Sunday, June 23, 2013

Term 8: The Final Chapter

Sculpture 3

I'm so glad I got to take this class for my elective. It's been a long time since I've taken a traditional class, and even longer since my last sculpture class. The purpose of this class was to create a life size bust of a character that was humanoid, and a mixture of an animal group that we pulled blindly out of a hat. I drew amphibian. We were allowed to add a mammal if we wanted. We then sketched out a few ideas, created a mini-bust as a guide, and began sculpting on our large bust.

 You can view my classmates sculptures here:

This is Madame Melotoad. She was a classically trained opera singer who over the years has become bitter after her damaged voice ended her career. She currently teaches students and tries to live vicariously through them. 
Concept Sketch 1

 My first rough sketches were aimed at making her part whale and part frog so that I could play around with the inflated neck idea. The problem was she was looking more fishy and sluggish than amphibian and since Amphibian was my category, I had to strip away the whale idea.

The mini-bust was more of my experimentation phase. I was trying to figure out her hair, her neck, what kind of dress she was wearing, etc. This phase had a very muppety look to it.

The final sculpt came out very different from where I started. It was definitely a journey, but overall I'm happy with the way she came out. People tend to laugh and her expression, so that's a plus!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Term 7: Portfolio Class Project 5

 This last concept I chose is called Butterfly by Zoonoid. I loved this guys incredibly long body and little tiny face.
Original Concept

I started by blocking him out with zspheres in zbrush. The first week of modeling I spent the most time on the face, which may not have been the best idea since his head is so small compared to the rest of him.

The antennae was a bit tricky. I ended up using Shave to generate the hairs and then converted it to polys so I could use my own textures. It had been a while since I'd used vray to render anything and I decided to give it another go. Vray seemed like the best solution for his face, arms, and legs, and I still need to add more to the model. For now, this is the final render, and I hope to go back, do a little more look dev on the materials, add in better fur, and fix proportions to match the original more.

Final Render

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Term 7: Portfolio Class Project 4

I'm currently working on an gaming project with Gnomon and USC. I was able to tie that project in with the Portfolio class, so this week, I'll be working on one of the playable characters in the game.
Jonathan Kuo provided this awesome concept.
Due to the limitations of poly count, the game mesh can only be 5,000 polys. Here is a WIP for the blockout. Still need to add more hair cards and definition.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Term 7: Portfolio Class Project 3

Here are the 3 concepts I had to choose from this week. As much as I want to do the cat launcher, I think I'm going to save that for the final week.
I decided to go with the first one, concept by Yunjeong Baek. I'm going to approach this one like a game character. 

Due to a secondary project's schedule, the texturing is on hold for the moment. More to come.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Term 7: Portfolio Class Project 2

Here are my selections for Project #2. The middle one although very cool, seems a bit flat and could be challenging to recreate in 3d. The portrait is Spike from Cowboy Bebop. I love this but it is a bit simplistic. I'm going to come back to it soon.

The first one is my favorite, Guard Duty by André Brown. Once again, the artist was nice enough to give me permission to work on it and post in my portfolio. This time, I wanted to get a practical model for the character, but I lined up the environment as close as I could to the concept. Still need to pose sharky, and add the scar over his lip. This upcoming week is all lighting, texturing, rendering. Stay tuned.

Lastly, lots of texturing, lighting and rendering. The lighting was the hardest part. I ended up using a ton of lights to get all the rim lights, fill lights, etc. I ran out of time to properly pose him and afterwards I realized his proportions were way off. When I get a chance, I'd like to go back and adjust him.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Term 7: Portfolio Class Project 1

This term I'm going to update this blog a little differently. Since every two weeks I have to create a portfolio piece, I thought it would be nice to give updates as the projects are completed, rather than one big post at the end of 11 weeks. 

This is the first class our term has taken with Alex Alvarez, the founder of Gnomon. The previous 6 terms have all been leading up to this. Every two weeks in this portfolio class, we have to submit three 2d concepts that we want to recreate in 3d. At least one must be approved, and then it is our choice to model, texture, light, render, and composite one in fourteen days. These were the 3 I selected for the first project. All were approved and I decided to go with Toad, by Yu Cheng Hong, who was nice enough to give me permission to work on it for class.

I had two choices for this project. Either I could try to make a practical symmetrical model that would be able to displayed on a turntable later on and potentially animated, or try to match the concept as close as possible. I chose the latter, which in the end was a little regrettable. I ended up with was a model that can only be viewed from a limited angle, which really defeats the point of 3d. Even so, it was still a very good exercise and I learned a lot about texturing in the process. 

Week 2 was focused on making model changes from our first round of feedback, then we had to complete all the texturing, lighting, and rendering. I had to retopologize a few areas of the toad, especially around the face in the eyebrow region, the arm wrinkles, and the chest wrinkles. Next I unwrapped the model and did a quick texture project to get a base for my texturing, separating the toad on one texture and the fins, eyes, and necklace on another texture. I used Zbrush to fix seams and paint out specular highlights.

Mentalray seemed like the best rendering option since the subsurface scattering shader is a bit better than vray's. The lighting setup included a cream colored background matching the original concepts color, a directional light, and final gather for bounce light. The first round of rendering came out a little washed out, and the subsurface was not as strong as I had hoped it would be. 

Gnomon has a Best of Term competition every quarter and I wanted to submit this before the deadline. The final version is a Photoshop paint over of my first render. I focused on warming up the red color in certain areas, fixing the flatness of the leaves, giving the eyes those flecks of gold that real toads have, brightening up the foot fins, and making him feel more wet and slimy. In the end, I'm really happy with the way it came out. I would like to go back and try to achieve all of these post effects entirely in 3d. Fingers crossed for Best of Term. A big thank-you again to Yu Cheng Hong and a beautiful concept.