View Full Version : The Journey Begins Challenge (3D) Entry: Paul Riess

02 February 2006, 03:29 AM
Paul Riess is entered in the "The Journey Begins Challenge" update: View Challenge Page (

Latest Update: Final Image: I'm Done (

03 March 2006, 06:40 AM (

One area where I want to improve in this challenge is having a much better concept sketch to work from. That and actually finishing this challenge.

The story is of an ant that sees a billboard advertising an ice cream. Glancing up, he sees a mountain in the background that looks like a giant version of the ice cream from the billboard. He thinks to himself ďI could go for some ice creamÖĒ.

03 March 2006, 07:38 AM
Ha! Awsome idea Paul! Really like the humour behind it!:D

03 March 2006, 07:46 AM
Great idea paul, keep going!

And good luck:)

03 March 2006, 02:12 PM
Hi Guys! I wasnít sure if it would be clear or not what was going on in the sketch, so Iím glad you both like it.:)

03 March 2006, 05:00 AM (

Iíve blocked out the scene with some basic shapes. Itís a composite of 9 layers that was rendered with 5 cameras with a varying positions and focal lengths. I did this to capture the full scope of the scene; to have the bug in the foreground looking distorted and having the mountains farthest from the camera looking flat.

03 March 2006, 02:16 PM (

Nothing terribly interesting yet. Iíve just blocked out some rough shapes for the bug character.

03 March 2006, 03:29 PM
I guess you're going with two arms instead of two feet like me... :D

what is it with ants these days?

can't they make up their minds? lol :scream:

blocking looks good from here... :thumbsup:


03 March 2006, 05:29 AM
I guess you're going with two arms instead of two feet like me... :D

Yeah, there are always decisions like that to be made when making humanoid characters out of bugs. I know in the movie ďAntsĒ, they had four legs like yours, but in ďA Bugís LifeĒ, they had two legs and two arms. Iím always caught between doing a straight copy of one of these, and doing it my own way.:shrug:

03 March 2006, 05:34 AM
Haha, great idea. I love the humor in it too. I think the balloon in your 3D layout could be a little bit smaller, it looks kind of large for a 'cherry'. Good work so far, I'll be watching!

03 March 2006, 05:40 AM
If I were you I would create my own ideas and style as much as possible. Its not easy to come up with new idea now day! anyways I like you idea very much, and it will be great!

Ether way, keep it up!

03 March 2006, 02:19 PM
Flamingbs: Yes I have to agree with you, the balloon should be a touch smaller. Iíll adjust it next time I update my layout/blocking. Thanks for the comments.:)

Vedic kings: Sometimes when Iím designing a character, Iíll end up looking at some of Pixars work for inspiration. I usually think to myself ďdamn, I wish Iíd done thatĒ. Of course, one has to have their own ideas, and to recycle someone elseís just isnít valid. So I always end up steering myself in the direction of originality.:wise: Thanks for the vote of confidence by the way.;)

03 March 2006, 02:41 PM (

Iím quite pleased with his tail. I still have to put in the parts where his limbs join the body. Next up though is his head.

03 March 2006, 01:24 AM
Nice update! I like his bummy! :thumbsup:

03 March 2006, 01:45 PM (

Hereís what Iíve done with the head so far. I havenít really started on the mouth, and I still have to give him antennas. Hopefully it will be done next update.

03 March 2006, 05:49 PM
Hey your ant is looking great! I knew you could do it:)

About using other peoples ideas is natural, we all look at our inspiration from time to time, and it keeps us going. But you know your character so far looks just as good Pixars work:)

03 March 2006, 04:26 AM
But you know your character so far looks just as good Pixars work:)

Hey, thanks for the kind words of encouragement. I havenít updated anything in the last few days as my internet access pooped its pants:cry:. Iíll have a rush of updates soon...

03 March 2006, 06:37 AM (

I think Iíve finished modelling the head, but I expect that there will be many minor tweaks in the weeks to come. Let me know what you think.

03 March 2006, 01:19 PM (

The hands are another very important part of any character. Iíve tried to make them a suitable blend of human and bug. I felt a hand with two long fingers could be very expressive for him.

