The last trophy.
Ok so I was supposed to blog like 2 weeks ago but have been working constantly through from the modelling of bap to the rigging of Bap. As I know how long the rigging is going to take, taking the whole process into account and my previous knowledge from last year not being that great despite building a rig for my negotiated project. I remember that took me ages because things kept going wrong, that I couldn’t account for, but I got there in the end. I hope this time with a much better plan of attack, better resources for reference for the rig and the right method I should be able to get my head road the maths, which essentially is all the hard part is. But for me I know I will have to take my time to understand and learn the process, otherwise I will not learn anything to be able to create a nice rig for the animators. As baps rig is ape rig essentially, but needs to be able to have ik and fk on just about everything which makes things harder, and a tail with ik and fk maybe and I may also need a reverse spine. I think the only thing I’m looking forward to is making the blend shapes for his face as I have some limited experience of doing that in spring of second year in my free time and I quite enjoyed it, but that’s a long way off it seems at the moment and I know that will take a lot of time also. Anyways I’m getting ahead of myself, what I mainly wanted to show in this blog was the last of the work on bap modelling wise from the 20th November to the 26th November.
Once I finished the main modelling for bap, Simon asked me to do some hair. Simon did a quick initial sketch of what he wanted the hair to look like in 2d and I modelled what I was asked in maya.
As me and Simon were working quite closely on this, we soon realised it was appearing a bit demonic so Simon did some more reference through sculpting this time though.
Simon pulled out the stops to make some reference for me quickly overnight like the machine he is. Basically I couldn’t read his mind for the final design and look of the character. I had no real reference as to what he wanted on the few character designs that existed so I really needed that. Once I had the reference I used this to guide my sculpting in mudbox which I thought would be a lot easier than maya for getting the rough shape and it did make my life indescribably easier. Working close by Simon changing his mind like a hair stylist trying to pick the right design for his model, made sure that the design was developed how he intended.
I first took the character and duplicated him, and the chopped away all the faces I didn’t need and put both copies into mudbox I used the whole copy just as body reference and the second to pull out and sculpt the hair how Simon had designed it.
(photo's of work in progress)
I used the grab tool to get the desired length, the foam tool to get thickness, the knife to create hardened edges and the smooth for obvious purposes. I created variations in size and length to give certain randomness to it, to make it feel more hair like.
Once all this had been done the fun part came, I had to re-topologize the mesh to bring the poly count back down to a workable and animatable amount of polygons. Once the topology was all sorted I put the pieces into Maya separately to soften down any overly sharp vertices. Once in place I duplicated the arms and legs across and scaled the parts up accordingly to fit. I matched the texture lamberts so you can see once baps textured his hair will blend nicely with his skin.
There is still some more tweaks and adjustments that need to be done to the hair on the back and a little more may be needed towards head but due to changes all the way throughout the modelling process I have ran out of scheduled time on this for now. I will have to come back to the hair later anyway as I think it will be classed as like an accessory on the character as it will lie over the top of the main geometry but I will have to wait till I finish the rig now.
As fun as it was evolving the character as we went, I still think a more solid set of development should have occurred on paper before we started the modelling. There were many parts of the character that weren’t thought out like, his head and neck movements, the specifics of his face and how it moves also the mouth movement, his hands and feet, his tail and his shoulders and arms going through his head when moving restricting arm movement. A nice looking character but not functional what so ever to start with as I found out when I did test weighting and rigging early on. So me and Simon had to discuss how we could make the design feasible to model for functional purpose for the creature to do what was scripted. I think if the character had gone through proper development earlier in the pre production, taking everything the creature needed to do into consideration. I could have spent more time earlier on in baps modelling concentrating on giving him nice topology to allow for easy weighting and I could have done a better job on the hair, maybe even giving it a little jiggle deformer to it. And I could have started the rigging earlier. And that would have saved me coming back to it later, which I will need to do now once the rigging is done.
All in all I’m quite happy with the way bap turned out; I found I have learnt a lot more about;
general character modelling, weighting, topology, edge flows, stars 3 and 5 pointers, ways of working out 5 sided shapes, types of loops, making topology work with anatomy and allowing for muscle and body movement.
I am looking forward to getting him to the animation stage as soon as possible so he can start being used for some interesting animation and I can do some animation with him for myself.