Oct 29, 2009

A Rough Idea

Sadly things aren't slowing down on my end. At least it is mostly good stuff coming down the pipes, but it is all timing sensitive. So I have to get it all done.

In the midst of the half a dozen things I'm currently juggling, is of course my ART Evolved piece. I have not been overly inspired by the Sauropod them I have to admit, much like Pterosaurs. That's not to say I haven't gotten anything out of this one (unlike Pterosaurs... which resembled a chore at times). Texturing this guy taught me tons, and will have a long term impact on how I do shading maps!

Putting an actual composition together with my completed model has not be easy. Which is where my lack of motivation hasn't helped...

Fortunately a bit of accidental tinkering yesterday resulted these rough poses here, and a concept created itself. Won't say much more on it now, as I'm hoping it tells a story on its own, and frankly I can't be bothered to type it up at moment (as I still have to pose 1.5 Brachis and replant the forest!).

Let me know if I shouldn't proceed on this current tangent...

Oct 27, 2009

So much to do so little time...

I have a LOT on my plate this week. So much so you only get this small post.

Inbetween many other things, I'm desperate to get my final piece for the ART Gallery done. At moment I can't decide what the Brachiosaurs are going to be doing. Browsing or all migrating.

I've thrown together these two quick snapshots of what I've gotten to.

Which if any of the elements in either look good and/or bad to you?

Oct 19, 2009

Live Blogging: Epilogue

I thought I'd do a quick final wrap up on yesterday's live blogging effort.

Lady R and Peter both pointed out how I neglected to really explain what my big texturing break through was...

So I'll take you through both my old and new manners of making Dinosaur skin.

The Old System

Okay so I developed this back in late 2007 with some improvements brought in early 2008. Beyond that it hasn't changed. Meaning my texturing of 3D Dinosaurs has stayed the same for a year and a half. Mind blowing when you document my 3D modelling techniques, which have (especially this year) been changing ever month (and in a few patches week to week!!)!

The first step was to come up with a basic colour pattern for the animal. In this old system it could be remarkably simply (the one major advantage over the new system), and it would look way more impressive after then next two steps!

Once I had the colour scheme down (which could take several tries sadly, as the texture map could get really distorted and stretched), I'd add noise via Paintshop.

Next I would apply a tiling effect that would give me a scale like pattern across the colours scheme. If I skipped the previous noise step my tiles would be very symmetrical, and look like a bathroom floor except in areas where the different colours bordered each other. The noise made these nice non symmetrical tiling patterns, that mimic organic scales convincingly.

However in real life scales don't quite perfectly border each other like that. Plus the black lines were just a little bit too comic booky (which isn't nessecarily a bad thing, as I love comic books so much)...

The New System

So finally a year and a half later I have got drastically new system for texturing.

It borrows the key step of the underlining colour scheme, but that is in the middle, and I now fracture and compartmentalize all the different elements in their own layers. This now means I can more easily fix issues when a texture gets messed up on the model.

This isn't a huge break through per se, but it is just me applying common sense to methods and tools I've known about, so I use them way more effectively and efficiently. (Seriously the realization that layers are my friends, and not my enemies has really increased my digital art skills. Wanting simply jpegs lead me to the thinking that layers were counter productive, but of course I was being an idiot!)

The huge twist on my modern shaders is the manually drawing in the scales I want in the texture. This is slightly tedious, but once it is done I can accomplish some amazing amazing detailed effects in the texture.

Using the grid square sector detector, inspired by David, The scales and colour scheme are no where near as hard to line up or create now either. Plus with layers I can have all these elements in the same file. If I want to know where the scales or colour pattern are on the grid, I can simply cloak them or transparency them to see the grid underneath.
The Results...

The "before" shot of the Brachiosaurus. In fairness this is my old Sauropod shader, which was the 3rd Dinosaur texture I ever did in the "modern" era. Still as a result it'll give you a serious idea of the serious leaps and bounds possible between then and now.

The "after" in the form of yesterday's prototype of the new system. The details may not be clear (as again blogger won't let anyone zoom in on things I upload... their original forms are more then big enough for it to be possible, I typically render at 2272 x 1704, but blogger just doesn't let you enlargen them for some stupid reason!), but you can also see even just my choice of colours for the colour scheme is getting more tempered in common sense/real world prospectives.

So welcome to yet a new "wave" of 3D Dinosaurs from the Weapon of Mass Imagination...

Oct 18, 2009

Live Blogging 11

This was the last hour I can afford to stay up to (11pm). Not that it is an issue!

I managed to achieve the main goal for today! My Brachiosaurus is overall done being textured. If worse came to worse, I could pose this current version into a descent final piece. Though it will get another couple hours of remodelling.

Even more significant has been several break throughs in my shading technique. This Sauropod dawns in yet another generation in my modelling lineage. 2009 is proving to be by far my most productive year in my 3D art. I'll do a proper post soon summarizing what the different between today's experiment and my typical shading was.
Here is the final beast in his fully coloured glory! (and for whatever reason this pic is enlargenable by clicking on it, so please do!... why the *BEEP* only some work and some don't on this thing is beyond me, but I'm getting sick of it!(

Finally the big guy posed. He is a much more vertical stance than I'm thinking of going, but this was at Peter's request. As he stayed up an extra 40 minutes to keep me virtual company (via skype) who was I too deny his request!

So yet another triumph of Live Blogging! A event I'm intending on participating in every ART Evolved gallery from here on in...

Live Blogging 10

Huge break throughs this hour!

