View Full Version : Character WIP - Klonoa

11 November 2005, 08:09 PM
Klonoa is one of Namco's unsung heroes as of late, a pretty stylish little fellow and not a bad puzzle-platformer that doesn't see much action on consoles. Anyway I dusted off the PS2 version and beat it the other day and it inspired me to have a go at modeling him. Wahoo!

... more later! I'm also gonna try realtime fur out, after seeing the fur in games like Starfox Adv, Conkers, and Shadow of the Colossus lately it seems they all use similar technique.

I have some tweaking to do, but not too bad for a first attempt. Anyone who has experimented with a similar technique, suggestions are welcome!

11 November 2005, 08:21 PM
Looking great so far Klonoa was one of my favourite characters (unsung) as you said :(

How did you do that fur thing ?? would like to use it for a character i have in mind

11 November 2005, 08:30 PM
it uses a lot of polygons. you layer polygons over top of one another with a texture that is basically just dots. Starting with the lowest texture, make the dots get progressively smaller until it is basically 1 pixel at the top (be sure to use alphas). If you look at it from an angle, it won't look right but from the front it works pretty good. The only thing is, it takes up lots of polys and I'm not exactly sure how to do it on a character the way that Rare does it... Shadow of the Colossus does it extremely well too, so I gotta practice! :thumbsup:

Starfox Adventures (, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (, Shadow of the Colossus (, King Kong togotm (

Check it out in Conkers:

11 November 2005, 09:33 PM
Maybe its some kind of instancing?

11 November 2005, 09:57 PM
Maybe its some kind of instancing?

yeah, from what I can tell, you could pretty much just duplicate the bash mesh for areas with fur and scale it up a notch, deleting any faces around other areas (such as Conker's hoody). In actuality you don't need that many polygons, just it can add up quickly depending on how long you want the fur to appear, because if you leave a space thats too big between layers, the hairs lose their substance and scatter too much.

11 November 2005, 11:38 AM
i created a test with the ball and softbody dynamics applied to each duplicate sphere, with the originals set as targets with decreasing strength the further out from the original. it works for decent secondary motion on the fur, but this makes me think it would look better if each face was seperated, like if i extruded the faces rather than just duplicating them all as a whole, because then i could put a little fan/vortex field on it and you'd see it affecting different areas of fur individually.

give it a second or two to load:

I'm also going to modify the fur texture to make it look less uniform.

11 November 2005, 01:05 PM
this is a really interesting conversation/topic. cant wait to see how good you can get the fur going.

well done. keep it up :)

11 November 2005, 06:30 PM
Sweet!!...I second what WAcky said also...also I'm quite interested what the polygon count is for the furball test you did and any chance of showing a wire for that too?...but to see the fur applied to ya w.i.p has got me all intrigued...keep up the good work man...:thumbsup:

11 November 2005, 07:10 PM
progress today...

C&Cs welcome... where can I improve the mesh? I know he's a simple character, but getting that simplicity down perfectly is hard. After lunch I'm gonna get started on his hands, then after that on to optimizing the mesh ( I will add the details to his hat later)...

oh yeah it looks like Rare is using the same fur technique in XBOX360 Kameo (, so it should be useful next gen as well. :)

JohnWoo, here's a pic of the furball w wires. Yes its a lot of polygons, but I also applied a smooth operation to all 9 spheres :shrug: it looked pretty cool even on a set of poly planes, when you apply deformations like twist/bend some of the hairs get all stretched out, looks neat. Its funny this has been around awhile, but I never actually tried to do it til now, since Maya had such a hard time displaying alphas properly in the viewport :rolleyes:

11 November 2005, 07:06 AM

11 November 2005, 10:33 AM
indeed hehe

so if u wanna make ur model fella fury, you have to copy your mesh 9 times where it has fur?? and the fur would still float in sideview? :S

11 November 2005, 11:51 AM
Thank you kindly for posting the wires jfalconer...appreciated :)...that is 1 method I was never sure if it was done code or art side...ya know...but you've cleared this question up for me...I would definitely like to attempt this method as it looks for your Klonoa w.i.p...looking good...ya definitely right about it being a simple character..but simple looking character does'nt always mean easy ;)...but it's looking good so far...I would maybe scale up the shoulders just a little, and make sure you got enough edges to replicate his big beaming smile...heh and lastly the strands of hair need thickening just a little bit....other than that good job man...keep it up...and look forward to see the progress...:thumbsup:

11 November 2005, 11:55 AM
wohaay this is interesting m8
cmon more pics :drool:

11 November 2005, 11:59 AM
WAcky, Ingurum:OK yeah that was kind of thrown together. Maybe this image will explain things better.

