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Making Of 'Doctrich - Post Apocalyptic Scientist Mechanic'

By David AnastŠcio Ferreira
Web: Open Site
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Date Added: 5th March 2014
Software used:
3ds Max, Photoshop, V-Ray, ZBrush, Misc

Painting the skin texture

I really like to paint inside ZBrush with Spotlight Ė itís fast and pretty fluid. The main downside is that the resolution of the texture will depend on the resolution of your mesh, though you can always unwrap your piece as one and then break it down for the texturing. In this case I just had part of the arms and the head, so my highest subdivision level gave me enough resolution for an 8K texture.

I used pictures from 3 different models, from the amazing 3D.SK library. On those situations I just do a quick color correction to the reference images in Photoshop so that they blend nicely.

1847_tid_08_painting_the_skin.jpg
Here you can see I add a wrinkles and pores pass to the character, as well as a series of details like bolts and straps

FiberMesh pass

Using FiberMesh isnít that complicated, all you have to do is to lower the Front Collision Tolerance and Front Collision Variations on your grooming brushes. The default values are 50 and 75, and I usually lower them to around 10. Then itís just practice and using masks.

I also like to use Move and Move Elastic brushes to stylize the hair. But in order to use these brushes properly you have to increase the Preserve Length parameter to 100, otherwise youíll end up deforming the FiberMesh.

Another simple trick is to have different layers/passes of hair. That way you have more control and your final result will look more complex and more believable. Since I knew I was going to render the final image inside 3ds Max, I increased the FiberMesh Profile to 8.

1847_tid_09_fibermesh.jpg
On this image youíll find some visual guides to the techniques I mentioned earlier. On this particular character I didnít paint the FiberMesh

Resolution in 3ds Max

Going into 3ds Max, I try to export the highest resolution possible of my most important and complex meshes. Itís important to take into account all the meshes when youíre thinking about how high your polycount can go in 3ds Max. I find that nowadays 3ds Max can handle a lot of geometry before you really start having trouble in the viewport. In this particular scene I reached almost 16 million triangles.

In order to quickly import all my meshes I use a modified version of a script I found at Scriptspot.

I have provided my modified version with this tutorial. I usually export Displacement, Texture from PolyPaint and Cavity maps from ZBrush. With these 3 I can really get some nice textures in Photoshop. In many cases my texture from PolyPaint will just have values. That works as a value guide for my whole character and it will also allow me to quickly select different parts of the mesh when working on the textures.

1847_tid_10_going_into_max.jpg
Here you can see the maps I exported from the gloves in ZBrush and the final textures Iím using for the hi-res render


Setting up the stage

After importing all the meshes, I like to link everything to a point helper in order to quickly adjust the scale and position of my objects. Very often, when you start working with ZSpheres in ZBrush you donít really know your objectsí scale. No matter what units you choose to work in, itís very important to work in real scale in order to get predictable and more realistic behaviors from your lights, materials and many modifiers.

So to scale and position all my objects I just need to work on the point. When I have my feet on the ground and my scale corrected I delete the point, do a Reset XForm to all my objects and then convert them to Editable Poly.

For my light setup I use the typical: Main, Rim and Fill. Iím a V-Ray fan so all my lights are V-Ray. In many cases, such as this one, Iíll disable the fill light and instead, Iíll give the scene a bit more of an environment light with a nice HDRI.

1847_tid_11_setting_stage.jpg
Here you can see the maps I exported from the gloves in ZBrush and the final textures Iím using for the hi-res render

Working on the materials

When making my different materials I really like to mix things up. With ColorCorrection and VrayCompText I can get almost all the different maps (Reflect, Reflection, Glossiness) from one single diffuse texture without having to go back to Photoshop. Of course itís always better to develop your specific maps in Photoshop.

I like using hi-res textures so my range will go from 2K to 8K. When loading bitmaps with high resolutions inside 3ds Max, you should always lower the default Blur value on the Bitmap node from 1 to something like 0.2 or 0.1. A Blur of 1 in a 4K image will be extremely obvious and you would be losing a lot of the detail on the texture.

1847_tid_12_materials.jpg
Here you can see the maps I exported from the gloves in ZBrush and the final textures Iím using for the hi-res render

Rendering the final image

V-Ray is extremely fast and I like having fast renders, so I tweak the V-Ray settings even further to get the quality I need with the lowest render times possible. When doing still images, for GI I tend to use Irradiance Map and Light cache, both at 0.5. That way I get deeper shadows from the render to start with. In this case I donít calculate secondary bounces and go just with Irradiance Map at 1.0. Iím not a big fan of Global adjustments like the Global subdivs multiplier, but I do use it on rare occasions.

My final renders are in OpenEXR with a good collection of elements that will give me total control of the final image.

My post-production usually has 2 stages: a first one in NUKE (or Fusion) and a second one in Photoshop (or After Effects). For this project I do the main compositing inside NUKE, making use of all the elements and MultiMatte elements, for the big adjustments. In Photoshop I do the final tweaks, some hand-painted corrections and the final look.

1847_tid_13_rendering_final.jpg
These are the V-Ray settings and elements I use to render the 2 final images with a resolution of 2000 x 1500 each

1847_tid_doctrich04_front_pn_pp.jpg
The final image: front
1847_tid_doctrich04_back_pn_pp.jpg
The final image: back

Top tip 1: Practice your drawing

Whether youíre a character artist, an environment artist, an animatorÖ every artist can benefit from drawing. Preferably traditional drawing because you donít have undos, layers or free transforms, which makes it harder and thus more effective.

Top tip 2: Moderate your GI

One of the most common problems I find in the images of beginner artists is too much light. And one of the easiest solutions when working with V-Ray is to lower the GI contribution of your primary and secondary bounces.

Top tip 3: Know your render engine

One of the most important things to have when working with lighting, textures and materials is speed.
If you canít optimize, in order to have fast renders showing you just what you need to see, then itíll take you forever to have everything fine tuned, or worse, youíll get frustrated and wonít go as far as you could.

Related links
Check out David AnastŠcio Ferreira's website
Scriptspot has many helpful scripts for 3D modelers
3D.sk is a free resource site for textures


 
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(ID: 271895, pid: 0) Rajni Setia on Fri, 02 May 2014 4:56pm
Great tutorial, we have featured it here : http://theneodesign.com/best-adobe-photoshop-tutorials-april-2014/
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