Sunday, 13 March 2011

oh yeah, blogging, I remember that...

Let's see if I can still remember how to blog...
I have a lot of stuff piling up to talk about because I've been all disorganised and stuff and forgot about blogging. I figure I'll pick just one thing to talk about in this post and then maybe I'll be able to tick it off my list.

The design sketches Jenny gave me to work from
 I've been character modelling for Jenny Stewart's 3rd year project, The Little Helper. When Jenny asked me to join her project before the christmas break I didn't actually know much of anything about character modelling, but I'd already modelled a few heads from photos and felt pretty confident that I could do a decent job so I set to work.

 An early model of Frankie's head
I was tasked with modelling Frankie, the old toy maker in the story. Everything started fine, modelling the head was pretty easy although maintaining good edge flow around the features was time consuming, this is the first model I've made for animation purposes, so I had to bear in mind what parts of the face would move and how the polys would deform as his expressions changed.
The eyes where a challange, it was a bit like putting a spherical peg into a square hole. It took a lot of effort to make them fit properly into the face without deforming it too much.

Something I'd never done before was model clothing, it wasn't terribly difficult but there were a few parts that put up a fight, like the collar of Frankie's shirt. There was a bit of confusion at this point of modelling the character due to a communication error, as you can see in the image to the right, I had modelled a collar onto what I thought was a sleeveless jacket, but it was explained to me that he was actually meant to be wearing a knitted cardigan and I had to remodell part of Frankie's torso. That set me back a bit but not a huge amount. Also in the screenshot you can see what look like seams in the clothing, this is where I'd welded the verts of two planes togother to attach the back and front sides of the torso together, but the face normals didn't match, this is easily fixed though by selecting the poly faces and just flipping the normals (In Maya under the Polygons menu in the main menu bar: Normals > Reverse, also Display>Polygons>Face Normals to view direction of normals)

Very early hand model
HANDS. Modelling hands was pretty upsetting at first, luckily there are video guides available which were immensely helpful.
In the screenshot to the left you can see an early hand model I made, it's pretty featureless and the proportions are more realistic than the exagerated hands in the final model, I had to make the hands much bigger than they are in the design drawing to get them to look right. I made them look bonier by increasing the size of the joints and exagerating the tendons on the back of the hand, also elongating the fingers helped in this model. There were a couple of other challanges in this project but I don't even want to talk about the teeth and as for hair, let's not even go there... 
Oh, and lets not forget UV unwrapping, everyone loves UVs! the RoadKill plugin made unwrapping a lot less horrible.

Here is a link to some of the most useful video guides I found in relation to modelling for this project

and now for some pretty pictures of the finished thing! I added some colour to the model just to make it a bit nicer, I don't actually know what colour scheme or textures Jenny is using on this project, I added my own, along with a sprinkle of Ambient Occlusion and Anti-Aliasing.


Why wont google let me blog in comic sans?

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