[WIP] Dvalinn Deer - Athletic anthropomorpic character


(Kampfisken) #1

I'm Frank Daniel, a 3D hobbyist from Norway, trying to get good enough at all this to make this a viable career option! Sometime before I retire, hopefully. <:

I was pointed in this direction after uploading a WIP character model, and figured I might as well write up a little about'im, and hopefully get a few pointers!

Although it's probably a bit late in the work process to start a WIP thread on this guy, I figured there's enough left to do, and enough mistakes made, to justify it - and maybe some of you can point out the more glaring anatomy and design mistakes I might've made along the way!

I'm currently trying to revise my workflow, as I spend far too much time on every character and model I do - and therefore find myself going a bit back and forth on projects these days, trying different approaches.

This guy started out as a personal project, but I ended up straying too far from my initial concepts. However, I sort of fancied the overall build and feel of the character, and decided to just keep at it.

My tools on this project are mainly Blender, zBrush, and 3DCoat

Initial sculpt;

Initial pass in 3DCoat;

Current rough rig;

Due to the engine I'm rigging him for, I am limited to T-pose without any form for drivers or shapekeys to preserve muscle volumes- which makes rigging toned characters a slight headache, and requires constant revisioning of the model, notably around the shoulders, to make it somewhat passable at least in most common poses.

I'm planning to push on by giving him a mane of repeating polyplanes, as well as scattered tufts around joints, down the chest, and around the head. I also need to revise my UV's at some point, and eventually do a final pass on the texturing once all the fur-planes are in place. A bit of double work that could have been avoided with better planning, I guess.

I'm also not sure why I spent so much time on the sculpt, when I ended up hand-painting most of the shading - or how I'd go about making normalmaps for a handpainted character in any sensible fashion. Time to look into 3DCoat's normal-painting capabilities, I guess!

(Kampfisken) #2

Today was mainly spent looking more into hand-painted normalmapping, something I've bumped into once or twice before.
Turns out the general consensus is that these are mainly suited for stylized geometric shapes, tiling wall textures, and the alike - and are far too imprecise for full, organic characters.


Which means I'll probably have to go back and revise and polish my sculpt some, spend time baking out clean maps, and then line up my diffuse to match the new detailing. Which is the exact opposite of what I probably ought to have been doing, all along, starting out with a clean NM. Good thing the diffuse is a rough, so I can just smudge the volumes into place, and then refine the detailing!

I also revised the maw internals, and spent a lot of the day re-doing all my UV's and moving the diffuse over to the new mapping, now that I feel I have a rough idea of all the topology I plan to have in my final character.

I left a bit of space on the third texture, as I feel like I'll probably want to do a few horn variants for variety's sake - and the fourth texture, for the polyplanes....

... probably will change a lot, as I add and remove planes during experimentation. I don't really feel very confident about the current positioning, but I figured the vertical strips along the neck made a lot more sense than cones trailing around it, unless I wanted to do something very thick and fuzzy, more akin to an elk or caribou.


Looks cool! Are you going to do any markings, like spots?

(Kampfisken) #4

I'll probably do a few variations, just to see what works! An albino one looked rather stellar, and a fawn pattern could be fancy. It'd be kind of neat of there was a way to add a texture variation drop-down menu to a singular model in Sketchfab, but oh well!

(Nomadking) #5

This is amazing so far @kampfisken, full of character and style, yet super clean at the same time. Great stuff!

Are you hand painting it in 3DCoat? I'd love to hear more about your texturing workflow or any other tips :sunglasses:

(Kampfisken) #6

Honest to God, I really don't have a proper workflow established, I'm just wingin' it, figuring stuff out for now.
I started out planning to just do a highpoly sculpt, bake out some maps, and slap a texture together in Photoshop. However, I've had 3D Coat lying around in my Steam folder for a while, and bumped into this video the other day - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXT6m3e0rFA&index=9 - which got me inspired.

I started out with an AO bake overlaid on my darkest shadow value, and just worked my way up - same way I'd do on a 2D character portrait, swapping between unshaded and my normal map to reference my painted shapes to where the normalmap was laid out, occasionally jumping over to Photoshop to do level and hue/sat tweaks, to really push my values. Colors easily get muddy and grey when you keep blendin' and colorpickin'!

This was roughly the same method I used for;

And I really do fancy how useful it makes a bit of painting experience. I might try to streamline the process a bit, and keep doing this for stylized characters, despite the slight time-sink it might be.

(Nomadking) #7

Thanks for the tips, I'll be sure to check out that video :wink: