Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I got my very own SOP!

No new work in progress updates today. This is just something nice that happened at work. To give you some background, the last few months we had a couple of students from Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore doing projects with an industry mentor here at Side Effects. A bunch of us at work helped them answer questions when they ran into problems during their productions. They leave tonight to go back home, and one of them made thank you cards for everyone. It was really nice, and what was even cooler, was that he went all out and designed/printed the cards himself! They consisted of Houdini nodes with our names on them, along with a personal thank you message written inside. So with that, I introduce you my vary own node, the Evan SOP:

I have no idea what it does, but it looks like it takes 8 inputs to work. I'm keeping this on my desk because it is awesome. Thanks JB!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Tupandactylus V

Just a quick post. Been working on grooming the pycnofibers and lighting/rendering/shading. Here is a test composite:

(as always, click for larger view)

Things to continue to fix:
tweak lighting of the fur
adjust the ground texture
I'll probably add a matte painting to add to the environment as well.

But first I need to jump back into finishing the motion.

It's getting there...


Friday, August 12, 2011

Tupandactylus IV

I spent the past week taking the time to paint and sculpt the Tupandactylus model. I initially started by trying out 3D-Coat thanks to a recommendation I received.  I painted the diffuse color map in 3D-Coat, and there is a lot about the program that I really like a lot. It's very easy to pick up, and there are a lot of nice tools. When it came to sculpting, I had so much trouble getting  it to properly export a displacement map. It was also crashing constantly, which was incredibly surprising, because of the specs of the machine I was working on. After about a day of trying to get it to work, I then turned to ZBrush for the sculpting which worked spectacularly. It was like reuniting with an old friend in a way, considering it's been almost a year to the day since I've used it last.

For sculpting reference, I used a number of diagrams of proposed pterosaur musculature as a loose guide. I also threw in my own knowledge of crocodylian musculature to help sculpt in the major muscle masses. A lot of the fine detail was influenced by birds, a few minor details from bats, and even some influence from lizards. I looked at a lot of pelicans, cormorants, parrots, and condors to try to get some nice face wrinkles. There's a lot of detailed skin texture which is kind of difficult to see on the wider images (click for larger view).

Now I need to work on getting the diffuse, displacement, and normal maps to properly transfer to Houdini so I can move on from texturing. 


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tupandactylus III

A lot of cool stuff going on with this guy. I've done the first round of blocking animation, and then moved on to some visual development. I've been working on lighting/shading/rendering as a break from animation. Primarily, I've been playing a lot with subsurface scattering. I set up the shot featuring this guy so that he will be lit extensively from behind. I want to do this so that I can play with the subsurface on the wing membranes, exposing tints of the subdermal layers and blood vessels underneath.

Here is a test image of the subsurface:

I was able to control the subsurface scattering through texture maps, where I painted in the veins and arteries that will subtly shine through the skin in certain areas:

Keep in mind the shading in the top image is from the subsurface alone. That's the tint that's going to shine through. There is just a plain brownish shader (with no displacement) applied to the model at this time. The reason for this is I had a lot of look-development to do in order to figure out what I want this guy to actually look like before texture painting can begin.

I did some visual development by painting over a black and white render of the Tupandactylus with the brush mode set to overlay. After doing a couple of concept paintings, I mixed and matched the various layers to get many more variations. I'm not yet sure which one I'm going to pick, but here are the concept paintings (click to enlarge):

 I looked at a lot of reference imagery of everything from parrots to frogs to butterflies. I often see a lot of pterosaur restorations with the exact color patterns of various types of birds. I wanted to avoid this trend, by attempting to find something that feels like it could have appeared in nature while also feeling unique to this type of animal. I was also trying to make sure the crest stands out as a display device, while also having the entire animal's color palette feel homogeneous.

Now that this has been done, I need to decide on a design, and get to painting. I think this next week I'm going to jump back to animation again, as well as hopefully get those pycnofibers started.