View Full Version : Dominance War II: Ill_Logic

02 February 2007, 12:20 AM
Concept Art:


Character Info:

Dharmantaka Shadow
'destroyer of gods'

An order of monks, the ancients have brought peace to their worlds and created utopian societies. The monks, having outlived their usefulness were put into a dormant state. But after provocation, they've awakened & it's war. But the monks themselves are peaceful & could never personally harm another living being. That's why they outsource their first offensive effort to a race they dubbed the 'Dharmantaka.'

Coming from a harsh volcanic climate, the Dharmantaka have a physiology to match. Their core body temperatures match that of magma, their blood molten. Their shape is very similar to a humans, however they tend to be a bit lankier & their hands are gnarled into huge prehensile claws. While carbon based, their skin, the sheen of gun metal black is as dense as carbon nanotubes, their hides some of the strongest known organic materials in the universe. However, their lives are generally short & agonizing. With such an extreme body temperature, even their strong exteriors eventually break down & each Dharmantaka begins to burn out. Some carve holes in their own flesh to expose their molten interiors to the air & vent some of the heat, however this is just seen as delaying the inevitable. However when the monks converted these creatures, they saw a special niche for them in their hierarchy. That of steath & kamikaze missions.

Though their interiors cast a bit of orange glow, the Dharmantaka's naturally black skin is perfect for melding with shadows. Their claws, both diamond-hard & superheated can penetrate nearly any material. They assist Dharmantaka in both scaling & moving along walls, but also In combat situations. Their natural agility & speed makes them incredibly dangerous adversaries, while their impenetrable skin is invulnerable to convential weaponry. And on the very unlikely chance that something does break Dharmantaka skin, their blood is molten & can cause collateral damage. The monks give the each Dharmantaka shadow body armor that can not only provide light shielding for energy attacks but also regulate their body temperatures. Also too, their armor relays information back to the Monks instanteously, for recon & scouting missions.

In some cases, such as this one, the monks will grant a Dharmantaka a weapon they call a 'Sunyata Chakram'. A large disc shaped object, the chakram can serve many uses. Firstly, the Dharmantaka never actually has to even touch the chakram. It levitates on its own & moves through either the mental control of the Dharmantaka or through the limited control of the Monks watching the mission unfold. It has three distinct forms. One is as a rudementary mode of transport or levitation. The Dharmantaka can hop or hold on & avoid capture or flee if the situation warrants it. The second mode is as a ranged weapon & it can be used in two ways. Firstly the spinning chakram can fly around a battlefield like a discus & use its energy to dispatch enemies as such. Or the spinning elements inside the chakram can generate energy fields & fire concussive energy beams, distingrating any obstacles. However, the reasom many fear the Sunyata Chakram is its third mode. It can be brought to a location & 'set' much like explosives. However, instead of a blast, the whirling parts of the chakram start to draw inward & create an event horizon. As these forces increase, the chakram itself disappears & in its place is a black hole, capable of destroying as much as the monks wish it to.

Of course usually, the Dharmantaka that plants the chakram is usually one of the first to go, however their demise is quick & painless, as opposed to the agonizing slow decay of their physical bodies. And it is this reason that many Dharmantaka are eager to enlist. And why they are perfect for the job.


[Also, please note that if you're coming from the dominance war entry page, that it says my name is kurocrash on there. i goofed & didn't think when i created a login there but...


sorry for the confusion!]


02 February 2007, 01:45 AM
The Dryad/plant chick sounds like a cool idea, maybe even make your demon sorta plantoid or something. I also say don't give up on anything cyberpunkish you wanted to do. Though you might have to tone it down, I love that stuff haha.

02 February 2007, 03:31 AM
Here is the same sort of deal but for that other idea I had. just some stealthy futuristic bits but some of these are pretty generic though along those lines.

[pic removed]

I kind of like the other one a little better, even though it's more wrecking crew than stealth assassin type. i think the character fits the 'shadow' part nicer though, seeing as it's a demon & all. Makes sense to me anyhow. Thoughts?

emysfit - thanks. i don't really know how to combine their brief with the idea of it being cyberpunk. i mean i can certainly make it high tech, no problem there, but not cyberpunk. it doesn't mesh real well with the category.


02 February 2007, 08:21 PM
So I did this little scribble. Can't decide between the two, but I'd kind of like to decide before I start sketching up a final concept. Both will probably be loaded with rather larger sized guns & glowing bits.

