Posts Tagged Character
I’m going to build on the last two weeks’ worth of discoveries with a bit of a slide show indicating some of the variations of this new-found technique as I went through and finished the model’s head. Combining these with what we’ve gone through already, it’s starting to form a picture of a comprehensive skillset that can efficiently model entire figures. If I can compare it to anything, I’d compare it to custom plate fabrication, where you break down your character into a set of plates or shapes, and those plates have to be fabricated to fit the number of polys along each edge. So any way you can arrive at what the parameters of each plate are, then you can apply the techniques already discussed.
For example, as some of the illustrations below will demonstrate, even if you can landmark key points of a surface in three-dimensional space say… using Locators for example… you can string curves through them forming the boundaries you need to proceed.
But what if, for example, the rest of the body you’re going to attach this head to only has 16 polys around the neck, while your head is being modeled at a higher poly count? This isn’t all that unexpected a situation, as the face often is modeled at higher resolution for the sake of accommodating the smaller features of the face as well as providing smoother animation for the subtleties of facial movements. The rest of the body isn’t as nuanced as this, except perhaps for the extremities of the hands and feet. In any case, the gap must be bridged, unless the parts behind clothing aren’t going to be modeled at all (binding multiple objects representing the emergent and visible parts of the model only). I ran into that situation here. I wanted to limit the back left quarter of the neck to a width of four polys. But this is what I had to work with:
If you look carefully, you can see already my thought process. I intend to take the last four polys and spread them out wider, but there isn’t a place for those remaining five polys to go, right?
Now the extra polys have been routed around the base of the neck rather than down the neck into the rest of the body. I did partition out the neck area to receive them too, but that’s a function of the principle above about sub-dividing areas.
I’ve modeled a couple more heads and a hand in the span of time betwween last week’s entry and today’s using these procedures and I have yet to run into a situation that using it, in conjunction with a little creative thinking, hasn’t been able to resolve. The hand I did already had the rest of the model waiting for it, but when I imported it in, I was confident that it would blend seamlessly with the rest, and it did. That’s not something I can say for all the character modeling work I’ve done thus far, but alas, I didn’t know then what I know now.
But what if you want a surface with a continuous, smooth, single edge loop of polys running around it, rather than a shape bounded by four separate edge loop flows?
That’s it for this week. If there’s more to be mined from this method that I can dig up, you’ll see it shared here. Until then, the subject may wander to other venues again…
Maintaining open horizons: The key to finding answers isn’t to always look in the box marked “answers”.
I’ve been working in CGI rendering methods for approximately two years, creating a handful of characters and each time the approach in modeling has been slightly different, but almost all of them started out similarly. I’ve come to accept this as part of the territory when learning anything new and potentially complicated. Textbook examples for modeling something like say, a face or a head will only usually take you far enough just to get your feet wet, unless you only find yourself creating the same kind of character each and every time.
My ‘book of choice’ at the time illustrated a method for creating a face by creating the mouth, nose, ears and eyes as separate entities and connecting them afterwards. This works fine as long as you want to model a realistic human face. But what if you wanted to create faces like these?
Well, suddenly that method doesn’t seem so sufficient. How do I attach the mouth structure to the nose structure when they’re integrated by design? The book illustrated how to go about the business of crafting each one separately, not together. Having nothing else to go on at the time, I muddled through by pushing and pulling the mesh into the ‘right’ shape and produced faces much like you see in the top image. And while there’s nothing obviously wrong at a first glance, when it comes time to move the mouth, the deformations become… difficult to manage. I don’t want to get bogged down in the details here but essentially it has to do with the flow of edges and polygons as they wrap around the model’s surface. Another problem was that the character I was modeling was based on my comic strip character which in turn had been composed mainly of soft shapes that lacked a certain amount of defined structure in the face and head.
Time travel to this past July when I started thinking about creating a new character (bottom image). In the period of time between the two, I ended up viewing some particularly helpful tutorials. Hand-drawn art tutorials. There was one in particular that addressed ways to stay on model by clearly envisioning the planes of the face and consequently adding the structure that my previous work had so sorely lacked. It wasn’t until I started applying that knowledge in the hand-drawn design of the character that the thought occurred that perhaps one could model the head and face as a series of very low-res planes (basically one polygon per plane), merging them and then going into the requisite detail. You can see the effect most clearly in the mesh between the bridge of the nose and the corner of the mouth. As it turns out, using planes rather than parts provided a level of control over that tricky area of the face that develops in these kinds of muzzled characters, as it ends up dictating how well the face will wrinkle, fold and deform when it comes time to animate.
There are broader implications here which will become a recurring theme on this blog: Finding solutions is not unlike good design. The answers do not necessarily come from looking in the obvious places.