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Assets My First Model and subsequent models

Discussion in 'Works In Progress' started by BIGTIMEMASTER, Sep 29, 2017.

  1. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    gridlines.PNG poppy2.PNG side.PNG 8518652817853777587_account_id=1.jpg


    This is the (mostly) completed mesh of a model based on one of my dogs. This is the first model I have built on my own initiative -- i.e. not following a tutorial.

    I tried to upload to sketchfab but I don't really know what I'm doing with exporting and things didn't turn out right, so hopefully these screen grabs give a good idea. There are some details I want to add around the eyes and the eyes themselves, but otherwise I think there is enough detail to suffice for a reasonably realistic looking model once I get some fur and textures put onto it, which is my next step. Right now it is about 35k polys. I am not sure how much the fur will add -- I expect a lot. I probably could decimate this since much of it will be hidden anyway, although it is a short fur dog.

    I don't know much about shading at the moment, so I have just slapped on some basic stuff so that it's not matte gray. My next step is to learn how to make fur and then do that. With that done, I'll move on to rigging and animation. If this turns out satisfactory, that should cover all the skills I will need to start developing assets for my own project (which will include different kinds of critters, but not dogs necessarily)

    Being my first model ever, this took me upwards of twenty hours. Most of my time was spent fixing up bad geometry, experimenting, and playing around with different edge flows to try and see what would allow the most movement without pinching since I want to animate this later.

    I made this in Maya 2017.

    Please share any thoughts, criticisms, suggestions, etc. I really appreciate them!
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
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  2. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    I think this is a really good start for a first model. I would suggest to give the area around the eyes another go, that's one of the most important and still looks off to me. And your polygon density really is excessively high for that kind of asset. You could and should make a version with much less polies and bake the details of your highpoly version into a tangentspace normal map *). I suggest to try Substance Painter 2 for your texturing needs. It's reasonably easy to learn and can do almost all the baking for you. I would suggest to keep rigging and animating as the very last steps because you'll likely modify the mesh many more times during creating the lowpoly version, unwrapping and baking. Fur is tricky, but I have no advice for you, since I never had to tackle that myself.

    *) it's not so much that it makes a big difference for the GPU whether you have that one model at 5k or 50k triangles, but if you have 10 of them on screen and it's 50k vs 500k, it can start to add up. You just don't want to be wasteful with your resources in general. I don't have hands-on experience with skinned mesh-renderers, but the impact of having to calculate skeletal deformations during animations, with many vertices being influenced by more than one bone at the same time, could have a bigger effect on CPU time, than just rendering that amount of polygons on the GPU.
    Whether your terrain mesh has 500k triangles or 2 millions, I wouldn't care much about as long as your framerate is what you want it to be, because you likely only ever will have one terrain and won't animate it. That's a known quantity that won't change. But down the line you might change your mind on how many animals you want to be able to have on screen at the same time etc.. Better to stay within reasonable limits from the start.
    When building the lowpoly focus on keeping the curves in the silhouttes of your model smooth enough, everything that you never see as a silhoutte and doesn't get deformed heavily during animation can be pretty low poly because the normal map will preserve all the nuanced detail. E.g. the sides of the torso can be pretty low res, the areas around bendable joints should have higher resolution in comparison.
     
  3. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    One thing to consider, and then see if you still stick with that first sentence -- my project is a hunting game, which would typically only have two animals one screen at once. Yourself and another critter. Sometimes there might be more, but that would likely be from a far distance and thus low poly versions could be used. In that case, don't you think it is reasonable to have some relatively high poly models?

    Thanks a lot for the good advice. I appreciate the mentioning of terrain -- that is where I want to put the most resolution as besides the sparse critters the terrain will pretty much be the only other thing in the game (not counting running scripts of course).

    To be honest I don't know what baking the details exactly entails. It is one of those things I am going to need to learn along the way. I think I need to complete some basic texturing primers first though, as that is prerequisite to that sort of thing?

    Thanks again.
     