Each example (a series of 3x3poly planes) has 5 layers that are given their own material to correspond to the thickness of the fur. For the textures, I made each hair (represented as a dot) really thick on the base layer, then gradually smaller in the following textures until only 1 pixel in radius at the top layer (check out the multilister's file texture thumbnails). You could make the change in thickness less dramatic, but this was just a test.

Select all the polyplanes and Unitize the UVs, then open the texture window. You won't see all the layers, in this case just the base layer (a solid color) but thats fine.

Select all the UVs and scale them up/down to increase/decrease the texture resolution as it is applied to the polygons. As you can see in the examples, you can vary the number of hairs displayed quickly and easily, since it updates in the viewport you can just do it by eye. Just be careful if your textures don't repeat properly (mine don't) because then you can get seams happening. The problem with the way I'm currently doing this is we have 5 different materials. Even though each one is only 26x26 pixels (arbitrary size, should've made it 32x32), that still seems clunky. Once I've laid out Klonoa's UVs I'll be more efficient and try to squeeze it all into one or two files (one for the furry parts and the other for the non-furry parts).

As for the hairs breaking up on the outline issue, this can be lessened if you minimize the distance between polygonal layers. This won't solve the issue 100%, as we can see the same problem even in the commercial games listed above, but looking on the bright side it did provide the clue as to how those artists created the effect :beer: anyway, I'd take this effect for fur over the usual method any day, and its not dramatically more polygons than say, doing the ink-outline look for celshaded games (duplicated model with black material and inversed normals w/ backface culling on). It looks much better when you see it in motion. ( a couple seconds for it to load)

11 November 2005, 12:19 PM
awesome. really well done. thanks for all the info :D i cant wait to see your finished product :D:D:D

11 November 2005, 12:45 PM
hehe, looks good. Same technique was used to make forests in Il-2 Sturmovik :) I'm not 100% sure, but I think that fur made on pixel shaders is made in a similar way:

Looks much better in realtime demo

looking forward to see Your end-result :thumbsup:

11 November 2005, 01:01 PM
wow eMPeck that wolf's fur looks great, gonna be hard to make mine look that good. :sad:

I've been thinking, since Klonoa's ears and arms/legs are symmetrical, not only on both left/right side but also on front/back side I should be able to save a lot of texture space by mirroring. I'm aiming for a nice gradient between the dark hairs to the light hairs. Hopefully I will not run into problems with the alpha channel inversing... Also, hopefully it will not look like carpet/velcro as it does in the above pix! :banghead:

11 November 2005, 01:01 PM
hehe, looks good. Same technique was used to make forests in Il-2 Sturmovik :) I'm not 100% sure, but I think that fur made on pixel shaders is made in a similar way:

Looks much better in realtime demo

looking forward to see Your end-result :thumbsup:

wow thats an amazing example.

11 November 2005, 01:08 PM
wow eMPeck that wolf's fur looks great, gonna be hard to make mine look that good. :sad:

Yeah, but that fur is made with pixel shader. You don't have to do anything, just assign .fx.

Your character is cartoon-like and I think Your fur fits perfectly. Love it.

11 November 2005, 01:14 PM
heh thanks eMPeck.. tho, if that pixel shader is/becomes the new standard, this experiment of mine might be pointless. :blush: ah well... gotta keep Klonoa's high spirits in mind and finish him! I'm off to work soon... more updates later.

11 November 2005, 03:19 PM
Cant wait to see this on character.

11 November 2005, 09:53 PM
Very cool! Klonoa's always been one of my favorite characters/games so I'm looking forward to where you take this. I'm out of town right now, so I'll wait to see more before posting any crits, but so far it looks good. Keep it up!

11 November 2005, 09:59 PM
Hands are pretty much good to go, but I'm never 100% happy with anything so if you see something that could be fixed/optimized by all means let er rip:

I noticed he has a very small tail too, gotta add that now and the Pac-Man logo to his cap, then on to fixing up with face a bit!

11 November 2005, 11:53 PM
Ya this technique has been used a few times recently, but basically the tri-cost is not the biggest issue as far as I know, rather the overdraw is (alphas rendered over alphas).

Anyway, good job with the Klonoa character!

11 November 2005, 12:37 AM
Osirus: Yeah I was wondering how bad that will effect the rendering, but on close inspection of games like Shadow of the Colossus it is amazing how much even the PS2 can handle under the stress of multiple layers, just like this one. I couldn't wait and applied the fur to Klonoa as a test and it didn't look very nice so I went back to the drawing board and made a much better series of textures that creates a much more random feeling, as well as being seamless. I applied a deform to the grid and it creates a nice stretchy feel to the fur. Hopefully this new look will work well on Klonoa! (if you can't read it, the viewport lists that object as 216 triangles):arteest:

11 November 2005, 05:08 AM
hey, that looks great.

11 November 2005, 04:06 PM
Hey I dunno if this would help you with your fur any but this guy made a pretty in depth article about realtime fur rendering for his thesis. It goes a little more into programming, but it might help for anyone who wants to learn more.
Here's the link:

11 November 2005, 04:16 PM
This new fur test looks've improved upon the the 1st test immensely and this update reminds of the fur on the Colossus, as for the topology on the hands....I'm not too keen on the hands where the vertices have been welded into 1 and it resembles a pie my experience this kind of topology is bad...but it depends I all honesty I stay well away from that...personally I prefer the totpology of the previous image to of the w.i.p as it looks general....ya w.i.p has tonnes of potential man...good job so far...:thumbsup:

11 November 2005, 11:53 PM
fenix3382: thanks for posting that, I'm sure it'll be very infomative to ppl who know how to program! Honestly I'm not much of a programmer and I don't yet have a job in the game industry, so I don't have much knowledge about that sort of thing but it seems the polygonal shell model is the right way to go.
johnwoo: I agree, the fingertips need to go :wise: I was also collecting reference from his first game, and I found his eyes have a lot more character than the direction I was going with earlier (from the second game) so I am going to do some serious work on the mesh before continuing. Also, in the first game, he sported an oversized dog collar around his neck, and wore his hat the right side around and I felt these things added more to his character so I am going to add these things.

I've been working the past few days (regular dead-end job) thats been eating up my time but trying to work on him at night, doing some trial and error while doing a quick/dirty UV layout.

Basically I learned what I feel is the best/efficient way to create the layers/shells. Start by duplicating the base mesh, then delete all the faces where there will be no fur (eyes, nose, etc), then select all the remaining faces and extrude them slightly (however far apart you want the layers). With all the extruded faces still selected, inverse the selection and delete the unwanted polygons. Now you have a bunch of faces that aren't connected, so select all the edges and perform a merge multiple edges op (be careful tighter edges that you don't want merged are unselected, such as around the nose in Klonoa's case). Now you've got a shell that is scaled uniformly around (if you were to simply duplicate the mesh and scale it up globally you will not get this). Repeat this process for each shell you need.

This extrusion technique works well for creating the typical ink outline of a character if you want a fine cel-shaded outline, before I just did a messy scale job and it didn't look as good, when playing around with that technique.

As you can see, there are some major issues. I didn't bother to vary the fur length which I will do in the final version. The arms and legs look pretty bad, gotta fix that up. The fur adds considerable volume to his face which distorts the shape quite a bit - which breaks the very delicate balance of the model...

THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT THE FINAL VERSION, but I thought you might care to see a grab from the test, still have my work cut out for me before I will be happy with it since I still need to do some major changes to his face and stuff.

Overall I'm confident by the end of the week I should have a pretty good looking furshaded character (if only I didn't have to go to my crappy day job! :cry: ).

12 December 2005, 11:25 AM
The fur makes him look a little to fussy, but good job with the modelling, are you going to animate Kloooa.

12 December 2005, 01:52 PM
man he looks great but the low quality of the .jpg is killing the detail.

can you post us a high res render and some super close ups?

keep it up dude hes lookin great :thumbsup:

12 December 2005, 03:46 PM
I'm not sure if your wires still look like your last post of them, so if you've gotten to this issues, sorry about this. :)

You need an extra loop around the mouth for smoother deformation and lighting. Also, you don't want to bring the corners of the mouth to a single vert. AndyH has some great examples, particularly Etna: (

While some drawings may show Klonoa's mouth in a cartoony fashion, it's still a fully articulate mouth that you'll want to give him if you ever plan on animating this character

The way you've used the polygons in the pupils of the eyes is wrong. Per128 drew this up recently to describe shading and polygon use.

I tried to include examples for everything, hope it helps. Not too keen on how the fur is looking, but I'll just wait and see what you do for that. Again, really looking forward to this character coming out great, let's see more!

12 December 2005, 08:41 PM
Thanks GradiusCancer I am struggling the most with the mouth and eyes, I just couldn't get things to work right, I think your crits will really help. I know, the fur isn't turning out as good as I had hoped it would, but I have some spare time to work on it... hopefully I can do this character justice.

WAcky I will post some hi res images and stuff when he is complete. The fur in those shots isn't working the way I want it to... yet. :)

kOmoo I am not an animator, but I will definitely pose him in some typical Klonoa actions for effect once I am happy with him.

Thanks for the comments guys, and keep the crits coming.

12 December 2005, 04:09 PM
Cool...I like where it's all heading...only critique so far would be to make the fur a little longer (like in the .gif ya posted previously) as it's crying out for it...but I can definitely see the strong potential so far...looking forward to seeing more...:)

12 December 2005, 12:50 AM
Made some refinements to his face based on earlier crits that hopefully make him look much closer to the official art:
Now I can start on detailing his texture and do the fur (again)

12 December 2005, 08:47 PM
What happened J? let's see that final ;)

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