[pic removed]



02 February 2007, 11:13 PM
Based on the scribble, the mecha marine does look a bit more visually interesting. However, I think that more detailed concept sketches are needed to make any kind of authoritative call on the subject. Or, barring that, a detailed description of the specifics of each design.

Of course, if you want to really show off, you could try for both in 6,000 tris... :D

02 February 2007, 02:23 AM
doing them both within 6000 would be easy, seeing as the one guy's essentially a walking box. but it might get sketchy with the 'one entry per contestant' dealie. besides, the little backstories i have for each of them clash.
i usually involuntarily develop backstories for everything i do but i trying to keep away from this time. other contests, i devote a night here or there but then if i don't finish i look back & regret the idea. but i have very basic ones:

the demon guy
a bruiser, last of a dying breed of demonic looking guys from a small moon, outsourced by the 'ancient' race because he's tough, destructive, & most importantly expendible. i basically see him as a giant, demonic Rambo or telly suvalas in the dirty dozen. big, unruly, mean, killing machine. like a prisoner chucked out on the battlefield & told 'ave at it'. and seeing as he's not of the 'ancients' race, technically if he's caught, it's not directly linked back to them. In that sketch, he might not have come off as lanky as i'd like him. the orangy bits on the armor are gold leave and/or glowing designs (not necessarily runes or anything) also i'm thinking about exposing clawed feet to make him look more feral. also the way they interpret demon hair in the old mandalas & everything give it sort of a fiery quality so i was thinking about not giving him a head of flame, but hair that's glowing or sing(e)ing & full of embers. but he definitely will carry around some ridiculously large weapons too. oh & maybe since he's got three eyes, covering the one on the side with a patch leaving him with his other & the one in the forehead. cause i've never seen an three eyed person with an eye out.

the dryad
similarly, i free associated 'ancient' & thought of sequoias & redwoods & primordial forests for some reason. so here's a dryad chick. maybe kind of like the outsourced idea from above but 'grown' for this purpose. aside from the treants in the lotr & the ancients in warcraft, you often see peaceful or even whimisical interpretations of tree people. But i haven't seen one crawl into a thermoptic body suit & start garotting people, or painting targets for satellite blasts, etc... basically an elite operative, swift & agile. she's good at hand to hand combat but often doesn't even have to resort to it, instead using phermones & poisonous vapors to knock out or kill those around her (that are released in strategic vents in her arms, palms, or chest). and these certainly aren't the colors i was looking to stick with. I was thinking a light body suit though, even if it isn't conducive for spying. hell, she's just that good. and i might keep up the ornate tibetan type of detail for her suit too, but i'd kind of like to keep her design a lot cleaner, but give her a lot of gadgets & maybe have some holograms float around her for info, weapon options, & maybe one of my original ideas of hard light shielding. oh & despite a greenish, 'composty' complexion, she's got leaves & flower petals in her hair



02 February 2007, 08:14 AM
well due to overwhelming response (:D), i'm just deciding to go with the tibetan thing, however i think i'm not going to play up the 'space marine' bit too much. maybe make him lankier, more feral, maybe even have him on all fours (or somewhere in between two & four legs). but something looking capable to rip the life out of something & yet still be capable of using a big gun.

concept sketch tomorrow at some point. sleep now.


02 February 2007, 03:50 PM
doing them both within 6000 would be easy, seeing as the one guy's essentially a walking box. but it might get sketchy with the 'one entry per contestant' dealie. besides, the little backstories i have for each of them clash.

-JOkay, I was joking before, but if you're serious, I will present an angle you could use to justify doing both in a single entry.

Name: <guy's name> and <girl's name> OR Team <name>

This team of reconnaisance specialists are the classic "odd couple" of tactics. While one prefers a "smash-and-grab" approach, the other prefers more silent, stealthy infiltration. However, somehow, they check and balance each other beautifully, forming a deadly alliance that the enemy never sees coming... until it's too late.

Granted, it's probably not a bad idea to seek clarification at the DWII forums, but a single Shadow "unit", should it be allowed, would be a great twist to your entry.

02 February 2007, 04:23 PM
I'd say there seems to be a severe lack of female entries. Even though it's tempting to go into the marine style, I'd say for the sake of being different, give us a female. Then again, that's the only reason I'm doing mine.

02 February 2007, 04:29 PM
I'd say there seems to be a severe lack of female entries. Even though it's tempting to go into the marine style, I'd say for the sake of being different, give us a female. Then again, that's the only reason I'm doing mine.Actually, I've noticed quite a few female entries... but I'm also keeping an eye out for them, given my own entry.