  4. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    And, one question for you or anybody who knows a thing about modeling:

    If I want to reduce the amount of resolution in places like the sides, but keep a decent amount around the nose, eyes, etc., how do you suggest rerouting those edges? I couldn't seem to find many inconspicuous places to merge a bunch of vertices -- I mean, I didn't want a phalanx of kites right along the shoulders. Perhaps I could route those edges down towards the belly and maybe loop them? I guess I ought to just try that.

    But maybe I don't even need so many around the nose.
     
  5. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    Even if you'll ever only have 2 animals on screen at a time, you're still throwing polygons away in a way that doesn't get you any tangible benefit. Once you've familiarized yourself with modern texturing workflows you'll easily see how there are areas on your mesh where the current amount of polies is real overkill and others where you could add more to actually get a visual improvement.

    Here are some playlists from allegorithmic:
    https://www.youtube.com/user/Allegorithmic/playlists
    Look for the tutorials on Substance Painter 1 and 2 and using their tools in combination with Unity.
    And download and read the PBR guide:
    https://www.allegorithmic.com/pbr-guide

    I'm guessing you're using subdivision surface modeling? With that technique edgeflow/topology matters a lot. For a low-poly model intended for games and the usual highpoly to lowpoly baking workflow, topology doesn't matter nearly as much. You'll still want to avoid a few pitfalls related to normal map baking and deformation during animations, but you don't need to think about the same things you need to think about right now with an SDS workflow. Typically you'd leave your model right there as it is topology-wise, and build a new lowpoly model to actually use in the game. The current would then be your highpoly model to bake textures from.
    Search term that will help you: "retopo" or "retopologize". I'm sure Maya has some tools for that.

    [EDIT:]
    You definitely don't for the lowpoly ingame model. For the highpoly if you were to start sculpting you might want to add a couple hundred thousands right there to model the tiny bumps on the nose. You could also use a pbr material in Substance Painter that already has a suitable texture. There's usually more than one way to achieve things. If you use the workflow of baking highpoly to lowpoly, then your highpoly can have as many millions of polygons as you want, it won't affect the rendering performance in the game once it's turned into a normalmap.

    Best source to learn these kinds of things is the Polycount forum. They have a few exceptionally great sticky threads for techart topics.
    Like this, although the images seem to be down now:
    http://polycount.com/discussion/811...-projection-who-put-waviness-in-my-normal-map

    If you want to get good at this, you should open an account there and seek out feedback there. You'll probably receive much better answers than you could here.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
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  6. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    So much to learn, so little time.
     
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  7. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Thanks so much. I think the most powerful kind of advice a noob can get is a good resource. I'd browsed Polycounts art showcases before, and I was left intimidated and feeling beaten. Haha. But if you can't beat them, join them, right?

    I think before I ask for any more time from kind strangers on the internet, I need to cover all the basics with some more tutorials. I guess I just wanted to make sure the way I was working was total crap, lol.
     
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  8. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    Agree with all @Martin_H suggested
    The main thing to keep in mind, is you want to keep quads as much as possible. A couple triangles are alright in non deformable areas, but usually you'll want to re-route a row of edges/polys and keep quads rather than collapsing down to a fan/pole. And stay away from polys with more than 4 edges = ngons.
    Pinterest has some good modeling tips/techniques to keep models with most (95%) quads. Look up poly flow or quad modeling, that should pull up some good reference for you.

    Also another important point to always keep in mind while modeling - follow the muscle flow as much as possible for organic models. This will help immensely when you finally get the rigging and animating. Several references available for modeling for best animation results.

    Last suggestion - Keep modeling new models! Consider putting this model aside and creating another completely different model totally from scratch. This will help you get better faster and then, go further with the second model. Finalize the modeling phase and ready it for UVs and unwrap it. After you've created 3-5 additional models you will look at this dog model and (even though pretty good for first time model) you will look at it and either not like it at all or want to start over from scratch because you have learned so much creating the last 3-5 models.
     
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  9. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Thanks a lot. Reminds me some advice I read somewhere -- maybe it was here on this forum but I really don't remember -- but the idea is that in the beginning going for quantity over quality is the fastest way to learn.

