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digital art

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Nassa the Gnome, Version 2

I wanted to experiment with animated textures for facial features, which was my original plan with the old Nassa model.  I've been on a low-poly model kick for a little while, so I decided this is the ideal time to create a new model.  The goal was to stay under 1000 tris.  I also intend to take this one through textures so I can test using animated textures for the face in Maya and in Unity.

I did consider working from my older model, but I really wanted to try applying everything I've learned over the past few months.  It's interesting to see how similar it is to my old model, but how the shapes are so much better now, with fewer polys, too.

The picture above is the newer sketch I was working off of for this new model.  I fleshed out my original idea and design, visually describing the materials her clothes were made of, and the individual layers of the clothing.  I leaned towards a more cartoony look, since I wanted to push the designs of our three DnD characters; one short cute female gnome, one big beefy human/vryloka, and one fat stocky dwarf.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Using a Rivet Script with Overlapping UVs

When working on my facial rig test, I ran into the problem where I had overlapping UVs, which caused issues in the script.  My solution was to move the overlapping UVs into a different UV quadrant.  Since the texture tiles at a 1:1 ratio, moving the UVs into the (-x, y) quadrant means they function the exact same, but their coordinates are different for the sake of the script.  Clever.

I used the djRivet script for Maya.

Epic Games Style Facial Rig

This was my experiments on the Epic Games style facial rig.  It essentially allows them to make one hero face, controlled with morph deformers (blendshapes), and then transfer the animation to a joint system on a series of different faces.  Joints are much cheaper to use in a game engine, and it is much easier on the animators to use a single system across all of the characters in the Gears of War game.

I edited the Nassa rig to have a mouth to test this out.  The left Nassa face is the hero using blendshapes.  The controllers drive that face, which in turn move locators parented to the verts on the face.  (I used a Maya rivet script to constrain the locators to verts.  Make sure your UV spaces are unique!)  Then those locators move the weighted joints on the character's face. The transfer wasn't exactly 1 to 1, but it was pretty close, and with more work, I'm sure it'd be closer.  With a higher-poly face, I'd need some more joints and a bit more time in weighting.  However, even these limited joints transfered to the high-poly Chip face pretty well, with minor editing on the joint weights.

(video coming soon, too)