03 March 2006, 04:47 AM (

Iím done with modelling the character for now. Iíve also included some details that werenít included in other posts. Let me know what you think.

03 March 2006, 01:01 PM
That ant's got a lot of expressiveness! I like his character - try to keep going at Pixar's level when texturing it.:)

Pretty funny concept too - Keep up the good work!

03 March 2006, 02:48 PM
hey hoju! your character's looking spot on from what you've envisioned him to be and he's looking great! staying true to the bug-like form. :thumbsup: keep it up!


03 March 2006, 05:49 AM
burpy: Thanks for stoping by:wavey:. Iím not sure exactly which direction to go with the textures, but Iím hoping that I can make them relatively simple, quality over quantity if you know what I mean.;)

ragdoll: Thanks for the comments:). I was quite pleased with the ant in the drawing, particularly his face. As long as I could capture that essence of cheekiness and innocence, I could be happy.

03 March 2006, 12:44 PM (

Itís been a little while since I last updated here. I wanted to spend some time exploring the look of the ant. I wasnít sure how much his skin should look like an ant and how much it should like human skin. Well any way this is what I came up with. Let me know what you think.

03 March 2006, 02:09 PM
That's nice texturing I have to say. I should consider something like that for my own bug.

Also could you tell a little about the shader you used?

03 March 2006, 03:36 PM
Hey thanks, sergage;). About the shading setup, itís got a sub surface scattering material on it. There is one spot light in the scene as well as final gather using a light dome setup. All of this contributes to the soft look of the render.

03 March 2006, 02:20 PM (

So this isnít a terribly big update, but here it is. Iíll fix up the seems once Iím done texturing all the body parts. Next up is the head.

03 March 2006, 07:34 PM
Hey thanks, sergage;). About the shading setup, itís got a sub surface scattering material on it. There is one spot light in the scene as well as final gather using a light dome setup. All of this contributes to the soft look of the render.

It looks like you have bump, don't you? You've alos got some nice specularity. A very nice looking material you've achieved :thumbsup: . If it's not much trouble, I'd love to see the maps you've used.

03 March 2006, 03:00 PM (

I started off with the bump map. It was all hand painted primarily using the two brushes in the image. There werenít any major details to introduce; I just reinforced what was already there with the geometry.

The specularity is actually two specular elements combined together, one sharp and strong, the other broad and week. The specular map in the image controls the eccentricity of the sharp highlight. It is essentially the bump map with some additional dark areas painted on. The bump map is also used to control the eccentricity of the broad highlight.

The colour map was created by setting the bump map to soft light in Photoshop and painting colours underneath it. The colour map zoomed to 100% is in the image.

The sub-surface scattering map was created by taking the colour map, turning off some of the darker colours and desaturating it. This was combined with a peach colour and used as the front and back sub-surface scattering colours.

03 March 2006, 03:56 PM
Thanks a lot for the help :thumbsup: .

03 March 2006, 09:00 AM (

Iíve finally been able to get the head textured, minus details like the eyes, teeth, etc. I was a little unsure about how shiny his head should be. I wanted it to match his shiny body, but I also wanted it to look similar to a human head and so I wasnít sure how much to tone it down. This is what I came up with; let me know what you think.

03 March 2006, 02:24 PM
Nice going, maybe the bump on his nose and chin is too rough. I see you're doing the texturing part by part. I'm going with the whole mesh at once, and I still haven't finished setting up my UVs.

03 March 2006, 11:16 AM
Hi Sergage:wavey:. Iím doing his eyes at the moment, but once thatís done I think Iíll take another look at his nose and chin textures.;)

04 April 2006, 07:28 AM (

Iíve been leaning a whole lot about eyes since my last update. Iím not much of a character rigger, so Iím pleased that I was able to have a setup whereby I can move the eye ball which will deform the eyelid without having any geometry intersections. The milky white sclera was achieved with sub-surface scattering. I was also able to put in a meniscus for the eyelid which reinforces the wetness of the eyeball.

04 April 2006, 01:30 PM
The texturing on the eyes are simply awesome! Maybe you can adjust the specularity to make them look more wet as they don't look wet enough.