    But yeah, I totally agree. I started poking at that model this morning trying to get things perfect when I realized, hey, I'm not learning anything new doing this. I wanted to learn to do fur next, but I realized pretty quickly that was a little too advanced for where I am right now, so I am going to how to do UV layouts in Maya right now. Perhaps after this tutorial I will have another go around with a different model like you suggest -- I think a human with a detailed face.

    Although I am having a great time and learning a lot recently, sometimes I wonder if I am on the most efficient path. My end goal is to be able to make assets for a game entirely myself and from scratch, but the problem is that there are so many tools its kind of hard to know where to go.

    Maya seems like it will be my all-in-one powerhouse, but I know that I will need something like Photoshop as well for creating textures. As I have already dropped money on a new computer, lessons from Pluralsight, a Maya subscription, its not likely I'll convince my wife at this point to allow me to purchase any other expensive programs, so I kind of need to just learn everything I can do with just Maya and Photoshop (which I don't have yet, but have convinced the wife to let me get later).

    TLDR -- A bunch of random thoughts with no coherent point. Disregard.
     
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  10. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    Check out a substance painter trial version and then maybe put the steam version on your wishlist to get notified during 50% off sales. If you can get to grips with its texturing workflow I see little reason to even need Photoshop for making realistic PBR textures. You still will want and need a tool like Photoshop for some things like UI art assets or tweaking photos to use as masks or textures in substance painter, but in terms of what gives you a fully textured and usable PBR asset the fastest, you'll get orders of magnitude more utility out of substance painter imho. If you aren't used to Photoshop yet, you might as well give Affinity Photo a try first if they have a trial version. It's much cheaper I believe.
     
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  11. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    I think I'll do that about substance painter. It seems like learning the most bang for your buck programs first will be my best option. I take it Substance painter is just a one time purchase deal then.
     
  12. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    They have a subscription deal for their tools as well. You'll find details on https://www.allegorithmic.com/
     
  13. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    So I just watched a basic UV mapping tutorial and a retopology in maya tutorial back to back at 2.0x speed. Todays my day off so I have to make the most of it. I didn't follow along like I usually would, I just wanted to get the basic ideas. I think I understand the process now, and it doesn't seem terribly daunting either.

    In a nutshell, I can make a very nice looking mesh, edge flow doesn't need to be perfect, with all the detail I can muster. From that masterpiece, I will use the retopo techniques I learned to make a more animation and GPU friendly model, and the smaller details I can bake from the masterpiece for a diffuse and normal map (and the other maps too, I suppose, though I don't know yet what they all do.)

    That all seems pretty doable, though I will need some practice getting used to the retopo tools in Maya.

    After that, I'll move over to Substance Painter and start learning how to do that. Since I don't want to buy that right away, I will just do the baking in Maya. Perhaps Substance Painter might do that better, I don't know, but I'll just stick with what I have for now.

    I think, like suggested, I'll save rigging and animation for the last thing I learn how to do. Perhaps hair and fur as well -- though it might be worth learning that early on since I'm making a game about animals.
     
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  14. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    Although learning the built in software hair/fur/cloth/particles is really nice to know for future use in 3D and cinematics and other stuff, the hair/fur/cloth/particles in each software (maya, 3D Max, others) do not transfer into Unity.
    Also you will find hair/fur/cloth/particles in 3D are much more robust in the 3D packages than they are in game engine, though Unity particles have made leaps and bounds improvements since legacy particles, and even 1st gen Shuriken particles.

    This does not include the low poly hair techniques commonly used in Final Fantasy games, Shadow of Colossus and other games. That technique is a union of 3D software, advanced rigging, and programming/physics system set up in engine/Unity.
     
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  15. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Wow. That's good to know. I won't prioritize learnings Maya's nParticle systems then. I wonder how best to go about simulating animal fur/feathers?

    I suppose really nice textures and a lot of time spent making small tweaks in animation should suffice. For instance, an idle animation for a bird soaring in flight could involve several similar iterations in which lots of different individual feathers are tweaked to look like they are being affected by wind turbulence. This seems like it would be tedious, and perhaps solved by some advanced programming algorithms, but certainly doable.

