View Full Version : PA Challenge - Character - MadS

02 February 2002, 09:32 PM
Umm, ok. I guess it's about time that I posted something. I printed out a color copy of a test render of my character's head WIP. I do this a lot to sketch out the form as I want it to progress(in pencil). So please excuse the poor image quality. Oh and ignore the split down the middle of the mask. I just haven't joined the bottom two pieces yet. I'll try and post some clean renders later today after work.

His name is Kaizen, which means "Continuous Improvement" in Japanese. (No, I am not Japanese). My character idea is that of a PA Ronin, or Lordless Samurai. He is bascially a Merc for hire in the city of New Tokyo. I'll explain this later with a brief background on how my PA world turns out.

Peace out. :D

02 February 2002, 09:45 PM
kewl, looks like that ninja from MGS mr. Jim Lee:)heheh
cant wait to see what you end up with in the end.

02 February 2002, 09:45 PM
mad s i like alot man looks very cool

02 February 2002, 09:46 PM
I love this look MadS, and the short bio is mucho cool :) really looking forward to this one...

02 February 2002, 10:14 PM
looking cool...lots of character. And personally I like the split down the middle.

02 February 2002, 10:19 PM
Very intense looking the idea.

02 February 2002, 02:36 AM
I also like the split in the midle. It would be perfect with a small pach of somekind over it.

02 February 2002, 02:54 AM
That's brilliant man, I like the tatoo idea on his fore head

02 February 2002, 04:02 AM
Thanks for the replies, guys. I kinda like the split too, but it may end up being a slight bevel instead. Wouldn't make sense to have the mask split like that if the mask is meant to filter his air. I wanna add some filter gizmos on the sides of the mask to illustrate this.

Raul: Glad you like it. I have this weird affinity for Japanese/Chinese writing. It's not a tatoo tho, it's going to be engraved into the center circle on the forhead of his mask.

The original Kaizen . I designed a few years back didn't have a mask, but had facepaint. He's evolved a bit. I want him to look more sleek and streamlined now. OK enough rambling.

02 February 2002, 07:02 AM
Mask update.

The etchings on the side and at the front are all booleans.

02 February 2002, 09:03 AM
really cool... how bad did the letters break up your mesh?.. the experiences that i've had with boleans really mess up my model.. i usualy leave those to be the last things i do.

the overall shape of the mask is really nice and smooth..
cant wait to see more

what program are you using?

02 February 2002, 09:31 AM
W!cked MadS. Reminds me of the Cyborg Ninja in Metal Gear Solid.

02 February 2002, 10:18 PM
Oozeballz: The letters didn't break up the mesh too badly. The thing you need to do to make it cleaner is to boolean a dense mesh. I used HSDS on the upper mask piece first(to 2 levels of Subdivide) and then did the boolean.
I'm using Nendo and Max(Meshtools) mainly.

Sigma: Ya, it's weird how everyone thinks MGS invented the masked ninja. The MGS ninja has a cycloptic eye thingy. I've been drawing masked assassins since I was a kid. Jim Lee and Travis Charest and Brom were the biggest influences on my art as a teenager. Old habits die hard I guess. ;)

02 February 2002, 12:35 AM
Oooh man i really love this 1 it does remind me of the ninja too from MGS. And MGS rox!! :)

Very cool!!!! Beatifull!!!! keep it up!

02 February 2002, 02:18 AM
WOW! I love your idea. I can't wait to see you next post! Do you have a sketch of the rest of his body that you can post...I just want to see more! Keep it up!

02 February 2002, 02:59 AM
Very nice man I agree it kind of looks like an MGS ninja, but it's well executed. Nice.

02 February 2002, 11:41 AM
Thanks guys. I slapped together a doodle of what he may look like. Still undecided. I'd like to incorporate some sort of survival tool, but I can't think of anything. Any ideas?

