View Full Version : Uplift Universe - Image Entry: Paul Forwood

03 March 2008, 04:52 PM
Paul Forwood is entered in the "Uplift Universe Challenge" update: View Challenge Page (

Latest Update: Final Image: Final final (

04 April 2008, 09:49 PM (

One of several concepts. This one inspired by "Sundiver" which I am reading at the moment.

04 April 2008, 10:08 PM (

The Pizzari race decide to uplift a human to a new level of conciousness and risk probation in the process. It is all an unfortunate misunderstanding.

Something along these lines might be more fun but I am rather slow in getting started and I have to learn XSI yet. Not sure which one to go for yet but I think I will start on a Waldo model.

John Keates
04 April 2008, 09:44 AM
Nice work! Your two concepts are both very different but I like them both. I would suggest going for the more simple option... although I'm not sure which that would be. Maybe if you simplified the pizza one then it would be more of a sure fire bet as you wouldn't have to work out how to make the etherial space thing (behind the dolphins).

04 April 2008, 09:52 AM
I will never call Domino's again!!! Seriously though, I like the Pizza concept it's a fun one.

04 April 2008, 10:14 AM
I like the crazy pizza one; its great. Looking forward to seeing more. Good luck.

04 April 2008, 06:50 AM
Pizza concept is great. :beer:

Looking forward to see more.


04 April 2008, 05:02 PM (

I thought that my Pizzari concept was a bit weak so I started playing with other concepts but did a few more on this theme first. Here is just one more.
John Keates:
Nice work! Your two concepts are both very different but I like them both. I would suggest going for the more simple option... although I'm not sure which that would be. Maybe if you simplified the pizza one then it would be more of a sure fire bet as you wouldn't have to work out how to make the etherial space thing (behind the dolphins).

Thanks, John. Yeah. I have to pick something that I can realistically achieve in 30 days. I'll start modelling the guy and see how quickly I can pick up XSI. (nervous)

I will never call Domino's again!!! Seriously though, I like the Pizza concept it's a fun one.

Ha! The Pizzari are hot and spicey creatures! Ask Domino's to put one on their menu. ;)
I'm pleased you like the concept but Iwas having trouble visualizing a pleasing palette. I want the image to have touch of 1950s sci-fi to it. When I have modelled the man I will have a better idea of what I want to do with him and the pizza fiasco is still a possibility. Thanks.

RupertD and Torsten, thank you very much!

04 April 2008, 05:04 PM (

I tried changing from Pizzaris to Coneheads:

04 April 2008, 05:05 PM (

And another:

04 April 2008, 05:07 PM (

Then I decided to stick to David Brin's characters from Sundiver:

04 April 2008, 05:09 PM (

A situation but not from the book:

04 April 2008, 05:12 PM (

This is meant to represent a moment shortly after Jeff, the chimp, is introduced in Sundiver:

04 April 2008, 05:14 PM (

The following two concepts are more symbolic than direct interpretations of events which occured in the book:

04 April 2008, 05:19 PM (

Now there are just 30 days left and I still have to learn XSI, model, texture, rig, pose, compose, and light one of these.
I must be mad! Wish me luck!

I will make a decision about which concept to follow and start modelling tonight.

04 April 2008, 07:44 PM
Great thread, i like your b+w sketches. Good luck learning xsi

04 April 2008, 02:26 AM
Thanks for the kind words, Handlebar!

I have started to model a man's head for my first XSI model. I am a complete rookie with XSI but I'm really enjoying working with it so far. This model started life as a 4x4x4 cube.

04 April 2008, 02:31 AM (

Starting to get used to the interface and a few of the modelling tools.

John Keates
04 April 2008, 09:30 AM
Good going Paul!! You seem to be picking up modelling very fast which is a reliefe.

04 April 2008, 11:50 PM (
Thanks, John. I haven't even scratched the surface of what XSI can do. I am going to watch some of the XSI tutorial videos to help me find my way.

