Recent Works / Status Report


#1

This is just a horrible image to start with…


Testing out some modeling techniques. Draw a stroke, hold down shift to smooth one side of that stroke and blend away it’s edge…

I thought a Plane3D would be the cleanest thing to test on, and all ZBrush experiments eventually become humanoid – I think it’s a law.

This was also my first straight render out of ZBrush. I’ve always exported to Max for rendering before. As such, there were new challenges to address. Got the perspective working and some nice materials (the skin and lighting is one of Sokar’s at default settings, the eyes are just chrome). Was happy at the time with how it came out, but just one image later, I can’t even look at that.

I lost the original ZTool somehow and only have the OBJ export. Quite disappointed there – I had a fun experiment to run with that in Max, but it’ll have to wait until I model something similar.


Yet another Sphere3D. I just like working with 'em. And I wanted to add what I’d learned from that last one to a process I’m already comfortable with, so there we go.

Same skin material, also rendered out of ZBrush. The eyes are seperate objects, placed by hand on another layer. There’s some fiber brush eyebrows and facial hair, but it’s very subtle.

This is probably my best character work to date, but I managed to not save the tool or export it. It just didn’t strike me as important until after I closed ZBrush. So, no wireframes or anything – this is the only image that’ll ever exist of him.

Two hours in ZBrush, one hour in Photoshop.


Threw this together last night to help illustrate what Projection Master actually does. Walked away with all sorts of crazy ideas based on the result.

Can’t express how great it is to be able to do that. In case Meats Meir’s Gnomon class and the DVDs aren’t getting enough public accolades, those are directly responsible for the comprehensive understanding of ZBrush which lets me plan these experiments, and also to answer questions here and on ZBrush Central. If I’m able to explain things or clarify an idea for you, it’s because they were shown so clearly to me first.


Animation Test <–(divX, click to download)

The model itself is a few months old now. I made it in less than an hour, sitting at Meats’ computer during the Gnomon Fast Track. That was my first time playing with Z2’s multi-resolution modeling, and everything I knew how to do from the old days got exponentially more powerful in that moment. For those reasons, it’s kind of become my base model when I just want to try something quickly.

What’s new since then:

  1. I became good with the Edgeloop function in ZBrush, and added new geometry to control the character’s eyelids – they only existed at the highest subdivision levels before. I would have liked to have kept the model one subdivision lower, but this is where the eyes fit.

  2. While not the best model to demonstrate this (it’s not very detailed – I just wanted nice round curves without sacrificing speed or control), you’re looking at the perfect blend of displacement and normal maps in Max 7 to produce the look of a million polygons in 3 seconds per frame (which is pretty fast for the default scanline render).

  3. Morph targets! Again, we’re not looking at wrinkles and pores or any such nonsense, but what’s there deforms nicely. (and yes, I know his jaw should move when the mouth opens – This was only a test, and I was anxious to see it finished…)

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That’s it for this post.


#2

Another motion test <-- (also DivX, click to download)

Base mesh created in ZBrush using a Sphere3D (not ZSpheres) and the Edgeloop button. I think we’re looking at 198 poly’s for that? It’s much more efficient than my past works. I do need to be more careful with the resultant topology, though – you’ll notice an artifact on either side, just above his eyelids. Didn’t have that on the last version…

Also wanted a little more detail, so I gave him sort of a wood bark with the layer brush to see how that’d turn out.

Three hours modeling and detailing, one hour creating morph targets and exporting everything, another hour assembling and animating in Max. Now, I throw those files out and start over – one learns best through practice…

Render time: 2 seconds per frame.

(So, it’s not Pixar… But, I’m really pleased with how the morph targets are blending, render time is negligable, and the control mesh is small enough to grant me realtime feedback while I animate. These are all steps in the right direction!)


#3

Topology looks somethin’ like this now:

[left]Though, I did correct some things since that render this afternoon – notice how his lower jawline fell through the cracks of our base geometry? We don’t want that – it leads to ugly deformation problems when you’re trying to animate.[/left]

[left]But, what does one do with decent topology, if not…[/left]

One More Animation Test! [size=1]<–(Still DivX. Click to Download.)[/size]

More or less random movement to see how the morph targets interact. I’ve got more shapes this time, and for the most part (two of the keys feel very strange here), they work better than expected. We don’t have the same sense of mass from the last one, though.

The texture’s fairly arbitrary – I just wanted some detail on there so I wouldn’t have to run the same test later.

Mesh Size: 208 polygons, more or less.
Render time: 1 second per frame.


#4

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