Monday, February 01, 2010

Evolution of a 3D Model

Recently I bemoaned my inability to produce some decent graphics for my games and twittered about finding a decent package to render walkcycles (making the walkcycle for TARDIS Trouble was tough using a pretty awful freeware walk cycle editor for AGS). Thankfully Korvar aka Big Mike of DURPS fame came to my aid - he does visual effects for the USS Intrepid fan films and like many of the other Star Trek fan films the special effects are state of the art - and recommended Daz3D.

The main drawback of Daz3D is that it comes with minimal content preinstalled - Victoria 4.2 - their female model - and a few (skimpy) outfits for her to wear. Daz makes most of its revenue off the model addons it produces and vends for 3rd parties. Thankfully the base models were free for the moment so I was able to install a male model (Michael 4) and with some browsing on their site I was able to find the content I needed for my model.

I decided to model the 8th Doctor, Paul McGann. Surprisngly there's a derth of Doctor Who models on and other such places - I've seen a really good Chris Eccleston model, numerous Tennants and even a really good Matt Smith, so I decided to give the neglected 8th Doctor a whirl.

Here is where things went a little squiffy - oddly (IMHO though in Naomi's opinion this is unsurprising) there is a lack of male clothing packs for Daz3D compared to the dearth of female packs. You certainly don't get any male stuff with the default Daz3D install - though the Daz3D book I have later acquired gives you a lot of base stuff to work with.

Firstly I installed some packs allowing me the use of a frock coat, frilly shirts and waistcoats. I then fit these to the 3D model and after being told by Korvar how to prevent the "bleed" problem that persists when you try to dress a model in multiple layers of clothing.

My next problem was that despite the effectiveness of my ensemble my model looked like Ken from Barbie:-

(As an aside I do like the pose in the last image there - very Ascension-like).

However the good people at Daz3D were able to give me some hints (the face should be thinner, the chin longer etc.) Truth be told it would really be the hair that made or broke the model, as Doctor Who is a hairjob.

I then morphed the face - which basically involved turning dials until it thinned the face and made the chin more pronounced. I got carried away...

Then I managed to go from that baseline to something looking a bit more realistic...

And here is a comparison with images of the source face... which I think shows I did a fair job for someone who'd never used Daz3D before.

After that it was mostly touching up the model - changing the hair colour slightly, reworking the clothes. I decided I didn't really like the original waistcoat I'd given the model so I swapped it for a silvery "tuxedo" vest. I even found some ready made walk-cycle poses which has enabled me to generate a walkcycle...

and FYI don't ever have a character wearing a frock coat... talk about a nightmare to make a walkcycle...

Next I want to make a better cravat, create more animations for the character and trying to get rid of the jaggedy edge on the transparent renders.

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