Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Bigfoot FINAL (with breakdown) & tweak to digital double of Me


Me with hair tweak

[EDIT] I've added some details on how I approached the Bigfoot model including lots of details at the end for those that are interested[/EDIT]

A couple of ones today, finally calling the bigfoot head shot done, as I have to get that one wound up as I have a busy week or two ahead of me.  Orantrix was used for the hair, sculpted and textured in mudbox, renmderd in 3dmax with vray for the Bigfoot and mental ray for the digital double of me.  My hatred of doing hair is wel known..however I have to say that the demo of ornatrix I used for these is probbaly hte best hair systemn I have ever tried. Its very easy to get the look your after I find.  I'll do a breakdown of why certain design choices were made on the bigfoot another time.


My Approach to Bigfoot

I thought the subject matter of the bigfoot model, my preparation and research for it may be interesting for some.  I wanted to show the good, the bad and the downright ugly to show in context what goes on behind the scenes. As a note to those starting out, things rarely pop out fully formed and perfect.  It occurred to me that artists rarely show when things go wrong, they only want to show the good things. It also occurred to me that its far more useful to people starting out to see the mistake as well as the solutions and decisions made and why.

I decided to do a bust of Bigfoot, coz..well ....why not?  I didn't want to just 'sculpt something that looks cool' off the top of my head but do some proper research as I would do in production.  So it had to have a strong basis in reality using anthropological references and mixing them into a way that I felt made the most logical sense.  That way I am nearly guaranteed to get something that is believable at the end.

My first move was to do a speed sculpt to get a feel for things and to see what pops out of my head when it's on its 'default settings'.  My first idea was to mix together both human and gorilla. While that was all very nice and all that, it didn't 'float my boat' and so it was back to the drawing board.  

the original speed sculpt

Step two was to change the 'mix' of source animals to human, gorilla and gigantopithicus (an extinct giant ape ).  The reason for this choice were that it is a  bloody huge ape and the right silhouette, it is also many big foot believers 'animal of choice' if it turned out to exist.   

Photoshop mockups

So I ran off some Photoshop mock ups using my speed sculpt as a basis until I was happy the mix would both work and look right.  I didn't however want to go too much in the direction of Gantipithicus as the ape looked a bit bloody gormless to be honest and didn't look at all threatening.   (if you don't believe me, look up some reconstructions that have been done by anthropologists lol).  So by varying the amount of each animal until I was happy I ball parked the main concept.  S by doing a 3 way blend between human, gorilla and Gigatipithicus skulls I had a ballpark shape.

Texturing was fun as I didn't want to take the predictable way out and give him black gorilla like skin.  That was simply too forgiving as a main colour, so I went with something paler. (This also helps with the subsurface scattering of the skin, as dark colours do not scatter well).
For his eyes I had a choice between human and ape, I decided human would made him look way too much like planet of the apes so went with chimpanzee eyes instead as they also seemed to add something to the model...they just felt 'right'.

oh no..... that doesn't look right at all!

The hair and fur I initially approached completely differently to I (or most other people) would.  I created some hair out of splines for the sides of the face, the chin and the overall 'flying' hairs on the head. I then put hair and fur under this for the head part to fill it out using the default hair and fur in 3ds max.  while the cheek and chin hair looked great the rest looked like shit as you can see above (in fact it looks like a cross between a hair brush and pubic hair). So it was back to the drawing board.  

I then started messing around with the Ornatrix demo (which resets your models hair every time you save), and was amazed how much easier it was to use.  Anyone who even remotely knows me, knows I hate doing hair on models.  I'm usually terrible at it, so if I can get something looking even remotely ok out of it the it has to be a good system. 

So in this case research was vital and kept it from getting too far away from reality.   It was rendered in 3Ds Max 2014 using Vray and comped in Photoshop and Nuke. (minor grading).  Hopefully this helps those starting out to see that things undergo a few iterations, a lot of planning and problem solving and don't just pop out fully formed.  It came to me that artists normally only how the 'good decisions' of a piece, never the good and bad in context.