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Modeling a new character


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Here's a model I'm working on from my Bugbots comic. Some of you have seen other work on this project, and I had a whole website at www.bugbots.com but I recently lost my free webspace so it's on hiatus. However I've been meaning to work on modeling Skarab, the main character, and here's my work so far.

 

I'm going to be doing the eyes based on Dave Simmons great eyeball tute on the ARM. It's so simple and so effective I can't believe it! However I'm concerned that the eyes will look too "real" compared to the skin.

 

I still need to work out some of the angularity in the splines and I'm open to suggestions for tweaks. The character is half insect and half human so I want the skin to look a little hard and shiny (and I would really like to solve this with a procedural texture) but I don't think it's there yet.

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Nice start Gerry! From what I can see, I would now go through and start reducing the splineage. I think you could cut the number of splines on the lower lip by around half...I would get rid of the splines immediately to the right and left of the center of the lower lip to start and end some of the splines on the nose in hooks or eliminate some completely so that you don't have quite as much on the upper lip below the nose.

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Check this out David, I've added the eyes and reduced the splinage. For some reason the eyes get all weird in the modeling window but they render just fine in a chor. Thanks for your advice. It's already looking better.

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Looks much better. The eye's don't need nearly all those splines. Use the 32 patch sphere on the cd as a guide. They're like that in the modeling window because the patches are flipped. Just select the patches and press F.

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He's looking better, you could probably still get rid of the spline marked in red on the attached image.

 

The high patch count on the eyes is because of the eye tutorial I made...in the tutorial I used a high patch count to easily determine the size of the iris and to minimize the distortion of the eye when dilating the pupil. It's a quick easy way to make an eye and the hit you would take on rendering time is small.

 

A more elegant solution would be Colin's Uber Eye, mine is more of a brute force solution but it works for me.

 

As for the flipping of normals, flip the sclera, cornea and iris normals to point outward and the retina normals to point inward.

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Ken and David, thanks for your advice, great help and great pointers. Hi Rodney! it's nice to be back here and working on some AM stuff again.

 

I'm starting a new job next Monday as a one-man art dept. for a casino games designing and marketing co. where I'll be doing a little of everything, sketching, lo-res game graphics, web work, promotional design and some 3D modeling, and I wanted to get back in practice.

 

They're not choosy about what software I use and though the guy I'm replacing used Lightwave, it's his software and he's taking it with him. I've already told the boss that AM is my preferred package and buying a copy will be a first order of business.

 

Actually, on this subject, I will need to convert some of the existing Lightwave models into a format that AM can work on. Can anyone offer advice on this?

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Yes. I'm planning for eyelids that work exactly like Bill Gaylord is doing with his Marshmallow Safety guys. Here's how I've modeled the eyelids, they'll close from top and bottom. I don't know if this is the ideal way to model for what I want, but I've asked Bill to post a wireframe of his.

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I posted the wireframe of the Marshmallow guy's eyes, plus some notes. The main concern I would have using that approach is that in your model you can see much of the back half of the eye. The approach I've used is the same as David Rogers' Washer model (in his book "Animation:Master 2002 A Complete Guide"). John Henderson's Kapsules probably use the same kind of eyelids. They are basically two hemispherical bowl shapes that pivot about the center of the eye. In your case the back half is visible, so the flaw in this design will be visible. I hide this by positioning the corners of the eyelid intersection near the surface of the face.

 

MMEyes03.jpg

 

You might have the start of a better solution for your model that would avoid this flaw. Not as simple to set up, but not all that difficult to set up in a set of percentage poses. I use a slightly modified version of Raf Anzovin's method of rigging eyes (in his "Rigging A Face" tutorial--available on CD at Anzovin Studio). His approach would work well for your design, too.

 

Really like your character design!

 

Bill Gaylord

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Thanks for your comments Bill. So you've just got hemispheres that you rotate and the intersecting geometry is concealed by the marshmallow body, is that it? I'm going to keep working on my approach and if I arrive at a workable solution I'll post it.

 

Thanks for your help!

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Yep, that's how it works:

 

Since the lids are fixed bowl shapes I assign a bone to each lid and center the bones origin at the very center of the eye. That is the way I get the lids to follow the curve of the eye. I then use a set of additional bones, constraints and percentage poses to build a set of controls for actual use in animation. I would highly recommend Raf Anzovin's "Rigging a Face" tutorial CD. He presents a way to rig the eyelid controls that is easier to use in animation. It takes a bit of time to learn but is worth the effort.

 

What I would recommend for your model is to use one bone each for controlling the top and bottom lids in your model that pivot at the center of the eye. Then use a Smartskin relationship for each of the upper and lower lids. Use the bone rotation to control the rotation of each of the semicircular splines in the moving part of your eyelid. Make sure you go a bit farther than you expect to give yourself enough range of lid motion. Once the Smartskins are keyed, you will have four main control bones that control the four lids. Then you can add constraints and percentage poses that in turn control these bones to give you a nice set of animation controls.

 

Bill Gaylord

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Tried some experiments and came up with this: GerryEye Project

 

You can check out the project to see the details. I wound up assigning a bone to each semicircular spline, instead of using Smartskin. The in-between bones have orient like constraints such that rotating the main eyelid control bone also rotates the intermediate bones by a proportionate fractional amount. This gave the smoothest results. There is a bit of distortion, but it looks very like the normal bunching of a real eyelid. For some reason I am unable to adjust bias in a percentage pose--have experienced this before and have reported it to Hash support.

 

GerryEye01.jpgGerryEye02.jpgGerryEye03.jpg

 

Hope you find this useful.

 

Bill Gaylord

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