02 February 2007, 05:24 PM
hey there

imagus - thanks but the team thing sounds way too much like a bad 80's tv drama. the tibetan guy isn't really robert wagner. thanks though.

nme-se7en - i noticed this too which was also why i was still considering her there for a while. there might not be that many females in the contest, however there are a bunch in my portfolio. so like i said, i'm going with a feral version of the demon above.


02 February 2007, 06:53 PM
Still working on the details of the concept art but I was in a modeling mood today so I threw together just a real quick sort of proportional guide to show what I was talking about, with the lanky & feral stuff. He looks goofy at the moment without fangs, though. Here's a couple of different screencapped angles.

[pic removed]

I did want to have him still able to use firearms but it might look a bit awkward at the moment. I was also tossing around the idea of little 'kuado arms' that could hold guns if need be. Also chucking around the idea of making him teleport & shadowmeld & stuff like that for the infiltration part of the shadow description.


02 February 2007, 10:32 PM
How about making the big guy really big, to fit the demolisher aspect of the brief and make the girl like extra small and build like a little seat on the guys shoulder for her and make the backstory that he creates giant distractions of destruction while he sends his 'little pet' into tight spots to recover important items and/or assassinate key figures. I guess that might've been almost the same thing suggested earlier heh...I think either way you go would be good don't worry about the 'there's more male entires than females' or anything like that as I'd say in the end it won't be too noticable of a difference...or matter.

02 February 2007, 01:12 AM
I appreciate the suggestions for back story & how they go about doing their thing, but like I said, I've made up my mind & this is what I'm doing now & right now. I'm just looking to get opinions on it. I realize it's not far along, but it's a start.


03 March 2007, 10:21 AM
you all thought i'd given up, right?

no but seriously, i was having computer issues, saw a lot of cool stuff being done with the war, got envious, then pissed, then... a little distracted. anyway things are once again operational & while i missed a lot of valuable time, i'm still going to make an effort. anyway here's a new concept art sketch of what i have in mind to do.

same sort of deal as before but a chick. black diamond-like skin with claws & a body temperature close to that of magma (thus the glowing claws). she's going to be stealthy & such, an expert at hand-to-hand fighting, but also, aside from the spying & recon, she can also plant a very destructive weapon (that i'll hopefully get to later).

this initial sketch of her is very plain, i realize! but i plan to paint over certain details such as armor or third eyes or hair or clunky giant gloves, etc... once i get some sleep, i'll post a few ideas, see what works, what doesn't. till then...


03 March 2007, 07:20 PM
if you probably haven't noticed, i'm a rather indecisive person. i know it's late in the game & i shouldn't be messing around but i was interested in opinions of this character's armor & surface details & such. since the inital model is fairly similar in all cases, i was hoping to get to work on that while waiting on opinons. here are the options:

1) was just a warmup. it's still rather lax on the details but i think i might end up using that hair. i see it kind of spiking like paine's in ffx-2 (as much as i hated that game). anyway she might still be a little too simple here. the details on the suit would be iridescent.
2) ended up kind of nunnish looking, when i was originally kind of going for a stormtrooper-y thing with the white armor. i really dig the little embossed orange details on the white but i don't think it would work for this model in particular. i don't know. oh & that's supposed to be a hood that is extending up from underneath her neck gear. oh & that's supposed to be one of those asian styled ropes you'd see outside temples in japan & things around her waist.
3) is my favorite but i don't know if i could get that ceramic/tech/translucency to the armor without spending a ton of time tweaking texture maps. also it maybe more tech than ancient. but i think i'd definitely change the hair & expose the toes.
4) in retrospect, kind of reminds me of talim in the soul calibur series. i didn't flesh it out much, but the gold streaks across parts of her were supposed to be gold strings wrapped around her.
5) is closest to my original idea for this character, but the clunky armor is pictured black here as opposed to red. this is my second choice at the moment. all that orange on the armor are little engravings that glow through the armor. but it'd be hard to be stealthy with all that glowing... hmm

ultimately, as of right now, i'd think the final product would be something between 5 & 3, but i was hoping for feedback on the designs. feel free to kind of 'mix & match' too.

[back story moved to the first post, because it was ridiculously long & didn't need to be here twice]

i vowed not to get into the back story, but yeah... couldn't help it. so that's the character, that's the idea i have in mind. thoughts on which elements of those concepts i should put into use would be of great help! i appreciate any feedback, thanks in advance! more soon, time to get to modeling!!!


