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Requesting a Proportion check on a 3D Model

DrGravitas

Member
Edit3: NEW! Face-specific rolling update image! Like the other rolling update image, this linked image will update each time a set of changes are introduced. The face rolling update is split in half, with the previous update on the left and the most recent iteration on the right.
(v.3 current images Linked) (This one will only update if changes to the face have been made.)

---Original Post:---

I'm a bit new here, so I hope this is the right place for this thread. I've been working on a 3D model for quite some time now and I've hit a wall. For the next major revision, I want to focus on improving the body proportions. However, every time I try, I find myself less satisfied with the results than with what I started with. Each approach reveals something else that looks out of proportion instead. I fear I've grown so accustom to the odd proportions that I can no longer see how many problems it has.

So, that's why I've come here! Hopefully a couple extra sets of eyes can help me see where to go with this. The biggest issue I can pick out are the feet: when the paw points downward it becomes clear that it is much too long. But, I like the overall height of the figure. So, I need to figure out how to re-proportion the rest of the figure in relation the foot to maintain the height. Any other information on proportion problems would also be great.

I've placed an image in my scraps: http://www.furaffinity.net/full/11877219/ (v.2 finalized)

As I said, I'm a bit new so I don't have any other pictures of the model in the profile at the moment. But, if you feel there's another view or pose (or texture change) that would help make for a more clear analysis, I can probably whip one up fairly quick. This one is particularly poor at displaying the head, but it's a start.

I've poked around the forums a bit and found some nice stuff for proportions, at least for 2D drawings. I've also picked up a book or two, but I haven't found any specific to 3D modelling. If anyone has some suggestions for good books on 3D modelling (or sculpting, as well) I'd love to hear them.
 
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Zenia

Well-Known Member
http://i.imgur.com/cwWL9wE.png <- Redlined.

I think your two main problems are that the head is too small for the body, and that the legs are proportioned wrong. I understand you are trying to a digitigrade look... but in your image, you have given the character really short shins/calves and reeeeeeeeally long feet.
 

UnburntDaenerys

R'hllor Coaster
Quick red line for you: http://i.imgur.com/AIv6UTv.jpg
Original on the right, my edits on the left.

Some resources for you:
http://www.idrawdigital.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/prop_male.gif
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-wpDe9Bb7vfA/TkCiGZgwkqI/AAAAAAAAAGM/pwPHdzJBtao/s1600/prop_var.gif

In case you can't make out my chicken scratch, the main issues with your figure were the tiny head and the leg proportions. I enlarged the head and shrunk the ears*, lengthened the thigh and the calf, and shrunk the fetlock. I also expanded his pelvis to give him room for bones. I put lines across my edited figure to show where the nipples, belly button and groin would fall. The new figure is 9 heads tall, the so-called "heroic" proportion, although for digitigrade characters I tend towards more heads to make up for the funky legs.

I know nothing about 3D modeling, so no help there.


*I wasn't sure what species you were going for, so this is mostly an aesthetic choice on my part.
 

DrGravitas

Member
Thank you both for the reply! The head comment is especially interesting. From the redline drawing, I gather you are suggesting more width and height in the head, correct? Would you go about specifically increasing the forehead (and eyes, I suppose) or more distribute the expansion more evenly across the head. I'll see if I can get together a quick side view to see if you'd like to comment on the depth in head (and slope of the forehead; another point I've gone back and forth on.)
 
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DrGravitas

Member
Thank you both again for your replies.

Although it'll take a lot more time to actually implement, I do have an older attempt at reproportioning the foot that I wondered if you might give me an opinion on. In it, I was reproportioning the positions of just about everything (except, oddly, the head) so it's probably best to ignore the rest of the body.

Scrap: http://www.furaffinity.net/full/11884973/

Image Figure Notes:
  • The image contains the current proportioned model on the right in Light Grey. (Please ignore the fact that the side of the cut-away views the interior of the model from the pelvis up.)
  • The altered proportion model is on the Left in Dark Grey. The calves were not adjusted significantly in this older version, as I distributed the changes elsewhere. (I stopped in the middle of lowering the shoulders.)
Also Relevant:

  • As suggested, I used the standard head size from the model to measure it out and it does come to 10 1/2 to 11. (Bluish-Greyish colored on the Left and Right)
  • A proposed new head size is visible in the center, it measures 8 1/2 to 9. (Greenish Greyish in the Center.)
Miscellaneous and further questions:

  • The tail sticks out of the lower back. I found the piece of advice against that only recently, and that's going to take a bit more work to fix.
  • The tail: larger or smaller? Greater/Lesser depth (eg. length)?
  • The torso (especially in profile) looks like an oil drum that's been beaten with a stick; I think its depth needs to be shortened. But, it never looks right when I do so. Perhaps something else is required in conjunction/instead?

