Imagined Worlds Project: Life imitates art!

Over the past couple of days, I have been continuing to rig the models for our animation! With Lilith complete two days ago, I set off with my newfound rigging skills to attempt to speedily and efficiently rig Zach.

To be honest, I didn’t use any new techniques on this. I duplicated the skeleton that I made for Lilith, because when modelling the characters, I used the same body with the intention of making rigging easier to save as much time as possible. With the duplicated rig, I then skinned Zach’s character model to it. I attempted to use the interactive skin bind with capsuling like I did for Lilith, but for some reason it didn’t want to work, so I manually painted the skin weights for all of the muscles myseslf. This took quite a while, but turned out rewarding, because I’m happy with how he moves! I then decided to pose the models and get some renders of them in a pose inspired by some concept art created by Ebonny.




Overall, I am over the moon with the progress that I have made in this project. This experience has been invaluable, because rigging is really difficult, and now I can rig two models in the space of a week! Now that the models are rigged, I can start animating! There isn’t much content in this post, but it felt worth blogging about because it’s progress!


Imagined Worlds Project: Lilith rig

After a week of slow progress, Lilith finally has a rig! *Final Fantasy victory theme ensues*

It took a considerable amount of work, but boy has this been a learning experience! Rigging is a completely new thing for me, so rigging Lilith has had it’s tribulations. The first thing that I did was to ask Matt for help. He showed me the character rigging tool which generates a human skeleton, and then scaled it down to Lilith’s size. We moved the joints to where they should be on Lilith, then used the mirror function to make it symmetrical.

Lilith skelebob

I then used the interactive bind skin to capsule the areas of the model to the skeleton. This is where I got confused, because I couldn’t really work out what was happening, and everything just felt like it wasn’t working. I didn’t understand that areas that aren’t capsuled go crazy unless you cover them with a different capsule, so I thought that all of the parts that the capsules automatically cover would have to contain what they do as they first appear. This sounds confusing to read, but to give an example, when I loaded the interactive skin bind, the left arm capsule covered the entire head, ears, and torso of the model. When I tried to move it, the ears went crazy, so for about 6 days I thought that the left arm capsule would have to contain the ears to stop them from trailing along the ground. Only yesterday did I figure out that the head capsule could contain the ears, and that this would stop them from going crazy. After capsuling the model as good as possible, things still didn’t move right, so I had to ask for Matt’s help again.

Today, Matt showed me the paint skin weights tool. It took me a small while to figure out how it works and how to use it properly (because for some reason it just perplexed me and I couldn’t make it paint?), but eventually it worked! To try and make parts work better, I used a combination of copy and pasting vertex weights and painting on weight to make the muscles bend as close to humanly as possible! After testing the movements individually, I decided to test a whole body movement…


Overall, I am so happy with this! I’m slightly annoyed at myself for taking so long to rig her now that I know where I went wrong, but it’s a learning curve, and it’s something that was previously entirely new to me, so I can forgive myself for taking a while. I’m happy with how it looks and moves, so I think for now she is done! My next steps will be to rig Zach, then hopefully Ebonny will have put together the environment by tomorrow so that we can start animating on Thursday or Friday!

Creative and Technical Model: Schedule week 2 – 2 weeks remaining!

Today brings the day of the second week of model production in our month until the deadline.

Lilith production schedule 21.11.17

As you can see from this pipeline schedule, I am still working on the high poly model. To be completely honest, nothing has changed in terms of high poly modelling for Lilith, because most of my active time has been spent making small amounts of progress rigging the model for animation for the Imagined Worlds project. I would love to show modelling progress, but sadly there just isn’t any to show.

To be honest, I’m annoyed at myself for making little progress, so I hope to spend as much of tomorrow as possible making the high poly model so that I can catch up with this schedule, because I can’t afford to rush everything at the last minute for all of the current deadlines. I plan to try my hand at Mudbox tomorrow to sculpt more detail for the high poly model, just so that she has nicer details, because at the moment she looks a bit flat and boring without textures. I shall write an update tomorrow and link it in this post as a continuation so that there can be at least some content linked to this post.

Creative and Technical Model: Production scheduling

In today’s lesson, Matt told us to make a modelling pipeline schedule to follow for our remaining month of making this model.


Lilith production schedule

I decided to be realistic with my timetable. I know that it is going to take a while to make the high poly model, because I have a lot of other tasks to do for the Imagined Worlds project in the next two weeks, so realistically I am more likely to focus on that than making the model high poly. I am hoping to get ahead of schedule, because it looks like if I lose track, everything might accidentally become a last minute rush, but hopefully things will keep on track.

I spent the rest of this lesson trying to rig the Lilith model so that we can start animating as soon as possible! Unfortunately this means I have nothing else useful to show for this post, but hopefully there will be more to add in days to come!

Imagined Worlds Project: Zach model – Part one

After finishing making the Lilith model, I was planning on getting Lilith rigged so that the model could be saved as another file, changed into Zach to save time, however, due to this week being tricky and not having a good opportunity to rig, I decided to make Zach before getting the rigging sorted so that I would at least have another thing checked off the asset list.