As this was an entire day of pushing myself to the limit of what I know about UV texture mapping and Paintshop, I have been rewarded with the next generation of my 3D shading (the first jump in almost 2 years!).
By taking advantage of separate layers, I am now able to easy modify one aspect of a shader without worrying about it effecting the parts I got right the first time...

I've completed the whole head region.

I have proxy finished the legs. However as there are a few strips from the body that do not quite match up, the last hour will be tweaking these small discrepancies.

As of such I'm sector checking them, and with this layer system I should be able to just cut and paste the strips from the body directly onto the legs!

Next post a completed Sauropod (or a pretty darn close do done one anyway...)

Live Blogging 9

I'm back, and with an ambitious plan!

In the next 2 hours I shall finish texturing my whole Sauropod! Sadly I can't claim this or bust, as I have work with little toddlers tomorrow (and need to be somewhat awake therefore).

To get me on my way I've finished the skull.

With the completion of this, the first additional piece, you can now see the benefit of my new texturing tactic. In my older models the two different pieces would be painfully obvious. Not so here. It is not perfect, but you can't readily pick out the connection at least.

Live Blogging 8.5

Here is a treat while you wait for me to return

A test of the new texture posed!

Live Blogging 8

I have completed texturing the body!
First I had to fix the strips that were on the neck, and make those towards the body end longer.
The body's strips were proving problematic at first, but some quick references to the sector grid fixed.

Leading to this guy here! (Hopefully you can click to enlargen him)
Sadly I have to put a pause in my live blogging. I have a staff BBQ to goto for my holiday job of two weeks ago, and then me and Lady R will hit the grocery store on the way back home.
So live blogging will resume in two hours from this post...

Live Blogging 7

Restart was a success.

This is what this Brachiosaur would have looked like in the old days with my tiling its colour scheme.

This is what it looks like with my new separate manually drawn scale pattern layer.
You'll also note in this version how I've started to change the colour pattern within the brown.

What I'm liking about this new texturing system is I can set the base colours, and then add the colour patterns on top of them in the layer, and not have to worry about mistakes effecting my previous work.

So I've gotten the second layer done down to the neck.

Sadly I have a staff function to goto in an hour, so this will be my second last post of this particular arm of this live blogging circuit.

In this last hour try to get the stripping to the end of the tail.

Live Blogging 6

Due to eating, and a big Paintshop layer mistake (not sure on my part or the puters) only marginal progress this hour.

However this quick test render shows that my new scaling technique is producing some amazing results!

I'd like to show you how my old technique would look in comparison. However Paintshop JUST crashed in my attempt to tile the texture.

So in the next hour, restart my computer, and then add some variation to the brown

Live Blogging 5

Went with colour scheme 2 in the end, so now I'm adding details to the base shader.

However as there is no food in the house, I've had to cut this hour short (20 minutes of work), and am off to pick up food for both me and Lady R. Should resume work next hour.

Here is progress.

Live Blogging 4

Time to pick a colour scheme. As I'm playing with layers there is no limit to the number of colour schemes I can build into one file (though the file size goes up... not my concern at moment though!).

I've narrowed it down to 4 colours, but need to pick a scheme to turn into something exciting.

You have help have your say. Should it be:



Live Blogging 3

Okay now we're rolling... or at least that was the theory until 5 minutes ago.
Applied scaling to all the other body parts.

Yes there is some differentiation between the various parts, but that is to be expected sadly. Without the ability to directly paint on the model this is always going to be an issue.

However when I switched it over to black and white I realized something incredibly frustrating!

I think the scales are too big...

If so that means the last 3 hours were for nothing!

What do you think?

I might switch over to colour patterns for the next hour, and see what the verdict is on the scale size.

Live Blogging 2

Second hour complete.

Still on the line with Peter, and we're helping each other not freak out at our art. In Peter's case it is continually forgetting to put the baby Barosaurus in his piece... Peter remember the baby already!

My problem has been a little more insidious...

In black and white you can see the issue quite sharply. The boundaries of my different scale sections. As I can't paint the scales on the model directly (I need to update software in the future) I've been using the grid to line up the worst of the stretch and distorted sections.

I'm pleased with where the tail meets the body. You can barely see it, even in black and white.

I tried a colour background to see how the scale issue would react.

Sadly the neck to body was still VERY pronounced.

The tail oddly enough was more visible here then in black and white (normally it is the other way around).

Playing with the skeleton and posing the model, I discovered what is causing my blurring effect on the bottom of the neck as well. Not sure I can fix it, but will see in the next hour.

I changed the neck to body connection point of the scales. Though it is still visible, it is not as much so, and I think I can live with this.

Again as you can (not hopefully :P) see it much less pronounced then in the previous version above were I had the different scale sizes meet.

This hour I intend on trying to fix the blur on the neck, and the blurring on the end of the tail.

From there I will start scaling on the other body parts...

Live Blogging 1

Here we go. Been working at it an hour, and frankly I can't tell you how it has gone.

It helps I'm on the line with Bond, but it also distracts.

Anyways here is how it has panned out...

First I set up my Brachiosaurus for shading.

This requires the application of this shader here, my new sector checker (idea curiosity of David)

Through the use of layers and transparencies over top of it, in Paintshop, I will create the ENTIRE colour scheme for this guy today.

The biggest challenge is going to be the different in the diameter of the neck and the body.

Already I'm finding there is a really annoying stretching/blurring of my scales on the neck.

Not sure if you can see it at this size, but trust me, it is there!

Rather then worry about it (as I'm going to have to) I decided to get the overall scale scheme sorted before trouble shooting.
So here is where I'm at. By the end of the second hour I aim to have scales on the tail too...