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Espen
08-21-2006, 11:26 AM
Hello everybody,
maybe some of you already watched my Thread: Espen's Creature Club: rough sketches (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=385481) were I did some brainstorming concerning creatures for my new game art portfolio. After drawing 35 creatures I picked 5 of them to be realized in 3D. My plan is to do the modeling sculpting, texturing and rendering and share my experience with you. I will work with Maya, modo, ZBrush (and hopefully soon with mudbox).

Comments and Critique are most welcome!

Enjoy
--Espen


http://www.pointsnap.com/download/cgtalk/sharky/sharky_sketch.jpg

This is the first creature that I picked out of my growing monster collection. I called him "Sharky".


http://www.pointsnap.com/download/cgtalk/sharky/sharky_wip_003.jpg

I started modeling with Maya. Mostly out of convenience because I am not that familiar with modo jet and modeling with Maya goes fast as I am very familiar with the workflow. I always start my scene with a box split in half and a duplicated instance scaled around x by -1. When I am done with modeling I will erase the instance an use the function Mirror Geometry to merge the two sides of my character.


http://www.pointsnap.com/download/cgtalk/sharky/sharky_wip_004.jpg

I blocked out the form of the character using Extrude Face, Merge Vertices and Split Polygon Tool.


http://www.pointsnap.com/download/cgtalk/sharky/sharky_wip_009.jpg

Before I continue to add details I always work on the overall proportions again. As long as everything is still Low Poly and I did not work on any UVs it is easy to change anything without problems. I use lattices for this reason.


http://www.pointsnap.com/download/cgtalk/sharky/sharky_wip_modo_fourview.jpg

Now I transferred the geometry to modo via Maya's *.OBJ export and further refined the geometry. I also added some edge loops around arms and legs. The complete character has 2148 triangles right now.

MrDev
08-21-2006, 01:26 PM
Very nice looking, hope the unwrapping goes well.

one question though why did you go from maya to modo at the UV point?

3dzombie
08-21-2006, 03:27 PM
Wow man! nice concept. He's kinda cute... Nice modelling... the mesh is simple and smooth... keep it coming...

Good luck

Mouli

requiem2d
08-21-2006, 03:53 PM
He's awesome :D Zbrush will be the winner here ;)

tin-tin
08-21-2006, 04:09 PM
This is awesome, nice to tell us the modeling process aswell:) , you will love modo especially the edge tools.

Espen
08-22-2006, 07:51 AM
Hello guys,
thanks for your feedback. I really appreciate it.

MrDev: one of the reasons why I switched to modo before doing the UV layout was that I really wanted to see how powerfull the Unwrap function really is. And what can I say: this function is so great that even if modo had only this single feature I would buy it right away! I always hated to do UV mapping and this way everything is done within a single hour...


http://www.pointsnap.com/download/CGTalk/sharky/sharky_WIP_modo_uv_001

With modos unwrapping tool it is very easy to get a nice UV layout within a very short time. On the left hand side you can see the mesh with a simple auto mapping aplied that is mostly a planar mapping from the side. After that I selected a set of edges were I wanted to have my cuts - see image in the middle. On the the right hand side you can see the resulting mapping after one click on Unwrap. This did not take 15 minutes.


http://www.pointsnap.com/download/CGTalk/sharky/sharky_WIP_modo_uv_002

After using the Unwrap function the UV layout looks like this.


http://www.pointsnap.com/download/CGTalk/sharky/sharky_WIP_modo_uv_003

My next step was to arange the parts within my UV space between 0 and 1 and to refine some areas; especially toes and fingers that did not get enough UV space with the Unwrap tool. I also relaxed some areas and rotated the seperate elemens.


http://www.pointsnap.com/download/CGTalk/sharky/sharky_WIP_modo_uv_004

So here is the UV mapping - this time with SDS turned on to better show the nice flow.

see you soon
--Espen

nibbuls
08-22-2006, 01:01 PM
(I could unwrap that thing in just a few minutes with Max 8 using its relax and stitch tools)

Looks great! I love the creature design. :D

antweiler
08-22-2006, 02:55 PM
yes every 3d app has these unfolding/pelting/relax stuff nowadays..