    I take it the programming/physics involved means applying custom solutions for the hair to be animated? Something that is likely way beyond my scope, but interesting nonetheless.
     
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  16. DominoM

    DominoM

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    You're thinking more like a movie maker with unlimited rendering time than a game developer. Here's a couple of videos that might help with that :)



    The information on the fin mesh technique is available here.

     
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  17. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    The modelling is rough but the reason why you'll go much further than 90% of people is because you understand what you are looking at. You observe the smaller details and then replicate them.

    Most wannabe artists don't. They just get what they think they're seeing and make some sort of crappy lump.

    In your case you have the forms but not the experience, so the only thing you actually need to do is just do a lot more. There isn't much we can teach you in this most important stage. Good news is, you're already cracking the most important stage: observation.

    The rendering and the FX, none of that is important without the underlying model being good, and you're good at that.
     
  18. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Thanks a lot for the encouragement!

    About thinking more along the lines of cinema versus games, that's probably because the tutorials I am following are not geared towards gaming in general, just learning how to use Maya. So sometimes I don't know if what I am learning will be specific to my task or not, but slowly with the help of this forum and other resources I am. I would love to find some tutorials that just cover specifically what I am interested in and nothing else, but right now Pluralsight has the most and highest quality tutorials I've found.
     
  19. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    In a couple months or however long come back here and post and I can give you some helpful input on rigging feathers, wings and such for games and with realism in mind. Not a beginner topic - and hippo said it - keep at it! ;)
     
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  20. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    You guys are awesome. Thanks for giving so much to the community.

    Here's a snippet of what I've been working on. I may finish the high res mesh tomorrow. It's easy to get carried away, so I'll be mindful not to strive for perfection. The more important things to learn at this point are retopoing the mesh and doing so in a good way to be ready for texturing and animation.

    Anyway, here's a pic. It's a fantasy character from my imagination. Sort of a cross between Dracula, a werewolf, and he'll have big wings so I can work on feathering. Obviously it's a work in progress, but after lots of experimentation I finally got the general look I was going for.

    My method so far has been this: Follow along a tutorial for creating a general human head. I made the body myself but used a human proportions diagram to build a scale template so it would be as perfect as possible. I will make the legs resemble a wolfs and probably elongate the hands a bit though, but I wanted to start from correct proportions so it would look believable.
    Even though the lines don't matter too much, I took a lot of time to get all my edges running as efficiently as possible just for practice. Then I subdivided to about 500k to get the general shapes I wanted, then subdivided again to 2 mil to get little fine cuts to look like hair. I don't think I'll need to go any higher than this.
    EvilWolfMan.PNG
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
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  21. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    Spot on!

    @BIGTIMEMASTER: you should look for zbrush or mudbox sculpting tutorials about getting down the bigger shapes first. All beginner sculpts have a certain "blobbyness" that comes from subdividing and detailing too quickly. These are general things related to sculpting, it doesn't matter what tool you use. You'll most likely find tutorials from much better sculptors for the dedicated sculpting programs like zBrush, than you will find for Maya. Tutorials about traditional sculpting with modelling clay can also have value for you if they don't focus too much on the things specific to the physical nature of the process.
    You'll get very far if you just keep at it. Your attention to detail is already pretty good, like Hippo said.
     
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  22. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Blobbyness shaming now, huh?

    Thanks for the advice. I've found plenty of tutorials for Zbrush and a few for Mudbox. I'll check out the Mudbox ones first since Maya uses the same tools. I never would of thought of that, my search criteria is set to Maya only.
     
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  23. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    XenoMorphUpperBodyMostlyDone.JPG
    WIP -- Xenomorph. Currently the front side of the upper body is mostly complete as far as basic details go.

    I've gone all out and got Zbrush and Substance Painter 2. Although Zbrush is absurdly hard to learn, I haven't made it any easier by making my first project something rather complicated -- a Xenomorph.