04 April 2006, 07:09 AM
Thanks for stoping by, Jesus:wavey:. My update will be coming soon, but what I think the problem was, was that I had forgotten to give the eyeball any reflections. Another problem I noticed was that my monitor was a lot brighter than it should be, as a result some of my previous posts may be a little dark for some people.

04 April 2006, 03:34 PM (

This is just a minor update, with minor changes. Iíve made his eyeballs reflective, adjusted the skin shader settings and moved his teeth back into his head.

04 April 2006, 01:49 AM
Hi Paul, I admire your texturing, I couldn't do mine like that. Anyways.
Shouldn't the gray part of the eyes be white, or you've done it on purpose?
Keep up the good stuff :deal: .

04 April 2006, 06:45 AM
Hi Sergage

I didnít want to make the eyes or the teeth perfectly white, but with a yellow tint to them. I think the greyness of the eyes is mainly due to the environmental reflection, it does look better with different lighting though.:)

04 April 2006, 12:04 PM (

This is my latest effort with the ant character. Iíll have a go at rigging/posing him a bit later on. Next up will be the balloon in the mid ground. At the risk of jinxing myself, I feel that this shouldnít take very long.

04 April 2006, 01:54 PM (

Hereís the model for the balloon. Itís light on geometry because itís only a mid ground object.

04 April 2006, 09:10 PM
I like your ant, the texture is particularly well done! :thumbsup: Nice work on the balloon too, simple but effective

04 April 2006, 12:58 PM
Thanks, M477;). I appreciate you stopping by.:wavey:

04 April 2006, 02:18 PM (

Hereís the texturing done on the hot air balloon.

04 April 2006, 09:02 PM
You'll probably need more subdivisions on the baloon.

04 April 2006, 09:59 PM
Can I be so bold as to pull you back onto the texturing of the balloon? :p I think it would look REALLY cool if you used some sub-surface scattering on the texture of the balloon itself - I mean you could give it a great 3d feel if you could see the light coming through the material, particularly where you can see the inside of the balloon. Maybe they're ust not made like that in reality bu I think it would add that little something :arteest:

04 April 2006, 02:38 PM
Hi Hoju! I agree greatly with M477's comment about translucency, especially since it's an ant so the "hot air" baloon is probably just a see-through party balloon! Might be interesting.

You've also done a really nice job on the ant's eyes. They look great. For the body, more colour/shine/bump variation could improve it imo.

Keep it up!:)

04 April 2006, 03:47 PM
Sergage: Because the balloon is only fairly small in frame I wanted to keep the geometry to a minimum. I did have a second look at it though and I was being a little too stingy with the polygons.:D

M477: I experimented briefly with sub surface scattering on the balloon, but what seemed to make it work was playing with the transparency. Iíll post the results soon.

Burpy: Thanks for the compliment on the eyes. I agree with you on varying the skin texture a bit more. Iím going to have to come back to that later on once Iíve done more on the rest of the scene.

Thank you all for stopping by. Your comments and criticisms are always appreciated.:thumbsup:

04 April 2006, 04:05 PM (

Hereís the revised balloon.

04 April 2006, 02:01 AM
Hey Paul, looking awesome, love the curves near the seams :thumbsup: . Have you hand painted the bump (I suspect it's bump) or sculpted in zbrush or something. The transparency fits nicely too. Btw, I didn't catch the software you're working in.

04 April 2006, 02:19 AM
Hey Paul, might even want to consider just painting lightly a texture which would mimic SSS/transparency...also, a cloud gobo on your lights breaking up the illumination pattern on your balloon might make it look more natural too? --Depending upon where and how far away it is in your main image...just some thoughts related to what others have also said on this board.

Really think your concept is quite a bit of fun. Looking forward to seeing your finished work!

Good luck!

04 April 2006, 02:29 AM
Wow! Just noticed your revised balloon image posted to the thread -- what a difference!! I wouldn't have thought it would be that different but sheez, its really cool the way your balloon's fabric catches light, shadow, and allows the distant mountain to be visible through it. Very cool. Also like the lighting you've used for the basket gondola -- really works well.

