Sunday, April 10, 2011

Learning Process

Pre-production.  Remember that?  I started this blog in the pre-production phase of my thesis, that time when I figured out and detailed what it would be all about.  That's why this blog URL has jf-mastersthesis in it, rather than bodaciouscreed.  That's when I created Creed, Anna, Coconino, and also some elements of their world that aren't even going to show up in the final demo reel.  It's when I planned out what needed to be done to complete it.

And while pre-production is necessary for a coherent project, and for saving loads of time, it's amazing how the little things an slow work down.  In the production phase, there's a lot of figuring out just how to do the things you planned.

For instance, I've started working on detailing my characters' clothing.  Anna's bodice is a good example.  I started by sculpting her blouse so that the bodice would be part of the sculpt.  Then I decided it would make sense to texture it, and that in doing so I would see where more sculptural details were needed.  But it didn't look right; it looked too attached.  So, I scrapped all that work, and modeled a bodice to go over the blouse.  That looks much better.

I started to texture it using Spotlight in zBrush.  I've talked about Spotlight before.  It allows the artist to project a texture onto a model and then paint it right on.  But it wanted to make the black parts transparent.  Plus, the shape of the painted area didn't look right.  I then tried using zAppLink (also mentioned in here, or at least in my vlog) to paint the texture to the bodice, then lift that onto the actual model.  That is mostly working, though mirroring it to the other side is a pain.  But zBrush then acts erratic, sometimes not dropping the image to Photoshop, sometimes not accepting the image back.  Lots of program and computer restarts have been involved in that.

The thing is, I'm figuring out better and better how to do this right and make it look awesome.  This is the process: try something, make a mistake, try something else.  In doing so, I'm coming up with my own techniques.  It will speed up the rest of the work (I hope).  But this week, even with all the work I've done on this, I feel like I've accomplished very little.

When I do have things looking right, I'll post a new blog and vlog.

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