Sculpt for Key Areas
Next I used the sculpt tools to define more areas, like the eyes, eyebrows, lips, nose and ears. I used the Multi Resolution modifier to work instead of the Subdivision Surface. This allowed me to go back and forward on the subdivision levels and work where I needed.
A fast way to give expression to your character is to use the Sculpt tools. It's easier to create blend shapes (morphers in 3ds Max).
When I'm finished with details I bake an Ambient Occlusion of the UV layout. I combine this in Multiply mode, low opacity with my color. This gives more depth to the model in the render.
3D Painted Textures
I painted the textures in Blender over the models in the 3D viewport and in the UV/image editor. I also used the open source image editor Gimp.
Configure your lights in the viewport preview to work. Activate the Solid option to display the object with one texture and lit with the default OpenGL lights. You can edit the OpenGL lights in the Blender user Preferences > System (Fig.09a – 09b).
You can also use your scene light setup to light your object. 3D Viewport > View Properties Menu "N” Shading > GLSL, then choose the method to display the object texture or press Alt + Z (Fig.10).
Activate this add-on: Paint > Texture Paint > Layer Manager to use the texture paint layers. This tool will appear in the 3D Viewport > View Properties menu (press N) (Fig.11).
Activate Texture Paint in Object mode. This will display the tools in the menu (press T) with all you need to paint in the 3D viewport.
Assign a material to the object selected. Choose the Blender UV Editing layout. In the 3D viewport press Tab to select all the faces. The UV/image editor will show the model UVs. Create a new texture and use it in the material you assigned to the object as Influence > Color. Remember to use Mapping > UV.
Press F to control the brush's radius. Press Shift + F to control the brush's influence (Fig.12).
The pose was sculpted with the Move tool. Like when painting, I used the F key to control the radius of my brush and the Shift + F to control the influence. Take care of your object distance in the viewport. It will affect the area of influence.
It was very important to show a good pose with a clear line of action. A nice shape and a strong silhouette helps you to read an image.
The facial expression was sculpted with details to give the character emotion that matched his actions. The cloth wrinkles were also done at this stage. I sculpted the wrinkles on the space suit depending on his movement.
I used these parameters in the render and environment menu (Fig.13).
I rendered two layers: one layer for the entire scene and another for the glows. Each one had its own passes for compositing later.
To do preview renders, use a small output size and lower the render AA samples and the shadows samples on every light. You can use the Properties > Scene > Simply options too.
The rendering for this image was very simple and it didn't use GI with radiosity. So a node composition was used to achieve a nicer image:
- An Ambient Occlusion pass was a very good way to add depth. This allowed me to do a subtle color bleed effect. I added a RGB Curves node to the AO to match the ambient light color.
- A Normal pass to light the objects in the composition with ambient light later.
- Render Layer with the Emit pass for the gun lightning and glows.
Some effects were added later in Gimp to finish the image. Like a subtle depth of field (Fig.14).
And here's the final image (Fig.15).
I hope you enjoyed this Making Of. I'm going to do a series of workshops in Barcelona (Spain) where I will explain in Spanish the techniques more in depth. I will teach the software Blender in this process with the problems I had to solve. Feel free to contact me.