The aim of the woman in dress model was to attempt the full production pipeline for a hi-poly character model from beginning to end.
Below are the main areas I wanted to use this assignment to improve on:
- -Using Zbrush for modeling
- -Adding fine details to high poly assets
- -Making a high poly model without making a Maya base
- -Modeling a light dress, for game engine use
- -Learning more about Quicel
- -The final stages of texturing high poly complex models
Many of these are areas I had not covered before, and were outside of my area of knowledge. Because of this, some aspects of the final model lack a level of polish they could have had if I had gone for something closer to my knowledge set, but I felt that would have defeated the point of this assignment to not use it to improve on these areas.
I had used Mudbox last summer for a modeling practice so sculpting wasn’t completely alien to me. An area of weakness I discovered last time was my ability to sculpt faces so this time I spent the first few days in Zbrush doing practice bust of different styles.
My skills improved but there are some areas that working off a maya base would have helped with, such as making the eyelids more distinct and other fine details. Next time around I feel I would work better making a mid poly maya model, where I can establish the lines and details with edge loops, and faces, and then transfer it to zbrush to refine the overall form.
Fine modeling Details
While I didn’t do alpha based hair for this model, instead going for a cartoon like solid mass with a focus on sculpt details, I did attempt to give the character some finer details with alpha brushes before moving it to quixel, for skin pores and knuckle details.
While palatable this is an area I majorly need to spend more time on. My knowledge on using alpha brushes for textural details is still next to nonexistent. My focus on overall sculpting and cloth took too much time to greatly expand on this area during this assignment, however I think with my next attempt I will make this part of modeling the main focus.
Cloth and the Dress
I’ve already discussed my issues with the cloth in this post(LINK), however now i’m at the end of the project I can comment with a view to next time. While better in the final model then the first attempt, I am not overly happy with the dress. It feels too heavy and there was too big a difference between the low and high poly that caused errors in the baking.
Some of these things I now know to avoid next time, however I will need to continue looking into the proper use of Ncloth and, more importantly, on how to texture cloth-like objects for a lighter feel. One of my lecturers mentioned trying some alpha effects, once I increase my proficiency with Quixel I would like to attempt some simple cloth test for the Unity engine over the summer.
Texturing and Quixel
Out of all areas of research for this model Quixel, and texturing in general, are the ones I am least happy with on the final model. While I did improve with using Quixel over time, and even managed to implement a custom pattern for the vest’s polka dots, I found adapting things such as the woman’s skin tones incredibly difficult. Often I would see drastic differences between the model’s, appearance between the unity engine, and the Quixel editor, and was overwhelmed with the range of tools in the software, but comparatively little online documentation.
In future projects I think I will work with simpler materials and textures, to slowly build up my range, I also believe I should spend some time practicing my general painting skills and simply try painting the skin textures on, rather than relying on the software.
In the end the model doesn’t have the same level of polish as my earlier project the Bird Mask, however unlike the bird mask this model ventured into territory that I was an outright novice in, and while hoping for a better result, I was anticipating an element of failure as I learnt. To my benefit I feel that I now know how to avoid some of the pitfalls of modeling a high poly character, and can take the lessons of this one to create a more polished model next time. In the meanwhile I think, to work on the areas lacking in this model, I should try doing some smaller practices assets every now and then, with a focus on texturing and fine details, such as modeling a close up of an eye or making a simple strip of leather with stitching, using Maya, Zbrush and Quixel.