Creature Pipeline Used Today

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  01 January 2014
Creature Pipeline Used Today

Just curious as what is the norm for creating creatures for films, today.

Basically, do most folks model first (subdivisions) then sculpt onto that, or skip the subdivision modeling altogether and just sculpt the model and deal with topology later?

Thanks.

Bob
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  01 January 2014
If you're creating a creature from scratch, I'd say you're barking mad if you go for topology before you've done the sculpt - but if it gets the job done, then that's all that matters.

There are times you'll have a topology in place and then do the sculpt, though. Often times digi doubles will use a pre made base mesh, or if you have variants on a creature (male/female, old/young etc), there's a decent chance you'll use the same mesh for all creatures.
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  01 January 2014
I'm glad someone asked this.

Quote: If you're creating a creature from scratch, I'd say you're barking mad if you go for topology before you've done the sculpt - but if it gets the job done, then that's all that matters


Guess I'm crazy. When I started my most recent project it was a deliberate choice... though I wasn't sure of the proper way either. I kinda like old-school subdivision modeling. Though I've done it the other way too and I know the topology is much cleaner if you sculpt first.
 
  01 January 2014
Topology is very important.


Of course, a more informed opinion is welcome. But in our experience, there's a lot of re-work if a mesh doesn't have good Topology plan to begin with.
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  01 January 2014
These days I go as far as even using the same mesh for men and women.
No need to constantly re-invent the wheel once you have a good topology in place.

Generally I feel more comfortable in sub-d modelers, so that´s where I lay out all proportions and topo before sculpting.

I know a few geniuses who do everything from scratch in ZB, and even the final retopo. Unthinkable for me.

I suppose in the end it really depends on your personal preferences. When you know what you´re doing either way will produce the same results in the same time.

So there, you have two opposing ways as replies ;-)
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  01 January 2014
Originally Posted by CB_3D: These days I go as far as even using the same mesh for men and women.
No need to constantly re-invent the wheel once you have a good topology in place.


This is EXACTLY what I'm talking about. Every battle should be won before it is ever fought.
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  01 January 2014
Base mesh from where-ever (depends on artist) -> Sculpt <-> Retopo -> onwards
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Last edited by axiomatic : 01 January 2014 at 08:18 AM.
 
  01 January 2014
It depends on the case, but for creatures these days the largest majority of the time you start from some version of the concept sculpt to then work on topology.
The notion that you have to start from the topology for it to be right later on is absurd, and I'm not sure what people think they'd get out of it that they wouldn't get by working the other way around.
That's without even considering that for a decent resolution at sculpt level you need to topo for the sculpt several times before you can take care of the rigging and surfacing topology anyway, making a base topo pointless as it'll get discarded minutes into the process.

You take whatever route gets you all the assets done the quickest and the cheapest with the right quality threshold while hitting the various milestones.
If maquette style concept is one of the stages that almost always inevitably leads to the sculpt being at the bottom of the process stash.
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  01 January 2014
Originally Posted by axiomatic: Base mesh from where-ever (depends on artist) -> Sculpt <-> Retopo -> onwards


Very timely thread in our case. We have two meshes: One where we had quite a bit of pre-planned topology (which of course I'm happy with), and another character that was prototyped in an external sculpting app and I wasn't too crazy about because the mesh was SO dense when it came back.

We're sending that one to re-topo.

So I'll probably be able to say which experience was positive or if both were about the same.
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  01 January 2014
Originally Posted by LordMcGoat: If you're creating a creature from scratch, I'd say you're barking mad if you go for topology before you've done the sculpt - but if it gets the job done, then that's all that matters.


I think this is a good point to make as the thread title is 'creature' pipeline, and several of the replies seemed to be more character(humanoid)-oriented

Personally, I find it a lot more intuitive to retopo after the sculpt. Invariably, creatures will be quadruped, insectoid, alien, fantasy dragon, etc... and having to pre-plan topology in advance to create what is, essentially, anatomy that will have to be improvised to some degree, and still work for animation, is not an easy task. It's much more artist-friendly to create a base armature in Zbrush that can be pushed and pulled to your hearts content without having the restriction of existing topology that is a pain to change once in place.

Of course there are still 'sub-D genius' types out there....but not as many as there used to be
 
  01 January 2014
Originally Posted by musashidan: I think this is a good point to make as the thread title is 'creature' pipeline, and several of the replies seemed to be more character(humanoid)-oriented



Well in REVERSION, the creature was done Topology first. But I guess this is where the ART of the thing comes in.



As for whether Creatures/Humanoids qualify for this conversation, I always viewed all Organic Modeling and Rigging as sort of "under the same umbrella".
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  01 January 2014
Originally Posted by CGIPadawan: Well in REVERSION, the creature was done Topology first. But I guess this is where the ART of the thing comes in.



As for whether Creatures/Humanoids qualify for this conversation, I always viewed all Organic Modeling and Rigging as sort of "under the same umbrella".


I sincerely don't mean for this to sound abrasive, but the frequency with which you use your own short film (always named in all-caps too?) as an example to make a point about common workflows is a little counter productive as it's a sample of one. It's not that you're not welcome to share your view, as indeed the sharing of experiences is how we help one another, but it's more a case of being careful to avoid making broad, generalised statements based off one experience; while you obviously mean well in your intentions, your posts may potentially mislead someone who doesn't consider your example as a single experience in the broader scheme of things, which is an all too easy mistake to make.

That aside, what exactly do you mean by "the ART of the thing"?
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  01 January 2014
Originally Posted by CGIPadawan:
As for whether Creatures/Humanoids qualify for this conversation, I always viewed all Organic Modeling and Rigging as sort of "under the same umbrella".


In relation to views stated above, I feel a distinction should be made; at least in the context of re-using existing topology. It is perfectly understandable in the case of humans. Not so, for obvious reasons, where multi-limbed/head/eyed/winged/tailed creatures with varying numbers of digits are concerned.
 
  01 January 2014
Originally Posted by ThE_JacO: The notion that you have to start from the topology for it to be right later on is absurd, and I'm not sure what people think they'd get out of it that they wouldn't get by working the other way around.


People have different ways of doing stuff. I know you have a pedigree and production experience I can only dream of, but I´ve seen both ways work just fine.

From a design POV it absolutely DOES make sense to define form, proportions and silouette before going into detail work.

Now of course when you start out with a human and want o play around, add more limbs...horns...hooves...whatever...yeah, you will re-topo or rebuild in the end.

Same for a Lovecraftian monster. In that case I actually might go your way, pure sculpting and final retopo.

As I said, nothing is carved in stone and there are several ways to skin a cat.

And certainly there´s no need for "absurd" and similar adjectives. We´re talking about ways to make puppets, man. We´re not talking religion or ending world-hunger here, so no need for disrespect.
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  01 January 2014
Originally Posted by musashidan: In relation to views stated above, I feel a distinction should be made; at least in the context of re-using existing topology. It is perfectly understandable in the case of humans. Not so, for obvious reasons, where multi-limbed/head/eyed/winged/tailed creatures with varying numbers of digits are concerned.


Good point, and indeed I was referring to generic stuff like hhumans, canine/feline etc.

But even in your example (multi limbed etc) I´d argue that a good idea begins on paper in scribbles and doesn´t change drastically in the creation process.

Hey, I´m just now getting into re-mesher, so I might eat my words in the near future.

Were I to work in vfx and creatures (let´s say under TheJaco´s supervision, lol) probably I´d go that route after sweating through a few drastic design iterations.
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