Any other thoughts would be most appreciated.
 

Zenia

Well-Known Member
http://i.imgur.com/bi0C70J.jpg

- I think his foot is still too long. The bones inside would have to be really elongated and the weight of the rest of his body seems like it would break them because of the angle. So I'd change up the calf/foot like in my redline.
- The tail is just an extension of the spine, so it comes out around the top of the "butt crack". Check out some skeletons. I did this recently when learning more about my Manx kittens skeletal structure.
- I think if you dip in the back a little so then the rear can come back out would make it look good.
 

DrGravitas

Member
A bit of progress on my end, but I haven't had time to adjust everything you guys mentioned. Primarily, I focused on the earlier comments about the head. I figured that since we're using that as the primary measurement metric, it'd be the best target.

Scrap Link:

Changes:
  • Head size has been adjusted as suggested. Figure size is now approximately 9 1/4 heads (1/2 if you count the ears.)
    • Given that the paw digits, ear tips, and finger tips make up 1/4 of a head each, I think this is about close enough.
    • Some adjustments could be made in actual figure height to reduce it to 9, but I think the new head size it good now.
  • Foot length (height?) decreased
    • Decreased more so than the previous old attempt, but only by ~ 1/2 of a head.
    • Not really the primary focus for this one, so it still probably needs changes, but it's now exactly 1 head height when measured in it's diagonal default position.
  • Eyes resized/repositioned to account for new eye socket size.
  • This image includes a view of the model along the transverse plane (image-right) and head metric lines/numbers

Unchanged:
  • Tail - This will require a messy bit of work with the mesh to move lower. So, keeping it low priority.
  • Foot/Calf Angle & Thickness - Keeping the rounded shape in 3D is three times more difficult than changing length, so I'm holding off this until I finalize the length.
  • Lower Back/Torso - I had attempted adjusting this, along with the angle of the chest, inward curve of the pubic triangle, and the general shape of the torso along the sagittal plane. But, after adjusting the head with that, I found the whole thing was far too thin. So, I had to restart and begin with the changes to the head. Hence my focus on finalizing the head, foot length, and the general body height-proportions.

Miscellaneous:
  • This model is for rigging, so that's why the tail sticks straight out like it does. Otherwise it requires a lot extra work to rig up for posing.
  • This model is also quite low-res, which is why things look more angular, however, I did mirror the geometry this time so it's not split in half.
  • Ear/Neck/Foot/Calf/Knee/Gluteal sulcus shapes have not been adjusted while I finalize proportions, so these appear a bit misshapen.
  • This model has not had its UV unwrapped and is not yet prepared for texturing (unlike version 2 in the original post.) So, everything visible is implemented in the mesh; the abs and pectorals, mouth are not implemented via textures nor displacement maps.

Initially, I had some difficulty simply resizing the head. It finally started to come together when I began to adjust width/height independent of depth and avoided resizing the muzzle entirely.

Additional Questions:
  • Do you think the muzzle needs resized at all? Or perhaps reposition a bit?
    • I'm not sure it does, but I like it this way much more than the previous image's proportional size increase.
  • Do the eyes seem a bit small?
  • What do you think of slope of the forehead and muzzle?
  • Does the lower jaw seem to small or the cheeks to wide?
  • Are the arms too long?

Any other comments would be greatly appreciated.
 
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DrGravitas

Member
I was sidetracked by a couple new tools and techniques I figured out recently. They're speeding up my work rather significantly, so I still managed to get a number of things accomplished. I've uploaded a Scrap with some of the changes, showcased by a low poly version of the model I use for making changes (before I roll out the higher poly final version after rigging and UVs are setup.)

Changes:
  • Tail: Moved downward to be more inline with redlines from earlier critiques. (not pictured below)
  • Head: The curvature of the head has been made a bit less angular at the very top and slightly increased in height, giving it more roundness. (Kind of pictured)
  • Ears: Completely Remeshed and extruded (yay!) to conform with better model design principles. (Pictured below)
    • These were one of the first parts I created on this model, and probably the biggest mistake I ever made. They were awfully kludgy additions to the mesh that often thwarted my attempts to reshape the head. Finally, these new tools and this remeshing has made it possible to make those changes much easier.
  • Body: Minor shape changes to the lower back, interface of the tail and torso.
    • A major improvement to the underlying mesh has taken the form of a redistribution of verticies in a more uniform manner across the torso. This does not affect the shape, but was sorely need and enabled by one of the new tools I found.
    • The pectoral demarcation line has been eliminated because it was causing issues. I needed to move this shape anyways.

Unchanged:
  • No changes made to the slope of the chest.
  • No changes made to the depth of the torso.
  • No further height changes (these should be easier now with the new tools/techniques.)

