Friday, 19 December 2014

Crimson Rouge is back in action!

Ah the holidays, nice to have some time free to do some of my own stuff, there are quite a things I wanted to work on over the break. First thing is to redo one of my odd characters from years ago: Crimson Rouge, a samurai character from the 1940s.

The character as I imagined her back then was some girl that ended up getting trained with a group of mercenaries in martial arts, with her energies focused on speed and the samurai arts. Without going into backstory stuff that is.

First here is an old design from early college;
back when I had no idea how to design clothes, characters or perhaps most obvious here,their faces:

Old piece, please don't judge me.
My goal in this little project is to create a new version that doesn't fixate on this old design but follows my original idea while using all the iteration techniques we have learnt here at DMU. Hopefully I can come up with something a lot cooler and maybe a bit less... rubbish.

I started on some things all the way back last year where I would randomly add cool things to a pinterest board for her, from things such as 40s style coats and jackets, RAF pilot gear, kimonos and samurai armour and weapons. So just before we made a proper start on the sentry turret project a couple of months ago I made work on creating a proper moodboard and doing some random thumbnails and things.
Quite untidy, but with these moodboards I usually move things as I go start to develop the concepts, treating the photoshop document like a pile of loose images to draw connections between.

Ok now for some concept-y things, starting with some thumbnails, then followed by a bit of photobashing:



And here is a really basic colour drop, with some vibrance applied. Take about 5 minutes so nothing special, this is just used as a point of reference going forward for some sort of general colour scheme.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Dynamic Duo III - Final Models and Postmortem

So from the last post I had my design finalized, all I had to do was create some simple orthographics so I could get going on the model. I only wanted to model one of the characters with my stretch goal being able to rig aswell so I decided to go with the woman as she appeared to be the stronger of the two designs.


Modelling

I learnt from doing the gladiator project last year that character modelling is no easy task, topology can be a hard thing to grasp sometimes and requires a lot of fiddling with the model to understand how it works. One thing I didn't do as much last time however was gather together a load of reference just for the topology so this time I created a board with a load of images and printed it out (this helps as it means I don't have to flick between the reference and the model all the time trying to remember the reference) 

Topology and modelling reference board - Printing this out along with my other moodboards and concepts aswell allowed me to see everything without flicking between windows on the screen. I found this also helps in making sure my model still looks like my concepts aswell as seeing all the concept art in front of me helps me keep focused on the design.
The head was quite interesting to model as I used the on the far right of the board as the base for the topology, this method required box modelling which was good but it meant I had to be careful in terms of how I rounded out the forms otherwise the woman would've had a very jaggy looking forehead. Box modelling makes it easier to define the forms of the face but for making sure the edge flow is correct strip modelling might be better suited.


Texturing

Texturing was quite a hard thing to balance as on the concept there wasn't a lot of details on things like the clothes folds because adding too much detail would detract from the original style of the concept which is more minimal, some amount of detail had to be applied so the character had some textural interest though and the hard part was striking a suitable balance between the two.

In the labs one day I was just randomly looking through the programs we had on the lab computers just to see what we had and I came across 3Dcoat, which allowed me to paint texture straight onto my model using the base texture I already created, this allowed me to quickly iterate on the design without constantly resaving and checking 3ds max to see what my texture alterations look like. This was helpful aswell in fixing those horrible texture seams I got as I could just paint straight over them with hardly any fuss.

Using 3D Coat allowed me to quickly make alterations to the texture, adding a blue gradient to the lower part of the hair to separate the glasses and painting the details on the hands were very easy things to do compared to the usual method of painting to a texture sheet,
I also had a debate with myself over whether I should use PBR for this character as she seemed to look decent without the glossiness which I first imagined on her clothes. The flat shading look that I got from consistent colours seemed to work well so I created the other PBR maps and compared a lit and unlit model in UE4 to see which I preferred. And here is the final result:

UE4-1.png
Lit and Unlit versions of the final model - Which do you prefer? 

Postmortem

I was initially worried about this project as characters aren't my strong point but when I got my Pirate Radio concept down everything became a bit clearer. The first review of my project went well but it was only after when I received much better critique on my designs and then went back to focus back on the original 'cool/thinks they are cool' dichotomy that I came up with a design I was happier with. 

This however lead to less time creating the model and by extension not completing my stretch goals I set on this project which was to rig the model and pose it in a manner suitable for presentation. I will have to react to critique quicker from now on and be extra careful to stay to the original idea more so I don't end up in a stupid cycle of redesigning the same thing over and over, more brainstorming and experimentation in the early stages of future projects could be a good place to start.

UE4 Orphos.png
Orphographic view in UE4

As with the Sentry Turret, an important thing for me to focus on is the actual modelling stage which takes me forever. A bit more speed modelling practice and 3d studies will benefit me here as this seems to be my weakest area at the moment despite having a bit more 3d background before I joined this course. My next project involves me speed modelling a Westland Wyvern fighter plane which should be the perfect thing to help me push my modelling skills.

Pros/Cons

+Texturing I thought turned out well and matched the look of the concept, also using 3D coat to paint out those seams is another new thing for me and will work on this method of texturing more.
+Head turned out well and features well defined
+Topology seems correct, used reference to create deformations, rigging might help to identify issues
+Orphographics were created quicker and more efficiently, considering my difficulties in creating them previously

-Long concepting period due to not reacting quick enough to critique
-More thorough brainstorming at the start to avoid losing focus of the design, would help save time down the line
-Didn't achieve stretch goals in the end due to redesigns


Final Model Spec

wireframe.png

Radio Girl
Tricount: 6763
Textures: Albedo, Roughness, Metal, AO (All 1024x1024 Targa) (Combined Roughness, Metal and AO)

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Dynamic Duo II - Not Cool Enough

After gaining some desperately needed critique on my designs I came to the conclusion that a little redesign was in order. Comparing my ideas for the duo, my sketches and the final design I realized that I lost the original 'Cool and Uncool' dichotomy I wanted to convey so I went back to my sketches and redid the female character:


First I looked at my moodboard again to pinpoint exactly what look I was going for and then expanded on it by extra research into 60s mod fashion and design. I then used these as a basis for some shape exploration.
Extra shape exploration to find an imposing, stronger character.
The character I had in mind I wanted to be cool but the design before came across as more quirky, so I thought by giving her more of a stern, rigid look as opposed to the roundness of the guy would help sell the difference between the characters more.

The next process I used was overlaying value onto my selected thumbnails and refining it, I did this by using transparency lock and painting, a method I should have used in my initial concepting as it's quick, fun and it gets the job done well.

Value separations done within 45 minutes ish, could get them done even quicker with more practice.
Some refinement of the thumbnails; trying to work in the important things like the arms which can be handy.
More refinement, messing around with cutting forms and seeing how much I can add before it starts to detract from the design.
Next I worked a bit more into the guy character after receiving some feedback about his clothes, I created a moodboard like I did for the woman but used this as a basis for sketches which could then be worked into the final design.

Extra moodboard for the guy character
After some tinkering and experimentation I came to the final designs:

Final tweaked designs, ready for modelling. 
The guy in my eyes looks more friendly here and the woman is exactly like I wanted her; her clothes really make her look like a hard-faced bitch and it's great. The Dichotomy is a lot more along the lines of what I was imagining here.

And for the next part: Modelling process and Conclusion


- James