XM Magdalena 3D print, GGeorgy (3D)
LC #42 Pipers Alley

View Full Version : 2010 Reel/Models - Please Critique

05-08-2010, 04:28 AM
Hi there. I'm currently working on a new demo reel that will hopefully help me to a get a job somewhere in the industry, specifically films or even games. I would love a critique on the models so I am posting images of them as well as the reel for critique. For the bass guitar it's done entirely in nurbs, which isn't something I do too often, but for it I'm really looking for feedback on the lighting and the textures. This isn't a huge focus on my reel so that is why I put it on the end just to kind of show that I can do some texture and lighting work. If you feel it is unnecessary or that it should be improved definitely voice your opinion on the matter. I'm working primarily in Maya, and Zbrush. Also, the cartoon guy. Should I leave the textures off? Room for improvement on them? I look forward to having this reel ripped apart, so that I can better myself as an artist. Thank you all for your time.

Click here (http://www.vimeo.com/10696440) for the reel.








Thanks again.


05-08-2010, 03:44 PM
For the guitar scene I think the textures are basic but work well. The lighting looks very simple. I would suggest that you try to make the image look more natural with the lighting. I use area/soft lights many times, that might give you a more dynamic lighting image (or softer shadows). Everything just seems too evenly lit. You could try to texture your scenes after you light them. That may also help with getting the textures to look even better.

The models are well made. Good work on that part.

05-08-2010, 04:27 PM

The models look great, but I think you keep them in the 'turntable' mode for much too long. I'd keep it for a full 360 deg. 3 times, one and a half turn in high res, one and a half in wireframe. I personally think its enough.

The background for the turntables was a bit distracting to me, especially the old man. Keep them really simple, look at other modelling reels, see what they've done - and make notes.

Also, try and keep text static. The scrolling text saying what each models are is a bit 'unprofessional' in my opinion. Have yourself a good font, and keep it simple - I find the green to be a bit 'off', doesn't look right somehow.

If you can rigg the cartoon character - it will help you immensely, and put him in a really cool dynamic pose. The generic standing pose (along with the 'T' shape pose) does nothing at all for me.

The title card should be simple as well. I'm not a fan of animated title cards, I don't think they work - so I'd get rid of the 'flash' type effect you have on it, and take your time to create something that looks good, is clear, and will look professional. Keep it simple. I'm not too sure what the squiggle at the top right of the title card is?

Keep up the good work! And I hope the comments will help a wee bit?
- Iest

05-08-2010, 05:15 PM
Hmmm I'm going to have to be the little voice of dissent here, as I think your models all need quite a bit of work. To preface my critique, I'll state that entry level character artist positions are few are far between, and as such, you need to be really good to snag one of those jobs. Alternatively, you should try broadening your portfolio quite a bit and sell yourself simply as a modeller for now, leaving the character specialisation until you have more experience under your belt.

Also, on a purely reel-related note, your turntables tended to go on too long. This was especially true of the cartoon model - he turned and turned and turned. Two turns is probably sufficient. Remember, people watching your reel can pause and scrub back and forth if they want to see details. Your reel is also lacking in variety - you need to show more models than you've currently got.

Moving to the models themselves, I feel your anatomy needs quite a bit of improvement. The body builder, in particular, has some anatomy issues. I feel his arms are too short, his back and feet have issues, his posed body overall lacks necessary tension in his muscles, and his face is very unrealistic. It looks cartoonish compared to the body. The same goes for the old man's face; it's not very realistic, and needs quite a lot of work to really nail the musculature of the face, as well as the subtle details that convey the nature of the flesh above. Bear in mind that realistic human modelling is difficult and you should expect it to take years to fully master. I'd recommend you study the work of exceptional character modellers like Kris Costa and Rod Seffen, compare your work to theirs, and from there, gain an idea of where you need to improve. As always, keeping plenty of real life reference is essential as well, along with anatomy books. I'll assume you probably have some of this already, but perhaps following it a little more closely and carefully is in order.

The guitar model is okay, but not really "wow!", if you know what I mean. I think it's a good thing to show that you can do hard surface models, but in addition to including a bit more of this type of work in your portfolio, I also feel this model could have been improved somewhat. Parts of the headstock lacked smoothness, and the hardware (machine heads, pickups, bridge, control knobs) could have been a lot more detailed. You should also show the wound details of the strings (using displacement). The machine heads are also very small for a bass, and you have slack between the nut and the heads, which wouldn't happen in reality. I'm not sure if you're a musician yourself - if not, and you don't understand what I am talking about, let me know and I'll clarify.