Experiments:
Ah! Here's the fun part! Today I started experimenting with a posable mouth! It's all gums at the moment, but it has succeeded far better than any of my previous attempts and manages to get rid of that cumbersome mouthline I previously had. To aid in rigging it with a skeleton for posing, I had to keep the two parts apart (like I've done with the paw and hand digits.)

The results are a bit...

um, well...
(link)

:shock:
 
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Arshes Nei

Masticates in Public
I'm going to be honest and say I'm a bit freaked out by the floating eyeballs and very spaced apart eyes in the head.

It's just when 3D goes wrong it gets a bit scary. So you may want to make sure you're not causing floating body parts when you need critiques.

As I said beofre, the eyes are too small and too far apart in your models as well.
 

Taralack

Hit 'em right between the eyes
Ditto what Arshes said. But its great to see someone take on board advice like this, and thanks for providing a shot of the model in a T-shaped pose.

I feel like the lower jaw is a bit too thin considering how large the head is. The eyes are definitely spaced apart too much as well, and there doesn't seem to be much depth to the eye socket.
 

DrGravitas

Member
Hehe, yeah. I realized how disturbing it would look once I started to put the collage together. :D Although, the floating bits are actually not a mistake.

I probably forgot to mention this (I often take for granted having knowledge of my development process) but the floating eye is actually quite normal. I develop the body of the model in a half (as pictured on the sides of the image) and then mirror the geometry so I can get perfectly symmetric features (with only half the work! hah!) As they eyes rarely change and the mirroring process is a pain when you want spaces between the two, I just keep both eyes. The mirroring process is quite simple, so I can quickly do it to get a feel for how a change looks or use the model with a different tool, or test rigging or so forth, and undo it to get back to the half and continue making changes.

I wanted the image to showcase the articulate lower jaw and mouth interior, so I felt it necessary to display the half model to show the interior a bit more without the rest of the head getting in the way.
...And then I realized that the half heads with floating eyes looked creepy and just decided to go completely overboard, adding more viewing angles of the head and dotting the rest of the image with more eyes :p


Now, the comments you both had about the size and distance of the eyes are interesting! I have a couple proportion references for faces already, but it's been a long time since I've reviewed them.
As for the lower jaw, I've always felt the area where the lower jaw meets the rest of the skull was a rather awkward, but have never quite been able to figure out how to improve it. I'm going for a something like a Fox for the model, but avoiding shaping this model with representations of tufts of fur. So this part of the jaw, where my photo-references invariably have a good amount of body-shape obscuring fur, gives me a lot of trouble. EDIT: I think I see what you meant by 'too thin' my previous statement was incorrect and you were referring not to a thin width but to a thin height.

When you say the lower jaw is too thin, do you mean the protruding body is too thin or the area I was talking about (where the masseter would be) is too thin? What about the muzzle/snout?

I think I'll have a lot more to ask about the face in general, but for now I'll start testing some changes to the eyes and jaw and see if I can get together a comparison image.

EDIT: While I start making some alternate versions and producing an image to compare them, how about a more proper view of the head and new jaw with this low-poly 3-up view?
(link)
That slack-jawed gape is still kind of unsettling, though, even when I'm not trying emphasize it. Hmm... maybe some teeth would help. EDIT3: Nope.
 
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DrGravitas

Member
Working off previous suggestions, I have produced a number of alternative eye shapes for comparison. Aside from a couple mesh fixes, nothing much else has been changed. Oh, I also made the model some teeth to make the mouth a bit less creepy. This failed. So, I made another set! This also failed. So, I made a third set! This set was acceptable, so I've included them in most of the comparisons.

This set I consider failures; the model's eyes are rather creepy in each of them and don't really feel like much of an improvement. However, I wanted to include them because I though it possible that some may find them to be a better direction.
(link)

This is a series of views of the only attempt I consider a mild success. Really quite similar to where it started, just far larger. The largest eye-ball size of them, in fact. I'm also considering leaving the brow warped out like it is currently.
(link)

Each of these remain rather creepy. Perhaps, if I can't beat it, I should embrace it. I'm at something of a lost as to which I should move forward with. Each of these could easily serve as the starting point for the next iteration, as I've saved separate files for each.

Any suggestions? Which looks like the best improvement or at least the mildest failure? Any thoughts or opinions would be helpful at this point.
 

UnburntDaenerys

R'hllor Coaster
I think the creepiness is from the extreme sharpness of the teeth. I know nothing about 3D modeling, but if you can make them blunter I think it would look better.

Here's a ref for you: (Taxidermy/dead animal warning) http://fav.me/d4txu0o
Note the round tips of the teeth.

The eyes look strange because of their color and because the head is still misproportioned. Again check out real foxes as references.
http://fellmekke.deviantart.com/art/Fuchs-canadian-red-fox-370389129
 

Arshes Nei

Masticates in Public
Part of rigging and sculpting a 3d Model is understanding form. When have you seen straight black eyesockets? Just like Eyeballs are not straight white. They have blood vessels, and are affected by lighting and their shape. Eyelids also help create shadows in the eyes.
 