03 March 2007, 06:34 AM
did a bit of modeling on the actual character but nothing worth showing just yet really. so i wanted to just post the idea of the chakram & a size relation to the character.

i see each of the circular parts rotating around the center independently, in different directions. the orange is for glow, just generic shaping here right now.

as for the model i'm sort of thinking about a mix of mostly 5 & 3, with the hair of 1. i'll post a final soon.


03 March 2007, 09:16 AM
i was about to give it up for the night when i took another look at the ideas & decided to go with something pretty close to the fifth one in the concepts. so here it is:

ok. more soon.


03 March 2007, 12:19 AM
just a small modeling update.

i have the head & torso complete. the shoulders might seem broad but i'm modeling the arms straight out. i'd really like for them to have sort of like a feral slope to them but i'd like to have the basic anatomy figured out first then mess with it.
i've made several attempts at the arms & legs but i'm not satisfied with them just yet. but then again too it could just be from staring at it for so damn long lol the hair & armor are also each a work in progress at this point.
each shader thrown on it is just to kind of split it up & differentiate what part is what.

any anatomy comments facial comments? since i'm probably going to take it for some normal mapping later on, i didn't include wires. next time!


03 March 2007, 07:52 PM
went a little detail crazy to get the hair just right. we have 6000 polies to spend on the character, & some of this character's details may be pretty simple later so right now the hair's at 634 tris. i'll optimize the hair seperately into one or two pieces if i've got the time but i think it was kind of an important identifying trait of the character so... bleh:

oh & don't mind the wireframes, the hair does cover the head, & when i do optimize there will be no head underneath of course, but for right now i left it to get the shape right. just a little update i figured i'd post for right now. more soon.



03 March 2007, 01:01 AM
Hey nice model so far. I like the short hair good choice =) She looks a little off balance in the pose, but that could just be the 2D thing, once its in 3D it might work. Is that how you will pose her?

03 March 2007, 05:57 AM
I liked your concept #2 the best, but with the hair of concept #1. I believe that would be the strongest design for this character. Peace,

- me

03 March 2007, 07:20 AM
hey response! lol thanks guys.

valri22- thanks! i appreciate the feedback. as for the concept sketch, the silhouette i did originally i was toying with the idea of her levitating through the assistance of that weapon, but it didn't pan out, but to save time i just used that silhouette anyway. so she's not really balancing, just floating lol she'll be nice, grounded, & balanced in the final pose. i'm thinking something kind of like an exaggerated ninja stance or something, maybe something kind of kata like. or maybe just have her looking pissed & showing a lot of attitude. i'll figure all that out later once i get more done lol

sanhueza- seems to be the theme in the thread. i post options looking for opinions & no one gets back to me about then until days later & i already made another choice lol thanks anyway but in retrospect 2's too simple i think. shiny white plastic on a stealthy character seems anti intuitive. then again orange glowing probably is too. and i don't know how well the hood would work with the spiky hair. either way i'm going with 5 but thanks. i might use the shin guards though

as for the modeling process: nothing to report really but i was working out kinks the time i got to work today. shaped legs & arms but i don't think i'm sticking too close to the concept art. maybe shin guards & maybe gloves that arn't just giant bowling balls & extend further up the arm. also i was playing with the idea of adding cords out the back of her armor. no reason really. just as sort of a neat peripheral motion sort of thing. they had sensor sort of bulbs at the end.

did sculpt a base though. nothing special. just a downed pillar covered in melting debris lol just got sick of looking at the model but still wanted to be constructive.

one problem i did run into today was how the claws actually attach to the hands. still working that one out. i like the spiral at the base but it may end up that that's just the thumbs & the spiral's in the palm? dunno yet. more soon!


03 March 2007, 05:16 PM
another modeling update:

this is the layout of the base body mesh. i'm working on the armor now. the arms are intentionally long so she can kind of be at home on two legs or all four. same reason she sort of walks on the balls of her feet. i haven't done much detail to the shins or the forearms since they'll mostly be covered anyhow. i modeled regular hands on her as opposed to the claws. i've been toying with the idea of blend shapes on the hands so her fingers can 'pop' into big f-off claws like those in the 'armored' shot. i know the competition isn't about animation but i thought it would be a nice little thing to make the character unique. besides, how could she grab hold of things if her fingers were always superheated claws?
i'm a little behind where i was hoping to be at this point but i have the whole day free until this evening (300!) so expect more soon.