Texturing and lighting don't seem to be your strong points, and fair enough, they're disciplines on their own which require a lot of attention and work to master; however in this case I feel your textures should be discarded entirely, and you should stick to clay renders or simply but attractive lighting setups. Your current lighting is actually doing more harm than good. Lighting isn't just there to provide shadows - it's an artistic tool on its own to make your models look lovely, and in your case, it's having the opposite effect because the lighting is very dull and uninspired. Experiment with clay rendering, and consider rendering a specular pass just to liven things up. The point is that unless you can do something well, don't do it. Poor quality texturing and lighting can ruin otherwise decent models. If you're applying for work as a modeller, stick with modelling. There's really nothing wrong with that.

It's clear that you have a good foundation for modelling, I feel you just need to push yourself a bit more to tighten up your anatomy knowledge and your overall attention to detail. Good luck.

05-08-2010, 07:29 PM
+1 on everything leigh said. If you want to be a good character modeler its all about proportion and silhouette first, then once you have nailed that it comes down to anatomy and topology. I feel like your getting a little lost in the details, focusing on all the muscle too much. I would put a flat shader on your weightlifter and really look at his proportions and form. Always be looking at references. A modeler can never have enough reference.

Also drop down the bump on the weightlifter as well, its really strong and makes it look more like concrete not skin.

05-08-2010, 08:29 PM
Here are the other models. I hate to wait for this thread to be posted before I could post these. Here is the Bust.




Thank you for your critiques on him.


05-08-2010, 08:30 PM
The cartoony guy.




Thank you.


05-08-2010, 08:32 PM
And the Bass.





That's all of them. Thank you again for your critiques and the ones on the anatomy thus far.


05-08-2010, 08:40 PM
Ha a little slow on my part getting the rest of these images up. I thank you all for your critiques thus far. I agree with everything said and will take it all to heart.

Leigh I am familiar as a musician with the construction of a bass and have been using my own bass for reference, as well as the Carl Thompson bass's that this is based off. Even still I'm not sure I understand when you mention slack between the nut and the heads. Could you please clarify?

I also think it is a good idea to include some more models. I'm curious, should I bother with a vehicle or are vehicles overdone? Maybe a vehicle that isn't over used, or perhaps a concept car of some sort?

Once again I appreciate the critique thus far and any further comments that you all may have now that I've got the other images up. I may go back and totally redo the displacements once I have a better grasp on the base model as far as proportion and silhouette. Thanks again Leigh for this opportunity :)


05-08-2010, 09:10 PM
I agree with what leigh said. I would like to add that you should drop the bass and the cartoon guy. The bass is a prop and doesn't really belong on a character modeling reel. If you want to demonstrate your prop modeling abilities, you should just add props to your characters. I can appreciate you putting the cartoon guy in to demonstrate a different style. But it looks like a model an animator or someone very new to modeling might make. You should try to put things that are going to impress employers that demonstrate your modeling ability. For the turn tables, try not to be redundant. There's no need to have something rotate three times if it looks the same each time. Employers can just scrub through it if they want to see it rotate again. So instead, you could maybe rotate once textured, once untextured, and once wire frame. Also it might be beneficial to texture one of your human models to demonstrate your texturing abilities.
Hope that helps. Good luck!

05-08-2010, 11:06 PM
Leigh I am familiar as a musician with the construction of a bass and have been using my own bass for reference, as well as the Carl Thompson bass's that this is based off. Even still I'm not sure I understand when you mention slack between the nut and the heads. Could you please clarify?


Hopefully this image should show what I mean. Some of your strings are slack between the nut and the machine heads. This would never happen on your bass - they should be absolutely tight, straightened by the tension. As for the rest of the body, you should definitely double-check your refs. The machine heads are definitely too small for a bass, and as I mentioned before, your hardware requires a lot more detailing.

DoctorMonkeyFist's suggestion about adding props to your models is a really good idea. If you want to have the bass in your reel, make a muso to go with it.

05-08-2010, 11:44 PM
Oh ok I got you, you meant the strings were slack. Yeah you're absolutely right they could be tightened some more. Which hardware in particular needs to be detailed? Just the machine heads? You mentioned the knobs and the pickups too I believe. I'm not sure which detail they are missing. I appreciate the clarification and the paint-overs. I actually considered making a musician to play the bass. It's a good idea. Maybe to replace the cartoony character, but DoctorMonkeyFist was right, I wanted to show a different style of character for a more cartoony type of company. Dually noted.

I also wanted to ask for some clarification on the weight lifter and bust's faces. Leigh you mentioned they were unrealistic and I was just wondering what about them makes them seem unrealistic and in which direction I should go towards making them more realistic. Is it the wrinkles, the expressions, something about the eyes maybe? Thanks.


05-09-2010, 12:02 AM
Oh ok I got you, you meant the strings were slack. Yeah you're absolutely right they could be tightened some more. Which hardware in particular needs to be detailed? Just the machine heads? You mentioned the knobs and the pickups too I believe. I'm not sure which detail they are missing.

