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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A long day of test rendering

Today was a very very long day of test rendering. I seriously need a better machine if I'm going to do more of this hair rendering. haha.. Well.. I finally figured out the problem I was having with the hair. It appeared that a lot of the initial curves I had used were pointing in the wrong direction, so I just went through and flipped the curve direction. After that was done, most of the problems I was having with the hair went away. =) I then decided to work on a quick texture for the face. I got tired of looking at the gray face. After that I gave her some actual eyes and teeth color. Here's a test render I did along with the in viewport shot.


Soo... I've finally figured a work around to get the same render quality I was getting with the previous hair but speed up the render time for my poor little single core machine. I basically have to cut down on the amount of initial hair curves I use, and in turn use more hairs per hair clump. This render has no AO applied to it like the previous render so the skin doesn't look like how I want it to.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Finishing up the hair

I've just basically rebuilt all the surfaces for the hair so it is more ideal for the hair systems. I'll basically be rigging these hair surfaces to allow the animator to add extra animation to the already preset hair dynamics.

Here's an update with the surface curves I used for the hair system and the actual hair system I'm using for the character

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A New Character

It's been a while since I made a post so I decided to make one today. Here's a new character I just started working on not too long ago. The head model was done in Max, upresed in Zbrush and taken into Maya to do the hair. I've included my shader network the head is currently using to render correctly in Mental Ray. I decided to unwrap just half the head and flip the UV's for the other half and have it overlay itself. Normally there are problems when trying to use this method to render, but there are ways around it. The easiest method is what I did in this setup. I'll have to change it when I get around finalizing it. Basically all you need to do is take the red(X) and Green(Y) channels and have them inverted for the second half of the face. Real time renderers do not require this, but being that I'm using Mental Ray, that was a requirement. What I just did here was inverted the red and green channels in photoshop and saved out a seperate normal map just for it. I'll eventually change it to a node based system while only using one normal map to save space. To avoid having any seam issues from using 2 misss fast skin shaders, I made them both share the same light map and node setup to create the first half of the face. If this is not done, there will be an apparent seam in the middle of the face. I unwrapped the face this way to avoid any stretching textures where the ears will be at.

I started the hair out in a similar way I did with the previous character head, but I've just gotten much faster at creating these curves. haha.. I should have the whole head filled with hair curves by the end of the day, but here is a preview of what I have in the viewport so far along with my UV setup.

What you are seeing right now are nurbs hair on her head. I'll rebuild all the nurbs surfaces tomorrow and then duplicate all the surface curves to then apply hair systems to all of it. The reason I lofted the curves into a surface is because it is much easier to create the interpolated curves inbetween the two main curves using surface isoparms. Rebuilding the surface will allow me to tell it how many spans I want between each major curve which then allows me to simply select the isoparms and duplicate those surface curves.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Box Head

I've been checking out a lot of Alex Oliver's zbrush sculpts as of late and have always been astounded by how he manages to make such a basic box shape into a beautiful finished sculpt. So, I decided I should give it a try and post my progress here on my blog. Wish me luck!! I'm not even sure if I can do this yet, but hey, you never know until you try right?

Time 2.5 hrs
(my buddy Shon gave me a 4 hr time limit, then I complained, so he shortened it to 3. HAHAHAA!!! Sadly, my laptop got mad after hitting over 1 million polies =( . I guess it's time to get a new computer.)

Base mesh made in maya.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Finished head made in XSI

I've finally finished the head using XSI. I've become much more used to the tools and shortcuts by this time. I just have to figure out several other things, such as the sculpt polygon types of tools. I believe XSI has something similar to it somewhere. I'll probably take it into Zbrush now and just finalize him. =)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Modeling in XSI

I've decided to make myself model in XSI to force myself to get used to how the program works. I'm getting a lot better at using it. I can't say I'm nearly up to the speed I would like to be with it just yet. Every so often I hit a wall and have to search online to find out how to do some of the most basics of things. I guess that's what happens when you try to teach yourself a program. At least I'm getting a hang of it. I'm sure if I keep this up. I should be a lot better at it, and who knows? I might even be faster in XSI then I am in Maya or 3ds Max.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Back to my roots

It's been a while since I've done any sketching. Here are a few sketches I did for today. It was really nice getting back to my roots. I should do this more often.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Lack of Updates

Sorry for the lack of updates as of late. My internet has been down for a while and I was at my parents for the weekend. I've also been pretty busy with a side project, so haven't had time to post anything. I just installed XP back onto my laptop due to some compatibility issues I was having with vista x86 and nCloth.