03 March 2007, 07:49 AM
I really like the concept work. You went with my favorite, although I liked the head from 4 ;)

I guess with the extra long arms, you'll have to be careful they don't look like spaghetti strings :) Just beacause her arms don't have a lot of muscle or armour to give them shape and definition. I was thinking though, if she walks on all fours, why would she need long arms? Four legged creatures don't have disproportionately long forearms, or are you thinking more like an orangutan?

How will she be holding the chakram? Just wondering because of her claw hands (which are awesome btw).

03 March 2007, 07:56 AM
I love the concept for you character although I feel the model itself is straying from it a bit. The girl in your drawing looks 16 while the model feels more like 25. Theres a nice duality of a youthful looking ancient in your concept that is lost from the model itself. I hope you get to finish. Keep posting.

03 March 2007, 08:28 AM
thanks guys!

mattcoombe - thanks! yeah i was keeping the arms a bit thin so that they don't start intersecting the arm gear. the finished version might look like the one in that 3rd concept, going up her arm more. i think once that's sitting on there, they'll be clunky enough not to be spaghetti. as for the on-fours thing, my ultimate intention is a character that would look equally at home either way. so yeah, orangutan is kind of a good comparison, or like the ifrit character in the final fantasy games. besides i thought the longer arms would help increase her slashing distance a bit too, like the chinese ghost girl in the darkstalkers games (who's name escapes me at the moment). and as for the chakram, originally i was thinking about having her control it mentally so basically it kind of just spun in a stationary position behind her until she kind of 'willed' it at somebody. but now, with this blend shape idea, she might grab it via those bars in the middle of it. i really like the spiral at the base of the claw but it just doesn't attach to the hand properly. so it'll start off as a normal hand but the fingers will stretch & sharpen into that shape. the spiral may end up only in the palm by the thumb though. thanks for all the great feedback! i appreciate it! sorry i got long winded lol it's a nasty habit!

junerahe - i never actually had an age in mind for the actual character. definitely under 30 but not particularly as young as 16. i just drew the concept & typically i draw rounder cheeks. i think that the model has a sharper jaw line and that's the discrepancy. the facial reference i used for the model (provided by my lovely sister actually), while not too much older, is a bit more athletic looking, which i think suits the whole elite soldier element. that & i kept the brow rather sharp & pronounced too. i figured it was a little stronger than one you'd typically see in your average human, so that she wasn't just an average human but grey. but not a cromag either lol i'll do some tweaks though & see what i can come up with.

didn't get as much done today as i was hoping...... 300 was really awesome though... (yeah so i slacked off today, sue me! lol) anyway i keep messing with that armor around her neck. i'd like to take it into mudbox, add some dings, dents, & properly flesh out all those engravings (the orangey parts) but i can't seem to get it to keep that shape (with the seams in the shape) once i smooth it. i think i'll probably have to do it in individual pieces. which is going to take even more time. oh well. more soon i hope!


03 March 2007, 04:32 AM
right so i was about ready, with the impending deadline approaching, i was just about ready to nix the idea of normal mapping. but thanks to fredh & anyone else, it got pushed back so i was trying to give it a go after all. i've only normal mapped once before this though & when i did that model i ran into all sorts of problems. now it's starting all over again.

here's the deal:
for some reason the side of my model (i modeled the other side) is getting blown out when i click render. i don't know why. i realize there are problems when things get flipped but i did what i thought fixed it (duplicated, flipped, freezed, set to face, & combined) & it gets all blown out & nasty. and the high quality view isn't much nicer. also, what's with the cruddy definition with the rest of the face? why does everyone else's normal map look pretty badass & mine are turning out all splotchy & crap?

anyone else run into any problems like this?


03 March 2007, 07:01 AM
Is it a half UV? Did you check the normals of the mirrored face? Smoothing groups? I had a slightly similar problem last time, but mostly being irregular normals (some are facing backwards). I am pretty sure its something to do with the normals but can't help you out otherwise.

BTW, very nice work. The arms however seems a little bit long, don't you think?

03 March 2007, 07:06 AM
I'm getting similar result when i'm redering with a normalmap on. Don't know how to fix it either.
So if anybody know how to fix this.I would be very happy and I think ill_logic would be happy too :).