02 February 2002, 09:23 PM
Looking nice! For a survival weapon , perhaps just a simple sharpened wooden bow on his back, they used those for everthing, carring food water and fighting.

see you,


02 February 2002, 04:38 AM
Hey MadS
I like where youre going with this character.
Not much to critisize, and i really like the looks on that face/mask.
Looking forward to the rest.


02 February 2002, 09:09 PM
Very cool character! I would love to see how he develops. He looks very much like he belongs in a William Gibson or Neal Stephenson world. Very sleek and stylish. My only comment would be that the kana booleaned into the side of the mask (while they don't necessarily need to mean anything) are a mirror image of their correct orientation. I thought at first that maybe the jpeg was reversed somehow, but that would mean that the character on the forehead would be reversed. Other than that, excellent work. I just thought you might like to know.


02 February 2002, 10:31 PM
Oh shoot. I must have mirrored the damn thing and didn't realize what the hell I was doing. I'm glad you caught that. And to be honest, I don't know a lick of Japanese, which is why it doesn't make sense. But I really would like for it to make sense. Do you speak/write Japanese? I guess I need to go redo that upper mask now. ;)

Thanks for catching that. It's nice to get actual crits!

02 February 2002, 09:19 PM

It's not a big deal, it depends entirely on your intended audience. If I had never studied Japanese, I never would have noticed - even so, I can still look at them as purely beautiful graphic symbols. For a japanese person, the urge to read it would probably be instant and unconcious.

As for my Japanese language abilities, I know just enough to get myself into trouble, but not enough to get myself out again :-) If you want it to mean something, I guess first you have to decide what you want it to say. Following that, you'd need to get it translated, keeping in mind that the actual translated version may not look as esthetically pleasing as what you have now. It would probably be shorter (depending on what you want it to say) and look better written vertically.

A lot to think about if you choose to go that route. I'd be glad to help, if no one more capable (and I know they're out there) decides to speak up.


02 February 2002, 02:08 AM
I still concider ur idea the most original and brilliant.

02 February 2002, 07:14 AM
JIM LEE in the jaw design, but attention to detail is very Travis Charest (especially his latest work). Veru kool, my friend, very kool.

02 February 2002, 09:07 AM
I also noticed the kana letters were back the front, it's really distracting, plus it would be heaps better if it meant something.

here's an online japanese dictionary

it would look good too if you used some kanji

what you've got written there at the moment reads something like


katakana is for translating foriegn words, so they're usually kind of recognisable. Hope this helps :-)

02 February 2002, 08:35 PM
SoulRebel: Thanks for the good points. I guess I kinda leapt before I looked. Having the characters vertically oriented is also another thing that I overlooked. Now if I can just nail down what it is I want the engravings to say...

Raul: Thanks man! I don't know if it's all that original, but I do think it stands out from the other entries so far. ;)

Julez: You nailed it on the head. Those were my major influences growing up. And in that order. I am not big on Jim's work after his X-men run, but Charest just gets better and better. I try to incorporate that same artistic slant into my models as much as possible. It doesn't always look that great, though.

riki: I am betting that you are Japanese? :) SoulRebel mentioned that it would be distracting to those that speak the language fluently. If you are not Japanese, then please disregard what I said. Thanks for the help, I appreciate it. If I could come up with some phrases, do you think you could translate them into kata/kanji for me? If it's not too much trouble. The font that I used for the engravings is called Sumire, btw. It's the only Japanese font that I have. I wish I had a font with sharper edges to the fonts. Even handwritten kanji/kana font would be good.

Some phrases I came up with: "Death before dishonor" "Live by the sword. Die by the sword" "Fire, water, earth, wind"

Again, thanks for the useful posts. I would have just let the engravings stay as messed up as they are. :D I should have some new WIPS posted this weekend.

Peace Out.

02 February 2002, 05:14 AM
Sorry I'm just learning Japanese, this is the kanji for death
I've only got Mac Japanese fonts, Osaka is quite good.

