... continuing from my previous entry. After tweaking the settings and playing around with the lighting, I can get the kinds of renders I want out of Carrara. Still using an old version of Carrara; version 6, but it's enough since I only use it for the renders. I dig the cartoony/comic book, hand drawn look and feel ... just the way I want my comics to look going forward.
The following is a pic I posted a few months ago. Same renderer(Carrara); same settings; same look...
So it seems those old school tools will always be apart of my work-flow. I fired up Hexagon to get the basic shape of the model. Imported the object file into Cheetah 3D to add the arms, hair, eyes, etc. Took this baby back to Hexagon to create the uv domains. Then I took the model to an old, old app called uv mapper ... the free version for the Mac. Moved the domains/maps around in uv mapper. I then colored the map using a painting app called pixelmator ( photoshop wanna be), by adding a ten year old image from an old Nommo texture I had laying around.
Did some last minute adjustments in Cheetah 3D and the test run is a success. Guess for now, I'll be jumping around from app to app until I get the completed model.
3D work Flow:
Hexagon - modeling
uv mapper - generate uv maps
Cheetah 3D - modeling/texturing/boning and posing/animating
Carrara - final renders
It was a lot easier to make this in Animation Master. Splines are better for organic modeling. In fact, I couldn't get the above shape using Cheetah 3D alone. Well, I could, but the mesh was way too dense. So I had to fire up Hexagon to get the basic shape without all the polys. Oh well, no need in crying over spilled milk. Going to try this in Blender 3D for comparative purposes. If I can get the above mesh doing everything in Blender, then that moves Blender up in terms of my go-to app. Trying to find that perfect 3D application ... one where I can do all that I need to do; which aint a whole lot, without jumping around from program to program.
Anyway, who would have thought that a couple of cylinders and two spheres would cause so much trouble. Gotta texture and rig the thing now.
As it stands, I'm using Hexagon for organic modeling; Cheetah 3D for finishing the models, texturing, rigging, and some rendering; and Cararra for final rendering. Since Blender renders with lines (like cararra), and has the modeling tools; including sculpting (like Cheetah and Hex), I'm thinking the headache that it takes to learn the Blender GUI - and - for remembering the keyboard short cuts, may be worth the time.
Close-up of my second attempt at modeling a bug (read Boer) in C3D. Believe me, I was tempted to just fire up Hexagon and doing it there. Glad I resisted the urge and forged ahead. I will make this one the basic scout Boer type. The following pics are size comparisons of my first attempt at modeling a Boer in C3D. I will make the soldier Boer a combo of the first and second attempts. AND I will enlarge the abdomen of the green Boer and make it the Queen Boer.... perhaps. LOL
So I'm modeling the red or Soldier-Boer type. If you recall from previous posts, the red Boer has two large pincer legs in front, and two sets of smaller spike or stalk legs in the back. I'm starting to get used to modeling in C3D. Polygons are not as intuitive as splines, but I'm starting to get the hang of it.
I can stay very low-poly as displayed above; which I probably will. Low-poly models have a certain kind of beauty that I have always found compelling. Or, I can sub-divide and get a smoother look and feel. We will see.
There is a "scene" in issue two of NETERS™ (coming soon), when there is an encounter with a mass of Boers. In my mind's eye, I envisioned the red, or soldier Boer type (see from-the-ground-up thread). The green Boer is the scout type. It primarily forages for food for the hive. When in danger, they shoot off a chemical alert, and the bigger more powerful red Boer type comes running.
I'm going to have to build the red Boer type in C3D next. Oh well ... practice is good.
Yup ... I can literally pop this panel into issue two now. The lower left corner offers perfect space for a nice caption. All good.
Now if I could import hard surfaced models into A:M; without the model taking a crap, that will give me the best of both worlds. Model and texture vehicles and buildings, etc in C3D, and organic (people and animals, etc), or soft bodied models, in A:M. Hmmnn...
In trying to duplicate my progress in Animation Master to Cheetah 3D. I am attempting to model the Boers. This is proving difficult because in my opinion, modeling with polygons is inferior to modeling with splines. Well, at least when it comes to organic characters. Hence the Boers revisited.
I have achieved the overall insect-like qualities of the Boer species. In fact, I'm only unhappy with the legs. To get the smooth arch in the legs found in previous Boer posts (see from-the-ground-up), I have to apply the subdivision modifier three or four times. This creates way too much geometry for my tastes. The folks over at the C3D forum maintain that I can do what I need to do without a ton of polygons. We will see.
This is Lightwave. Sharp and crisp. Can go comic or animation with this look. Minimal post-render work. I had to color some parts in here and there ...
This is Animation: Master. The render did not come out as bright, but that's just a matter of settings ... no big deal. The lines or edges are there. Very little post-render work. Added a layer to the image, and manually drew the shadows.
Hmnn ... it just might be easier to get the kind of render I want in Animation: Master. AM is proving to be able to do what I need it to do...