03 March 2007, 07:44 AM
Illogic: try inverting or swapping the channels ( max has 3 checkbox to do it) and be sure you are generating a space tangent normal when working with chars, other thing is depending on where you are generating your normal map and even your video card. i would advice you to make very simple tests to get exactly how it works. normalmaps are temperamental things but once you decipher them they are really helpfull.
I think this is UV trouble apply a relax face angle on everything, the uvs that get very weird are inverted. the solution is simple, ctrl z and invert the weird ones, do the relax again for check and generate the normal again.

03 March 2007, 02:42 PM
thanks guys. i don't know what the problem is but if i rotate around the side of it, the 'blow out' exceeds more than just the one half & onto the other if i look from like a 3/4 view from the reverse side.

yung - the uvs for the face are laid out fully (not folded in half) like i said, it's duplicated but i flipped it the way i thought i was supposed to & all of the normals are facing the proper way. i mean wouldn't there have been problems with that in mudbox if they weren't? i displayed the normals & they seem the same on both sides, none inverted or anything. thanks anyway. also the arms were an intentional thing, that was mentioned earlier. i might still tweak them but right now i'm concerned with this.

kirgan - let me know if you find anything! :thumbsup:

rept0r - thanks, but a lot of what you're talking about is max jargon & i'm afraid i'm only versed in maya at this point. but as i said, i've turned on the normal display & they're all facing out ok, none are inverted. i don't know if there's someway to flip the map's color channel on a face in maya (?!) but that might be helpful. the maps were done as tangent & i tried both through mudbox & xnormal, only to get the same results (though xnormal seemed a lot less pixelated). i hope it isn't necessarily a video card thing. that's pretty much the last thing i can figure, & i used this card with the last normal maps too. hmm. thanks. i appreciate the assistance.

if anyone else knows of anything, please help! lol


03 March 2007, 12:59 AM
sorry to be a jerk but i wanted to bump this so i could maybe get this problem resolved a little sooner than later. even though the deadline's been pushed back, i'd still like to be diligent with it & use that time wisely rather than spend it fixing up the maps. any help would be greatly appreciated!


03 March 2007, 01:06 AM
if you could post your normal map texture that might help us to figure this out quicker.

03 March 2007, 01:21 AM
thanks, didn't figure to post it since it seemed to look generally ok to me. it seemed to me something more with the mesh or shader or something.
mind you it will be a 1024x1024 (i reduced this one) with the hair & eyes & ears & such. i know it gets a little crazy at the edges (and around the nose there a bit) but that wasn't showing up much. this help?


03 March 2007, 01:42 AM
i dont think anything is wrong with the normal map. can you tell where that screenshot is from. i could probably suggest somehting but i need more info on how you set up the shader, what renderer etc.

03 March 2007, 01:52 AM
that previous shot is a maya software render with a normal blinn (the normal map attached through the normal camera) & default lights. and when i switch to a different light set up, the whole thing gets blown out even more. but it all blows out from the one side usually. sometimes it'll carry over past the axis (where the faces were merged) but even if the light was on the other side, it blows out on that side. i don't get it.

and i know that software renders aren't the norm for game models but i didn't know it blew out normal maps like that...? what would be a nice way to still present the model in the beauty shots?


03 March 2007, 01:53 AM
Ok, yeah, the normal looks fine.

Let me run my list of possible things mucking it up:

1. Make sure you bump/normal is set to tangent space in the material -then try flipping the Blue channel in the normal map(your normals simply might be flipped, so light areas are darkened, and dark areas are lightened)
2. Render in Maya Hardware mode. Maya's Software and Mental ray don't work with normal maps- god knows why.
3. Check your lights if you're using any
4. Try moving your work into a new file
5. Threaten your computer with a stick.
actually sounds like your flipping uvs might be mucking it up.
I just checked your file, and your blue channel is fine.
Let me investigate a little more.
Yeah, the problem must be on your model. Your normals work fine. They're muddy because the normal itself is muddy. Check to make sure you're sampleing at the highest quality when baking.

As for the model, delete all history, merge all unmerged veritices, smooth the normals. I simply can't replicate the problem with my computer, so I'm not quite sure. Try deleting your maya prefs folder for a clean startup, see what happens.

03 March 2007, 02:01 AM
actually you dont even need to do any render.

if you turn on high quality rendering and plug the normal to the shader it should show properly at least one side.

as for other softwares you can try xNormal

you can do you beauty shots in there as well.


i just tried out an example file provided in xnormal program by the artist Paul Greveson:

connect out color of the normal map to normal camera

03 March 2007, 02:12 AM
actually yeah, at the end of the day I wouldn't recommend rendering in maya anyways, if you're doing normal maps.