This is being really picky, but -- the burners used to heat the air beneath the balloon (whatever they are called) kind of pop out a bit because their 3D shadowing is obscured by a corner support beam of the gondola. Maybe if the cylindrical burners were moved slightly so the shadowing wraping around their sides were visible they would be more firmly planted within the gondola? Finally, might also be more dynamic if the balloon were to sag a bit from gravity, both its ropes supporting the gondola and fabric itself.

In any case -- really like the fun concept and this wonderful new render! Hope you finish...

04 April 2006, 04:35 PM
Sergage: I hand painted the textures for the balloon with my trusty wacom tablet. It is a bump map and Iím using Maya.:)

Oceanbluesky: Thanks for stopping by:wavey:. Iím glad you like the revised balloon fabric. The lighting in that last render is still fairly basic. Hopefully, better lighting should fix up the issue with the burner.

Finally, might also be more dynamic if the balloon were to sag a bit from gravity, both its ropes supporting the gondola and fabric itself.

I agree. Itís going to be a fight between having it sagging with gravity and keeping the balloon round, to resemble the cherry. I should know what Iíll be able to get away with once I start to put all these elements together.

Hope you finish...

Me too.:D

04 April 2006, 07:31 PM
That's much better, nicely done :bounce:

It will look great in the scene now, keep going - not too long to go :wip:

04 April 2006, 05:06 PM (

This is just a bit of modelling on some of the mid ground scenery. I plan to texture most of it, then put some grass down and see how it looks.

05 May 2006, 02:36 PM (

This is what Iím up to. I have to scale up the cars a little and put some grass on the hill. I also havenít put the final picture in the sign yet, but that will go in once Iíve done the mountain.

05 May 2006, 02:38 PM
Hey Paul very nice sense of depth and motion in those cars! Enjoying watching this image come along and finish its potential! Good luck!

05 May 2006, 05:21 PM
M477: Thanks for your encouragement, itís much appreciated.;)

Oceanbluesky: Thanks Eric. Iím quite pleased with those cars. What I did was make a very low poly car and vary the shape and colour for each one; and when rendered with motion blur, the quality was fairly good.:wip:

05 May 2006, 05:34 PM (

Itís looking a lot better now. Iíve added some grass and scaled the cars up a bit. It was a little difficult to render, but I think its going to be OK.

05 May 2006, 05:37 PM
Quality job Hoju :thumbsup: . It's looking awesome, may I ask what is the grass, is it PaintFX?

05 May 2006, 06:37 PM
Wow...what a amazing you did that grass?...i'm trying to do a grass like please!:cry:

05 May 2006, 08:24 AM
WOW! :eek: Very impressive render, Hoju.

What technique did you use for the grass? I really like the look.

I do have one crit. There is something that looks odd about the image. I cannot put my finger on it, but I think it has to do with scale. Perhaps the road and the cars should be bigger or maybe the grass looks too large in comparison. Don't know. :shrug: Otherwise, excellent job!

Keeping on eye on you. :applause:

05 May 2006, 08:33 AM
Oh! This perspective is really working for you Paul! Looks like we're headed over a cliff. Wonderful job thus far -- best of luck! :thumbsup:

05 May 2006, 07:17 AM
Sergage: The grass started off as paint effects, but I converted it to polygons and worked on the shading a bit.:)

Melkao: Thanks for stopping by:wavey:. Iím going to post a little explanation of how I did that real soon, so stay tuned.;)

Jedi-Juice: I agree with you about the scale of the image, Iíll try to post a revised image soon.:)

Oceanbluesky: Iím glad that you like it so far.:)

05 May 2006, 08:17 AM (

This is the method that Iíve used to create grass for my scene. It is by no means the perfect way of creating grass in 3D; itís just the method that has worked for me. I hope this is of some use to you all and let me know if you have any questions.

Figure 1 shows a fairly standard stroke of paint effects grass. It has been converted to polygons and itís shading consists of a Phong material with a simple ramp gradient for its colour.

Figure 2 is the same as figure 1, but each blade is about 30 times wider and has only two polygons per blade.

Figure 3 changes the appearance back to that of grass by applying figure 4 as a transparency map and figure 5 as a colour map. The transparency map was created buy running a series of ramps into one another.