Im curious how the details will develop, since you use a rather scetchy design. This gives the modeler more freedom and responsibility.
Do you plan any detail scetches for wrinkles and eye details?
will he have insects eyes?
does he have a female counterpart?

Buzzoff
08-22-2006, 05:40 PM
(I could unwrap that thing in just a few minutes with Max 8 using its relax and stitch tools)

That is a great story.

Espen
08-23-2006, 05:18 PM
Hi Folks,
I spend some time to figure out how to create displacement and normal maps using ZBrush. Crits and feedback are most welcome. This is my actual WIP version:

http://www.pointsnap.com/download/cgtalk/sharky/sharky_wip_010.jpg

And well, I know that the most 3D apps nowadays have some method of easy UV mapping. Everybody has to feel relief that - after years and years of painful UV mapping horror - finally the workflow has gotten much better. I used several 3D packages myself for years (Lightwave > 3D Studio > Max > Softimage 3D > Maya > modo). The reason why I am so happy about the modo approach is that in modo a feature like unwrap is one of the key technology tools from the start on - what means it is fully integrated and not just added for the sake of a key feature list...

I thought to leave the eyes black - to keep same cuteness that can be seen in the original sketch. I won't make a female counterpart, but the differnece would't be that big anyway... :-)

If someone is interested to see the normal map/dispalcement map I can also post it here.

best regards
--Espen

nibbuls
08-23-2006, 05:27 PM
That looks amazing. You're a magician with ZBrush. :D

I've heard a lot of good news about modo--I'll download the trial. I can't help but wonder... why didn't you do the zbrush work in modo instead? Is ZBrush better at it?

Buzzoff-I'd be happy to show you how. Just send me a PM if you're interested.

Espen-Didn't realise you had experience with max.

LaughingBun
08-23-2006, 06:15 PM
i would really like to see your displacement map, because when ever i try to make them they look all wierd.

Espen
08-23-2006, 06:54 PM
here we go:

http://www.pointsnap.com/download/cgtalk/sharky/displacement_map_512.jpg

The original size is 2048 x 2048.

greets
--Espen

-KDX-
08-23-2006, 06:58 PM
I prefer the low displacement map alot more...

cool stuff though!

-KDX-

Daniel
08-24-2006, 07:54 AM
hehe looks nice!

the modo unwarper is very nice (select edges, unwarp and rescale/arange the uvs), I use it everyday for almost everythink.
I don't believe that the unwarp process can be faster in max, but how knows maybe it is?

rasmusW
08-24-2006, 08:29 AM
hey martin!

-cute little critter you got there.
the "low-displacement" pict, is my favorite. the other is just a tad too much displaced, imo.
can't wait for next one.

-r

Jibboom
08-24-2006, 11:30 AM
Supercute!
I can imagine how fun it would be to rig and animate that kind of.. thing..

Espen
08-24-2006, 03:01 PM
To complete the modeling/sculpting workflow I exported a normel map and assigned it in Maya to my low poly mesh.

Now that everything works fine I will go on and detail out my model in ZBrush as some of the body parts are still without details (legs, feet). After that I will try to get rid of the edge seems... The color maps will be done in modo. So stay tuned - there is a lot to come!

http://www.pointsnap.com/download/cgtalk/sharky/sharky_wip_011.jpg
Total Tris: 2148 (including eyes and teeth)

greets
--Espen

obelisk
08-26-2006, 07:37 AM
this is looking amazing man. beautiful character style, and workflow demo is interesting too. how did you manage that seam at the shoulder? it's so sharp in the unwrap, but invisible after displacement. how'd you do that?

-O

zaki79
08-26-2006, 08:04 AM
Hi Espen !

very nice work so far, can't wait to see it painted :)

How are You going to deal with these seams? -by tweaking in photoshop?

cheers !

antweiler
08-26-2006, 09:09 AM
ah, now it comes to my mind, the one with the higher diplacement map looks like a grottenolm! Im looking forward how it evolves, when im back in two weeks

psychojohno
08-26-2006, 01:28 PM
Hi espen im loving your creatures only crit i have is just about where the ankle joins the foot there is an area that looks too dark and a sharp line. What colour is he going to be?? About applying the normal map in maya what version of maya are you using? And how do you apply the normal map any special shaders/plugins you have?

