Directed Study - Week 9

I made good progress on my thesis modeling this week. I got held up toward the end of the week by a slew of technical difficulties, but my progress at the beginning of the week was quite pleasing.

I built base meshes for nearly all of the objects on the Juggler's left arm. The only item on that arm that I neglected was the base mesh for the baby's head and arm that will be seen inside the blanket swaddling: I haven't decided yet whether I want to construct those bits in Maya or ZBrush, so I've left them alone for now. A number of items on the arm will need to be sculpted further in ZBrush anyway, so I can get back to the baby parts when I'm closer to that stage.

I also made some progress on my Addict character this week. I altered his pose so that his knees are spread rather than together, as it looked more natural. He is supposed to have fallen to his knees in despair before having his epiphany, and having the knees together was too rigid for such emotion I think. On Tuesday I took him into ZBrush and began sculpting him as well, so that in his current state he appears thus:

I've kept him pretty low res at this point (I believe that he is only on his third subdivision level in the above images), but I've got good guidelines for refining his form at higher subdivision levels now. It's a start.

Beyond Tuesday I attempted to move on to retopologizing my creature for my Creature Design course and UVing the finished objects on my Juggler, but, as stated above, I had technical difficulties. I have never seen Maya and ZBrush crash so often in the course of two or three days as I have this week. Every time I began to make some progress, whatever program I was in crashed. The progress that I made on the retopology of my creature was so negligible that I won't bother to even post images here, and, as for the UVing of my Juggler objects, this is all of the progress that I managed to make:

I UVed the cell phone, keyboard, tape dispenser, and tape roll models so that the checker pattern is as nice and straight as I could manage it, but that's it: three days and three objects. It's pretty disappointing. Part of the reason it took so long to do three objects is from the multiple program crashes I had to endure, and the other part was just me being slow. I was experimenting with the best way to UV these objects and also getting some tips from my roommate on how to UV efficiently in Maya. You see, I UVed the cell phone first in UVLayout, but a number of the pieces and/or their details wouldn't unfold nicely in that program, so I had to do a lot of tweaking by hand. The front of the cell phone, which is clearly rectangular, unfolded into something that resembled much more of an oval. All of geometry within the edgeloops surrounding the holes in the mesh of the body of the phone where the buttons fit into  was horribly compressed and none of the smoothing tools worked, even when scaled down severely to only affect the detail in those areas. I was forced to manipulate those areas on an individual UV basis, moving one point at a time to try to avoid squashing or stretching the geometry. I can assure you, it took entirely too long. (Oh, and UVLayout crashed on me about halfway through the process once as well, when I hadn't yet saved my work beyond cutting up the model, so that I had to begin the unfolding process all over again.) After that I thought that it might be quicker (and more accurate) to try UVing these hard surface objects in Maya, because when you "planar project" UVs over a rectangular surface in Maya, you actually end up with a rectangle, not the offspring of a rectangle and oval tryst.

UVing the keyboard went very smoothly, but the tape dispenser proved much more difficult. I had a  mini-lesson from my roommate on some of the tools that I was unfamiliar with for UVing in Maya, started working, and then the program crashed for the first time. For the next two days it kept crashing every time I felt like I might be getting somewhere. I also had trouble deciding where I wanted the seams to be on the tape dispenser, but in the end I put them mainly along the corners where the labels would break. Overall, I learned to delete my history and save even more frequently while UVing in Maya than I do while modeling.

I'm looking forward to a fresh start this week, with hopefully far fewer "fatal error" messages than I've otherwise recently been privy to.