DrGravitas

Member
Lots of progress, but little to show! Mostly because I mentally wandered off and ended up modeling a tongue and making a silly face.

I think the creepiness is from the extreme sharpness of the teeth. I know nothing about 3D modeling, but if you can make them blunter I think it would look better.

It's actually exceedingly easy: there's a button that does it! :D

...OK, so I kinda worked myself into a corner with the mesh on those teeth (the pointedness was due to smoothing a mesh then joining the rounded tips' vertices, to create the point) and the smooth mesh button wasn't going to save me, but I managed to salvage something out of them with relative easy. You were also definitely right about some of the creepiness coming for the pointy teeth, especially the front row.

Teeth Changes:

  • Incisors and Canines blunted
  • Doubled incisor count; they've been bunched up together to eliminate some of the unsettling gaps that were contributing to their sharp appearance.
  • Eliminated the long thick molar variant. I moved the nominal molar set back in their place and added a 3rd molar set.
  • Doubled the number of premolar (short canine-like ones) to 6 per jaw-half (24 total).
  • Reoriented and shifted various teeth to provide a mild improvement to intermeshing when the jaw is partly closed.

Teeth Misc:
  • Probably could do better shaping the incisors, the still look kind of funky. Maybe less round and more wedge-like? Something to make them look less like corn kernels.
  • Premolars could probably stand to be a little less pointy. Not sure.
  • Canines might need to be shortened and perhaps resized.
  • Most of the don't intermesh well when the jaw closes. This is minor as it is rarely visible to a meaningful extent.

Part of rigging and sculpting a 3d Model is understanding form. When have you seen straight black eyesockets? Just like Eyeballs are not straight white. They have blood vessels, and are affected by lighting and their shape. Eyelids also help create shadows in the eyes.

Actually, the sclera is meant to be black, not the eye-socket, but I get your meaning. In fact, your statement (especially about they eyelids) and UnburntDaenerys' comment about the teeth led me to a bit of an epiphany! I think I when I sit down and start modeling, I should just be thinking "what details do I need add" or "what major changes do I need" I need to be trying to identify and implement key details that disproportionately influence how I perceive the big picture!

The teeth were a great example of this, because as soon I started blunting the incisors, it was like an entirely different mental direction popped into place! Suddenly I could see all these other little bits that didn't fit with this new direction but hadn't stuck out before. That's when I got the idea for the tongue! Like everything this week, the tongue is still in progress, but it felt like a major improvement.

As I said, the eyelid comment was especially interesting. I tried implementing some a couple different ways and they all changed the way the face felt, but differently. I wasn't really happy with any of them, nor how they were being integrated into the mesh. That led me to a major realization that the polygon flow around the eye sockets was subtly flawed in a very fundamental way. This might not make much sense, but essentially it was just like how the head being misshapen and undersized lead me to vastly improve the way the ears were implemented; it doesn't change the final look but makes it more conducive to change. Actually, you guys are really quite good at inadvertently identifying these problem parts of the mesh's structure. :grin: Anyways:

Face Changes:
  • Eye sockets remeshed. Minor tweaks to the shape that give it a bit more definition and alter it's contours. Not really well visible in the image.
  • Nasal Bridge reshaped and narrowed. Fairly small changes at the moment, but I think further developing this area could lead to a substantial improvement in the face!
  • Cheeks directly beneath the eye sockets flair out a bit more to resemble the triangular shape of a fox's a bit more. Smooth transition is possible now due to the eye socket remesh.

Questions:

  • After tweaking the Eye sockets, I feel like the medial canthus area (where sunken part of the eyes kind of comes forward and to a point near the nasal bridge) looks awkward. I think dealing with this might make for some serious improvements to the face. Do you think the nasal bridge needs to be moved back further into the skull, more parallel to the eye sockets? Or should the eye sockets be brought more forward so they are not sunken as far?
  • What do you think about the sloping angle of the snout? Is it too pronounced?
  • Does it look like there is too big of a gap between the nose and the lips? What do you think of that little upside down V-Shape to the center of the lips?


Image Notes:

  • Left side showcases the earlier broad nasal bridge and sharp incisors
  • Right side showcases the newer narrow nasal bridge with a couple other minor tweaks that aren't really easily noticeable. Also the new, slightly blunted incisors and canines.
  • I left the eyes untextured to see how much of an effect they were having. Let me know!


The eyes look strange because of their color and because the head is still misproportioned. Again check out real foxes as references.
http://fellmekke.deviantart.com/art/Fuchs-canadian-red-fox-370389129
I can always use more references, Thanks! In return, a link to where I find my fox inspiration. To anyone reading this, please note: These are not public domain images, they are copyrighted. Although the photographer provides download links for every image in the gallery, if you intend to use these for anything other than to look at wonderful fox pictures, please take the easy extra step and contact the author about your usage! There's a real simple form and everything! Mods, if linking to that is frowned upon in these forums, let me know and I'll remove this paragraph.
 