Maya tends to wash out textures in the hardware render anyways. Hell, its viewport rendering is better.

03 March 2007, 03:17 AM
first of all, coldkodiak & mashru... thank you very much for all the pointers & help! i very much appreciate all of it! seriously. thanks!

im really starting to think it has to be something between the half of the model, maya's rendering, and/or my video card not being up to snuff. it's just that i ran into similar problems the last time i attempted normal maps so i kind of made a mental checklist of everything & made sure & double checked that everything was set. like the map was tangent, history/transformations/everything were taken care of, everything merged, smoothed, nothing overlapping. setting up normal map to the normal camera (actually that's the only way i thought you could do it...? it seems patchy & muddy if you attach it straight through the bump map slot), hell i tried exporting to new files & working in those? same deal. oh well.

anyway, here's a look of it in the maya viewport:
it's not great but it's not as crap as the software. i'll probably try rebaking the maps, mess with the sampling some (so places like the nose/lips get fixed). also, when i'm up close, it seems a little blotchy. but it works for now. i tried a hardware render in maya but for some reason i couldn't get that to show the normal maps at all. so I guess it's either going to be a screenshot of my maya viewport or something with xnormal. i tried its viewer. i think it'd work ok but i'm just not used to it. need to mess with that some.

also if everything still doesn't work & it comes down to it, the stick i threaten my computer with? would it help if that stick was pointy? :D

seriously though, thanks guys! i appreciate the help! i'll keep messing with it & keep you all posted!


03 March 2007, 03:45 AM
Ah maya problems. For some reason, software render and mentalray in maya hates normal map and needs to be tweaked toget it working decently. Did you try baking in Zbrush/Mudbox and then try baking in maya as well? I read somewhere in polycount that its best to do the baking in maya/max instead of zbrush/mudbox.

Your viewport render seems to be working fine. Did you set up a light when you render? By default, with no lights on, maya render sometimes blown everything to white, while mentalray makes everything shiny and plasticky.

Sorry can't help you much regarding normals. My own entry is actually my first actual attempt at full body game modeling. Good luck.

03 March 2007, 04:12 AM
thanks yung,
i tried baking maps in mudbox (worked very well actually), maya (it crashed, thrice), & xnormal which i've seen people reccommend over a lot of other things. and i tried default lights & got that view, but only on the side. i tried a GI kind of light rig i had set up (the quickest available light config i could import) & it was entirely white, except for the unmapped parts that were black (like the hair) which were a deep, flat grey. lol like the other guys say above, maya's rendering doesn't really like the normal maps, ever, apparently lol

i'm not really upset about the not being able to render thing. i just thought that was what other guys would be doing (or how they were getting some of their work in progress shots) if i can get a decent shot between the maya viewport or xnormal, i'll be happy with it. i mean a game model's gotta run in real time anyway, right?

it's just that normal mapping kind of came on the scene the second i graduated so i've been trying to pick it up on my own but it's all self-taught or bits & pieces here & there so i was unsure if i was doing something wrong or it really is just... yeah...

thanks though! i appreciate the help


03 March 2007, 03:31 PM
xnormal is great :) and it even works better when you import a cage form maya!

For rendering, there are some custom shader networks, but maya 8.5 (8?) supports rendering normalmaps with metnal ray!

I rendered these pictures with maya 8.5 :)

03 March 2007, 03:46 PM
For rendering, there are some custom shader networks, but maya 8.5 (8?) supports rendering normalmaps with metnal ray!

I rendered these pictures with maya 8.5 :)

hey Manuel, does 8.5 show mirrored normals properly? and what custom shaders are you talking about? thanks. btw your entry looks pretty :)

03 March 2007, 10:37 PM
katzeimsack - dig your model (her arms are going to be stiff), despite the fact you're siding with those polycount types...... lol i'd also be interested in knowing about the custom shaders, as right now i'm only operating maya 6 at the moment.

again, another weekend where i intended to do nothing but work but got distracted & ended up not doing much of anything. started texturing & fixing up the head. this is just a demo picture i screencapped out of xnormal. should have included a wireframe, but i didn't think to. it's got 1844 polys in that shot. please note that the textures are just a work in progress, however i'd appreciate any critiques on them. i got the glow working the way i wanted it too, but it seems to be covering up a lot of the detail on the normal map. hmm.

more soon!


