Libusa Mk II Progress

20140611_libusaBaseMeshWIP

Okay, I have been… intermittently… hard at work on Mk II of the model that I started… back in February? Holy cow, do my work habits need to improve.

So, I started with the head, as that was the part that was giving me the most trouble. I think I’ve managed to give her a decently shaped jaw this time around and get better topology in the region where the cheek connects to the nose. I’m expecting that will make sculpting a bit less painful when I get back to it.

Just started the body tonight. This time around I, eventually, had the brilliant idea to base the breasts on eight-sided polygonal spheres rather than six-sided so that I don’t have to cut them up with weird edge loops. Other than that, I haven’t departed too much from what I had done the first time around, but I haven’t gotten back to any of the major problem areas. When the time comes to make the hands and feet and connect the arms to the torso, then we’ll really see if I’ve learned anything yet!

Libusa: Ready To Restart

Alright, I’m sick of fighting with the geometry while trying to sculpt on Libusa. I managed to build in an awful lot of diamond quads and edge loops that spiral around limbs a bajillion times without going anywhere. Now I’m reaching a point where every stroke I make sculpting in these areas— the feet and hands, the jawline, the areas of detail on the face— just facets hideously and needs to be corrected with a dozen extra strokes. I think I need to go back and rebuild the base model without all the bad geometry before I’ll get any more useful sculpting practice out of it.

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So, I figure for Mk. II, among other things, I’ll want to really define the edge of the jawline on the base model. I think I don’t want to separate the head and body the next time around. I’ll need to experiment and see if it’s better to fill in the eye sockets or not. Sculpting on the thin lids was a pain, but I don’t know if filling them in will be better. Other than that, I’ve got a lot of work to do the next time around to make sure that the topology sucks less in the extremities.

 

 

It’s Been Too Long…

Man, letting yourself fall behind is a thing that can really come back to bite you. One day you’re not where you think you should be, so you start putting off posting until you catch up, but you haven’t yet broken the bad habits that caused you to fall behind in the first place so you’re never going to “catch up”…

Or maybe that’s just me.

But, of course, I’m not operating on any sort of deadline. There’s no grade or job on the line if I don’t get this done by a set point. Have I made some poor decisions with how to spend my time? Definitely. Am I actually figuring out how to make organic models, not fear sculpting, and get into a personal working flow several effing years after finishing college? Yes, yes, and, I guess I’m kinda on my way to that last one.

So, when last we met, I had started modeling Libusa from 3D.sk, following the 3dTotal “Joan of Arc” tutorial, and I was freaking out about that tutorial’s apathy towards N-gons (or my own lack of experience with translating whatever Max tools make the N-gons that tutorial generates into a Maya environment, one of the two).

Not long after that post, I went back to square one and found a different tutorial, also from 3DTotal, this one by Jahirul Amin (Part 1 in a series). I don’t know that I can say, looking back through this tutorial, that it’s necessarily better than Joan, since I ended up taking it mostly as guidelines (the tutorial was modeling in individual muscle groups with no intent of sculpting and its associated image plane couldn’t possibly be much more different than the one I was using) so much as I just needed a clean start with Libusa.

20140331_libusaCombine

Finalized base mesh. I’m already seeing a lot of work that needs to be done for the next model. For every n-gon I avoided, I seem to have replaced it with an ugly diamond quad that’s making sculpting in certain spots a nightmare. I look forward to seeing what I manage to make out of the armpit by the time my Wacom pen punctures my monitor in frustration with the topology there…

20140421_libusaSculptFront

20140421_libusaSculptBack

Sculpting progress as of tonight. By no means close to done, but I was getting real annoyed with myself for not having posted in so long, so I remembered that a WIP is better than nothing.

Maybe someday soon I’ll stop being the boy who cried “I’m going to start posting on a regular schedule!”

And Now for Something Completely Different…

Alright, so the whole “One Post Per Week Minimum” thing kinda crapped out there for a few months. I’m hoping I’ll be able to get back into the swing of that though. I actually had a productive night after one of my long work days, so that’s an improvement too.

And, as the title of this post implies, I’m trying something new. It’s no secret I’ve had a bit of a problem keeping myself interested in the last couple… everything… I’ve started lately. What may actually be a bit of a secret though, is what I’m thinking might be part of the cause for that:

The Game Art program at Ringling, at least when I was there, was heavily focused on creating Environment Artists as a complement to their character-focused animation major. Had I been more canny in college, I might have noticed this disparity, noticed the way my interests leaned more towards creatures and characters than towards environments. I might have noticed that, left to my own devices, environments are not the things that I wanted to fill my sketchbook with. Had I been more canny, I might have done something with this knowledge.

Of course, I wouldn’t be where I am if I were more canny in college, so I kept plodding along, trying to force myself to like environments enough put the time and effort into being able to create professional environments rather than figuring out how to add what I wanted to learn to what we were “supposed to be” learning. But now, going on three years out of college and without having added more than one new piece to my portfolio, I’m starting to think that “not working hard enough” isn’t the only thing I’ve been doing wrong.

To that end, I’m going to take a stab at changing paths, and if I’m wrong, well, hopefully the “At Least One Post a Week” thing will stick better this time so that all the business about probably not being destined to be an environment artist gets buried by the time I come crawling back to environment art.

I’ve started attending Open Figure studios at our local art college. This is something I’ve missed. Just drawing from observation feels so good, even when you’re insanely rusty because it’s been over 3 years since you’ve done it…

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And I recently found the needlessly well-hidden free membership option at 3d.sk (seriously, you have to be on the verge of trying to see if anyone’s uploaded their stuff to thepiratebay before they’re like “Wait! Wait! We’ve actually got a free account you can use!”) to start getting image planes and figuring out how to model and sculpt the human form.

20140214_libusaBaseMeshStart of a base mesh after a couple hours tonight. I was working from this tutorial to hopefully get something approximating good topology, though, I’m a little surprised at how many N-gons are just sort of left in a very highly regarded tutorial. Will have to figure out how to clean those up before moving on…

Holiday Update

Okay, by no means was I supposed to get so little 3D done this month, nor do I really think I’m getting away with anything here (except that, I’ve apparently got two readers at this moment, so, it’s not like I’ve got a huge audience to disappoint). Whatever, December’s been busier than I anticipated, and lazier too. I’ll figure out something enjoyable to work on soon.

In the meantime, I spent all day today in the kitchen rather than at my computer. I think I’m probably winning Christmas. Best one-size-fits-all gift in my family, I suspect. My siblings and cousins are each getting a package of spiedini:

spiedini01Deliciousness in its purest form. Fresh beef ( I’ve heard of doing it with other meats, like chicken, or swordfish, but I’ve only ever eaten or made beef. Maybe next time…), sliced suuuuuper thin, and covered in olive oil, cheese, and seasoned bread crumbs. So far as I know, no one in my family, outside of my second-cousin at whose deli I learned to make this knows how to make it. This is only my third time ever making spiedini, but I think all the practice I got today counts for a couple times.

spiedini02This is less than half of the final product. Six pounds of meat netted me eleven of these skewers, with 8-10 pieces per skewer. That meant I could easily give each of the people on my list two skewers and still cook up one for dinner tonight to make sure it was as good as ever.

spiedini03Lest you think that 3D is the only department where I’m kinda sloppy about final presentation. Also, I hate my phone’s camera almost as badly as the Static Mesh Editor for making things look less good than they actually are.

For everyone who wants to play along at home:

Apologies about my lack of precise measurements. I almost never measure when cooking; I go for what looks like a big enough pile, or what smells like enough of a given seasoning and add more as needed. It’s worked out so far, though I know I could never take that attitude to any sort of baked good…

Ingredients:

  • Beef (I’m pretty sure I got top round) sliced thin. Definitely, get the slicing done at the butcher’s. If you have to slice and pound the meat to get it flat enough, you’re going to be sore and frustrated before you even get to the fun part. Just over 1 pound of meat will get you two skewers of 8-10 pieces, if it’s sliced as thin as mine was. (It worked out to about 1.2 lbs of meat per two-skewer package this time. The last time, when I was pounding out my own beef, because I couldn’t get it as thin, 1.5 lbs got me about the same number of pieces)
  • Bread crumbs.
  • A dry Italian cheese, finely grated. I used Asiago this time, but Parmesan, Romano, anything like that will work. If you’re not making enough that grating your own cheese sounds utterly insane, grate the cheese fresh. It’ll taste better that way. Don’t use the stuff in a can, not just for this, but ever.
  • Herbs and seasonings. Dried basil, oregano, and garlic powder is what I had available, so I used that. I’ve seen recipes that also include things like pine nuts and raisins and, though my Sicilian culinary background probably has an easier time with that than I expect most do, I’ve yet to try making them any other way than plain.
  • Olive Oil. Don’t tell anyone, but I cheaped out and didn’t buy Extra Virgin. I’m a little ashamed of that, but it didn’t ruin anything.

Instructions:

  1. Mix bread crumbs, cheese, and herbs and spices in a large, shallow bowl or plate.
  2. Fill a smaller bowl or plate with a little bit of olive oil. I found it’s easier to have a very shallow pool of oil and refill it frequently than to go really full and have every slice of meat just drenched in the stuff.
  3. Dip a slice of meat in the oil, then in the bread crumb mixture, coating both sides thoroughly with both.
  4. Move the meat to a cutting board or other clean working surface, and roll it up tightly.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with each slice of meat, setting the finished rolls very close to each other so they can’t unroll. Alternatively, you may wish to skewer each roll as you make it, but I like to use two skewers to make it easier to turn them while cooking, and it’s a lot easier to pass one skewer at a time through all the pieces of spiedini than it is to push two skewers through one piece of spiedini at a time.
  6. Cook, either in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil, or on a grill or in the broiler after brushing spiedini with olive oil. Regardless of your cooking method, they only need about 3-5 minutes a side.
  7. Serve with long pasta (e.g. spaghetti or linguine), tomato sauce, and crusty Italian bread.