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DrGravitas

Member
Lots of progress, but a bit more visible this time!

All changes were exclusively for the face. At the top, I added the old verison (from 2 posts ago) for comparison with the newest version. The rest of the image is simply a series of angles on the revised face to hopefully provide better fodder for suggestions/critiques. :-D



Revisions:
  • Gentler slope for the snout
  • Flattened snout a bit, no longer connects half way between the eyes.
  • Raised, Rotated snout and upper jaw
    • A widening of the opening of the mouth was a side effect
  • Cheeks form more of a point toward the snout due to adjustments in the nasal bridge and eye-sockets
    • These 4 changes above were the primary things I learned from UnburntDaenerys' lovely image! :) It's so nice to have an adult posed in a portrait view for once, instead of an inquisitive juvenile.
  • Shallower nasal bridge (nearly flat now.)
  • Adjusted eye depth and height, pinched the inner corners of the eyes a bit more and smoothed the transition.
  • More pronounced yet shallower brow
    • I think this gives the forehead a bit more definition, instead of being this featureless transition directly into the skullcap.
  • To make the cheeks a bit more noticeable:
    • Puckered the sides and back of the head inward.
    • Tapered Skull cap behind the eyes
    • The Face juts off the skull a bit now, giving it more of a rounded pentagon-like shape.
  • Tapered ears.
  • Reduced mouth width slightly, towards the back side of the jaw
  • Aligned the corners of the mouth to fit together better.

Near Term Future Adjustments:
  • Need to repair the neck shapes to better integrate the changes.
  • Adjustments to the jaw around the corner of the mouth.
  • Potentially more work required on the skull cap
  • Ear shape needs further refinement, eventually detailing for the inner ear where it meets the head.

Miscellaneous:
  • Not pictured: Tongue
  • No progress made on the Teeth or Tongue
  • Edited Original post with a rolling update image; this will update in with the same pose and the same angle each I post critique incorporating updates.
  • I've been playing around with new UV unwrapping techniques and may soon produce a version that isolates the features I map in for texturing/shading.
    • If I get this to work, I will have a system that is more robust in responding to mesh changes.
    • Eg. I won't have to rework the fur maps every time I make a few changes and will be able to reintroduce texture/shading (color, fur patterns) into the model again.
    • The potential for constant UV rework is why all the models displays are untextured/unshaded while in progress; normally I wait for version X.1 to fully implement the shading network.
  • Experiments were made with improved eye textures and shading networks, but I am unsatisfied with the results.


As always: Any critical analysis is welcome and all suggestions or contributions are greatly appreciated!
 

DrGravitas

Member
A hand full of experiments and a holiday have limited the volume of changes in this round. However, the changes feel to me like they make a rather significant impact! Slow progress, but progress none-the-less.

All meaningful changes were made to the face and head. The image below shows the head from a variety of angles. Most of the work was introducing curves and reshaping the mesh to give it better definition in an attempt to use shadow and shading to improve the readability of shape as per thread suggestions. The attempt is quite crude, but has proven effective to my own eyes at least. The curves, creases, and shadows were traced in part of the image below (rather hard to make out in the thumbnail) because I have no idea why. I was bored, I guess. I kind of like it, though.

(Changes review thumbnail)


Primary changes:

  • Now using a more neutral facial expression.
    • No more angry eyes!
    • The neutral expression should improve the useability of the mesh and require less work to implement future characters with different facial structures.
  • Another enlarged of the eye sockets
    • This time, by bringing the socket's lower portion down further, reducing cheek height.
    • Really, it is more like opening the eyes wider; this highlights the need to improve the eyelids that I had briefly begun adding.
  • Improved topology flow around of the mesh around the nose, mouth, and muzzle.
  • Improved creasing to give the muzzle/nose more shape and definition.
  • Adjusted shape of nasal bridge and eyebrow ridges
    • The brow may have gone too far. I think that's a good target for further reducing creepiness.
    • The eyes are too "intense", and the brows make the illusion of eye bulging caused by the deep-set eye socket all the more apparent.

Miscellaneous:

  • No more angry eyes!
    • This change was made shortly after the last updated and it seemed like such a huge improvement that I almost made another post right then!
    • Now, having worked without them for about 2 weeks, I look back at old examples and kind of miss the angry eyes. I don't understand why.
      • Do you think it looked better with the angry eyes? Or were they really as silly as I realized they were I first removed them?
  • Adjusted front teeth shapes. The rest of the teeth still need to be a bit less creepy.



