MOTY ModDB Characture Development Process Breakdown.
Production timeframe.3 Days
Actual Timeframe.5 Days
Note: This description will only be understood by those familiar with 3dsMax and may not translate to maya, blender or xsi users, although similar features exist in these applications, the use and layering of things like modifiers and polygon groups will no doubtly be different. All the characters body and eyes were created first to ensure scale and positioning were correct.
Mobie's body was made with a simple rectangle, that was then turned into an editable poly then smoothed and shaped with a 3x free-form deformer. His face is simple cubes added separately to allow easy modification.
His boots were made from two cone primitives, welded to a single mesh, then rigged and turbo smoothed. His hands are a modified version of Wally's gloves, re rigged and posed.
Connie's body was sculpted with voxels in 3D Coat, as the shape was hard to extrapolate from the concept , The mesh was then exported to zbrush to allow q remesher to reduce the poly count to a workable level, the mesh was then imported into 3DsMax, the final base mesh was slimmed down and hollowed out with a shell modifier to save printing costs.
Connie's hands are a heavily modified version of wallie's gloves again re rigged and posed. Her hair cable is a hose constraint with a bone at each end to allow easy editing and posing. Connie's eyes and mouth are layered planes each was modeled based directly off the concept artwork, this gives the model the same feeling of character and personality that Conley archived in her concept sheet. The layering of the eye details, also brings a unique 2.5D look to a model that would normalay use spheres or a multitude of modifiers to archive.
Each eye has nine meshes layed and then assigned a multi layer material with each mesh having a assigned ID, there are seven material layers just for the eyes alone.Note: Connie's body and handel's were sculpted based of the shape of womans thighs, creepy but informative.
Wally's body is made of two layers, the white outerlayer was scaled and duplicated to produce the red central body of wally, this mesh was then mirrored on the x and y axis to save production time.
The backpack is a simple L shape primitive mesh that it then shaped with three bend modifiers and three symmetry modifiers to save production time, it also allows fast editing and greater control of the final look, the hose connecting the tank to the flamethrower is a hose primitive with bones to speed production and editing ease.
Wallies Gloves were modeled with box primitives, then made into a complete mesh using zBrushe's new DynaMesh function and the poly count reduced with qReMesher, they were then re imported into max for a final mesh reduction, rigging and posing. Wallies boots were made from extrusion off a single plane, nurms and smoothing groups played a large part in creating the sharp lines, two bend modifiers were used to style the final shape of the boots.
Wallie's eyes and mouth were produced in the same way as Connies, with each colored section containing a diffrent shaped and colored plane, overlapped and layered to produce the result, these eyes can easily be baked onto a sphere or a simpler primitive to reduce poly count and allow editing in a image editing suit.
Overall, all the models were modelled using edge based extrusion in some shape or form, this gives great control and combined with the use of nurms and smoothing groups allowed me to archive a smooth finished result, however the actual poly count of each base mesh is well within use for games or animation, I found this technique very useful in the production of the more organic shapes like the boots and gloves.
As you can see there is never a set way of doing things, with the first versions of Wally, I used spheres for the eyes with diff rent material ID's set to the model and the results were average to say the least, the same method was used on early versions of Connie, however pulling off the character and personality were impossible. The arms and legs, at first they were a basic cylinder mesh, rigged and then posed to form arms, however wanting to edit the mesh after it was posed, caused the rigging to corrupt, the solution i found best was use a hose or a spline and have it connected to a start and end point, this meant less bones to rig and less chance of corrupting the weight maps on editing the base mesh.
My final thoughts on this project and a look forward, if I was to do this again, I would evaluate the concept in more detail prior to starting work, a eye for detail is needed in modelling and rushing ahead archives nothing but lots of editing and many versions of the same model.The use of planes for detailed areas like the eyes and mouth I would have never thought of if it wasn't for close collaboration with the moddb staff, the results speak for themselves and I have learnt something new in the process.
The arms could do with a full revision, not only the process used to create them but the way they were originally extrapolated from the concept, the end result is ok but pre planning the position of arms saves allot of time and you can work around the arms to ensure they look part of the model and not something attached for detail.
For my first contract, its been a great learning experience, communication with the DesuraNet team was paramount to the completion of this project on time and i feel the results show.
Aaron "TKAzA" Baker