Friday, July 31, 2009
Today I just did a quick sculpt. Basically, it is like sketching in 3D. I start with nothing, and let my imagination take off. In ZBrush, they have something called Zspheres. I can quickly create a form using the spheres, and then convert it into something I can sculpt. Just for practice with sculpting, I think I will be doing a lot of these quick sculpts. Because I am not doing them for any sort of specific project, they aren't getting a color pass. For this one, I just stuck a Pewter material attribute on it. Enjoy, I will post more as I get to it.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
I'm finally done with the snail. For real this time. I want to move on to another project. I just couldn't let this one go until I finished a few more things. Along with fixing the wood texture, I wanted to show how this model and process could actually be used in video game creation.
The first picture is the completed model in ZBrush. The second picture shows how the normal and texture map transferred onto the model in Maya. The final picture shows the snail in an actual game engine. I put the low resolution Maya version of the model into the Unreal 3 editor. I then imported the textures and normal maps. A few duplications and light placements later, and we have a group of snails in a video game engine at a low resolution that doesn't look half bad.
So, there you go. Hope you enjoyed this little excursion into the world of 3D content creation with the snail. If you have any question, just let me know. I am happy to explain the process and answer any questions. The lack of easily accessible knowledge in some of these areas has been an extreme frustration to me in the past. So, I want to help others get any information they need without going through some of the pains that I have had to.
I will try and post a new project when I get a chance. I will be starting something tomorrow. I just haven't decided what yet. Have fun.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Here's the final snail. I gave it a stand and modeled it to look like a little statue in order to give it a more finished feeling. I like how the bronze work turned out. I may come back and do some adjustment to the bottom part of the stand though. It isn't reading as plastic the way I want it to. If I get time, I need to come back and give it an actual wood grain modeling and texturing pass and turn it into a straight wooden base. Anyway, I also adjusted the shell to give it more vibrant colors. I took the yellows that are in a natural snail shell, and adjusted them to be not only more vibrant, but to also shift into some purple and greens. I thought that this would add to the statue appearance. I just wanted a nice finished product after all the hard work.
The main goal of this was to learn some new skills with Zbrush, and to brush up on my old modeling skills. It isn't totally hyper realistic like I had hoped though. I was able to pull off a bit of a subdermal appearance in the skin. However, I couldn't get a decent translucency. It is totally opaque. I have yet to find anyone that has been able to pull off translucency in Zbrush, or any kind of alpha blending for that matter. If anyone reading this has been able to, please let me know how. I am very eager to learn.
Anyway, we will be celebrating the 24th of July out of town. So, I will start a new project on Monday. I will post as I get around to it. For now, enjoy the snail statue.
Sorry it's been so long. Life is getting in the way of my art right now. However, here is the textured version. The first four are screenshots from zbrush. The final one is in maya after I have transfered all of the textures and normal maps to the low resolution model. I need to do some more work on it. I will post an update when I get some time.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Apparently I have a lot to post today. Using the high resolution model in Zbrush, I created normal maps (the bluish one) and occlusion maps (the black and white ones). These give the low poly model the illusion of having more detail and sculpting than would be possible with a normal flat texture. I will be creating the texture on the high resolution model, and then will transfer that to the low poly model so that the low poly model will have the illusion of having much more detail. (That is how they get the illusion of having detailed environments and characters in games without breaking your game systems).
I will post updates as I get them. I still have a lot to learn about the matcap system in Zbrush though, and am progressing as fast as I can find information and answers to my questions.
Here's the high resolution pass I did in Zbrush. I can now transfer this information to the low resolution model through using a normal map. As I get time, I will post the transfered normal maps. I will also be starting on the texture. I need to run through more tutorials and I am also trying to figure out how to pull of a really good translucency to my textures in maya.
Anyway, I'll post more as I get time and make progress.
Sorry I haven't posted for a bit. I was busy running through some tutorials yesterday. I still have a lot I am trying to teach myself. Anyway, After some more studying of my snail reference, I decided to redo the mesh and make some adjustments. The front portion of the snail has more of a bulge. It doesn't extend to the back. It is like a large muscle that comes out of the shell and works to the front. I wanted to get it right. So, here is the new mesh.
I also updated the UV map. Although I could get away with the seam running down the middle of the shell, I decided to just unwrap the shell in case I decide to make some adjustments in Photoshop. I am still trying to learn how to use the matcap painting system in Zbrush. I also decided to do two UV maps. One for the body portion, the other for the shell portion.
So, enjoy. In a little bit, I will post the work I did in Zbrush today.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Just finished the UV map. It took me awhile to get around to it today because I had to go deal with inspection and registration for my vehicle this morning. But, here is the tweaked snail, with it's UV map. I split the shell because I will be doing the texture work in Zbrush rather than Photoshop. So, there shouldn't be a seam. However, if there are any issues I will have to redo the UV map and try a different approach to the shell. It will take longer, but will look better if I can't pull it off in the first pass.
I am going to do a quick test to see if it will work. If I have to redo it, I will try to post the new UV map this evening.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Two posts in one day. It's been awhile since I've done that. Well, I have the basic mesh modeled. Here are some screencaps of it. I will do some tweaking and cleanup tomorrow. I will also be doing the UV mapping.
For those who are unfamiliar, UV mapping is when I tell the model how the texture needs to be applied onto the surface. If I remember, I will take some screencaps of the final UV map and show how it works. For now, here is an extremely basic model. The shell was a little tough to get right, but It worked out well enough. Like I said, I will tweak it tomorrow when I have some fresh eyes to look at it with.
Now that my website is updated, and my focus has shifted from trying to get a company going and back to artwork, I am starting some new art projects. So, just to get into the swing of things, I am going to model a snail. Seems kinda simple. And, the basic geometry actually is. However, I am also taking this opportunity to get back into the habit, as well as learning new things. Even though it seems simple on the surface, I will be trying to model it in a realistic way. I will also be experimenting to get the translucency and skin correct, as well as the shell.
The reason I am doing a snail was because all the rainstorms recently have brought out a slew of snails. I found no less than 14 at a time on my tomato plants. That doesn't include the dozens of others throughout the garden, as well as the thirty more in the front rose bushes. (That was just on one of the rainy days. We have had other days with even more snails.) Anyway, as I picked up one of them to toss it into the neighboring lot, I got to noticing the neat texturing, (I know, it's an artist thing). So, I got over thirty high resolution pictures of it and am setting to work recreating the texturing of the snail. I thought it would be a good warm up for the more difficult modeling projects that I want to do over the next few months (barring actually finding a job).
I will post updates as I work on it, and try to explain my process. For now, here are some low resolution versions of four of the pictures I took. Enjoy.