For one thing, the bridge looks really plain. Now, I'm not really familiar with this particular bass - is it something like the Les Claypool model? Yours is quite similar. If so, I've looked through a couple of images now and found a variety of different bridges on them. I'm assuming you're using this particular model as a reference?


If so, that is an unusual bridge design that I'm not familiar with, and it is actually very plain, but it's still got some detail to its shape, it's not simply a rectangular block. Also, compared to this, your model is very flat, whereas the reference has a lot of bevelling and soft edges, along the cutaways and edge of the body. Your control knobs look very plain - this reference image shows some grooves along the knobs. Even if the one you were using as a ref was plain, consider adding details like this simply to make the image look more interesting. The goes for the pickups.

I also wanted to ask for some clarification on the weight lifter and bust's faces. Leigh you mentioned they were unrealistic and I was just wondering what about them makes them seem unrealistic and in which direction I should go towards making them more realistic. Is it the wrinkles, the expressions, something about the eyes maybe? Thanks.

I mainly felt that the heads looked cartoonish. I'm no modelling expert, so it's hard to find the right terms to critique your model, but particular areas which trouble me are the mouth, cheeks and eyes. They just look unrealistic, they lack fleshiness. Getting a fleshy look to your models is definitely one of the more challenging aspects of facial modelling.

For the mouth, pay particular attention to the corners of the mouths, as real humans have a subtle plumpness in this area. Their lips also look flat and are lacking this fleshiness. Likewise, the areas around the eyes look very CG, because they look like wet clay that's add lines cut into it, instead of natural folds of skin.

The cheeks don't give the impression of cheek bones with muscle lying over them. This problem is particularly bad on the old man's face, as his cheeks look a bit like leather hanging over something, as opposed to flesh above muscle and bone.

The sculpting on the old man's forehead looks a bit rushed and unrealistic too, and his chin looks a bit strange and too symmetrical.

Did you work according to references? It would help if you posted your refs, so we can compare them.

The bump map on the old man's face is also far too strong. It makes his skin look very hard, whereas the skin of old people is actually very soft.

05-09-2010, 12:12 AM
You gotta hit the 'P' key in zbrush for perspective. You should never show a character in orthographic mode. Your old guy's face is lacking structure and musculature. The bodybuilder has proportions that arnt working. When you are doing a face, a little to the left, or to the right and you have a goon. To sell stuff you need a correct face, then an attractive face,... then a face with character, its a lot of work.

I can see by your anatomy that there are big areas you are not sure about, the first being the back of your models. The old guy has one cord at the back of his neck while there are two for example. The shoulder blades on the builder are not really right and they arnt connecting to anything, anywhere. The volumes and folds of the muscles are pretty uniform and they are not very convincing yet. You have sprayed some noise on the bodybuilder but detail wont change the base. Also noise varies greatly over the body. Your feet, hands, elbows, knees, all need work. Do loads of quick studies to help get orientated. You have some good stuff in there as well, keep going.

05-09-2010, 12:21 AM
Hey, been a while.

My only critique without echoing other people is that your cartoon character lacks style and personality, but this might just be a 'my opinion' thing. Those two traits are just something that comes with time and practice, so I assume you haven't done too many cartoons.

I also agree with Leigh about your weight lifter's face, I think it's the smile and shape of the head that puts it off.

Hope this helps :)

07-03-2010, 11:08 PM
Hey sorry I haven't kept up on this. I honestly appreciate everyones comments, so I'm not like avoiding you guys or anything lol. But I have made quite a few of the changes. I'm sorry Leigh I didn't make the machine heads a bit smaller on the bass *cringe* I didn't think it would be too big of a thing, but I did make the strings tighter and I went with flat wound strings rather than the usual round. Perhaps I should have mentioned that somewhere in the reel as well...oh well there is always more room for improvement. But I did make a list of what I agreed with and what was just a good idea overall from what everyone said and made changes. Yeah the weight lifters face and head are still off, but I think the overall muscle/bone structure/anatomy is a little better.

Yeah Virtualistic your spot on lol. They focused so much on making life like characters we didn't really focus a lot on cartoony characters. I'm amazed at how difficult it is to get a character to look simplistic yet aesthetically pleasing! I am working on a couple of other cartoony characters for a friend to do some animation with. I'm hoping they will turn out better. This farmer guy was my first attempt at it. As far as the weight lifter I just need to redo his whole head and then stick it on. It is kind of bugging me.

But yeah thanks a lot guys and I hope to post some more stuff here in the future. Any further critiques on my revised reel would be much appreciated :)

New reel here (http://www.cj3d.net).


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