View Full Version : Yessir! Another WIP female thread...

03-25-2008, 06:01 AM
Hey all, I recently started modeling a character. Its been about three years since I last modeled anything, and the last character I modeled was... well... less than impressive. (See archives... eeeeek!) :P But after purchasing a new copy of max, falling in love and purchasing a little maxscript called polyboost, and watching some gnomon dvds, I felt I was ready to start up again.

I've attached a few images below to give you an idea where I am right now in the modeling process; please take a look and feel free to offer any advice/guidance/critique/suggestions that come to mind.

And here's an animated gif of the rotation:

A few things to note:
- The model is split into multiple parts: head bust, top (sweater/shirt), hands, pants, feet, eyes, and hair.
- The hair is temporary. I plan on doing alpha hair based on varga's excellent tutorial. It'll be my first time trying out alpha hair, but it's not going to be too crazy for this model so I'm not too worried.
- The eyes are also temporary.. and right now are sitting at 1000 polys together. Ridiculous. I'll be re-doing those around the same time I do hair.
- Discounting the hair/eyes, which are both temporary, the model is sitting at around 5000 polys at the moment. There's quite a few places which I can optimize after I finish adding details to the normal maps.
- This is my first time using normal maps. Ever. I'm using xnormal to generate the normal maps, and right now they're all 2048x2048 resolution (which is overkill, I know).
- I will be modeling shoes in place of the very plain feet.
- The sweater isn't supposed to be skin tight, but neither is it supposed to be very loose and baggy. I think more wrinkles are needed just below the breasts and ribs, but I don't want to go overkill.
- The pants also need more attention to wrinkles along the lengths of both legs.
- If the legs look too short, it's probably because of the camera angle.
- My ultimate goal for this model is to finish the modeling, paint textures using a combination of photo refs and hand painting, and then apply a rig or whatever is necessary to import the model into Unreal Engine 3 (which I have no experience with whatsoever.. but I might as well start).

And here's my basic workflow:
- Poly-by-poly modeling in 3ds max to create the basic form, and I ended up going into a bit more detail than necessary on the face.
- Clothes were created using polyboost to model along the surface of the base mesh.
- Base mesh was deleted where it would be covered by clothing.
- Once I have the basic form modeled in max, I then exported each piece individually for sculpting and then used xnormal to create the normal maps and then imported the low poly obj file back from zbrush and applied the normal maps.
- I then continued to adjust the pieces in max/zbrush, using StoreMT in zbrush so that my changes in max would reflect on the subdivided version of the model in zbrush.

I have a couple questions though...

Right now if I try to open my head bust ztool in zbrush and go to the lowest subdivision, use StoreMT, and import in my most recent head bust obj file so that my high poly model and normal maps accurately reflect the changes made in max, I'm running into a problem. Everything appears to be fine at Subdivision 1, but slide it any higher and the mesh seems to impode on itself... pieces of the base will jut out into other parts.

If anyone has any ideas for how to resolve this I'd greatly appreciate it.

Should I have a) capped off all the holes in the mesh and kept them as seperate objects, b) left them open and waited until they were unwrapped and the normal maps were finished to attach/weld them, or c) attached/welded them immediately?

I couldn't decide and ended up doing both... I capped off the holes underneath the head bust, the hands, and the sleeves, but left the sweater/pants and pant legs open. Suggestions on where to go from here?

Sorry for such a long first post. Thank you in advance for your help! :)

04-04-2008, 07:56 PM
Update: I've only had a couple hours this week to work on this character, but I think I've pretty much finished sculpting details in zbrush. Here's the latest rotation of the low poly model (4400 polys without counting hair/eyes which are both temporary):

I'm trying to redo the hair before I move on to texturing, but I've been running into some problems and I'm not liking the results I'm getting.

I spent hours last night trying to redo the hair from scratch with planes using alpha maps, but I just couldn't get my head around it. The hairstyle I want her to have is different from the temporary one I have on there, but it's still pretty simplistic. I want her to have long hair flowing down over her shoulders to about the small of her back, with her bangs brushed back in a pomp (or "pump"? whatever it's called) on the top of her head.

I tried to accomplish this using a couple different methods.. first I tried using the max hair plugin and rendered out a few strands of hair in the style and color I wanted, and then started building planes ala the varga hair tutorial, but because the hairstyle I'm shooting for isn't really layered it didn't quite work out for me. And I think the hair strands I rendered out using the plugin were too thin and wispy, because the alphas were too see-through in areas that I really didn't want them to be. I also tried modeling out the hair in a way similar to the current temporary hair by just polymodeling a solid hair mesh that I could shape and then texture and alpha... but I got frustrated with that method as well.

Alpha maps are just very unfamiliar territory for me, but I've seen them used with fantastic results by Mindrot for his incredible female characters and Guilliom with his Lara Croft character, and I'm really trying to understand the process.

If anyone can lay out their workflow for setting up character hair in a similar style (including any specific settings I'll need to know for max/photoshop to get the best results out of the alphas), I would appreciate it! :)

04-10-2008, 02:15 AM
Warning: Image heavy update!


Hair/eyes have been redone, and I'm pretty much finished texturing though there are some obvious seams (the hands... *shudder*). Final polycount is 4100.





On to rigging! :)

04-11-2008, 06:33 PM
No critique/suggestions? :/

Actually I have a question for anyone who might know: is it possible to adjust the shadow properties of the lights in max or the objects themselves so that the shadows are cast based on the alphas in the opacity map? Or am I stuck with planar shadows for my alpha'd hair?

04-11-2008, 10:44 PM
I'd do a second check on her eyes. I think they're too high above her head



04-11-2008, 11:22 PM
I agree, the forehead looks very small and the nose looks too long. I'll definitely adjust that. Thanks Titojr!

04-11-2008, 11:34 PM
is it possible to adjust the shadow properties of the lights in max or the objects themselves so that the shadows are cast based on the alphas in the opacity map? Or am I stuck with planar shadows for my alpha'd hair?

Use Raytraced shadows for that. I usually add one if I want alphas to cast more accurate shadows.


04-12-2008, 12:58 AM
Just a quick update:

Adjusted the face to bring it more in line with the reference photos and moved the brows/eyes down a bit on the face. I'm still unhappy with the eyes (around the tearducts), so I'll keep playing with those, but what do you think?



And thanks Mindrot - much appreciated! :)

04-13-2008, 07:29 PM
Another quick update -- got it rigged with a biped and put it into a simple pose. Current polycount is at 4300, added some edge loops to the fingers, elbows, and shoulders so that there weren't many sharp edges when I was testing it in different poses.

Here's the rotation:


And the front/back stills:



Comments/suggestions? Thanks all. :)

04-13-2008, 10:45 PM
Looks good Adam.

The only thing that bugs me is the hair coming from the front to the back. It looks too symmetrical from the back (though that could be because you have limited texture space for the hair?) and the colour/contrast difference on those strands gives it a bit too much of a stripey feel.


04-14-2008, 01:55 AM
Thanks Mindrot, I'll try and adjust the color of those loose strands of hair so that they blend a bit better but still add a bit of highlight to the hair.

I'm almost ready to move onto another character... something a bit more adventurous and complex. But before I do, I'd like to model a necklace and a camera prop for her and do a smiling version of the face (though I may just move on and come back to that at a later time).

Thanks again for the help everyone. :)

04-14-2008, 07:58 AM
I think her shoulders (and maybe everything up from there) might need to come foward a bit, it sort of looks like she is pushing her chest out at the moment.

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