Didn't get the chance to do much more than tweak the head today. I hope for better results tomorrow.

04 April 2008, 09:52 AM
I've never had much luck with 3d programs, so I really do wish you the best of luck! Good start I don't think I'd ever be able to do anything like that (I have no patience) :D

04 April 2008, 09:56 PM
Hey Paul, really cool your concept about pizzari race hahahaha, cool!! Like your other concepts too :) Good look with your XSi work flow process, and be very interesting to see all your development on your concept. Again nice work and looking forward for more updates!! Cheers mate!! :beer:

04 April 2008, 12:11 AM (

Not much progress today. I've been going around in circles a little as I try to pick up XSI. I keep thinking that I understand how to do something and then trip up again. It's a good thing that I learn from my mistakes...eventually.
@ Pearlyking: I can but try. Thanks for the encouragement!
Your painting turned out exceptionally well. Best of luck with the voting!
@ Ferx: Thanks for the thumbs up. Much appreciated.

04 April 2008, 01:09 PM (

Added some basic hands. I will add more detail to this guy later. I need to take some time to learn a bit about rigging and texturing in XSI now.

04 April 2008, 02:00 PM
I haven't posted in a while because I have been trying to learn a bit about texturing and hair in XSI. I hope to get back to modelling really soon now that I have a "very basic" understanding of how to use the UV Editor and am getting a little faster with the way XSI hierarchies work. The more I use this software the more excited I get about the possibilities.

04 April 2008, 02:08 PM (

Just learning the basics at the moment and hope to be getting back to adding some more details to this model really soon.

04 April 2008, 02:11 PM (

I am about to adjust the facial features, skin tone and hair of this character to show more of his Cherokee ancestory, (I hope). As you can see I am just taking baby steps at the moment. All of this is just temporary while I learn the tools.

John Keates
04 April 2008, 06:01 PM
Coming allong well paul!

I would suggest that you start getting your teeth into the fast skin shader. It can help produce some nice results and it might also come in handy for the pizza.

04 April 2008, 07:28 PM
Yeah, I was messing with the Fast Skin Shader last night but I need to play some more. There may not be time. I'm trying to understand the hierarchy. I keep losing my textures because something that I am doing is overriding them.

I think I'll put texturing on the back burner for a day or two and get on with some modeling again before I forget what I have learned.

John Keates
04 April 2008, 08:31 PM
You know that the textures are a part of the material, so if you change to a skin shader, you have to plug the images into it?

But yes, maybe you are better off getting some more modelling done for now.

04 April 2008, 10:23 PM
Looks great Paul! Your kicken fanny for a first time xsi user. If you need any help just give me shout. I've been using xsi for a couple of years now. Great concept. You'll need to find the pepperoni shader for though the pizza, it's kind of buried in the menu. LOL Anyway's keep up the awesome work. BradPaul Forwood is entered in the "Uplift Universe Challenge" update: View Challenge Page (

Latest Update: Work In Progress: Learning XSI Texturing and Materials 2 (

04 April 2008, 12:24 PM
John, thanks again. I took some time to play with the Render Tree to get a better idea about mixing textures and materials in XSI. I could spend weeks just trying different approaches in there. It is quite amazing. I'm still only on the first step of the ladder however and not getting exactly what I am after. The image in the next post is just an early attempt to add some SSS into the mix via the Fast Skin Shader. It is still overriding my texture map at the moment but with more play time I'm sure that I can get closer to the effect that I am after. Not sure that I will be using SSS yet in the final image. I will test it again later. Cheers. :)

Sasquatch70, (Brad), thank you so much for your comments. Much appreciated! Thank you also for the offer of guidance. If I get stuck I will give you a shout. Your XSI skill is really coming out in your amazing entry. Keep it up. :)

04 April 2008, 12:29 PM (

Just a first attempt at mixing SSS, texture map and bump map with the Render Tree. My first use of the Render Tree infact.

John Keates
04 April 2008, 12:41 PM
Looking good Paul! The sss effect is quite heavy there which is cool if you want that look but if you want to change the general effect then the best way is by changing the scale in the advanced properties tab.

