Find out about the process in we’ll be using to complete this project and get familiar with the tools we’ll be using in this video.
Speed Cage Modeling
Use the right tool for the job! That’s what my father used to tell me when he helped me build my first car. Since those 3 years of sitting under a greasy wreck I learned a lot about what tools can be used and what tools should be used. If you’ve ever had to take a rusty bolt off of a smashed up wreck, you realize that even a perfect sized wrench won’t be of any assistance to you. Learn how to take a short cut by picking out the proper primitives to start with during your cage modeling process. This cage can now be used forever when building a variety of similar shaped creatures, so don’t throw it out!
An important part of the process, we show you how to set up your UV's so that texturing will be PERFECT after your modeling is done. Why wait for high resolution UV poly and point picking when you can do that before hand? No reason at all that we can think of! Keep your mesh manageable by using this awesome trick not known by a lot of people. Included with one of the models is a 16k texture that can be used to generate a million different texture styles so you can colorize your tortoise with photo-realistic or non-photo realistic textures. (Copy the color channel into other layers to make bump, normal, specular maps and more!
By now you have guessed that we are modeling a tortoise and have probably asked yourself how is the shell made. Well, there are some interesting tricks shown in this part of the video regarding resolution independent modeling concepts (Yes, I said resolution independent). This chapter will also show the process of building up layers of sculpting data to get a fine-tuned shape over time. Sometimes there are no shortcuts to get the details required.
The Legs and Feet
Be conscious of your rigging team. Build your models with a position best suited for the animation required for your character. In this case we are going to lift our tortoise up a bit so that our animators will have the option of “telescoping” the limbs inward. Sometimes trial and error will be needed when making your model 100% animation friendly. Keep your versions saved incrementally! You might need more than one model in a single feature.
Head and Neck
Always the main part of a character, the head and neck can determine the style of engagement that your character demands of its viewers. You can make the audience focus on other parts of the model if you plan out your characters facial definition. Characters that are more evil than hero characters can sometimes move the eye to other parts of the model besides its head. These lines are all determined by the artist and should be considered prior to starting. In this video, we included 2 different models that have similar shapes, but different qualities to give the illusion of nice or not nice.
So now you have some detail added to your geometry so that you have the general contours and muscular movements along the surface. A fair amount of smoothing and lifting are going to be required to finalize the character. In this video, we’ll show 3 general passes to get the most out of the video. In our original model, nearly ten passes were made using the same technique so that the detail was refined. A detailed explanation is contained within this chapter.
Once you have exceeded the maximum amount of detail for the subdivision layer you are painting you will need to start to plan out which apps will be rendering this model. If you’re staying in C4D, your life will be great. If you’re exporting to Maya, Softimage, Houdini, Clarisse, or another animation package, you’ll have the option for managing your polygon size and mapping your detail with textures.
Exporting, Displacements, Normals, Ambient Occlusion
If you’re new to sculpting you may not know about the words in this title. That means you need to watch this video regardless if your skills at sculpting. High end rendering solutions such as Pixar Renderman work very well with lower resolution meshes that use displacement mapping to bump out the rest of the detail. Learn how to bake your model as created or with the three mapping techniques known to experts in the industry.
About the Instructor
Chris Maynard is the owner and Chief Public Partner of the profit-sharing organization known as cmiVFX.com. Surprisingly, the letters "CMI" in the company name are not an abbreviation for Chris Maynard Institute. The initials actually stand for the first company name, entitled "Creative Minds Imaging," which dates back to 1997 and is responsible for the creation of digital pre-press applications made from adobe products on roto gravure, which is a form of heat transfer printing. Since then, Chris has been the driving force behind a large majority of Application User Interfaces for the visual effects and computer graphics industries. He has designed application features, entire GUI's and partial GUI's that nearly everyone in the visual effects industry has used on some level. Applications like Photoshop, Painter, and Poser allowed Chris to break into the "commercial illustration and design world." This was when he decided to move away from the field of engineering. Before graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology for Advanced Computer Graphics, Chris studied Laser Holography for real 3D applications. In 1998, he became the first person in history to simulate holograms of helium neon laser light. He did this on a Cray super computer, using Houdini as the backbone of the project. Later, he moved on to become the Creative Director for several large corporations in which training for CBT (computer-based training) sparked his interest in combining all four of his practiced skills into one complete business operation. For the last decade, Chris has been assisting tens of thousands of customers deliver top shelf productions through training and extensive labor. He is a dedicated service provider for freelance compositing work whenever he is not managing cmiVFX. If you need him to solve a problem with your software or production pipeline, just email him at email@example.com.
Wacom 24HD Creative Pen Display
Chris is an expert modeler and when he’s not running cmiVFX, he’s usually doing 3D sculpting on one of his Wacom Cintiqs. The Wacom 24HD Creative Pen Display is a VFX artist’s dream come true. This industry-leading pen display was designed to meet the needs of creative professionals. Wacom’s premium, pressure-sensitive pen contains an impressive 2048 pressure levels and provides natural, on-screen creative control and captures every nuance of your movements with the accuracy and precision of traditional art tools.
Wacom Cintiq Companion
Chris also uses the Wacom Cintiq Companion, which is an incredible mobile solution that allows artists to take their work on the road. The Cintiq Companion combines the immersive, on-screen creative experience of a Cintiq creative pen display with the mobility of a high-performance Windows 8 creative tablet - giving you the power to produce professional results from anywhere.
Check out the Wacom 24HD Pen Display and the CIntiq Companion here:
Wacom 24HD Pen Display
Wacom Cintiq Companion
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