Aneel3D
08-26-2006, 11:48 PM
Wow! I realluy love your 3d! How was it made? Is this organic modeling? I've been checking out modeling humans lately and am really courious abot this organic thing. Keep up the great 3D mate!!! :thumbsup:

Espen
08-27-2006, 07:26 PM
hi guys,
this time I bring you an updated version of my high res ZBrush model. I was not so happy with the result of my last rendering session, as I realized that I was loosing some detail of my sculpted mesh when I did the displacement map calculation. The reason for that is that the surface of my SDS mesh is different to the low poly cage that I used as a basis for sculpting. To get better results I exported a subdivided mesh using modo's SDS subdivide function instead of normal smoothed subdivide. This resembles the surface of my SDS mesh much better and therefore the computed displacement map transports my high mesh details much better. But see for yourself. I also added more detail especially to the back, arms and legs/feet of the character.

nibbuls: ZBrush work in modo? Well, from my point of view there is currently now way to smoothly sculp a mesh's surface that has more than 1 million polygons in any available 3D package except ZBrush and soon mudBox. To handle so many polygons a 3D app has to be focused on this single feature so it can be optimized concerning polygonal performance without all the other features working beside. And by the way: modo is a subdivision surface modeler - to compute subdivision surfaces is much more complex than computing polygons because you have to calculate curves and not vertices connected by edges. Therefor to smoothly sculpt a subdivision surface model with a million vertices seems to be completely out of limit at the time. What you could do is to actually paint the displacement/normal map but this will not be a very intuitive workflow, as the result of a displacement cannot be shown in OpenGL but only in the rendering preview what makes everything much too slow and lacks the necessary control in my opinion.

Daniel: glad to hear that you share my enthusiastic opinion about modo's unwrap function. Maybe one of our max users really want's to illustrate the max UV layout process for us to compare?

obelisk: Yes, I did some minor adjustments on the displacement map in Photoshop. The good thing when working with a displacement map is that a grayscale map can be more easily edited than for example a normal map. It is important to have the displacement in 16bit format. The rest of the smooth result is done by modo's true micro-poly tessellation while rendering I suppose...

zaki79: You mean the seams in the normal mapped low poly mesh right? Well, this won't be as easy as tweaking the displacement map. I talked to some friend about this issue who makes a living out of painting normals. And well, there seem to be two possible ways to handle this problem. First is to actually edit the normal map in Photoshop using the color 128,128,255 to over paint seams and blending it with the background. The other possible solution might be to invert the red or green channel of some UV shells for separate body parts. Out of some reasons difficult to understand these channels are sometimes flipped. I will come to that issue, as soon that I have done the color painting and come back to normal mapping again.

antweiler: My friend, I googled "Grottenolm" and this is what I came up with:
http://www.pointsnap.com/download/cgtalk/sharky/proteus_anguinus.jpg
Is this really what you mean? Because this creature does not match little sharky very much I think...


Aneel3D: Thanx man, but what do you mean by "How was it made" - I mean, this is what all the thread is about isn't it? How it was made. And by "organic modeling" you mean using a sculpting tool like ZBrush? Yes, this is what I did, if I understand you right.

So here comes the updated high detail model. The next step will be the color map. So stay tuned.

cheers
--Espen


http://www.pointsnap.com/download/CGTalk/sharky/sharky_WIP_012.jpg

JimmyMac
08-27-2006, 08:58 PM
Espen, great work! It's been cool to watch the evolution of this guy. Can't wait to see the rest!

Espen
08-29-2006, 01:15 PM
hi,
I was working on the color map recently. This is the actual WIP version. I did all the Painting in modo and no additional Photoshop work was needed. modo's Paint functionality is great - you have all your Photoshp tools including Clone stamp Tool, Blur/Smudge Tool and even a "Projection Master" kind of tool similar to the ZBrush functionality. Check it out my friends - you'll love it...