... so, it's all about the render. Lightwave's renderer is superior to Animation: Master's. Animation: Master; in my opinion, allows for a better modeling experience. Especially as it relates to organic things. I modeled the Boer in Animation: Master, and rendered it in Lightwave. I was going for a certain look that I found online. The artist in question uses Maya and Zbrush.
I don't want to use two "big" apps. Hell, it was a pain to get the above spline based model into Lightwave to begin with. I had to flip a bunch of normals, and that would suck to have to do every time I build a new character. I have to figure out a way to duplicate the above render in Animation: Master. I've given myself 6 to 9 months to work in Animation: Master (read), so I still have time. The question is, is it easier to get the above render in Animation: Master, or learn to model with Splines in Lightwave...
So I've been able to successfully build the Boer-Id species from the ground up using Animation:Master. Getting more and more used to this program. Ten years ago, using Poser to basically mix and match a human figure with bug parts was good enough. Not so today. So going forward and in all future issues of NETERS, the Boer will look like the following vision I originally had all those years ago. All I have to do now is add bones and some textures and that's it!
- the above turn table is an animated gif of an un-rendered screen capture -
Made some last minute changes. Added more eyes. Flattened out the under carriage. Pretty much satisfied with the overall look and feel. I was able to combine all previous incarnations of my Boer visions...
Wanted to get a quick size comparison.
I still need to finish the Boer scout. It will basically have the smaller wasp-like frame modeled earlier in this endeavor. I will use the rear legs from the above Soldier-Boer, and attached them to the Boer scout ... maybe. Lol.
In looking at the Maatan Code unifs, kinda not liking it as much as when I originally fashioned them. Gonna have to do something about that. But ... next up, Kek's ship.
Color pattern ... down. I can add any type of decal to the color pattern that I want; textures, you name it. Legs attached. I changed the leg arrangement. I decided to use the legs originally slated for carrying the body as the for-legs, and what I thought of as the rear limbs, I decided to use them up front. Anyway, legs ... done.
Pulled the antennas back. Overall the Boer has a kind of giant crab/insect look. Learned a lot. Still have to bone 'em. But pretty much done with the modeling part. I plan to play around with various textures to see what I can do if I want to do some photo real stuff later on. Should work with the vector style found in the comic though...
... was kind of surprised at how many Boers I could bring onto the scene without the computer slowing down...
... still no slow down.
Anyway. Next up is Kek's fan-plan. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then cop NETERS issue zero. The official guide to the Neters universe. read more
In the previous from-the-ground-up thread. I added a preliminary pic of a Boer soldier. I lamented about how I didn't like the legs; too spider-like, and that I would be re-modeling the legs before calling the character done.
So that's exactly what I've been able to do...
... the front legs (right), are made for striking; along with the powerful mandibles. The middle and rear legs are larger, thicker, made for carrying a massive exoskeleton. I will make some minor adjustments to the Boer body - specifically the under body. Once the legs are attached to the frame, I'll add bones and call it done.
The Boer scout will have a stream-lined, almost wasp look to it. It's built for speed and for manual tasks around the Boer hive. Long antennas for sensory type stuff.
The Boer Soldier will have shorter antennas and larger and more powerful mandibles. I will also tweak the body, making it bulkier.
Okay, so the basic texture is complete; that is if I am going to use a feature in Animation Master called 'decals'. Decals are a quick and fast way to apply an image to your model. And it will work for comics and still images, which is what I plan to use Animation Master for. So I'm satisfied with that part.
The cel shading in Animation Master is in my opinion, the best in the business ... or at least second best. I mean the above image looks like a cartoon ... hard to believe its the same model in the previous entry.
Now check out the back...
Textures. Some of the control points aren't textured correctly, and it's hard to line them up when using decals. That sucks if and when I produce animated films. For the fast and messy, decals will work. But If I want that super polished look, then I'm going to have to 'flatten' the model, then paint or attach the texture(s) directly onto the splines. That will give me more control over the texture and how it covers the model. Animation Master has a lot of power under the hood. And I'm learning more everyday. Again, haven't played with this program in six years, but it's coming back to me. As quiet as it is kept, Animation Master is very much like Softimage/XSI.
Next I'll add the bones, and we'll call it done.
Tentacles added. I fixed the proportions ... looks truer to the form and function found in the comics. Gave the tubular "hair" some personality. Still need to finish adding the bones, and texture him.
From the Ground Up -
... where I will build all primary NETER characters from scratch, using mostly Animation Master. No more jumping from program to program. Time to get it done!
So I thought I'd start with the Nommos. They are an enigmatic race featured in the NETERS story arc. I'm familiar with Animation Master. I've "played" around with this app for almost ten years. It's one of the most intuitive 3D apps around, and I generally enjoy working in it.
The following pics are preliminary stages of the Nommos. I'm adding bones to the main body. I still have to add the tentacles, and texture the body. Having fun...
Adding "bones" to a 3D model can be time consuming. I'd forgotten that. Oh well ... better get used to it...
... the difficult part is when using the bones to move the 3D object, causes all kinds of unpredictable behaviors as a result of the object twisting and turning. Animation Master has a great solution. I can enter into "muscle" mode, and tweak the control points and splines to get a more natural look and feel. More to come...