Hope everyone had a great Christmas! A friend's little westie dog joined me and my flatmates during our Christmas holidays and I thought it was a great opportunity for me to observe the dog's behaviour and movements. I've put together a short video starring Snowy with notes on her movements which will be a great help for me when I start animating. It was a nice break from my current skinning.  I will update my progress with Hemmy's rigging and skinning very soon after I complete it.

I also observed how her skeleton bent and deformed in different poses.

Hey, guys. Ignore the stretched texturing, this is turnaround mainly to analyse the character with some of the improvements that were laid out from previously and from today. I've extended the length of the crown model, hip wings and tail planes. So arranging and editing the geometry. Texturing is much more native to the colour palette in this version. Experimented golden and warm hues, but it will probably be taken back in to Mudbox to be sorted out.

I'm not sure how to approach the fur surrounding the thighs and gradual decreasing to the legs. At the moment it is extruded edge planes but I'm thinking of duplicating the thigh geometry and having flat fur textures with transparency options. Perhaps have a couple of these building up and offsetting textures to give it a bit of depth?

Hemaraj's Texturing Progress 2

The last week has been very challenging in terms of transferring the detail sculpted from Mudbox to work back into Maya. I experimented with Displacement as well as with Normal Maps but the latter didn't seem to work as it created deep shadows and roughness on the model. 
I used my own stencils to sculpt details around Hemmy's 'mane', his necklace, his bracelets, tail and ornamental 'flames'. I am pleased with it so far but there is much more that needs to be done to perfect him. I am not settled with his colour yet but that is something that will be looked into as soon as both characters are put together in one scene with the environment. 

This afternoon/ evening, progress in Mudbox has been happening and things are underway. This is mainly a lot of experimental creation, having stripped back on the hip and tail feathers and hair planes for now. The crown has been tidied, though it's design on basis is lurking somewhere between genericism, armoured visor, and Thai theme. May have to restrict some colour. Whereas previously in one of the Kinnaree concepts the colour is predominantly warm hues with golden blends, the specularity tests now function to introduce Thai blues to areas of the body. The impact of the specularity might be tuned down, however. The incandescent skin crest is mainly to inject a bit of magical energy/ aura into the character and express some ethnic radiance. Not sure if this will initially work without any combined environment and character render tests. The design is subject to change as it is also looking slightly generic, although this was derived from a Lai Thai shaped origin. In Maya, diffuse and normals have been plugged into what I would consider a rather messy sub-scattered hypershade node, but, it is beginning to show tasteful and reassuring outcome. (Unfortunately, no screens to evidence this as of yet).

In the second image, by 'projection type' I mean the animated texture file type in Maya and not the texture projection painting method in Mudbox. It may or may not be desirable now that the environment has been experimented with and revised to a better form (you can see how I mean by taking a look at this recent post of the environment props). The idea of a projected texture moving on a part of the character might look boggling with all the enameling colours.  


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I have been looking forward to Mudbox. One of the main techniques I have been eyeing up is multiple UV sets per element (mainly the character's body) whereby different areas of a piece of geometry can be separated into individual UV shells. This helps to balance out the textures and give sufficient room to allocate the different parts of the body (see fig. 6). Originally, condensing the UV's into one segment of the grid can bloat other areas of the UV's. If many maps have been created, the UV's all just become crammed and overfilled.

Diffuse and normals have been plugged into the sub-surface scattering, time to refine them and go from there.

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This is my progress so far on the environment. I am going to concentrate on my character from now on and get back to this after Christmas, hopefully. The next step with that will be to 'build' the forest and the surrounding matte paintings to avoid making it look so stage-like. Also work on the Z-depth to the environment the sense of depth.

For the last two days I decided to challenge myself with more texturing and this time on the props and some of the ornament details that will be used on the characters. I got more into Mudbox and used Normal or Displacement maps to plug back into Maya. I am not very pleased with the colours of the tree, especially the gold outline,but that is something I need to work on. Also make it look more like an enamel. Hopefully, our environment's look will be sorted out during next week.
And a few closeups of the trees with different bump values of the inner colour and specular values of the gold.

Production: Hemaraj's Texturing Tests 1

I am very excited to be texturing Hemmy this week. This is probably the most complicated texturing I've worked with so far since I've been relying on more basic shaders and colours so far in my projects. I experimented with mia material x and phongs to get a glossy outcome for his basic, sculpted-looking skin. However I found it quite hard dealing with mia material x when it comes to bump mapping and plugging it into layered shaders, so I used a phng which works in a similar way. 
My next step will be to make his specular maps more green and work on his sculpted 'mane', and ornaments in Mudbox. Exciting times!
Some render tests and Texture Maps.

Some more progress updates. The bird/ amber mimicking eyes are a placeholder. The planes will be cared for when texturing is arrived at. Base head texture will resemble hair colour.

Initial to current W.I.P. (Reduced plates in spine; decreased her mature facial structure. Created a more cartoon; fickle and fey look) Inflated pupils and bubbly features help to import these traits into the model.

Edit: Will include progress shots tomorrow.

UV mapping Hemmy and finding ways to cover the seams was a slow process. I did some quick render tests to see how I can 'weave' in the seams without making them look too obvious. Also I did some changes in the geometry around the joint areas and in between the toes to enable easier rigging in  the future.
Next step will be to work on his main skin marble-like texture.