    But, by taking on this challenge and sticking with it -- and trust me, I've sprouted a few gray hairs over this -- I'm learning a lot very quickly. As it is anytime you start something new, I'm like 1/8th of the way done with this project and already I feel like I've learned so much that I could reproduce what I have 2x better and 5x faster. But, it is looking pretty cool and I've put in quite a few hours so I'm just gonna take this one to the finish line.

    Obviously the artistic design doesn't reflect my imagination or anything. This project is just meant to be a means for me to learn how to use Zbrush, and later Substance Painter, as well as practice general sculpting and technical 3d skills.

    As always, any constructive criticism, advice, or thoughts are appreciated. If you are really bored or are perhaps a beginner looking to learn from another beginners mistakes, you can follow the progress of this model by following the link in my signature to my digital sketchbook. I try to jot down important technical notes and such as I learn them there.
     
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  24. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    My current work. I am still working on the sculpting, but I have applied basic materials to give some impression of the final result.

    This is to be an apocalypse survivor, hence the torn clothes. Right now I'm working on a jacket and vest, then I'll do some details over the whole thing before retopologizing for a game model and then texturing with Substance Painter.

    For the hair, I am going to try two approaches. I will use Maya's Xgen system to create dynamic hair, but I will also make a Unity compatible low-poly version as well.

    I feel like I know about 5% of what Zbrush has to offer, but nonetheless for the most part I have been able to develop this model without any serious headaches. It has been a very slow process, but so far I think the quality is pretty nice and it makes me hopeful that I'll be able to make some nice things in the future.

    My goal for this model is to use it along with some others to create a small panoramic scene that will showcase a variety of modeling types, and I'll keep it for a professional portfolio.


    123.JPG gsdcs.JPG
     
  25. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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  26. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    Proportions of the arms are a little out of wack and the forearms are inversely bent which will cause some issues initially when skinning, with the test animations. Consider correcting to be nearly straight or slightly bent inward.
    Might also consider beefing up her shoulders just a little bit. They look a little flat at this point, and when they are put into a natural downward position they will flatten out even more.
    I like the proportions you've given to her hips, waist, shoulders. Looks good.
    Nice work!
     
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  27. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Thanks for the feedback.

    Other people have mentioned the forearm angle of bendiness, but I was reluctant to change them because the real life model actually looks like that in that pose. She is double jointed I suppose. But now that you have explained how this will actually effect the animation, I see how it will be a problem. So I'll fix it.

    Same with the shoulders. Some people have said, "It needs more muscle definition." And I thought, this is a real human, not an action hero. Although I haven't posed it yet, like you said I can imagine those polygons around the shoulder getting pinched down a bit when the arms are lowered.

    Initially I had the model in an A pose, but when I was working with Dynamesh they were getting connected to the body so I brought them up a ways. Well, I know how to get around issues like that now, but learning how to pose models will be something I do once I finish texturing this so I'll wait until then.
     
  28. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    @theANMATOR2b,

    I asked this question at polycount but didn't get any very thorough answers, but since you seem to know a bit about animation....

    In this t-pose, I have modeled the muscles and silhouette simply as I saw them in real life. That is, the lats are kind of stretched out, the upper back muscles are pinched a bit, and the arms are rotated so the the deltoids are facing backwards, the biceps are parallel to the ground, etc. Basically, in a relaxed, idle pose, the muscles will be a bit different from how they are now.

    So, with that in mind, would it make sense for me to just go ahead and model the muscles of the body in a relaxed position, despite the arms being raised? That might look a bit odd to the trained observer, but once the model was put into use it may save the animator some time tweaking vertices? (I have no idea what the process for animation is right now)

    With all the said, the model you see here is not the final model, of course. The final model has on more layers of clothing, and thus I actually deleted the undershirt and much of the arms as they are hidden anyway. Right now I'm finishing up the retopology for a game ready model. But it's still good to know.

    Thanks for your time, I really appreciate the helpful advice.
     
  29. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    Yes - I've experienced this in some of my earlier models, and still have a mental note to add a little definition/bulk to the shoulders when modeling because when the characters arms drop into a more natural down pose the shoulder skinning (the bicep bone) will naturally pull some of the polygons downward, flattening out the shoulders a little. So adding in a little extra bulk into the shoulders will help overcome this natural skinning pull.

