying to create character?

Looking at your models from a non-technical standpoint I do have to say they're not that interesting. I'd probably not be able to pick your character out among other similar heads I've seen.
The WoW dwarf looks interesting because of the large nose, piercing blue eyes, those highly raised eyebrows, etc.
I'd recognise that model even if greyshaded on those eyebrows alone!

Its really really hard to come up with a great character design but you basically need to come up with one or several traits or flaws that stand out and are memorable.
But this problem is something I come across in most 3d models already. You're not worse off than most. Not everyone can be a kickass modeller and character designer.

Wiro

giles.t
05-13-2005, 05:26 PM
Thomas, I checked out your current wips -- looks great, especially the orc and norric(?).

A lot of good information in this thread, enjoyed the read -- Wiro, I especially liked the distinction you make between modeller and character designer.

ThomasMahler
05-16-2005, 10:22 AM
Ahh, good to see that this thread is up again!

@Arild: (Man, I always admired your work!) Dang, you really nailed it. I'm currently finishing up my portfolio, so I can continue to study sculpting and looking back at my work, I'd say that I haven't put enough thought into the process. I mean, the Orc, Nerrick, etc. have been created because:

a) I wanted to train my modeling and texturing skills
b) I already knew some similar designs and liked them
c) I had to finish something for the portfolio

I constrained myself to the "technical stuff" and didn't really think about "why" I'm actually doing what I'm doing. On the technical side, I'm happy with the progress I made, but I'm actually not doing what I had in mind as I started with CGI. I mean, it's hard not to think about the technical stuff and just concentrate on the "background", the "why" and not the "how". This is something I'm currently really struggling with - My characters are nice, but lifeless. My work may be okay from a technical point of view, but are dead from a creative point of view. I'm currently working on that, in the last few weeks my mind really changed when it comes to creating new work. It has to be more than just that.

Thanks everyone for the great comments, I really appreciate it!

Well, nevertheless - For the portfolio I had to do some new renderings, so I also updated my WIPs. If you want to see newer versions of the stuff I posted here, just check my sig.

RoundRobbin
05-22-2005, 07:38 AM
imagine giving a giraffe Human ears..it'll look a little wierd. The only thing your mising in your work is originality and imagination. Don't take this too hard because most likely you didnt do this on purpose, this is because you concentrated too much on the mechanics of modeling and neglected the creativity part of it. If He's going to have realistic looking Non-Subsurface scattered Stargate-Buffalo Ears. His face Shouldn't look exactly like that of a human. Sure he could have human characteristics but your gonna have to imagine what type of facial structure would a human with ears like those should have. I figure a real neanderthal stupid type with a very large and Wide Cranium with a Stretched out Splayed Chin and Wide Nose nostrils. Try to work with conformity. Fibinachi, the golden mean and ish like that. yeah i know, its sick, i'm still flippin out on that ish.lol

p.s: the model on your avatar is very cool. kudos to that

Wiro
05-24-2005, 04:24 PM
a) I wanted to train my modeling and texturing skills
b) I already knew some similar designs and liked them
c) I had to finish something for the portfolio


And all that you accomplished which is why you should still be happy with what you created. I think you have a good attitude though in that you want to go further than just churn out another model.
I think most of us struggle with the same thing, trying to come up with something original but somehow get bogged down in the mechanics instead. But I think you already have the mechanics down so now just go ahead and give life :)

Wiro

ambient-whisper
05-31-2005, 04:53 AM
My characters are nice, but lifeless. My work may be okay from a technical point of view, but are dead from a creative point of view. I'm currently working on that, in the last few weeks my mind really changed when it comes to creating new work. It has to be more than just that.

what you need to figure out is what makes your character tick. go beyond those superficial details that make characters fall into categories.

bay even had some notes on the issue many years back.
http://cube.phlatt.net/home/spiraloid/tutorial/design.html

as i also mentioned before in this thread, forms of your character play a very important part. as well as subforms. ( usually small details caused by wrinkly skin, or fat variations over muscles ). you also have to think about the skins binding to the underlaying muscles. some skin hangs more in some places than others. if you knew how obese, and at what stage of his life that character is then you could more easily figure out how much wrinklage they developed and how much of their skin is starting to sag. what kind of life have they led? construction worker?. then you might want to add some bigger forearms, and wider shoulders. often they dont work their abs to much so not much detail would be put there.


if you want to model interesting faces, then the best bet you could do is to go to 3d.sk and download the directories full of faces. notice how different each persons mouths and eyes are in particular, and why? these are two areas where most of your characters look almost identical in. they usually have the same looking mouthes, eyes, eyebrows, etc. they are always constructed with the same ideas. my thinking is that you got used to setting up an edgeloop structure and you stuck to it. thats why each character has the same mistakes.

http://ambient-whisper.cgcommunity.com/images_dump/neato/lips.jpg

what you need to do is go back and strongly reference from life. there are so many variations of lips you can add to a humanoid. also dont be affraid to pull out some muscles or add fat to areas like cheeks, or add fat to the bottom or top lip ( or the areas around em ). then think how the areas around them would be affected. use soft selection and start pulling parts in and out, and never ever pull out muscles that look like you painted a curved line in zbrush, because muscles on the faces never bulge out like that. they could bulge out of one area but then blend into their surroundings, because flesh is just a sheet thats overlaid ontop of many different forms.

http://ambient-whisper.cgcommunity.com/images_dump/neato/creases-on2-sides-of-muscles.jpg

another part that i also notice you doing is that you add wrinkles to parts that are "fuller". instead you should research how you could make those areas more interesting by the forms around there caused by fat, muscle, or bone, and now they blend in with their surroundings. maybe that skin/fat pushes against skin nearby, creating a fat bag+wrinkle.

jaws and the skin around it can have many different shapes and dont always need to crease.

try to look for solutions other than the obvious comic book looking ones.

Shonner
05-31-2005, 11:32 PM
What am I doing wrong? Is my work really that bad? It really bugs me at the moment...

You're comparing apples with oranges. For one thing, your model isn't finished. Of course it could be finished by now, I'm just replying to the first message you posted. So I'm guessing you have finished your model and have given your rendering of it the same lighting and camera angle and focus that the original model used. So let's see how you compare now...

After looking at your updates... I would say that if your family still hates your work, they obviously don't want you leaving the country and getting a job working for Hollywood.

ThomasMahler
06-13-2005, 09:07 AM
Whoa, Martin, I just saw your comment - Thank you so much, this is just great!

Man, I just love CGTalk - Thanks!

bruizar
06-18-2005, 01:58 PM
I think the ears are fine, I think it's the face itself that is the 'problem'. Would he have a more evil appearance the ears would match the face alot better and would not look like a sad dog in my opinion.
The eyes holes look too kind. I'd pull the inner part (near the nose ) down a bit. other than that I couldn't possibly comment on it. The model itself looks nicer than the dwarf, I don't really like the dwarf pic because I think it's a bit played out. Your take of a (dark elf I suppose? ) has a unique feel to it that I appreciate. Keep the style while trying to improve on those places that I cannot comment on since I myself am not experienced enough to see it :)

goodluck and nice modelling

roteo
06-24-2005, 09:17 AM
hi thomas!

interesting thread..i know from myself, people who dont do cg will not get much from wip`s, maybe because they cant imagine where its going to; once its finished they will be impressed, very much :thumbsup:

cheers

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