Hopefully we’ll be back to 3D before too long. The design of this website really doesn’t lend itself to too many more cooking episodes…

 

 

 

Chair Rematch

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Okay, I really really do need to work on anything but this for a while. Two consecutive months on one prop is pushing it. Any more will almost certainly drive me crazy. But I couldn’t leave it at where I had left it with the Sick of Looking at it post. So, as a promise to redo it later, I went back and rebuilt parts of the Low-Poly and decided to be slightly less miserly with my tri-count. Before I was kind of wrecking the silhouette to shave out tris, which seems like a bad practice…

Chair Update: Sick of Looking at It

This is probably going to reflect poorly on me, but I’ve been on this for over 2 months; I’m sick of it. If I don’t work on anything else, I feel like I’m liable to stumble back into that terrible phase where I went a year between updates, and nearly as long without working on 3D. It may be a far cry from “hitting the visual target”, but it’s also a far cry from where I was back in September. I’ll mark it up as kinda a win that I’m no longer flailing about quite so hopelessly whenever I have to open a sculpting package or a texture file.

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Alright, now. If all goes according to plan, this time next week will see my first progress from Polycount’s Monthly Community Noob Challenge for December (they’ve lengthened the titles since the last one of those I participated in. I’m out of breath just typing it…).

Maybe I’ll redo this in a few months to test how much more I’ve improved, but at this point, I know I’m not improving without restarting, and that’s the last thing I want to do right now.

 

Technical Difficulties

I really do hate my tendency to make excuses (and I really would rather be done with the chair than dragging it out any longer than needed), but this has been a week of just about everything going wrong that possibly can, so I think this time it’s warranted (all the other times, less so). My Maya license expired on me in spite of me taking the exact actions suggested by their built-in authenticator. My tablet seems to think it’s a funny game to just sort of go narcoleptic if I let my stylus get more than, like half a foot from it, and my computer has been running extremely loud just about all week in spite of a thorough cleaning.

So, if I don’t make my self-imposed Wednesday posting deadline, or if I make it in a less spectacular fashion than I’d hoped, that’s what’s up.

Thursday Night Update:

And, for no apparent reason, UDK refuses to launch tonight, and I really don’t have much time to troubleshoot it right now on account of needing to be at work early and all day tomorrow. So, I guess the bake and my WIP textures aren’t getting thrown into this update. Not much point making a separate post when all I’ve got, then, is the one screenshot from Mudbox then.

chairRound3_sculpt_20131119Alright, hopefully I can get the UDK shenanigans sorted out, and hopefully, I’ll only need to have reinstalled one program in the week of technical difficulties…

 

Chair Update Sculpt Round 3 WIP

Well, this isn’t where I planned to be 4 days later, but, computer and website freakouts last night, sudden plans tonight, and a disinterest in sculpting on my birthday (so I UV-ed instead? Well, Happy Birthday to me…) left me here so far. Eh, new habits take time, and Wednesday is still theoretically, a better day for the week’s absolute posting deadline habit to fall given my current schedule.

chairRound2_UV_20131111 chairRound3_sculptWIP_20131113

Sculpt, not even close to finished. Will edit with more details later.

Okay, so, unexpected plans unexpectedly aborted, but not before losing 4 hours of my night, and now that I’m back, computer is chugging and making scary noises again. I did manage, however, to get a little bit further along in the sculpt, though, not without smoothing it down and restarting another two or three times (which, along with going back and changing the base mesh at least once) is a big part of why there hasn’t apparently been a whole lot accomplished here yet. I’m steadily getting closer to getting those dimples in approximately the right spots, though hitting that sweet spot between “noticeable valleys between the dimples” and “accurately subtle valleys between the dimples” is still giving me a Hell of a time.

chairRound3_sculptWIP_20131113_02

We’ll see where this goes over the next week, but for now, time to back up and blow all the dust out of my computer and see if that helps with the noise…

Chair Round 2 Quick Update

Just a short update tonight, for a number of reasons.

  1. My computer is running noisily enough that I’m concerned for its safety if I keep making it hang out in Maya with subdivided-thrice models from Mudbox.
  2. I’m thinking posting on Saturday isn’t all that great with my current work schedule, coming as it does after my two longest days of the week at my day job. It’s a good recipe for procrastination, so I’m going to try to make Wednesday my posting deadline (though I’ll need some White-out for my calendar…) and hopefully force myself to better use all the time I’ve got available in the early part of the week.
  3. I’m probably going to give the sculpt at least one more go, since it’s been recommended, but that wasn’t something I really wanted to start on after two long days at work. That’ll be up on Wednesday

chairRound2_HiLoCompare_20131109_01 chairRound2_HiLoCompare_20131109_02

Alright, so, knocked it down to 1,166 Tris so far, beating Round 1 by over 100 Tris. I don’t expect there will be any drastic changes to the silhouette when I update the sculpt, so I feel pretty confident the Low-poly cushions aren’t going to change, and the frame isn’t getting touched again anytime soon.