I think it amounts to my networking with new artists online, and using them as both inspiration and motivation to push myself. ART Evolved in particular has been such a positive force on my creativity this year. I can't thank my fellow members enough for making it all happen!
Given as this progress has been coming thick and fast lately, I thought it might be amusing to go through formally organize and classify my 3D modelling. A number of people have noted I have made the odd reference here and there to certain models being a "Mark: [insert number]", but that I have never really laid out my criteria as to what this means.
That changes as of today! Welcome to the eras of Craig's modelling! (I'm intending on updating and adding to this as I go)...
Though not my first effort to create a 3D Dinosaur (as you can see from my example Mark: 0 example from before), this was the first model of my current efforts.
These models features more attention to detail in their construction, and were built for the ability to sculpt the various parts into different poses. The big break through of the Mark: 1's, separating them from my previous work, was the their texturing. Each and every surface of the model had a custom texture map created for it in an outside program(minus small parts like teeth, claws, and toe and lip scales). The first time I'd ever put any attention into texturing.
Despite the break through of custom shading of Mark: 1, my first texture maps were rather crude. My lack of experience using Paintshop led to the scale patterns being very symmetrical and unrealistic. After the learning experiences of Mark: 1's in this new program I was able to improve the scale making process.
I also started to put a lot more attention into the details of the Dinosaurs, and started to try and create more accurate proportions.
This was the longest running Mark generation by far, and Mark: 2's represent the majority of my palaeo models I have ever built. At the same time this Mark is where I got complacent and fell into a comfort zone.
Fortunately ambition has always been one of my qualities in 3D, and I strove to conquer 3D feathers. Despite Carrara having ready made tools to do this, it can be surprisingly hard to create these feathers.
Mark: 3 models represent those in which I have applied replicated objects to the surface of a creature such as fur, feathers, and or spines.
Posing my earlier "Mark" models had always been a pain, and I lost any measured proportions. This changed as of Mark: 4, when I learned to apply "skeletons" to my Dinosaurs. Skeletal rigs are a means for the computer to bend my models at certain points. Just like the joints in a real skeleton. Meaning not only do my models now pose realistically, but much easier and quicker.shader, giving me more control to change and customize shaders for individuals.