Saturday, October 29, 2011

Working Out Details

It's late, and I need to get to sleep! But I also wanted to write a quick post. I have a new vlog up that talks about how I tackled a couple of fine tuning issues for my demo reel.


My final review is scheduled for December 8! I'm excited, because it's both coming quickly, and I know I have time to get everything done and have a fantastic demo reel.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Don't get me wrong based on the title of this blog entry.  I love 3d modeling, sculpting, and texturing.  But right now, what's taking most of my project time as I set up Bodacious Creed for Scene 2?  Is it sculpting the wrinkles into his clothes?  No.  Is it getting his finger nails in place?  No.  It's transferring the textures from the GoZ default directory that zBrush creates over to the proper Maya directory, and re-setting up all the shading connections.

I also checked to see if there's a way to specify the path for zBrush when it exports files to Maya this way, but I couldn't find anything.  So, it's really time consuming.

Seems like something I should let Pixologic know about, a change to request for the next update.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Current Thoughts

I'm approaching the end of this project! Right now though, the next focus point is getting the scenes set up and posed. I plan, and hope, to have that done by October 31, giving me at least 21 days to render out the demo reel. Rendering can take a LONG time. I suppose if I were able to get a new computer, that would help. My computer is good, but it's nearly three years old. Any increase in speed would be fantastic.

I talked about Coconino's fur in the last vlog. (Check the previous blog entry to see that.) I had set it up as one hair system, all over his body. It became clear to me after working with it that I needed better control of each area, so I redid it that way. Now, there are several hair systems: 1. The torso. 2. The legs. 3. The head. 4. The tail. 5. The feet. and 6. The inner ears. Fortunately, in working on the fur before, I had already created root and tip color maps (again, see the last vlog), and while they need a little tweaking, they look pretty good and it was easy to plug them into the new hair systems. I expect to have Coconino's fur done and looking awesome by tonight.

Speaking of fur and hair, I'm not satisfied with Anna's. Though I'm getting pretty good at Shave and a Haircut, I'm really a modeler first, a texture artist second, and not really a hair guy. That's an extra thing that certainly enhances my work, but if it gets too complicated, well, I'm not quite at that level yet. Short hair styles like Creed's are easy enough. Fur like Coconino's is more complex, but still fairly short and manageable. Anna's long hair though is just very tough to get right.

So, I was thinking, why not give her short hair? Yes, it's the Wild West, but it's also a Steampunk world. I'm going to see if I can find some examples of short hair on women in the Wild West, and if I can't find that, I'll just give her a short hair style anyway. When I started on her hair, it was short at first, and it looked really good. If nothing else, it will make her look more like the independent individualist she is.

That's all my news for the moment. Back to work on the coyote!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

First Scene Preview Turntable & More

I'm pretty happy with the work I got done this weekend. I rendered out a test turntable of Scene 1, posed Coconino for Scene 2 and 3, and have been working on Coconino's fur.

You can see all that in this vlog:

Friday, October 7, 2011

First Scene Posed!

Except for a bit of work, Scene 1 is done, and I'm ready to pose Scene 2!

This is the scene where Anna revives Creed after installing machinery in his body. And, he's a little surprised, to say the least.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

And, the Vlog

Here's the video I mentioned, showing how I copied the wound layer over to the main mesh for Bodacious Creed.

Jonny's Creature Shop: New YouTube Channel

Illustrators keep a sketchbook. (Actually, a lot of artist do, myself included. But to make my point...) Digital quick sculptures are to 3D modelers what sketches are to illustrators. They're a great way to improve skills, stay loose, stay in practice, and to exercise creativity.

With the introduction of Dynamesh in zBrush 4r2, I decided it was time that I started this. And, sharing my work is also something I enjoy, and that keeps me motivated.

So, I started Jonny's Creature Shop, a YouTube channel where I'll be showing off my creative sculpts, AND showing the process of sculpting them. I have two videos up already. Check it out!

For inspiration, a lot of the time I'll be using Fantasy Genesis, a terrific book that helps launch ideas for fantastical things.

Ready to Zoom Forward, and 204th Post

I made my 200th post recently, but didn't mention it! So hey, I guess I'll mention that this is my 204th post. This is the longest blog I've ever kept, and a comprehensive record of the work done on my 3D Modeling thesis.

As my readers know, I'm getting close to the end of it! I graduate with my MFA in December, and as always, am working hard on this project.

Last semester, keeping a to do/check list of steps, I got a lot of work done and kept strongly on track. I'm doing the same now. Here's the list I wrote up yesterday.

Bodacious Creed
To Do List

Scene 1:
1. Fit wound layer properly.
2. Finish object shaders.
3. Possibly do subdermal layer shader for Creed.
4. Base, tool table.
5. Render turntable.

Scene 2:
1. Pose Creed and Coconino.
2. Coconino's fur.
3. Batwing doors, frame.
4. Base.
5. Use Creed shaders from Scene 1 (except for normal/disp maps).
6. Render turntable.

Scene 3:
1. Pose Creed, Boyd, & Coconino.
2. Bar, shelf of bottles.
3. Base.
4. Use Creed shaders from Scene 1 (except for normal/disp maps).
5. Render turntable.

1. Watch a bunch of demo reels.
2. Write detailed shot breakdown.
3. Render all shots for demo reel.
4. Composite demo reel.

This morning, I finished Scene 1: 1. I actually ended up projecting the texture for the wound layer onto the main mesh, as the wound layer was getting too unruly. Funny enough, it now looks more organic, more realistic, and avoids the whole geometry-passing-through-geometry look.

I'm going to upload a new vlog later today where I talk about the process. I recorded it yesterday right when I started projecting the texture over. Meanwhile, I'm exporting the textures from zBrush so that I can load them into Maya. Then, I'll go forward with Scene 1: 2 and get those shaders polished up.