Make It and Show It – Hand In (23rd May)

This is the last update I will be making on my BAGA303 since today is the hand-in for the project.  Overall, I haven’t been able to fully complete the project as I had hoped to due to my lack of foresight when it comes to the plan I created.  One of the major issues with the plan was that I didn’t take into consideration how monstrous the task of creating a single character could be.  On the one hand, the Alien character took a week to model and two days to do the re-topology.  On the other hand, the Female character took around six weeks to create, then an additional week to do the re-topology. This severely cut into my plans and has resulted in only two of the three characters I had planned to create and texture to be done.

I feel I didn’t take into consideration the issues that could come with creating in ZBrush, the first of which being crashes.  There were multiple occasions where, even during the later stages where I was working on the characters topology where the program would crash without me saving the work I had already done.  This lead to days worth of work being lost in an instant.  While I managed to find a temporary work around during the creation of the female character, it was still an issue that would get in the way of progressing the project.  This wasn’t just an issue in ZBrush either.  As I used 3DS Max to texture of the two models, I still had issues where my work would crash leading me to saving constantly to avoid more crashes during production.

Another setback during production was the fact that multiple files corrupted on my memory stick.  In the end, I just started saving straight to my computers hard drive.  Originally, I was saving to my memory stick to make it easier to carry the files from one computer to another.

The final setback was the stress I was encountering while working on the project.  Overall, I feel it would have been a better idea to have only created two character models rather than three simply because if I had only focused my time on two, I would have had the models finished for display during the summer show.

Summer Show

I have changed my plans as to what I am presenting during the summer show.  Since I haven’t completed enough concept art to warrant a concept art book, I have decided to not create and place on on my table.  I have also decided against displaying a clay model of my characters because creating the model went on the back burner as I worked on the 3D Models.  During production, I felt that it was more important to display my ability to use digital sculpting techniques rather than physical ones.

I have also made changes to my plans when it comes to displaying my characters.  I will only be using one frame displaying the female character since I feel that is the strongest example of my ability to model characters.  It also took the longest to create.  Here is the image that I will be using during the summer show:


I wont be using the textured models since I feel that the models look better rendered as a turntable in ZBrush then they do rendered in 3DS Max with the textures.  I will be suing these models as part of a showreel to display my skills as an artist.



Make It and Show It – Week 13 (19th May)

During this week I have decided to create texture maps for the characters that I have already worked on the topology for.  My reason for doing so is simply so that I can at least one of the three models textured before the hand in date.  To do this I have used 3DS Max, Photoshop and Xnormal.

In 3DS Max, I have used a number of different tools to try and ensure that the models are ready to be exported into Xnormal.  The first is the selection tool that allows me to automatically highlight N-Gons since XNormal refuses to work with those kinds of polygons.  I did this by selecting the option that allows me to find any faces with more then four corners.  I also used the Unwrap UVW tool to identify the faces that aren’t connected together for whatever reason.  After identifying flaws in the models, I then used the Target Weld tool to join together points that need joining together.

To get a base for my textures, I needed to use XNormal to create both Normal and Occlusion maps for my model.  To make sure it had a framework to work from, I then used the Unwrap UVW tool to create an unwrap of my model.  Afterwords, I exported the model named “(Insert Name Here)_For_Xnormal” so that I knew which models were to be used in XNormal.

After doing all the previous steps, I then import both a high polygon and low polygon model into XNormal.  This way, XNormal creates both Normal and Occlusion maps to be rendered in 3DS Max.  Overall, this process has created fairly useful reference material when it comes to creating textures of my models.

Overall, the creation of my models textures has been reletively mundane.  It mostly involves taking an Occlusion map into Photoshop and placing color over it using the Color option to allow the computer to create both light and dark shades of color.  I then went over the color with a brush to add details to the characters like Lipstick for the female character.  Afterwords, I saved the texture maps as a PNG and imported them into 3DS Max along with the Normal maps to create the bumps on the model.textures.png

Outside of that, there are a hand full of seperate models that have had additional work done to them.  As I mentioned previously, the female characters face has had additional work done to it to layer on color.  Another example would be the bit of pinup art on the side of the Gun.  As I was looking at the model, I found that there really wasn’t anything on the side of the weapon so I decided having a bit of art would look nice.  I was inspired by the various different poses I found on Google image search.  Afterwords, I quickly drew the sketch in a separate file.

Gun Pinup 1


Overall, while I am happy with the textures, I won’t be using them as part of the Showreel for the summer show.  Upon reflection, I prefer the ZBrush files simply because they are a lot more detailed than the textured models.

Colour Model Artboard.png

While working on the textures I also came across a couple of issues, most of which revolving around crashes.  3DS Max would crash every so often resulting in lost work.  This is part of the reason why I haven’t managed to create a large amount of texture’s for my other characters.


Plymouth College of Art Alumni

Today we had a talk from the Plymouth College of Art Careers Support to give a brief summary of what the Plymouth College of Art Alumni entails.  The benefits of being a Alumni includes access to the Plymouth College of Art work space, online tutorials, networking events which they are planning on trying to spread country wide and finally the ability to attend talks with industry professionals along with the ability to talk about your experience to students so long as the Course Manager allows it.

Overall, I feel that even if I am planning on moving back to Wales after my course has ended, having the support would still be an invaluable asset to me.

Make It and Show It – Week 11 (30th April)

This week I have predominantly focused on working on the Robot character since it really needed to be finished.  Unlike the Human and Alien characters, I had actually decided to work on a Timelapse to show what I did to progress the project.  After I did work on the project, I then rendered it out as a video and put it together in Premiare.  Here’s the Timelapse.

To create the character, this time I spent a lot more time trying to create the panels for the robot by doing some hard surface modeling (Highlighting the areas I wanted to make into a panel and then extracting them as a separate model.) This is the final Turntable.

Body Chan Model

Body Chan ManikinThe other day, I decided to spend some money on this model only for it to arrive today.  At first, I bought it thinking that I would receive both the male and female variants only to find out after I have paid for both the model and packaging, I had only paid for one model not both.  My reason for purchasing this is because I want to have a better source of reference material.  Overall, the quality of the model seems fine.  Its a little fragile feeling for the price with the plastic used feeling rather cheap (it came to roughly around £40 including postage and packaging).  Also, the left shoulder of the model seems to have popped out at some point between being made and delivered.  I would try to fix this myself but I am too afraid I may just break the arm off.  Another issue is that the hands don’t exactly fit the model that well.  they may need a little widening before use.  When trying to attach the hand that can be used to hold the gun the hand joint fell off so I had to find the hand joint, reattach it using pliers and then widen the gap on the inside of the hand to make it possible to attach it to the arm.  Finally, I feel that the Katana model frequently falls out the models hand.  Aside from these setbacks, I still feel that the model may help in my ability to create future character concept art since it will be a more malleable piece of reference material when compared to my wooden manikin.


Make It and Show It – Week 10 (27th April)

This week I have managed to start and finalize my work on the alien character model.  Unlike the previous character, this one took a lot less time to create.  To make this character, instead of creating the base model in 3DS Max, I built the entire model in ZBrush by blocking out the shape using Polyesters and adding more detail to the overall model.

This is an early render I did of the aliens face to ensure that the detail that I did to the aliens skin looked organic.  I created the detail on the aliens skin in a similar way I did the detail on the characters skirt early in development.

This is the final model created in of the alien that was created in ZBrush.  Overall, I am happy with the outcome of the model and am willing to move on over to the robot design.  I will also have to consider taking some time to retopologize the models I am creating before the final deadline and to render them out at some point.

Make It and Show It – Week 9 (21st April)

The first model has finally been completed after 6 weeks of work!  That means I am about 4 weeks behind scheduled and yet I have two models to complete.  My plan to ensure their completion is to keep the models a lot more simpler then the one that I have just worked on.

The progress that I have done this week has included various tasks I had left until last minute.  The first being the characters hair.  After re-watching the tutorial I was looking at to help me create hair for the character model, I decided it would be best to map out the shapes which the woman’s hair took.  Afterwords, I modeled the hair by using a range of wavy lines and curls.  I then modeled and inserted a bunch of flowers into her hair.  Overall, I think the hair came out better than I expected.

The other two tasks I needed to work on where the characters belt and shoes.  The belt was easy to create since all I needed to do was extract the shape from the characters waist and then ZRemesh and flatten it to make it look like a belt.  The shoes were a little more complex since they required me to extract both the area which the character put their feet and the grips to form seamlessly together.