Experiments:
Lots of little experiments recently, actually. Some failed but some of them illuminated important changes that are required of the mesh in order to implement them appropriately, later on.

  • Lattice wrapped Mesh Deformation
    • Success!
    • Fancy sounding! Really quite simple, both to implement and understand: It lets you control and reshape large portions of a mesh, smoothly.
      • So, it's ideal for subtler details specific to a particular scene, like changing facial expressions or animating the mouth!
    • Not implemented yet because it needs to fit in the workflow after regular mesh shape changes end (so, no I didn't use it in getting rid of the angry eyes)
      • Haven't quite figured out how to integrate it into my workflow in a way that keeps it useable after rigging and posing, yet.
  • 90 degree snout-to-face angle.
    • Failed. Didn't expect it would look good, but I wanted to see.
    • I think the snout angle is about where it needs to be as it is; the rest of the changes will simply be localized, minor tweaks.
  • Consistency in UV unwrapping across shape changes and topology changes.
    • Failed. *Sigh*
    • I mentioned this one under the Miscellaneous section in the last post.
    • The goal of quickly and easily bringing texture/shading up to the latest changes was not met because they did not carry forward through the topology changes in the mesh.
    • The UV unwrapping techniques and the isolation of the texture map was successful, so it wasn't a complete failure and it will server as the technique for texturing/shading the future version 3.1.


Of course, that partial failure of the UV texturing experiment is no reason to let perfectly useful results go to waste! The below image shows off the brand new version 3 custom shader network in action! Perhaps I can entice a little more thread participation with something a bit more colorful!

Details:

  • Please Note: The alpha maps used to generate the fur patterns ("fur maps") are very low definition. Hence the blocky transition between colors on the chest, socks, gloves, mouth.
    • I have to hand-draw them and I didn't want to waste the effort on an experiment that might not even make it past the next topology change (Yay, foresight!)
  • Perhaps I'll put together a detailed technical explanation of how the network works, if there's an interest.
  • Generative fur-like cloth textures are mapped to the automated UV unwrap, to produce a greyscale texture which abstracting them from the rest of the highly extensible v3 network.
    • This allows for dynamic and easily interchanged coloring through shaders that would be unavailable were we to just flat-out map them to a texture file.
    • So, I can use Maya's advanced Mental Ray shaders instead of relying on their standard software-render shaders or the complicated and faulty projection techniques used in v2 of the custom shading network.
  • Colors!
    • The green color set is for the Dr. Gravitas character.
      • Only Dr. Gravitas is using the latest, up-to-date v3 network and UV technique (which is why he's not posed.) But, he's using the model from 11/23, so not quite the latest shape changes.
    • The red set is (excluding the eyes) is for Test Subject 120617-614 and the like.
      • I think I was rather successful in capturing the essence of the photoshop filter derived coloring for the Test Subject, don't you think?
      • The Test Subject is using the v2 model and is not using the new UV unwrapping technique (so he's malproportioned and has some texture warping. Oops.)
      • Speaking of which, the experimental female model also used the v2 model and is a good comparison as it was one of the rare cases where I got the v2 custom shading network to work without any shadow issues.



...Maybe I'd make progress faster if I didn't write a novel in every thread post.
 

DrGravitas

Member


Changes
:
  • Eye Lids: I finally picked this part back up! They're large and more visible now, stretching a bit over the eyeball, rather than just touching the outer edges.
    • They definitely makes a big improvement! Thanks for the suggestion, Arshes Nei!
  • Reduced Eye-brow Ridge: The pronounced nature of the brow became way more apparent once the eyelids made the eyes look less bulgy.
  • Forehead: Bit of reshaping and rounding. The forehead was also reduced a bit by the brow change.
  • Neck: Bit of change to the topology flow around the neck.
    • This should help the mesh deform more cleanly.
    • Still testing it's affect on deformation. The neck is one of the areas that requires skin weights to be painted and I suck at that and am slow.
    • Also made the shape flow back a bit, to make it appear to attach at the more appropriate area. This also required topology changes.
    • Generally cleaned up the shape of the mesh in this area.



Facial Expressions Experiments:
  • Mostly Successful.
  • I wanted to test the new eyelids to make sure the mesh deformed properly. Had a lot of fun with these!
  • I used a Wire deformer, instead of Lattice Deformers like I had been experimenting with before.
    • These are easier to work with and I get more satisfactory results from them in these cases.
    • Like the Lattice Deformer, these have some interesting limitations. Still considering how to integrate them with the rest of the model rigging.
      • I can parent them to skeleton nodes to move them with the rest of the body.
      • But, once I apply the deformation, I can't move the head anymore or it will mess up the way it deforms.
      • The actual deformation effect is stationary; I can't get it to move with skeleton. Not sure if this is just a problem with the way I'm doing it.
  • The eyebrows look like they need some work to properly deform. Or maybe I don't have enough experience using the wire deformer properly.
  • They eyelids don't curve when moved, they're just kind of like a draw-string window shade.