03 March 2007, 10:59 PM
I love the lava in the eye wrinkles!

03 March 2007, 04:25 AM
thanks, jogshy! glad you like the lava cracks. xnormal helped me out with those!! thank you!

EDIT - No real images to show as a lot of the work's been UV layout & tweaking normal maps. I'm working straight through the weekend though. I'll start posting images as things progress! more soon! and i look forward to seeing all the bad ass CGS entries! keep up the good work, all!


03 March 2007, 04:51 AM
Just used xNormal today for the first time (for some reaosn or another ZB crappe dout on me at work and I need to find an alternative.) It's really neat, I'll have to fiddle with it some more :)

I really like the way this looks, man. Can't wait to see more.


03 March 2007, 03:04 PM
thanks gavin!! i appreciate it!

here are some updates. after tweaking the normals to an ok-ish state i did a little bit more optimizing as i was still running a bit over. so i got it to where i was happy & they came to 6k even.
also, here's what i was talking about with the claws & blend shapes. pardon the sound effects.
more updates as the weekend progresses!


03 March 2007, 08:52 PM
just a bit of an update. i had some corrupted file issues & had to do some backtracking, which is just great when you've got a deadline. this is an older shot i did earlier this morning. i adjusted the stripes to fit better & the uv's in the claws since. haven't even gotten a chance to even really touch the armor just yet, which is where i wanted a lot of the kick ass detail... yeah.
everyone else's entries are really kicking ass these last couple of days! good luck!
seems like submissions are being posted now. we still have all day tomorrow too though, correct? just to double check lol


03 March 2007, 09:02 PM
Looking cool man. Yep, I think up until 11:59 :D

03 March 2007, 03:06 AM
Face is looking great! Nice glow. Was that done with the glow map? Nice touch with the wolverine claws too. Looks like those could slice through anything =)

03 March 2007, 06:40 AM
thanks guys!! hope to work on it through tomorrow.

armor came along pretty ok. still working on that. trying to give it a smooth, shiny, heat-shield-y sort of ceramic finish. it's ending up a little too pink/red. so i'm going to darken it up/desaturate it some before the final product.

any other suggestions?


03 March 2007, 02:41 PM
ok.... here's a quick question. i'd like to have a clear, high res picture of the character i can use for my beauty render. however maya's got that weird specularity issue & xnormal only seems to screenshot at about 700 x 500.

any idea how to change that/get a nice big image?

a prompt answer would be greatly appreciated! :D


03 March 2007, 04:59 PM
anyone...? :shrug:


03 March 2007, 12:28 AM
You can't get a big render? Mine renders fine. Are you using mental ray?

I've got a quick question for you =) How do you get the orange to glow on your girl so well?? I"m trying to give my guy a glowing ball and shield but I can't figure out how??

03 March 2007, 12:34 AM
i'm using maya 6, valri & it's been giving me problems. i worked despite it but i'm stuck with doing that now. i going to try some custom shaders that might work better for it.

the glow was from Xnormal. the color map is orange/yellow, the spec is yellow & the glow is kind of salmon colored. that's not showing up in maya for me though, just xnormal. but i can't get more than a medium sized pic from that. good luck with yours valri!

so i'm trying to rush & make the deadline. it's not so much about winning now, but just finishing lol good luck to everyone!


03 March 2007, 01:19 AM
Ahh I see. I'm using Maya 8 so it works great with normal maps. If you wanted to send me your scene somehow I coudl render it for you? Hmm dont think that'll work with only two hours left. If you dont find anything else that works we could always try that. Anyways I'm sure all the files would be way too huge anyway! Dang... well good luck with it.

Never heard of XNormal? The glow does look great though. Hope you get a finished product in time!

03 March 2007, 03:44 AM
thanks for the offer valri, but i'm sure you have your own submission to worry about too. that & with my slow connection, it would of made it that much longer. i ended up just doing it through xnormal & adjusting it a little. it ended up being a little pixelated but the model still looked better than the shot i was getting out of maya.
thank you very much for the offer though!

so i submitted... just in now... just under the wire! whew! i don't think it's much of a winner but it feels good to complete it.

:thumbsup: here's to everyone at cg society for all their help & encouragement! thanks very much to those who stopped by & gave an opinion or some tips/pointers! i really hope there's a dw3!


03 March 2007, 03:55 AM

winning pose

beauty shots

construction shots


concept art


03 March 2007, 05:40 PM
Very nice! I love the glows!
Add some shadows and finish ftw!

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