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Call of the Wild Ankylosaurus

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Hi Tom, here is how it works...

  1. I made a Pose of the body, minus the legs, so it was centered around the Y axis and I moved some CPs so there were no overlapping patches from the view of that vertical axis.. For example, i pulled out the patches that are in the mouth and flattened the horns.
  2. In Photoshop I made a checkerboard with the edges clearly marked. I wanted them clearly identifiable so i could tell where they landed when 
  3. Back in the Pose window I Applied it as a decal with "Cylinder" application.
  4. In the Model window I can see the result and check that i have a reasonably even distribution of pixels with no tears.  I could do fine tuning of the map placement in the UV editor, but it has trouble when you move a patch with a hook, so I prefer to just do my tweaking in the Pose and reapply the decal. When that is satisfactory, I drop a same-size plain white map into the Decal image container and turn off the checkerboard map
  5. I take the model to AMPaint which lets me draw  on the 3D surface of the model. I drew the biggest scales first and drew the smaller ones around them. Why did i do Steps 1-4 when AMPaint can create a decal map for me? The decal map that AMPaint can create is basically a separate tile for each patch with a seam at every border. To paint over a seam in AMPaint you have to freeze your view, paint and then tell A:M to "accept" it before you can turn the model to see a new angle. With my cylinder wrap method I have one giant tile with only one seam on the underside of the creature to maneuver around. With my method i can freely paint and turn and paint and turn... having one big Cylinder wrap is 100x easier.
  6. After I've sketched in my scales and armor plates the map looks like #6 in Photoshop.
  7. In Photoshop I used tools like Fill and Blur and Curve adjustments to manufacture my Displacement map (#7) from that original line drawing. At this point I'm still in 8 bit color which means only 256 values of gray. It looks very stair steppy when you use that as a displacement map. In Photoshop I switched it from 8 bit mode to 16 bit mode and applied a 2 pixel blur to fake more gray values between the stair steps. Unfortunately Photoshop has almost no tools for normal painting in 16 bit mode, that's why I did the main work in 8 bit mode. I save the 16bit image out to OpenEXR format and add that to the Image container in A:M. The displacement map "Percent" is set to about 1500.
  8. I think I went back to AMPaint to do the color map #8.


click to enlarge...



I made a separate pose for the legs, stacked them vertically and did another big Cylinder wrap to cover them. There is actually one ring of patches at each leg that gets decaled by both the body map and the legs map so i could try to hide the join but i didn't pursue that much for this test.



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