Crits and Comments are most welcome!

greets
--Espen

I am working on the normal mapping part right now, so stay tuned. If someone wants to see the color map, just mention it and I will post it here...

http://www.pointsnap.com/download/CGTalk/sharky/sharky_WIP_013.jpg

3dzombie
08-29-2006, 04:11 PM
:applause:! I've been following this thread from day one. Nice work man... I Love ya! lol. Great work and it's evolving really nice... Will keep checking...

Cheers
Mouli

jocz
08-29-2006, 04:22 PM
Funny monster !
I like those little balls lost between his two legs in the shadows =)
Only crit I have is maybe to make a more contrasted color map, but its an artistic point of view, not an advise.

dpizzle
08-29-2006, 09:29 PM
this turned out excellent!
i'm stoked

keep up the great work

:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

Espen
08-29-2006, 09:45 PM
hi everybody,

after spending some time in the realms of high poly sculpting and subsurface scattering parameters I finally came back to what this thread is all about: graphic for GAMES! With 2274 triangles in total my little creature is very efficient by means of valuable render time, I think. All the editing to the normal map was done in modo - I simply painted over unwanted seams with modos paint functionality. I also had to make normal maps for the eyes and the teeth and combined them with the normal map for the body. That's because I worked with three seperate objects and forgot about it first.

http://www.pointsnap.com/download/cgtalk/sharky/sharky_wip_014.jpg

Screenshots out of the modo viewport. There are still some minor things that could be tweaked and a specular map is also missing - but I am quite happy already with the overall impression. What do you think?


http://www.pointsnap.com/download/cgtalk/sharky/color_map_512.jpg

And here comes the color map. I originally painted it in 2048 x2048 - just to be sure.


Thank you all for the excellent feedback - It helped me a lot to keep on going! And thanx to those of you who supported me via phone or MSN/Google Talk - thank you guys! This was so much fun - and one week of vacation well spent...

jocz you are right about the contrast of the color map. This mostly came to the subsurface scattering that I used for the last renderings. This makes the whole surface to appear brighter than without. The above version of the color map is the one I painted.

Best Regards
--Espen

Espen
08-31-2006, 01:50 PM
Today I spoke to a friend who works in the feature animation industry. He told me that he really liked the version of my creature with the displacement only and that he was quite irritated when he saw the normal mapped version. He disliked the texture having so much contrast and the high specularity and the dark shadows.

And maybe he is right? In fact many game design assets tend to have a bit too much contrast, hue and specular settings. Maybe we Games People are so used to that kind of exaggeration that we simply don't think about it anymore?

He also suggested the use of a real time skin shader to add more translucency/subsurface scattering like effect. I would love to do that, but unfortunately I have no DirectX shader support for modo and the OpenGL view does not support that many shader parameters... If someone of you knows a handy little tool for testing out DirectX shader parameters, please let me know. Workflow should be like this: import your OBJ mesh, load your textures, play around with different params. Any suggestion to this would be helpful.

Anyway, what I did was some adjustments to the normal and color map and some changes to specularity and Bump Strengh of the character. What do you think?

http://www.pointsnap.com/download/cgtalk/sharky/sharky_wip_normal_02.jpg


greets
--Espen

tin-tin
08-31-2006, 11:58 PM
I like the one on the left, they both look good though. I wouldn't trust the way modo displays the normal map in advanced ogl mode, gives bad shading effect. try 3ds max with a good fx shader.

Interactionman
09-01-2006, 04:48 AM
I like this little freaky thing, but I agree the normal and specular maps were too much. I was about to say the gums are way too pink too but it looks like you're working in that already. Did you think of trying any other colour than vivid pink for the gums?

3dzombie
09-01-2006, 05:39 AM
The right one looks good, but would look great with a bit darker skin as before, but without that shiny skin... You're doing an awesome job man!

Mouli

mindrot
09-02-2006, 09:38 PM
Fantasic work. Nice to see the way yous started out.