Eye Texture Experiments:
  • Failures! (Although I kind of like the one.)
  • Because I haven't posted anything intentionally creepy in a while, here's a bunch of blank, staring heads!
  • I was really hoping to find some way to reduce the creepiness of the eyes without changing the colors too drastically. Looks like that's not going to work.
  • These images also have an attempt at adding eye veins that I was largely unhappy with.


All-in-all, these last couple weeks have been a real eye-opener.
(What? I thought "eye-opener" was a fine joke!)
 
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DrGravitas

Member
Eye color: Better or Worse?



See the above linked submission's description if your interested in the details of what has changed. Still no progress on eye veins.

 

Taralack

Hit 'em right between the eyes
His neutral face looks unnatural, probably because he does not have eyelids.
 

DrGravitas

Member
Drat, I thought I nailed the eyelids. Ah well, this provided an excellent opportunity to improve the mesh's ability to work with the wire deformer curves I've been using to test posing the face. The new eyelids lend a rather tired look to the neutral face pose, but they allow for cleaner deformation in expressions so I think I can live with it.

But, before I get too far into something else, I wanted to see if these new eyelids are an improvement and if there were any other suggestions for the eyes (shape created by the eyelids, color of the iris, shape of the pupil, etc.)



I added a few more lights to the scene I've been using to experiment on the eyes in, so hopefully that'll make the mesh topography a bit more visible in this demo image. If you guys need any other views of the model or changes to lighting, I'd be happy to cook something up. :smile:

As for the eye veins, they really shouldn't be as hard as I'm making them. I'm being stubborn and trying to do it a particular way that doesn't involve big changes to the UV, because I really hate that and it'll make it much harder to get the iris positioned and free of seams. If I keep going this way, I either need to figure out a way to produce them dynamically (so far, no luck at getting anything that looks good) or manually paint them, dodging the texture seams the whole way.


EDIT:

Minor update! I've created a simple Maya scene to plug assets into with a series of fixed cameras and lighting conditions. This creates a standardized environment for asset evaluation. So, now I have a easier way of producing revision review images, which should greatly reduce the time I spend putting together images for these posts. This will also make the rolling-update image even easier and quicker than it was. The standardization also makes it possible to quickly produce accurate comparison images between older versions!

It's so much easier in fact, that I've created a new Rolling Update Image for the face. I know the original Rolling Update image wasn't very useful for at-a-glance stuff, since the vast majority of changes have been smaller details on the face, so this new one focuses specifically on that area. It even gives a split-view detailing the previous update on the left and the current update on the right!

I'm also experimenting with completely standardizing the revision review image format, borrowing photoshop assets from an earlier attempt at standardization. I'm not sure which views are really most helpful for analyzing the model, so the below contains one two not-so-useful ones. A full-body perspective view using the new standard environment and a second front view that does not use orthographic projection. It occurred to me that the use of the orthographic front view's warped perspective might be making it more difficult to tell how things look in a "normal" perspective.
 
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DrGravitas

Member
The holidays were a great time for productivity! But, not so much for progress reports. I detail more about the model updates in the last image's description, but here's the highlights:

Eyelids and Facial Expressions:
After working out the previous post's changes for better eyelids (and some other miscellaneous tweaks to the face) I spent a good deal of time improving facial expressions. I applied what I learned in fixing the eyelid topology and its wire deformers (clearing clipping issues and getting them to accommodate the more prominent eyelids) and added wire deformers for the cheeks, jaw, and lips. This allows me to easily pose the face!

|
Posing the body in the first image really highlighted a lot of issues the model has with posing and how the skinned mesh stretches and moves. I did my best to hide them with the way its posed, but there's still a number visible. It's going to take a very long time to get this all working right. EDIT: ...Or, the very same day as writing this, I could discover Smooth Skin binding parameter values that solve 90% of the issues and make it deform about a thousand times cleaner, while fiddling about after testing something completely different! Go figure...

Whiskers!
Thought I'd see how the addition of another little independent detail would look on the model. Used a simple pass of plain shading on the model to give me a rough idea how various material shaders would look on the whiskers compared with the rest of the body. The whisker material of choice is semi-transparent, highly reflective, and has certain hues dynamically set to its gloss color. More on that in the description.

Oh yeah, they're also individually pose-able, with a wire deformer for each whisker!