Good luck.

04 April 2008, 07:47 PM (

Thanks for the tip, John!

I have decided to leave SSS out of the mix just for the moment. I will consider using it later, when I get around to building the composition. For the past couple of days I have just been getting to know the Render Tree and getting a better understanding of hair in XSI. I am so impressed with almost everything in XSI, and I keep going off at tangents, exploring features rather than getting on with my entry. Hence, nothing much to show. I have made some small adjustments to this model's head to make him more Cherokee like in appearance.

Though I am not really happy with the pizza concept I have decided to stick with it because of time constraints and lack of a more compelling idea. Next jobs: Retexture this model and make Pizzari #1.

05 May 2008, 02:05 AM (

Just when I think I am moving I get sidetracked and lose my way in XSI. Time is running out! My entry is hardly even started and I haven't even looked at rigging yet let alone built the other models! I better start running soon.

05 May 2008, 03:04 AM (

Still not much progress with my entry as I have been trying some rigging in XSI. I haven't done any weighting yet.

The uploader says that there are 9 days, 9 hours, 9minutes and 39 seconds until the deadline. (What a coincidence). So much to know and do and so little time! Ahhhh!

I have been making lots of mistakes as I stumble my way up this mountain so that hopefully means I'm learning something.:banghead:

05 May 2008, 03:07 AM (

Just starting version one of a Pizzari character. More tomorrow.

05 May 2008, 12:53 AM (

Not much chance to work on this today so just a few more details for this model.

05 May 2008, 05:40 AM
Hey Paul, you are making a great work for your first shot with XSI :D Love the pizzari model, cool face with nice design and appel, really cool! :D Keep the great work !! Cheers mate :beer:

05 May 2008, 07:06 PM (

Lots to do on this yet. The textures are just place holders.

Ferx, thanks so much for the support. Much appreciated.

John Keates
05 May 2008, 07:25 PM
Hi Paul, Great to see progress.

I love your pizza character. Maybe he could be a little more extreme though? At the moment, his facial expression is a little neutral. You could lower his brow a little and pull the corners of his mouth down more to get more of a grimace.

05 May 2008, 08:45 PM
Thanks, John.This is a neutral pose for this guy. I will be rigging and posing him and his mate and they will indeed be extreme poses. They will also look more like aliens with a remarkable resemblance to pizzas rather than pizzas on legs.

John Keates
05 May 2008, 08:56 PM
Ah yes, I thought maybe you were going to rig the faces. I have yet to try blend-shape type stuff in XSI.

05 May 2008, 09:56 PM
The faces will be rigged.:)

05 May 2008, 09:50 AM
Your sketchs are very nice.I think the specular is too strong in your SSS shade,you can paint the map to control the range of specular separately, it's only my option.good luck.

05 May 2008, 12:54 PM
Thank you, LiZhu. Yes, I will paint some specular maps... if I have time. ;)

05 May 2008, 11:57 PM (

Oh dear. I'm falling well behind now.
I have been struggling with rigging, weighting and posing in XSI. I'm just not picking it up fast enough to get on with my image.
Anyway this update is just another very minor one. Still no face rig.

05 May 2008, 09:42 AM
:thumbsup: Hilarious concept you have! haha. look forward to your final piece soon. goodluck pal!

John Keates
05 May 2008, 10:52 AM
Hi Paul,

Great to see that you got that guy moving.

If I were you, I would skip the face rigging and just model the face to look how you want. It is only a still image after all. Or, if you are confident, you could make a blend shape but just make the one, so you don't have to make loads and then combine them.

His green clothes look a bit flat... often, XSI automatically puts some ambient on shaders so maybe it is still on there?

05 May 2008, 11:07 AM
@ Cobaltblue - Thank you very much for the encouragement. I'm hoping that I don't offend any Italians with this ITalien.

