Sunday, November 20, 2011

Vikky Miller - from 2D to 3D

I'm almost done modeling out Vikky. I've really enjoyed the process, it's been both challenging and rewarding. It's really fun to watch a character develop and to have a direct say in what looks right.

When I first started with her, it was taking a lot of time to accomplish simple tasks, (just because I'm still somewhat new to Maya,) but now I feel pretty comfortable with the interface.

I think the challenge with a character like this, is to make it as simple as possible, but still convey a certain look. In addition to modeling, you have to make sure your UV's are laid out in a way that makes sense. I used to hate laying out UV's, but now I don't mind it so much. It's still kinda boring, but I'm starting to realize a good set of UV's go a long way.

The cool thing is, you have to be able to see your model in 2D, before you want to make it 3D. You have to figure out what's the best way to spread out the surfaces, so that you can preserve detail where you need it. It's a lot of problem solving, but it's fun.

To the left is the texture map I made for her shorts.
I tried to keep the UV seams where the actual fabric seams would be in real life. I painted this texture inside of Photoshop. There's always the option of pulling the model into Zbrush and painting it in there, but I feel that Photoshop allows a lot more control. When I use Zbrush to paint, my results always look video-gamish. It could be that I just don't know Zbrush as well as I know Photoshop, but this seems to work for now.
(get it? SEEMS to work - I know, I'm hilarious.)

My next step it to rig her. I've rigged inside of Max, but I've never rigged anything inside of Maya, so this will be something new to me. I'm thinking of taking a very aggressive approach and using a method called Motion Flow rigging. Supposedly, it mimics our natural movements more so than standard rig would. We'll have have to see.

I'm also contemplating rigging her face with a more advanced curve based system instead of morph targets, but I'm not sure if it's entirely necessary, just because I plan on setting the animation tangents in her face to more of a step-like setup, rather than curves. I guess we'll see.

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