02 February 2002, 05:17 AM
sorry that didn't seem to work, I'll ask a japanese friend and get back to you.

02 February 2002, 05:56 AM
I can't wait to see the latest update. I don't know why, but I just think your character would look really good with a japanese longbow in his hands. Seems like to longbow hunter to me.

As for the character on the forehead, I think its facing the right way, but in chinese its only one half of a word, by itself it has no meaning.

02 February 2002, 12:58 AM

OK, I warned you that going 'authentic' would open a whole new can of worms. :-)

As the_hand says, the kanji on the forehead is what's called a 'radical' which is used to construct more complex characters (doesn't really mean anything by itself in Japanese either). It's derived from another character (shown below) called JI or SHI (or shimesu or shimeshi) in Japanese which means (among other things) 'discipline' (by example) or 'revelation'. The character on his forehead is a sort of 'compressed' version of this character (if I can actually post the jpeg).

I kind of doubted that you really wanted to get into all of this since it's not what the challenge is all about. However, if you really wanted to get into it, you might want to check out some books on Japanese philosophy (particularly 'The Book of Five Rings' by Miyamoto Musashi - which your character would most likely know by heart). The reason I suggest this, is that a literal translation of 'death before dishonor' would be something like 'shi wa chijoku no mae desu.' Problem is, I don't think any Japanese person would actually say that. There are several websites that quote Japanese proverbs. ( is a good one since it lists the kanji, the romaji (western letters) and english translations for each.

Again, it's up to you how far you want to go with this since it won't really help you win the competition. It's good for the educational value alone, though.

Best 'o luck!

02 February 2002, 01:09 AM
OK, well this site is probably better, since the proverbs are specifically Japanese as opposed to Japanese translations of more general cliches:

02 February 2002, 03:22 AM
Well hold on there. :) Why wouldn't a Japanese person say a phrase similar to those that I came up with? I don't understand that. Is it because that it isn't an actual existing proverb? If that's the case, then that's ok because this samurai exists about 150 years in the future in a very warped world. And who is to tell him that he can't say that? I just don't get that part. Please elaborate.

Btw, I like that JI/SHI for discipline. I think I will use that character instead. It really seems to fit, and it's only one character. :) Thanks.

Yes, I do clasify him as a samurai, but really, the last remaining samurai died sometime in the 20th century. So Kaizen couldn't be an actual samurai, ya know? And the teachings of a samurai could get warped and shaped over time, especially after an apocalypse. My theory is that the new breed of samurai are somewhat different. And there are even radicals that choose to do things against the grain, eventhough they had formal training in the teachings of a samurai. And a Ronin could be considered a rogue samurai. See where I'm going. It's all about personal interpretation, because in the future, it's anybody's guess as to how things turn out.

Anyway, as far as details go, I really like to get detail correct on my models. So getting correct Japanese characters on my guy would be a major priority for me. I appreciate the help thus far :) I am even thinking of having your names engraved in Kanji on his Katana. ;) (If that would be cool with you)

Ok back to work. I need to get an update out here soon, or everyone is going to hate me!

02 February 2002, 03:24 AM
Oh I see what you are sayign now. A direct translation, word for word of the phrases I posted would be incorrect. In other words, they would have a different way of saying the same thing, but it wouldn't be verbatim like that. I think that is what you are saying...

What you are talking about is the difference between the Literal and Actual meaning. Gotcha. Well then I think the easiest way to fix my problem is to find a Japanese person to translate for me?

02 February 2002, 09:03 PM
Yes, exactly. The translation I came up with actually means 'death is in front of dishonor' (I'm only assuming I used the right word for 'dishonor' - there are several). Obviously this doesn't carry the same connotations that you are after which is more like 'death is preferable to dishonor'. Either way, my point is, I'm pretty sure they have an existing expression that means pretty much the same thing. I just don't happen to know what it is - that's why I thought the URLs I posted would be a good place to start. Of course, speaking to an actual Japanese person would indeed be an even better place to start.

