For the face texture I used a pre-done face texture from 3d.sk
and used the Smudge UV tool to move the UV into position. I opened the UV editor on one monitor and the viewport on the other and I moved the UV until the texture was perfectly matching the model. It is a very quick and dirty way, but if you don't need a very detailed skin texture it gets the job done very well! For a more realistic render I would have used projections in MARI or Mudbox.
For the rest I used a pretty standard approach based on tileable textures, done with Photoshop and projection/painting in Mudbox.
I made a custom brush for the sewing line of the dress. Once I got the color maps done I worked on the spec and bump.
Tileable textures and custom brushes is the way to go!
For the eyes I tend to model everything separately: cornea, sclera, iris and pupil.
I assigned a transparent high reflective shader to the cornea and an SSS shader (I started from the milk preset in V-Ray) for the sclera and iris. For the cornea I used a radial ramp for the transparency channel in order to stay clear of the iris and give a white patina on top. A small torus, opportunely placed, with visibility turned off, cast a soft shadow where the sclera and iris connect. Once I was happy with the effect, I imported the eye into the scene and ran a test to see if it worked as I planned.
The most important part is to get a nice highlight; you can soften the transitions after
This was my first time trying Yeti. Once you get through the first steps (assign a yeti node, create a groom and import the groom...) it suddenly becomes very intuitive.
I usually create a groom for every major strand of hair so I can comb them separately. To get the look I want I use a combination of the Move and Sculpt brushes. I found it easier if you grow the hair as you comb to have a better control of the flow. I used the standard VrayHair 3 with a brown shiny preset.
I would have never suspected brushing a doll's hair was so much fun!
Over time I've built a library of shaders and materials so I can have a good starting point. Using Sunday Pipeline I was able to easily import them into the scene and test how they looked before I started editing them.
Once all the textures and shaders were ready, I ran the VRayMaterialIDOptimizer script, which assigns a V-Ray material ID for every shader and creates the necessary multi-matte passes.
At this point I used VrayRT to play with the lights and get the mood I wanted. First I chose the direction, then the sharpness of the shadow (smaller lights cast harder shadows, bigger lights cast softer shadows) and then I adjusted the intensity.
Once I was getting closer to where I wanted to be, I started rendering with higher quality until I was satisfied. For the final render I created the other passes (AO, rawGI, rawReflection and rawRefraction). The LookDev phase is one of my favorite.
I love the power of multi-matte in NUKE
I imported all the passes to NUKE. I then used multi-matte to assign a Color Correct node to every shader to easily tweak the saturation, contrast, color gain, and so on. Once I was happy, I played with glow, sharpen, color aberration, noise and vignette until I could get rid of some of the CG feeling (being careful to not overkill the compositing).
I then saved the NUKE script. I eventually adjusted the textures (if I changed the color of some shader in post-production) or the light intensity and launched a HD render that would be reloaded in the script.
I rendered a TGA image out of NUKE and opened it in Photoshop, where I played with the Dodge and Burn brushes and tweaked other minor things.
At this point I'm already thinking about the next project. Hope you enjoyed!
Taking the image to the next step
Head over to Alberto Casu's website for more inspiration
Erika Tcogoeva's deviantart site
Ready for the next project...