To get each individual blade of grass to cast an accurate shadow, you must use raytracing. Whatís more, the raytracing limit has to be set quite high (I set it to around 5) to penetrate the layers of grass between the light and the ground.

05 May 2006, 08:41 AM (

Everything needs a bit more fine tuning, but hereís my latest effort.

05 May 2006, 08:19 AM (

Iíve put some hills in the background. Each tree on it was a four polygon model and since I knew it was going to be blurred, due to depth of field, the anti aliasing settings were quite low.

05 May 2006, 07:20 AM (

Iíve never really done any matte painting before. The large mountain is 3d and the surrounding mountains are painted. I still have to fix up the former blue mountains, from the last post. I still have a way to go on the actual painting as well.

05 May 2006, 07:37 AM
Great work...ALl the best...

05 May 2006, 06:40 AM (

Iím working on posing the ant character at the moment, so thereís not a great deal to show. However, I have also been making a few minor adjustments to the background.

05 May 2006, 02:28 PM
this is one of my fav 3D entries...

i thik you could almost do away with the matte painted mountains and the sky...dunno if its really needed that much...

anys work... :)


05 May 2006, 10:49 PM
Finally checked your thread. Very nice going, you're almost done. The mountains seem a little too blurred though. And you've made the whole scene darker, why?

05 May 2006, 12:05 PM
Ramras: Iím glad you like it, and thanks for visiting my thread.:wavey:

Cyberone: Thanks for the huge compliment:bowdown:. The mountains still require a bit of work on them, in particular, the snow capped mountains. Hopefully Iíll be able to show you a better version soon.:)

Sergage: I agree with you about the mountains, Iíll fix that before the end. In the final image, I want to draw the viewerís eye to the ant, the sign and the mountain in the background. To give me some room to move I dimmed the fill lights a little. Nothing is final though, and things may well change before the end.:)

05 May 2006, 08:10 AM (

Well, I screwed up. For some reason I had it in my head that this thing ends on Monday. I found out the truth 3:00am this morning. Dang. Anyway here is the texture for the sign.

05 May 2006, 12:53 PM
Very nice ad :D , I like it.

05 May 2006, 12:07 PM
C'mon can do it! Work to the last, second!

Hurry up buddy! :bounce:

05 May 2006, 04:51 PM
amazing work with the escenary, and textures and lights...and thanks for the short tutorial!:eek:

05 May 2006, 06:06 AM
Sergage: Iím glad you like it; itís a major part of the whole concept.;)

Jedi-Juice: Oh please donít let it come to that.:banghead:

Melkao: Iím glad you like it and were able to find the tutorial useful. I wish I was able to do more of them but time was against me.:sad:

05 May 2006, 09:43 AM (

Thereís still some more work to do, but Iím getting closer!

05 May 2006, 12:53 PM
Very nice, Hoju. I don't know how about you, but I feel as if there's an exam tonight and I haven't prepared for it. Considering that I'm still a student, it is a very familiar depressing feeling :sad: . We still have 11 hours though. Good luck on finishing, you are very close, in fact, closer than me :deal: .

05 May 2006, 03:39 PM (

Fugwert was not a popular ant. This may have been because he was never very good at a single job he had been assigned to. As a result, he was considered a bit dim by the other ants. The other ants scoffed when he was assigned to food collection duty. ďWeíll starveĒ, they joked.

One morning while scouting around for possible food sources, Fugwert came across something quite exiting. Off in the distance, he saw a gigantic ice cream dessert. ďItís even got a cherry on topĒ, he exclaimed, barely able to contain himself. ďJust imagine how pleased theyíll be when I bring some of that backĒ. So off he went, and his journey beganÖ

05 May 2006, 03:19 AM
Nice final my friend....very funny...and good luck!:thumbsup:

05 May 2006, 03:26 AM
Hey Hoju...Congrats...good funny composition. All the best:)

05 May 2006, 10:17 AM
Sergage: Theses things sure are hard to finish, but I managed to make it in the end.:p

Melkao: Iím glad you like it, and good luck.:thumbsup:

Ramras: Thanks! Good luck to you too.:)

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