Miscellaneous:
  • Check out the above post's mini-update if you missed it; there's a new rolling update specific to the face!
  • I reshaped the ears a bit. They're a little more curvy and less basic. Not exactly noticeable unless viewed head-on (like in the rolling update image.)
    • Sadly, they are also the slightest bit taller, which means I've already broken the "standardized environment for asset evaluation" and had to adjust it because they appear partially out of frame.
  • I buckled down and made progress with the eye veins, but I'm not happy with it yet. It's very rare to get an angle of the eyes extreme enough to see any at all and they are bunched up.
    • Yes, this means I took the round-about way to avoiding hand texturing. I'm lazy in a way that ultimately means I have to do more work. I don't know how that is, but it is.
The last image here is pretty much the collection of all the latest changes to the model. I also gave it a quick pass with plain shaders to get a better idea of how everything will look with final colors. I felt like a change, so I used more sunny, yellowish lighting. Since time consuming UV maps haven't been rebuilt, the shaders are applied directly to geometry, creating an even blockier transition between different colors than the last time I showed off color. The blockiness is not indicative of final pass fur patterns.




Let me know if you have any suggestions/comments on proportions, shape, or really anything!
 
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DrGravitas

Member
Hardcore Pelvis Destruction!
No, not that way! Get your mind out of the gutter.




Coming off the success of getting the blasted mouth to close properly, I decided to take on the most complicated set of interactions on the model: the torso! Starting with the most complicated part of it, the pelvis/abdomen/hips. After two weeks, it has proven far more of a struggle than I anticipated. So, I took a break and cooked up that image! It uses some other assets I've been tinkering with. I'd say I'm maybe halfway done with that half the torso (purely from a meshwork standpoint, never mind the shape itself.) There will probably be another week or two on the rest of the torso, depending on how much time I have to spend getting the shape and proportions down.

Speaking of proportions, this area one where I never know how to get it right. It always looks off (well, 'more off' than the model usually does, anyways) I am convinced something is still not right with this, so I'm hoping somebody can give me some ideas how to improve it! I made up another one of those little charts.

I see the pelvis is ~1 head height, which think is right. I must have whittled away the head size over time, because the body's overall height is now 10 heads tall, instead of 9 1/4. I'm trying to avoid a muscular look; it'll be easier to reshape it to fit a female and such details can be added and tweaked later, regardless of gender, without redoing the rigging, skinning, etc.

The pelvis changes are still in-progress and there's a lot of shape features that just plain aren't there. For example, the butt crack has not yet been implemented.

If it's any help to anyone out there, here's a quick look at the model's mesh and edge loops. More technical change details are included in its description:
 

DrGravitas

Member
The butt kicked my butt! The waist wasted me! The pelvis bent me over and f- uhh, nevermind. To put it mildly, the torso has proven more challenging than I wanted. But, progress has been made! Not exactly easily visible progress (well, except for the pelvis shape and general curvature) but there have been tons of good improvements to the underlying mesh!

I won't bore you with the details behind a new, dangerous and experimental waist topology that yields significantly improved twisting flexibility. But, it's on display in the following scrap:
(of course, if you do want to be bored with those details then there's plenty of them, along side the rest of the specific changes, in the image's description)

Demonstration 1:
I've produced a scrap to compare the old mesh and the new mesh's deformation capabilities. It's a yawn, and really not one of my better pose and the facial expression's pretty wonky, too. The scraps this time were left untextured and unshaded so that it was clear how the mesh's shape was influencing shadows and to prevent hiding any unusual shapes created by the experimental waist.

It also demonstrates the difference that skin weight painting makes. Skin weights basically are manual adjustments to what vertices of the skin a particular joint will influence and how much. Frankly, its a major pain, takes forever, and has to be done every time you rebind the skin (still trying to figure out how to get importing skin weights to work properly.) So, I try to avoid it. But, properly testing the waist, arms, pelvis, butt, and legs required that I do at least a light pass of skin weight painting. This was required a lot, as I was experimenting with quite a bit of interactions and variations. This is much of why its taking so long for so few changes. It's a shame, considering I have so many other portions of the mesh to adjust to get them working with the new smooth bind parameters.



Demonstration 2:
Finally, another scrap to show of the twisting capabilities of the new crosshatch waist topology. It is a simple pose of a twisting torso and neck, while the body is in mid stride. Clean and no tearing artifacts! I don't include the older model in this one, so that I can show larger details on the new torso.

I didn't quite get the skin weights painted right on the neck and it looks a bit off. Overall, it's a fairly rough rigging job, yet it took about a day and a half to setup. But, once it's setup, I could do as many poses as I want from it. Until I need to make changes to the topology again, that is. That's why I avoid doing skin weight painting when I'm making these scraps. One of them also has the tail and arms removed, to show the changes a bit better. In that one, you can clearly see that the butt still needs better shaping.
(I never know what to do with hands. They never look right.)


As always, any thoughts or suggestions of any kind are welcome!

Also, would it be preferable if I post the full size scrap in this thread, or continue to just link thumbnails to the full size in my scraps? I don't really like how the giant 1280x1280 images break up the post, but I haven't figured out how to make images hide behind spoiler tags.
 
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