@ John Keates - Thanks, John. These are still just basic stand-in textures but I take your point. I may well have to resort to just modelling the expressions but having spent so much time trying to understand rigging with the biped guide rig I feel inclined to continue with it. If necessary I can always build a simple basic rig, not suitable for animating but good enough to pose this guy, and that would be very quick.

Anyway, I have other things to model first.

05 May 2008, 05:41 PM (

Desperately running out of time and panicing, because I wasn't able to learn rigging, weighting and animating basics in XSI fast enough,I tried to compose an image by just manipulating my models. Obviously I need more time to understand and appreciate the amazing toolset in XSI. I knew when I took the challenge that I was unlikely to achieve exactly what I wanted first time round with any software so I am not too disappointed. I enjoyed the challenge never-the-less and have learned a great deal about the XSI powerhouse. Thank you to CGTalk for the challenge, to all the sponsors for the bait, Softimage for the chance to play with some very cool software and of course to David Brin for the inspiration and his Uplift Universe. ( I read Sundiver during this challenge and intend to read the rest of the series now). Thanks also to everyone who offered encouragement and advice. I should also give credit to Douglas Adams for his crazy, "anything's possible", view of the universe.
Actually, I notice that I still have about 18 hours left so maybe I can find some time to improve my entry.

I need to find the FTP address first and make certain that my FTP software is functioning.


05 May 2008, 03:36 AM (

In an infinite universe full of diverse life forms there is plenty of scope for misunderstanding. This image is just a bit of fun depicting the outrage and disgust felt by a member of the Pizzari race who has mistaken an earthman's meal for one of his own kind.

Unfortunately I didn't manage to finish modelling all of the other elements for the image so I have just had to make do with these half finished models and no rigging. The textures and the poses were not final either so the whole thing is not really final at all. Just as final as I could make it before the deadline. I wish that I could at least replace that pizza but I am right out of time. Well, at least I had something to submit as final and have learned alot about XSI over the past few weeks.
Once again, thank you to all the organisers and all the cheerleaders.

05 May 2008, 06:10 AM
Hey Paul, nice image!! Think that you has done a incredible work in your first experience with XSI :) The expressions for the man and the pizzari are really great and you have a cool "L" composition. You can be proud of the work done :thumbsup: Congrats mate!! And time for beer and a big bottle of tequila!! Cheers mate!! :beer:

05 May 2008, 06:55 AM
Hey Paul well done - and a pity you ran out of time, obviously you have a day job. ;) Crazy off the wall concept which I like a lot... and the name change on your guys chest from XSI to Uplift is a nice touch! So cheers :beer: see you in the next challenge!

05 May 2008, 11:03 AM
Congrats on finishing your entry. :beer:

Hope to see you in the next challenge as well.


05 May 2008, 12:33 PM
wow, too bad there isn't much time. This pic is really funny ^^

05 May 2008, 01:34 PM
Ferx - Thanks, mate! I'm definitely going for that cold beer tonight.

RupertD - Much appreciated! Hopefully I will be there in the next crazy image extravaganza. See you there.

Russel-Nash - Thanks, Torsten. I'll be there in some form, large or small.

Pegahoul - Thanks for the kind words!

05 May 2008, 07:05 PM
Great job finishing Paul! Loving that pizza :D

John Keates
05 May 2008, 11:18 PM
Congrats for finishing Paul. Beer well deserved.

05 May 2008, 01:49 AM
Wow! If this was your first time in XSI then I am super impressed with what you've managed. I love your idea too :thumbsup:

05 May 2008, 01:16 PM
@Pearlyking - Thanks for your support, oh, regal one.

@JohnKeates - Thanks, John! Your tips helped me get a handle on XSI throughout the challenge. Thanks for prompting me to enter the challenge too. :)

@mdavid - Thanks, Mark! It has certainly been a learning experience. And it goes on.

As there are still several weeks of learning time with the XSI trial, before it expires, I have decided to continue work on this image as an excercise. Obviously the final images are all in now so any changes to my models or the composition will not affect my final image entry.

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