Wanted to post earlier but didn’t get to it. Things like looking for a cat during the rain at 2:30ish in the morning are not enjoyable. Finally I get to this. Hammered out the opening scene environment. I did not go with as much detail as I wanted but I had to burn time on correctly rigging the character.
Also blendshapes became quite the mess. I was going to use ZBrush but ended up going with the sculpting tools in Maya. To my surprise they worked rather well for what I needed. I didn’t think they would.
Blend shapes for various facial expressions. This was the easy part. I ran into a lot of trouble binding the rig. Somehow the joints for the left foot were consistently left out. I didn’t figure this out until doing a google search. As a result though, initially, the math magical algorithm the computer used had the weights for the right foot influencing geometry on the left foot. This turned into a happy accident that I used later on but was at first very hard to deal with until I looked online for help. I found that you can manually add joints but there is the drawback of having to paint the weights from scratch manually for those joints. This isn’t a problem if it’s just a few, which it was.
Something else I ran into that was more of an artistic compromise in the end. The arms were not long enough to comfortably form the main pose that I needed. Meaning, I had to lengthen the arms and lenthen the rig too. The only way I found to do this was to undo the entire rig hierarchy, move the joints individually and then reestablish the hierarchy in the the outliner. The model has the same general look but it gained some lankiness in the end because of this.
Some fun was had experimenting with Vray fur however. I’m fnding it gives a nice look to hide some of the pinching in the shoulder areas that are inherint to the design of the character and rig. Meanwhile it gives a nice depth look to the character, as if he’s wearing a sweater. I like this look. Rather than playing around with nDynamics and cloth simulations versus having neither and going with a dinkier look.
Some irony to this. In preproduction I struggled with how much photorealism to go with. This however weighs it in the direction of photorealism but doesn’t go all the way. Ironically this look is impossible at school because they’re running Mental Ray, not Vray. I also want to note that subsurface scattering in Vray is significantly faster than Mental Rays.
Throughout this project I’m starting to find two things. 1. I like the entire pipeline. 2. I still like doing lighting and surfacing quite a bit too. So it’s seeming that I’m a generalist along with being a lighter and colorist or surfacer.
There is still more but the screenshots are on another system. I have taught myself a good amount of Mari through this. For characters and most assets in general it seems to be a grossly more efficient way of covering that part of the pipeline than what I was taught utilizing Photoshop. However squeaky clean UVs are extremely important. Garbage in garbage out.