Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fiddling about with 3D

Not to teaze, but I will be making an announcement about a collaboration with Miss Ilsa Munro fair soon. Hint: it makes good use of her amazing skills with fun flying flivvers and my obsession with cute animals. Well, perhaps not so much cute as dignified in this case, but that might be Miss Munro's influence.

But we want to check it all out before releasing it, so not just yet, sorry!

I'm also finishing up my first year of design in RL. I've learnt an awful lot, and I have to admit there are more than a few days in which I really, truly, painfully wish that I could do some basic things in SecondLife such as import meshes (rather than just the base sphere sculpts are), and create and animate skeletons for them. Not to whimper too much, but the technology for bumpmap importation (not just the stock Linden ones in the edit window) has been around for quite a while--and yet even something that simple has yet to happen.

Le sigh.

So, in the meantime, I fiddle about with projects outside of SL, sometimes for class, sometimes to amuse myself. The following is an example of my workflow for a somewhat science fictional dragon I imagined-- it has no legs, being primarily a flying creature, with hydrogen filled bladders that keep it aloft (akin to a fishes' swim bladder).

Here's my basic "concept art", which mostly demonstrates my inability to draw. But when I squint, I at least could see what I had in mind:

Next I blocked it out in Maya, fiddled a bit, and came up with this:

Next, I added the wing membranes, textured in Zbrush and Photoshop and added a basic bumpmap (greyscale leather from a Maya procedural texture):

Note that this one is about the polygon count of four sculpts in Secondlife. Or (please reference earlier whimpering), we could have shapes like this if they'd just set up mesh importation.

Finally, because this was really just to amuse myself with, I sent the silly thing to Zbrush, bumped the polygon count up to erm...1.4 million, and had fun with all those lovely different brushes that aren't that useful at lower resolutions like the clay and rake brushes. Then a few different render passes and off to Photoshop for compositing:

And here he is, Stormy the Dragon--

I like to think I managed a touch of dignity in his eyes...


Vi said...

Wow! Everything from the pencil sketch to the finished model is just thrilling! How I wish I could ride one of those in SL. Alas, even if LL could do it, my poor old machine would probably choke on it. I'll just have to admire your postcards and dream.

Virrginia Tombola said...

Aw, thanks! But even if you still had a computer up for SL, you couldn't ride Stormy, he's far, far too detailed. The intermediary version is on par with what a game engine could handle, however SL doesn't seem to be headed in that direction :/