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Master MODO portraits: Create perfect image maps with MARI

By Bert Heynderickx (aka Alberto Ezzy)
Web: Open Site
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Date Added: 27th November 2014
Software used:
Photoshop, MODO

1959_tid_amd-foundry-sponsor.jpg

Step 6: Create the body's upper dermis map in MARI

I copy the Color Channel in MARI and rename it ‘upper dermis'. This map has to have a nice fleshy pink tone and some increased contrast. To add some contrast to the base Diffuse Color map, I add a Contrast Adjustment Layer and set it to about 1.350. Next I lighten the map a bit with a HSL Adjustment Layer at 1.200 for the Lightness Scale slider.

I then add a fourth layer and change the Foreground Color to a fleshy pink and fill the layer with Patch/Fill/Foreground. I set this color layer to Multiply at 0.500 to combine it with the underlying layers. Then I export again.

1959_tid_6_upper-dermis-mari.jpg
The upper dermis map gets a fleshy pink tint


1959_tid_6_upperdermis.base.jpg
Here is the Upper Dermis SS Color Map for the body exported from MARI

Step 7: The body's Bump map

We'll next make the Bump map. A few weeks ago, we created a bump map for The Fisherman's skin. So let me show you now another approach that also works a treat!

On a desaturated version of the base color map, I apply a High Pass Filter with a value of around 10 (Filter > Other > High Pass). Next I apply a very extreme Curve Layer to bring out all the details, and a Levels Layer to increase the Lightness (please refer to the screengrab below for my specific settings).

1959_tid_7_bump-photoshop.jpg
This is an alternative method for creating a skin Bump map in Photoshop to the one taught in the previous tutorial series

Step 8: A quick ZBrush stop-off

A scanned model from Ten24 is delivered as an OBJ and a ZTL file. From the ZTL file, you can extract a Normal map in ZBrush, and export it for use in MODO. This Normal map has all the fine detail that was originally scanned, such as pores and irregularities in the skin. When we apply the Normal map together with the Bump map later on, we will get some really intricate skin details!

Because the specularity of the body is very even - as opposed to the face - I don't see the need to create a special map for this. We will drive the overall specularity later on in MODO within the Skin Material...

1959_tid_8_zbrush-normal-map.jpg
For the Normal map, we take a quick trip to ZBrush

Step 9: Make a Fur Density map in MARI

We also need a map to control the density of the hair in MODO, because I don't want the transition along the hair line to be too harsh. So let's create a map that will make the hair less dense along this hair line. To do this, I jump back into MARI and paint a grayscale density map.

1959_tid_9_density-map-mari.jpg
Painting in MARI gives an excellent 3D feel and feedback!

Step 10: Painting cloth textures

The cloth texture maps took quite a few tests before they felt right. First I tried a warm brownish color, but it felt more 'Safari' than 'Kiwi'. Next I tried more Maori line art as a print on top of a fabric texture, but that was too visually distracting... I ended up with a subtle combination of these two tileable fabric textures (please refer to the Top Tip at the end of this tutorial).

1959_tid_10_cloth-fabric.jpg
Fabric colors and prints can have a dramatic effect on the overall look and feel of a 3D portrait

And that's it for this part! We have 2 parts left to take us to the final render, so stay tuned for the next instalment, coming soon.

Running MARI and NUKE efficiently

AMD FirePro cards have varying amounts of raw horse power and memory fitted to them. Some applications like to use lots of compute power - like NUKE, for example, which can do graphics processing and compute functions like visual effects, deburr , depth of field, and so on. As long as there is a reasonable amount of GPU memory then it's good using the GPU to do the compute!

MARI, on the other hand, wants to keep as much information in the GPU memory with big materials and textures all stored in the GPU memory, so that you can edit them quickly. Whenever an application has to go back to system memory there is a "round robin" of a few milliseconds that can slow the feel, so The Foundry makes use of the GPU memory well to counter this!

There are times when there is no choice but to go to the system memory, so this is where having a fast bus or connection from the main board to the GPU is important! All FirePro cards come with PCI-Express Gen3 connections to make sure you achieve the fastest connection possible. Of course, having faster RAM on the GPU when accessing the information helps, so from the middle range up, AMD employs GDDR5 memory - the quickest available to do this!

How do you pick the right graphics card?

Well, the higher the numbers, the faster the GPU, and the more memory you have. The AMD FirePro W7100 is a great new card as it has a fast new GPU, reasonably large GPU GDDR5 memory, with 8GB with PCI-E Gen 3. It's not the top of the range, but comes at a very reasonable cost.

1959_tid_amd-firepro-w7100-front.jpg

Top tip: Creating tileable patterns and textures

I wanted to share a great little resource with you for creating nice tileable patterns and textures. I always visit webtreats.mysitemyway.com - it's a fantastic resource that I always check out when it comes to this kind of work!

Related links:

Download a free trial of MODO
Download a free trial of MARI
Discover more free tutorials for MODO from The Foundry
Find out more about the AMD FirePro™ W9000
See Part 1 of the My Kiwi Friend tutorial series: Improve your geometry in MODO
See the full tutorial series for The Fisherman 3D character portrait



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