Directed Study - Week 7

Whew! What a week! I'm posting this blog entry half a week after midterm week has ended and I'm STILL exhausted!

This past week I decided to change up what I'm working on for my thesis project a little bit: I built a base mesh for my "Addict" character instead of continuing work on either my Juggler or my gecko. I need something to texture for my Modo rendering class and I thought it might be quicker to start and get to the finish of a new character rather than continuing with the multitude of objects that I still need to build for the Juggler. I have Juggler objects that I can texture for the class in the meantime until I bring one or both of the characters to completion, but I thought it might be beneficial to get a move on with the Addict. As always, this model is taking longer to get going on than I wish it to.

The Addict:


These nice screen shots of my Addict character model don't adequately relay everything that I went through to get the mesh to this point. The steps included: 1 initial mesh build, 1 ZBrush Retop, 1 round of modifications that led to me not being happy with much of even the retoppped geometry (clearly I jumped the gun on the retop and did it much too early), 2 conversations with Tareq pointing out to me all of the problems with the topology and portions of the overall structure, 1 portion of time spent selecting all of the geometry in specific patterns to create Quick Select Sets which would have become polygroups in ZBrush, 1 extraction of the hands out of the mesh so that I could see the face in Maya to fix some geometry problems around the eyes, 1 combine and merging of the hands back into the body that caused the Quick Select Sets I'd created  to cease functioning (which I failed to recognize until it was too late to go back), 1 session spent trying to work with and rebuild the existing geometry on the forearms to get the mesh more evenly spaced out, and 1 deletion of forearm geometry followed by a rebuild (that I realized later would have been much easier to do in a way other than that of which I did it) to finally get the mesh to the state in which you see it above. After it reached this state I remade my Quick Select Sets:

Then I exported a .obj file to UV the model, at which point the time period starts to bleed into week 8 of Directed Study, so I'll save the images and recap from that point on for this coming week's blog entry with the exception of one thing: I realized after UVing that I'd saved the UVed mesh as a new .obj and re-imported it into Maya where it became obvious that, once again, I'd lost the latest round of Quick Select Sets that I'd created. :( Luckily, my roommate pointed out to me the "Polygroup by UV" feature in ZBrush, so, since my UV groups coincide quite nicely with the Quick Select Sets I'd attempted to create anyway, I shan't bother making them a third time.

Moving on:

After the work on my Addict character this past week I was forced to abandon all work on my thesis project for a few days in an effort to finish my large maquette for my Creature Design course. I worked for three days straight spending all of my free waking hours sculpting a mix of Super Sculpey and Sculpey Firm clays to create this: 

I'm quite happy with the bottom half of this piece (though Micah said that the transitional areas between the palms and fingers and foot pads and toe areas could use a little bulking up) but I ran out of time to perfect the detail the way that I wanted to on the top, fleshy areas. It's ok, however: I believe that I've figured out a way that I can still add the desired detail even though I've already cured the clay. I intend to add an extremely thin layer of diluted Sculpey clay on the fleshy top parts and sculpt detail into that - it'll also allow me to round out some of the edges that got a little too squared off - and I can always add more undiluted clay anywhere that it may be required for additional bulk as well. I can't dig into the existing sculpture or move around any pieces that are already on the model, but there's actually a lot more wiggle room than you might expect for minor tweaks like high-level detail.

Last, but not least, of my Directed Studies this (and every) week was my Modo rendering class. I did none of the assigned texture practice for the week because I was too busy sculpting, but I did make good progress on what was going to be the midterm in class:

McKay's original intention was for the class to photorealistically texture this fruit bowl model this week as a midterm project, but something happened to the file in transit to the school that seems to have made digitally painting it virtually impossible without much extra work that's not part of the course topic. As an alternate assignment, he asked us to at least dial in the base materials for the objects as well as we could without digitally painting in the details. The above is as far as I got during classtime. It's not half bad if I do say so myself. It could still use some work, for sure, but it's pretty close to as good as I can make it using only basic materials. I'm going to move on to texturing thesis objects this week rather than attempting any more work on a model that's not my own, but I still liked the fruit bowl well enough to post this little bit of texture work up on my blog this week.

Now: back to modeling.