This is the final model rendered as a turntable.  To create the turntable I used this tutorial.  Overall I am happy with the final outcome and am looking forward to working on the next character model.

Make It and Show It – Week 8 (15th April)

This week has been a lot more productive then previous ones but not without its own issues.  One of the main issues that I have had is the constant crashing and the amount of time taken to both load and save a piece of work.  This was because I was using a polycount that my laptop couldn’t handle.  To resolve this issue, I went through all of the models that I had created for this one character and reduced the polycount from 75 Million to 24 Million.  Plycount

Another issue that I have had is files corrupting after I have worked on them.  This is a big issue since at one point, I had completely lost all of the work that I had done for an entire day.  While I have ensured that I have a long backlog of files just in case something goes wrong with the model, losing all that work was annoying.

Error Message

Both of these issues have made it quite difficult to keep a consistent level of work during the week however, I do feel that the work I have done is substantial and that I am close to finally completing the model.  Referenece Material

At this point I feel that the work on the characters face is almost complete.  While working on the face, I attempted to use what little space I had on my computer monitor to display some reference material to work from.  There were two images that I used from my moodboard as references which can be seen above.  I liked the woman on the lefts eyes and the woman on the rights lips.  I also liked the woman on the rights hair style too, which is why I have changed my mind about how I want the characters hair to look.  Also, because I have some reference material for that making the whole process potentially a lot easier then it was before.  Face renders

One of the main goals for the characters face this week was to finally get the characters eyelids to look like eyelids.  To that end, I decided to try and erase the work I had previously done on the characters eyelids and start again using the clay buildup tool to create the characters eyelids.  Afterwords, I started to mold it to try and create a circular look.

Attempt No 2 Ear Render 2

I have also done some additional work on the characters ears to try and get them to look more like real ears rather than just flat things that stick out of the side of the characters head.

Characters Hair

Something else I worked on was the characters hair.  Like I have mentioned before, I have decided to change the way in which the characters hair looks because I both like the new style, I have the reference material and I don’t have to worry to much about it clipping through the characters collar.  However, I did attempt to work with the old design.  It didn’t work out too well so I decided to change it.

Hair 2

To create the new hair style I followed the video I mentioned previously which can be seen here.  I started by extracting the characters scalp, using ZRemesher to lower the models polycount and blocked out the shape in which the hair style on the woman took.  I then attempted a few times to create the strands out hair but I was unsuccessful in doing so.  In the end, I decided to wait until I was back in Plymouth so that I could use two screens instead of one.

Shirt 2

The final aspect of the 3D modeling that I have done is to the shirt model.  I feel that out of all the work I have done this week, the shirt is the model which I have done the most work to.  I feel that I have finally managed to get the creases on the characters shirt to look natural.  To do this, I looked my reference material and explored where the shirt had the most creases and applied it to my work.  While I used the shirt I previously linked, I also used a different shirt as reference material too which can be found here.

Overall, even with the issues I have experienced during the week, I feel that I am on track to getting this model finished by the end of next week.  However, this also means that I have pretty much destroyed any chances of catching up to how my plan originally was.  However, I do hope that I can get these models finished in time for the summer show.


Make It and Show It – Week 6 (31st March)

I didn’t get much done this week since I traveled back to Wales for Easter, which meant I spent a day tidying up my room on Wednesday, a day on a train on Thursday and then spent Friday recuperating from the journey.  However I did attempt to get some work done earlier in the week so that my plans for the week didn’t end up eating up as much work as I thought it would.

The first bit of work I am going to talk about is on the characters hair.  I didn’t get much done on this model since, truth is, I find hair a hard thing to both model and design.  I managed to get the basic shape of the hair down however, I may need to spend more time looking up techniques on the internet.  The current tutorial I am looking at can be found here.

After working on the characters hair, I decided it may be worth wile working on the characters shirt.  One of my ideas from last week was to get a piece of reference material so that I would be able to see where the creases from the clothing should be.  This is the image that I found.  Sadly, I didn’t take any screenshots of the work that I did this week and the file that I was working on seems to have corrupted (for some reason).

Like I have said, I didn’t get much done this week because of how busy I have been doing other things.  I should have considered this when I put together my plan but I didn’t.