Sorry for any confusion and I promise everyone that I won't distract you from your modeling (the important stuff) any more. :-)

02 February 2002, 02:58 AM
Hi again

i asked one of my Japanese friends, but she had little idea, the translation she gave was in Romanji. Not much help I know but it's interesting that she didn't understand the phrase. Here's what she wrote:

""Death Before Dishonour"? Sorry I have no idea, I mean I don't know how to translate it. Is it like suicide before getting shameful/disgraceful treatment? If so, I'd, seppuku (harakiri), jiketsu,
jijin etc."

02 February 2002, 03:12 AM
Maybe the "Death before Dishonour" is a western concept, meaning we'll fight to the death or something like that? But I think in Japan if the samurii failed, they would commit ritual suicide to bring honour back to their family.

02 February 2002, 03:18 AM
Thanks for looking into it. I think I need to explain what it means in more detail? I guess what it means is that the person would rather die, then dishonor himself. Seppuku would be done in the event that the person has already dishonored himself or his clan. what I am trying to say is not the act of Seppuku, but the statement that one would rather die than shame his clan. If that doesn't work, then maybe "Kill or be killed" might translate better? I just want to say something cool, ya know? something very grim and maybe even a bit extreme in the name of one's own belief/code of honor.

"Fight to the Death" would work too. Is that translatable?

02 February 2002, 03:48 AM
I to, have an affinity for Kana/Kanji Mads...

Which becomes a big hassle...

And as much as we would all like to be able to ignore it, and just model a cool character w/ cool lookin symbols all over himself there are those(japanese speakin' people) who just can't get past the goofiness of what those symbols may mean.

I've encountered this through some of my own art...and just had people laugh at it. Doesn't mean it's a bad work, just that what you've written draws attention, so if you've written "Online Casino" on your Ronins forehead the viewer will most likely be so preoccupied with the goofy script that they overlook your technical achievments.

Now, that said....I really love your model. Those booleans are amazing, you got me tryin' to see if I can do that. And I really like the character sketch as well...

Keep up the good work.
Can't wait to see more Wips.

Feel free to rip my character apart:

02 February 2002, 03:53 AM
Not sure how this looks, but it might help.

02 February 2002, 04:00 AM
for a bit of lite relief here's a funny example of "Japanese Engrish"

02 February 2002, 04:33 AM
Wow, this is getting tricky. I appreciate all the feedback from you guys, and I can see now how important this is.

Here is my problem. For the forhead circle, I am going o need one symbol. I guess I could use the Kanji or whatever for "Fire" or "Dragon" or something, since those use single characters, right? But as for the sudes of the mask, I will definitely need a long enough sentence to span about 3/4 of the eyebrow to the top. Hmm, tricky. So that's about, what? 15 characters? Give or take.

wonder if these would work:
"Your true enemy is yourself"
"Look within to find strength, and then you can overcome all obstacles."

Or maybe proverbs are the wrong way to go? Maybe if I could have his clan name, and his bloodline history? Like all the names of past ancestors or something...

Thanks again!! Thsi is really teaching me something about Japanese virnacular :)

02 February 2002, 05:35 AM
Here's some more stuff

02 February 2002, 06:17 AM
Sweet! Thanks Riki. :D This will help tremendously. Keep em coming. BTW, I am making good progress this weekend. I should have some rough WIPS posted here soon. Hopefully tonight if I can.

02 February 2002, 08:50 AM
Well, I've actually gotten some work done. The lower torso and back are next. I am pretty much done with the chest and arms for now. I may go back later and add veins if I have the time. The weirdness in the sternum is because the two halves aren't joined. Feedback? :)

02 February 2002, 09:06 AM
Nice work Mads...

I was thinkin' that he'd maybe not be quite so broad...It seems that smaller builds lend themselves better to Ninja/Lost Samurai(Ronin) types. Maybe not...

Just givin' you feedback, that's all.

Looks good either way...

Can't wait to see you slap the head on that sucka and start flushin' in the details.

Keep it up!