The first thing that I did was changing what used to be boots into leg armour. This was quite tricky, because I wanted to keep the character constructed with the same edges for knee and groin joints as Lilith’s model so that the rig could be duplicated and transferred. I first got rid of the miscellaneous straps that Lilith wears around her boots by deleting the faces, then using the append to polygon tool to fix the holes in the model. Once the straps were gone, I then¬†shaped the vertices around at the top of the boots into the shape of Zach’s armour. I then made sure the armour was only on one side (for the sake of character accuracy) by deleting faces and then using the append to polygon tool to once again fill in the gaps. The last things that I did was to extrude small faces out of the bottom of the armour to make the small detailed parts of his armour that curve around his boots!


The next things to make was Zach’s half plate! The first step was shaping his shirt to look more Zach and less Lilith. Lilith has a corset over her shirt, so I deleted the edges that make it stick out, and used the target weld tool to merge the vertices that were once sticking out.¬†Then, because Zach’s shirt is a little open at the bottom, I extruded parts out of the bottom to make it look more Zach. Once I was happy with the shirt, I then got to work on the half plate! I made this by making a pipe polygon, deleting half of the faces, appending missing polygons, then using the scale tool to fit the shape to Zach’s torso. I then just moved vertices to make it into the shape of the breastplate part of his half plate. Next, I make a cube polygon, then extruded some parts to make sure that there would be enough vertices to shape it symmetrically. Then, I just moved vertices around to try and get the signature triangular shape of Zach’s armour. After making this one, I just duplicated it until there was a total of 3 of those parts, then scaled each one down and layered them on top of each other until it looked right!


This part, I was dreading. Zach has serious protagonist hair, and I wasn’t particularly sure where to start modelling it! I kept Lilith’s hair, then deleted some of the edges of the quiff, then moved down the remaining vertices so that the top of his hair looks normal again. I then decided to go crazy with extruding faces then using edgeloops to better shape them into the messy strands of hair. Currently, I have strongly mixed feelings about Zach’s hair, because the front looks almost identical to how Zach’s hair does in our concept art for him, however Ebonny never decided how the back of his head looks, so I took a stab in the dark and decided to go on a wild extrusion adventure, and accidentally turned him into Sonic the Hedge-Zach. Even though I absolutely adore the idea of leaving his hair like Sonic’s, Zach is Ebonny’s character and needs to be respected, so tomorrow I will change this and make it less crazy at the back.

Zach hair front

Overall, I am so happy with the progress that has been made on Zach so far. This was all done over the past 2 days, and to have made one character this fast is blowing my mind. Obviously parts still need making better, the back of the hair desperately needs to be changed, and if we are to be pedantic, some edges could be bevelled or smoothed, but overall I am happy with how he looks, and honestly would be happy to get him rigged and animate him right away (providing I get a change to fix the hair first…).

Creative and Technical Model: UV unwrapping

The Lilith character model has been complete for a week now, so I dedicated this week to UV unwrapping this model logically and making maps for each part of the model. I would have made a post every day this week, but this would have been repetitive and wouldn’t look like I was showing progress.

I spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday UV unwrapping the hair, and then Thursday and Friday UV unwrapping the rest of the character model. The hair just took absolutely forever because I was kinda rusty at UV unwrapping, but it finally got done! Here are the UV maps! I made the face so that the textures could be made quickly and Ebonny would have something to do, and then I unwrapped the corset, then the rest of the shirt, then the arms, and finally the legs. It took me a day or so to scale things, but it finally got done!

I’m happy with these UV maps and how they look. I really took my time to make this, so overall I am happy with how it looks. The layout is functional as it is, but I also took the time to make sure the UV shells were well spaced so that there was absolutely no chance of anything overlapping!

My next steps for the creative and technical side of this model are to make the high poly one (which I plan to literally just add some bevel or edgeloops to make her smoother, and maybe use mudbox to add some creases into her hair) and then bake that onto this low poly one in substance painter. However, the next steps for the Imagined Worlds side of this model are to get her rigged so that hopefully next week we will be able to start animating!

Creative and Technical Model: Taking feedback on board- Part two

Today I started shaping the hands to make them look less square.

This was mostly done by moving some vertices, and using the multi-cut tool to retopologise as well as I could. I reshaped the arms a little just so that they looked less like flat oval arm shapes and more shaped like normal arms, cinching in at the elbows a little. I reshaped the thumb by moving vertices, then used the multi-cut tool to retopologise the hand after noticing that there was a stray vertex that needed to be where it was for the shape.

Lil arm 1Lil hand 2

Overall, I think they still need more work, because there is one tri on each side that I cannot get rid of, however the progress that I have made today is good and I’m mostly happy with it. My next steps are to first, find any way possible to remove those tris, and secondly, to add more edgeloops in and retopologise slightly so that the joints animate easier. This is all that I need to do for the Imagined Worlds part of this model for now, however for the creative and technical side of this, I’m also considering using Mudbox to make the high poly version so that I can get some nice hair detail and clothing folds.