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.


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