Please gimme some feedback on my sad lil' character:

02 February 2002, 09:34 AM
Ok, I went and made him not-so-broad now. I am trying to scale down some of the proportions now to fit. Thanks! :D

02 February 2002, 10:08 AM
Nice proportions. I agree with Haldir...the torso looks fab but if you make it a tad leaner and VERY CUT the character would look more swift and agile. Beautiful work on the muscles so far!

02 February 2002, 06:07 PM
Wow, it's nice to see a woman in the forum. I only mention it because I normally only view the Newtek 'Lightwave' forums and as far as I can tell, I don't think i've ever seen any girls there. Anyway, I found these at

02 February 2002, 06:08 PM
More stuffs

02 February 2002, 06:11 PM
I did ask a japanese friend of mine to translate the stuff you suggested, but I'm not sure how often he checks his email. It's the sort of thing he'd be into though. I can just hear him "wow man that's sick!" :-)

02 February 2002, 07:52 PM
yah I dig.........looking very sharp guy..........keep it up


02 February 2002, 02:29 AM
Pixelfairy: I will try to lean him up some more. I think his forearms might be a bit too Popeye-thick. Thanks for the advice.

Riki: What can I say, man. You're a lifesaver. Keep em' coming! The sicker the better. :) remember, this isn't any ordinary Ronin. He's a merc! So he is in it for the money, but still adheres to a very strict code of rules, however warped they may have become...

Broken cycle: Thanks man! You have kept me motviated. ;)

02 February 2002, 06:06 AM
Lean and mean is good. I wonder how those full bodied intricate yakuza tattoos will look on your model, just wondering...

02 February 2002, 07:54 AM
Can't wait to see update!!!!

keep checkin, no update!

Where's the update!!??

Jes joshin'. I jest really like your character and can't wait to see it complete.


02 February 2002, 12:14 PM
mad s excelent work ive already talked with you and given some sugestions but thought id post some pat on the back stuff for ya good work one of the best torso ice seen but you probalyshould shrink him down ome maybe just stretch him out

02 February 2002, 12:26 AM
hand: I was gonna do a tattoo on his right arm, as his left arm is gonna be covered in some sort of armor(leather?) Full body would be a pain to do. ;)

Haldrin: I should have a new update tonight. I'm almost done with the torso.

Cerreto: Thanks man! your advice has been very helpful so far. But as far as the Xdugef approach, I think I will hold off on that for now. Xdugef seems very fast and animates much better, but I still have a hard time with the parcated polies. As I begin to master the technique over time, I will migrate over.

Peace out.

02 February 2002, 07:54 AM
I love the look of that mask.

Maybe these can help:


02 February 2002, 10:13 PM
Used to be a concept of me too, really cool I must say

02 February 2002, 02:51 PM

I'm dead tired. Off to bed!

02 February 2002, 08:55 PM
dang MadS, you seriously weren't kidding when you said you love to push verts till no end :eek:
my gracious this a well defined bod, I hope I can achieve that soon, especially when I start my Wushu classes :D

I love it man, and you're teasing us with that back, can we see it?

very smooth model


02 February 2002, 09:02 PM
I think this calls for lowpoly & highpoly wireframe shots :D

I'm lovin it man . . . the pecs and abs are perhaps a little to hard defined, especially the transition from btween his pecs & upper belly, but the arm is excellent

02 February 2002, 12:19 AM
looking good mad but hurry up man i want to see the rest !:)

02 February 2002, 12:34 AM
Thanks guys. I didn't show the back yet cause I rendered and posted that thing around 3:40am last night(or should I say this morning) so I was dead tired. I'll get a back render up tonight I think. I should also have a wip of the hands as well. I might even have a snazzy flash 360 model to show tonight like LilDragon. ;)

02 February 2002, 12:43 AM
Very clean, very tight bro. I agree with Equinoxx ... more renders! I look forward to seeing the rest of his mask/gear. Keep up the great work!