    I'd say no only because the rig will allow the arm to rotate into a natural position. As long as the bicep bone is aligned properly to the bicep mesh during rig creation, after skinning is complete rotating the arm into a natural pose won't be an issue. The bicep bone rotates independently from the shoulder bone so as long as the skinning is good - having the bicep rotated forward to aid in the modeling process shouldn't cause problems once animation begins.
     
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  30. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Plugging away with this one. The character is being morphed into a jungle guerilla fighter, as I've started a new project with a friend that this model can be used for.

    Working on some soldiers kit. Now this is getting fun! Can't wait to see this get animated.
    LBE_In_Progress.JPG
     
  31. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Hey guys,

    It's been just over a year since I posted my first model here. Now I'm finally reaching the point where I am not apprehensive about sharing my work. I mean, I always share it and just deal with the embarrassment of looking back on it later because it's an important part of learning, but I'm sure any creatives understand.

    I swear this isn't any kind of self-promotion, nor is it a lengthy "lessons learned" write up. I just wanted to thank those of you who share advice and encouragement early on because some simple words of encouragement that may take you a few minutes to type can be like rocket fuel to the beginner for months or years to come.

    Of course most beginner work is closer to kaka than what anybody might call art, and I am very much still a beginner, but when you share encouragement -- even if it's a little bit of a lie, haha -- it can go a long way into boosting motivation, and that is a thing I am certain every creative person struggles to maintain at times.

    I won't tag people by screen name because I am afraid I may miss somebody who helped at some point, but you all know who you are. If you need a tiger model for any of your game projects, PM and I'll send this guy to you -- no charge.

    Thanks!

    screenshot031.jpg screenshot021.jpg

    More images of the tiger on my artstation (click me!)
     
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  32. StevenPicard

    StevenPicard

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    Awesome looking tiger!
     
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  33. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Year and a half of consistent training later...

    It's been pretty tough learning 3d as I have a tendency to do everything the hard way, but I'm at the point now where the challenge is fun, not frustrating. 2,000 hours went into this scene and still it comes up a bit short from my goal.

    But it's no failure. Initially the tiger took me three months to complete, but at the end of the project I remade it almost entirely it in 4 days. Plus I reduced the materials by half, and made it look better as well. Once you know what you are doing, 1000x easier.

    The key to completing a complex project, I think, is combination of organization, life balance, and daily cleanup so things don't get out of hand. True for the small picture (a single project like this), and the larger picture (your entire learning curriculum.) There's just got to be methodology and discipline to your daily routine.

    PS screen small web.jpg

    Full presentation here. If you go and push the magic buttons, it may help me get a job. Do it! Do it now! :
    https://www.artstation.com/alexjavor
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
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  34. Martin_H

    Martin_H

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2015
    Posts:
    3,720
    You've come such a long way! I'm really proud of you, great work! At this rate you might even turn out to be one of the very rare people who finish their own ambitious gamedev project. You seem to have what it takes, and I know you'll get far in your career.
     
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  35. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2017
    Posts:
    2,079
    Thanks man. One thing that helped me grow in a major way was working with Nick on his project, developing so many characters in such a short time. Also he gave me a few tips just from his own observation that turned out to be really powerful and helped me understand artistic needs for game characters that I wouldn't have realized on my own.

    But finishing one art project like this is small beans compared to a game. I've said it before kind of as a joke, but yet again it's rung true -- if it's your first time doing something, whatever time estimate you make, multiply by three. Initial estimate for this was 3-4 months, took me 9. Haha. But one goal with this was "train hard, fight easy." If you manage to complete a tough challenge -- just finish above all else -- then anything less will seem easy by comparison.




    p.s. Before updating this thread I went back through and read it over again... lots of solid advice from you and the others... at the time I don't think I comprehended a lot of it, but I'm really thankful that you guys both steered me in a good direction and also provided all the encouragement a person could ever want.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
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