For assignment 3, we got to start working with low poly character modeling, something I have found out is a very fun, but also very hard process.
After we had switched concept with one another, I started on working on the character’s silhouette in class. The teacher pretty much taught us how to build the body with the help from turnarounds, mine looked like this:
Earlier, we had gone through how topology works and how to apply it in order to make everything easier for you when modeling. This sure helped a lot when we started out. The character started taking shape quickly enough, but not without bumps on the way. Because I was new to the whole organic modeling thing, I really had trouble actually applying the topology thinking we had learned earlier. Elbows, feet and knees were the hardest parts to model in my opinion, with their weird shapes and additional topology that need to be functional. We also had to think about not making our characters too detailed either, since we had a poly budget of 3000 to keep track of.
I had the most problems with the hands, at least in the early stage. These hands took me all too long to complete thanks to the devil’s own creation: the thumb. The thumb was really hard for me to grasp and actually figuring out where and how to place it, I even had to get some help from one of my classmates in order to get it right. A lot of tweaking and trying to get the silhouette right later, I had to start working on the second creation of the devil, namely the head. And in comparison to making the body, the head took way longer to complete due to the complicated topology and eyes…EYES!
All my hate aside, here is a picture of my troll’s early stages:
Making the face was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever worked on in 3D, and I would love to do it again because that stuff is challenging! When I started, I had no idea how to build the base or even HOW to start making the topology. Luckily I found a super useful video tutorial for Maya…yes, Maya on how to start and working with the face topology. For those interested, here is the video I watched.
The video being great aside, it was really tough making out what went where and how to make a proper mouth. For me the biggest problem was the fact that the trolls lower jaw is way bigger than a standard human. This led to me guessing how it would work and what the topology looks like. the placement of ears was a similar problem to what I had with the jaw, since his ears are placed almost on top of his head. I worked around this by making separate ears and then welding it to the head and doing some repair work with the topology. The eyes were also a problem, but not a problem as in difficult to create or to figure out what the topology should look like. We had a lesson where we went through that, and the troll’s eyes are similar to a humans, if not smaller for his size. The problem with the eyes are just making them look right. Because no matter how long you work with making the eyes look perfect, they will always be a little off. That’s what I think at least. And after the eyes. The head was pretty much done! All that was left was to sew it onto the body, which wasn’t the greatest of challenges.
This was the result after I had applied the head:
After some cleanup and optimizing the troll’s mesh, it was time to start working with one of my weaknesses: Uwv mapping.
Making the Uwv this time was not as hard as the other two assignment Uwv’s were. Because this time, I could follow the natural seams across his body, these being his legs and arms up to his shoulders. Having to plan what seam to place where was a bit of a hassle though, because my character’s lack of clothing except for his little loincloth. If he had clothes, I could just make the seams that real clothes have, and since skin does not really have seams, this took a bit longer than I thought it would. I tried to be effective with the Uwv from the start this time, making the hands and legs into single uwv’s instead of just cutting my troll in half. This helped to save some space as well as to conceal some of the seams.
This is what my Uwv looked like:
Cutting the head and belly was not the easiest thing I have ever done when working with uwv’s since you actually have to make the whole surface flat. That requires some really weird cutting, and as you can see on the uwv, The troll’s ears went bonkers when they flattened.
After the mapping was complete I started with the texturing, the thing I underestimated the most! It proved to be difficult and time consuming, very much so. I started with photoshop, thinking that the process would be easier and less tedious than doing 3D painting. After a while, I gave up with the photoshop texturing, everything was way to low resolution for me to actually be able to add details to the texture. (Someone did tell me later that one could just increase the resolution when painting, and then scaling it down again. But by the time I heard that, it was too late) I moved my mesh to Mudbox, a 3D sculpting program, very similar to Zbrush, to colour and add details to my texture. This is probably what took the most of my time making this. I had so many problems actually getting the colours, shading and highlights like I wanted them to. And seeing as the character is from a very cartoony and stylized world. I was a bit limited on fancy details.
We had meetings in class with our respective co-workers, to get feedback and instructions on what to change and add to the model. My colleague was happy with how it looked so far, and I just continued on the same path as before. but wanted to add some more detail on his back…
What I had in mind was a rough skin texture on his back, much like a rhino’s tough and thick skin. I applied it, added some normal maps to it. And decided that it was not worth it at all! the details were too mismatched with the cartoony style of the character, and decided to remove it and just work on extra, minor details. Like a buttcrack! Every troll needs one!
This is the result of the troll with textures, normal and specular map:
I started to look at games like The legend of Zelda: Windwaker since it has such a wonderful and cartoony look without losing out on details. I looked at references and noticed that there aren’t a lot of details at all. They just use lines very effectively to mark our certain forms and shapes. I tried to apply this and I must say, I’m no master at this at all, and isn’t as simple as I initially thought it would be. But it was better than Roughback Mctroll!
When all the texturing was done, I shoved it into UDK to render it and take some pretty screenshots… and it renders it really weirdly. I was angered at this, since Mudbox had rendered it wonderfully without problems. UDK, when rendering, made all the seams on my troll super visible. I have not yet solved this, I tried different things for hours with no avail. So I just let it go. I can’t fix what I can’t fix right?
here’s what it looked like rendered in UDK…:
Despite the problems I had with the rendering. I’m pretty content with the result of my troll. And even if I don’t get a pass on the assignment, I’ve learned a lot about modeling overall, and hey, if you fail, you just do it again and do it right!
That’s me for now. It’s been a really great course. And I really want to apologize to my teacher Nataska for not keeping up with the blogposts! When I came back from Japan, everything just crashed on top of me, which made me miss some blogposts, which in turn made me miss more because of stress. SORRY!
And that’s the Troll! see you all next time! Cheers!