02 February 2002, 10:25 AM

After looking at these, I realize that I'm going to get some nasty texture warping on the forearms and upper biceps. :( FEEDBACK MUCH APPRECIATED.

02 February 2002, 02:29 PM

great work! This forum has some of the best work i've ever seen!

If this is a stupid question, please tolorate me - im a newbi!
i have used max for a while now but have never had the need to do complex moddeling - until now. could you please give me a little help regarding mapping? in a nutshell could you explain how you would go about mapping the body of your model? i've used texporter a little but cant see how it would work with something as complex as a body.

any help and advice is appreciated.
keep up the good work!!!


02 February 2002, 03:09 PM
Mads: The model looks smooth as a babies butt. Give us more :)
And about the japanese signs, I got an answer from my gf's father today, he will get some sentences/signs together and email me them, hope I get them before the deadline.

dusty: About mapping, what I do is mostly the same for lopoly as for high poly character. Select body parts, and give them uvw maps, that suits their form, ie torso cylindrical mapping and use texporter to export the map. You have to be alittle more carefull/selective with what u do, than with lopoly models, at least thats my experience. (I once saw a tutorial for this, made by Dan Burke, and that was wuite usefull, but I cant find it now)
Some people prefer to flatten the mesh apply a planar map and morph it back to the original shape. Im sure u find some tutorial for both these methods somewhere. And Im sure MadS or someone else could explain this far better than me :)


02 February 2002, 03:30 PM
thanks for the advice, i'll give it a go and see how i get on.
i'll have a look for that tut you mentioned too.


02 February 2002, 05:07 PM
me again! could you please answer me a few quick questions?

1. i select the torso polys at a bub object level, apply a uv map and go to texporter and the mesh reverts back to the top level - is this correct?

2. once i have got templets for all the body parts do i create a separate material for each part and apply them individually at a sub object level?

any advice is greatful !!!


02 February 2002, 09:33 PM
I'm actually not an expert in UV mapping high poly. I'd be interested in learning any good techniques as well. I would assume that you can texture the low poly mesh and it would transfer over to the high poly mesh, right?

Also, I have put together a 360 degree rotating flash movie with the help of LilDragon. Thanks goes out to LilD for his kickass flash code. Check it out!


02 February 2002, 09:50 PM
wow! looking good! particularly like the body, good detail on the torso near the ribs. he looks solid.

cant wait to see him textured!

02 February 2002, 09:54 PM
Wow great flash movie, I never thought of showing my modelslike that,and I'm a freaking flash designer for a living..HEHE, oh well, learn something new everyday...

as far as texturing, the method that works best for me, from my video game experience, is to copy your mesh off to the side, then open your low poly mesh up as flat as possible(spread the verts out a bit, select all the faces and use <make planar> in the sub object rollout), give it a planar mapping. do a render of the flattened mesh and use that as a guide in photoshop to paint your textures.

then apply your painted textures to the flattened mesh with the planar UVW map.......
take that mesh and morph it using your original mesh as the target ,
the result is that the mesh will retain its planar mapped coordinates without works well, same way most game models are textured.

also, dont forget to weld the vertices along the edge that you split to flatten your object....
good luck!

02 February 2002, 11:27 PM
This is the direction I'd like to take him in:


03 March 2002, 04:46 AM
hey Mads that work is awesome!!!! i love the anatomy its perfect, and your wireframes are so useful man thanx for posting them, im trying to learn how to model better and I've been looking for help and those shots you posted will sure help me a lot so thanx and keep the good work up im sure the whole character is gonna look incredible.

03 March 2002, 08:05 AM
I dont like the dress too much

To me he looks like a futuristic ninja rather than
a samurai.

I think you should go with something more sleek
so he could move better in it

03 March 2002, 02:05 PM
I think you should go with your original ideas, myself I can't stand it when the comments are like: "You should give her blue eyes..." Makes me sick. I like your designs and I hope you carry ou your ideas in full

CGTalk Moderation
01 January 2006, 01:39 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.