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Making Of 'Crow'

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Date Added: 9th July 2009
Software used:

For the hair I used the integrated Hair and Fur system. However I started with Ornatrix, because I still find it better for modelling hair guides. One really good thing about Ornatrix is that you can start with the low guide count and increase it by interpolating your current guides. This is extremely useful because you can have as much control as you need over your guides and therefore you can be as precise as you want. Anyway, when I had the haircut that I wanted, I converted it into splines and made the hair with Hair and Fur using the "Recomb From Splines" function (Fig.11).

Fig. 11

Hair and Fur is a really good tool to use if you wish to render your hair with mental ray. It gives much better results, allows greater control and also renders faster. For this image, instead of the default shading I used the "muhHair" shader, which was written by Daniel Rind.
To make mountains in the background I started by applying fractal noise on the plane's displacement map. Then I moved it to ZBrush and sculpted further until I was satisfied. When I rendered the mountains, I also did some cloud overpainting and added fog (Fig.12).

Fig. 12

Shading & Lighting

My scene had two omni lights and skylight for GI. I also used an HDRI image for the environment. At this stage I spent most of my time on the skin shader and its textures. As always, I paid most of my attention to the overall shading, so I tweaked the colour of the lights and the textures, as well as the shader's parameters until it looked good to me (Fig.13).

Fig. 13

I started to make some rough skin textures for a better preview and at this point I kept them at a low resolution by having only the main colour tone. Then I increased the size and started to add details, keeping the same overall colour tone. This time, for educational purposes, I used a lot of high res skin samples to analyze their patterns. From some of them I made brushes for Photoshop, which I used to paint the textures. I realized that this time I actually wanted to remake the look of a skin instead of mimic it like I'd done in the past. In the end my skin textures were reaching a resolution of six thousand. However, I can strongly say that I recommend avoiding such texture sixes and that it's better to split them into smaller pieces (Fig.14 & Fig.15). 

Fig. 14

Fig. 15

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