~M~

antweiler
09-04-2006, 09:45 AM
cool, how this has evolved last week. for the grottenolm thing i should have mentioned that i meant the appeareance of the skincolor and the ugly wrinkles in the skin.
I like the wet look of the creature, and would use a specular map, that adds additional detail and you can have diffent wetness on the bodyparts.
Dont forget to add subtle colors and variation to the specmaps (think of soap bubbles), people often forget this ;)
For SSS I would first try to fake it into the colortexture, since realtime skinshaders may slow down the games performance.

zaki79
09-11-2006, 08:05 AM
Hi Espen ! I've read all this thread and I still have some questions about normal maps. From what have been written here I assume that You've created a displacement map and than You have transformed it into a normal map - correct me if I'm wrong. I've been looking for the solution for the "seam problem" for a couple of days now ( cgtalk, cgchat, zbrush central) and I haven't found the answer how to ged rid of them. I've also figured out that Zmapper can't handle mirrored and welded UVs - it always creates visible seams :( . In case You have "clean" not mirrored UV layout everything seems to be ok ( in max )

I could create more UV regions and after baking the normal map in zmapper have it set on one UV piece in photoshop (...I wonder if that would work...I mean, doesn't the left leg's map differ form the right one? I guess it does )

Neox
09-11-2006, 08:21 AM
the modo unwarper is very nice (select edges, unwarp and rescale/arange the uvs), I use it everyday for almost everythink.
I don't believe that the unwarp process can be faster in max, but how knows maybe it is?

looking at the modo screens i'd say, that it is pretty much the same process, creating seams and pelting clusters, some years ago it took me half a day to unwrap a dinosaur now it only takes 10-15 minutes, unwrapping these days is a big time saver, thanks to peltmapping and per face relax algorythms

@zaki79: use the polybump tool by crytek to create your normalmaps, its great and easy to use and there are no seams because of the excelent edge bleeding and antialiasing

Espen
09-12-2006, 01:23 AM
as you might know I am actualy doing the Blizzard Art Contest like almost everybody else on this planet but I will try to shortly answer on the questions that just came up.

zaki79:
From what have been written here I assume that You've created a displacement map and than You have transformed it into a normal map - correct me if I'm wrong.
yes you are wrong. the normal map and the displacement map have nothing to do with each other. there is no way to convert a displacement map into a normal map, because there is important infomation missing (a displacement is just a hight informantion map with just one value per pixel, a normal map can store vector information for xyz in the rgb channels of the map). I did the displacemnt just for a fast high quality rendering - but this is just eye candy. If you are working with Maya than you will have problems with the display of normal maps anyway. Even an absolutly perfect normal will show some seams in the Maya viewport. That's a specific Maya problem and one of the reasons why I switched to modo. If I take the exact same map that looks phantastic in modo and use it in Maya there are some seems that I can't get rid of. Well, you can always overpaont seams by hand in Photoshop, but this is not what you want I guess because then it flatens the normal information at the overpainted areas. What you have to do is: Use ZBrush to generate a Normal map for half your object (cut it in two and delete one half - only if you want to mirror normals of course) go into a 3D application (MAX is fine and XSI and modo too, but not Maya...). Apply the normal map in tangent space, duplicate half of your character and merge vertices together. Now you should have just one problematic seam in the middle of the character and maybe several smaller problems here and there. In modo you can use the paint/stamp tool to interactively paint over minor seams. To get rid of the seam in the middle you have to duplicate the texture and invert red and green channel. Now everything works. By the way: you can get rid of the seam in the middle in Maya by simply flipping the faces of one of the halfes - but the other seams stay crappy anyway... hope this helpes you a bit...

Neox: It's an honor to see you at my Thread. Nice to know that there are still some extremely tallented artist around my hometown. Keep up the excellent work!

I hope to see all of you soon when I will go on and continue with the next creature and hopefully finish the recent one.

greets
--Espen

Nethermind
09-12-2006, 11:10 PM
Strikingly similar to a sketch i did yeears back (sans wings)

Great minds hey?

Love your creature pages by the way.

http://features.cgsociety.org/gallerycrits/52923/52923_1143069114_medium.jpg

Cyborgguineapig
09-21-2006, 08:44 AM
zaki79:

yes you are wrong. the normal map and the displacement map have nothing to do with each other. there is no way to convert a displacement map into a normal map, because there is important infomation missing (a displacement is just a hight informantion map with just one value per pixel, a normal map can store vector information for xyz in the rgb channels of the map). I did the displacemnt just for a fast high quality rendering - but this is just eye candy. If you are working with Maya than you will have problems with the display of normal maps anyway. Even an absolutly perfect normal will show some seams in the Maya viewport. That's a specific Maya problem and one of the reasons why I switched to modo. If I take the exact same map that looks phantastic in modo and use it in Maya there are some seems that I can't get rid of. Well, you can always overpaont seams by hand in Photoshop, but this is not what you want I guess because then it flatens the normal information at the overpainted areas. What you have to do is: Use ZBrush to generate a Normal map for half your object (cut it in two and delete one half - only if you want to mirror normals of course) go into a 3D application (MAX is fine and XSI and modo too, but not Maya...). Apply the normal map in tangent space, duplicate half of your character and merge vertices together. Now you should have just one problematic seam in the middle of the character and maybe several smaller problems here and there. In modo you can use the paint/stamp tool to interactively paint over minor seams. To get rid of the seam in the middle you have to duplicate the texture and invert red and green channel. Now everything works. By the way: you can get rid of the seam in the middle in Maya by simply flipping the faces of one of the halfes - but the other seams stay crappy anyway... hope this helpes you a bit...


This little guy is so cool! And thanks for sharing this valuable information in your last post!:)

Espen
10-22-2006, 07:05 PM
hello everyone,
i just realized that i never posted my last/final? version of sharky here. i added some "hair" and also fixed some errors here and there. well, i will start with the next creature soon so i thought to finish this one properly. what do you think?

http://www.pointsnap.com/download/CGTalk/sharky/sharky_big.jpg

BlasterBoy: thank you for posting you image. i have to admit it: you are the true father of sharky :) ... but maybe i could be his mother? greetingz from germany --Espen

ah, one more thing: do you think it's a 3-star thread? i am proud of my little "child" and sometimes i see threats rated better and i think my work is within the same range - but maybe this is just my twisted view on my own work even if i try to be honest and objective?

best regards
--ESPEN

JesseMoody
10-22-2006, 07:33 PM
Don't worry so much about the stars. I have a 3 star rating as well and I have put a lot of stuff into my Attack at Mosul project. This stuff is really good man. Keep up the good work.

WesleyTack
10-22-2006, 08:45 PM
edleast you have starts... *g*

yes, very nice little critter!

Neox
10-23-2006, 08:19 AM
i gave you 4 stars, so don't worry bout that, it's quality work, but there are always some guys rating down threads ;)
i hope to see one of those freaks in DSA :P

but i think you could work a bit more on the shapes, i.e. to seperate the lower arm a bit more from the upper arms :)

frostu
10-23-2006, 09:28 AM
You definitely have some of the most interesting creature concepts I've ever seen. Love your style and design.

I'd love to see some more modeling and concept topics from you in the future. Can't wait for the next installment in your Creature Club! :D

Great work, Espen! :)

antweiler
10-23-2006, 06:54 PM
cool, that your first character (name?) is finished and perfect.
it matches the drawing but isnt so cute anymore.
i would only add a reflectionmap to the eyes, they dont look wet enough, more like brushed metal

:thumbsup:

ScudzAlmighty
10-25-2006, 02:20 AM
4 stars from me:thumbsup: he kinda reminds me of the giant parasite worms in King Kong, but with arms and legs, and eyes, and balls... well i guess it's just the mouth that makes me think of them. good job, can't wait to see the next design

MFTituS
10-25-2006, 08:56 AM
haha, nice little bastard.
i like the design.
the final result is a bit too technical for my taste. the skin and colour is lacking of variety (different skinzones, thick, thin, sunburned, dirty....).
but the most important part you can work to push the creature is his eyes. they are dead, they look like chestnuts. give him real eyes, make them wet and he will come to life.
nevertheless itīs nice work....

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