Ava is a Lamia part of the Laminass Faction. She’s a new bread, compared to her parents. Who where mutilated souls from past human experiments. Once the world was turned upside down and the new factions’ lines were drawn in the sand. There location put them inside another group’s lands. Leading to them having to escape. In the process, both of them where killed but they managed to in their final sections get Ava across the border. From this, she’s decide to dedicate her life to unifying the broken world and bring peace to all.
Ava, while being flawed from her past, always tries to do the right thing. Even if that’s not what is seen in the eyes of the law. but when not in the heat of a mission, if a childish individual finding enjoyment in things many never find.
Personality: Dedicated, troubled, childish, sneaky
Physical: Lamia (half-human/half-snake), long ponytail, vest
Where the fun begins... again
To help in the styling process, I developed a stylistic reference sheet that explains the visual mood and style that the character art will follow. These will help get an understanding of the visual shape for thumbnail sketching.
To begin the development of the character, I produced a varity of silhouette thumbnails that explore different types of character designs.
When I went into this process, I wanted to explore different ways I could add detail to the characters silhouette. That helps to separate them from other similar characters. The snake tail… well not much I could change there, so the bulk of design work went into the human top half / different clothing outlines. You can see on the left of the image; I was exploring different types of hair and body types. While towards the right, its focused more on tail and final details. The 2 far right images are the final images from this process. When I started to imagine what these outlines mean.
Next, I sketched out some appeal sketches in order to get a feel for the characters design. This will help me develo my understanding of how skin, hair and body parts should move within the model. Allowing for a more fluent modelling process later.
These drawings also help me decide on what sections of the body will be rigged to add extra animation. By experimenting with appeal, I found that the ears and mouths (tooth) add a great deal of appeal and emotion. So from this I built a basic mock-up sketch to show the sections that will need to be rigged.
Colour pallet sketches
To gain a better understanding of what colour pallet would be most suitable for the Lamia. I decided to try out and experiment with multiple colour pallets. I looked at different types of snakes from across the world as to gain colours and styles that would look suitable for a snake character. In the end, i decide on the blue pallet. As i felt it best represented the character and felt the most consistent of the four.
The first step in the modelling process was to create a low polly base model for Blocking in Mud box. This low polly model acts as a guide for mudbox, in where I’ll be able to model the high detailed character.
To help in the modeling process, I looked for a similer model I could use as a refrence. I found not that many models compared to other fantasy creatures. But i did find this Jashin-Chan model that would work just fine for my modeling process. I used this to see how they did the vectores and wireframe in the model.
Mudbox! So, it’s finally time for Mudboxing! Going into this, I was excited to get into making the Hi-Res model. Unfortunately, I had no drawing tablet for my main pc… so I would have to do all of the Mudboxing with a mouse. So, going in I knew this was going to be a “FUN TIME”.
I began by firstly smoothing the model up and ironing out the rough edges to get it ready for “Mudding”. After that I mirrored the X axis, as to mirror all my actions to speed up production. With this I went onto grabbing and pulling the mesh around to construct the high resolution model.
From here I used a verity of tools to bend, move and form the high-resolution model. I used a system of grapping and pulling on the mesh. then smoothing it out. I repeated this process until I formed the basic shape that I wanted.
I decided early on that I would just do the hair inside of mud box, given I believed I could just use the grab and pull tools to form a wig. I gave this method a try, but given the complexity of the hair, this simply wasn’t going to cut it. While it does work, it only looks good for small changes in the geometry. Also add the fact it would make the next steps a pain. I decided to look into other methods.
I found out after a little digging, that mudbox allows you to add new base shapes into the workflow. After some testing I found that a base sphere would allow me to easy form it into hair like shapes. I conducted a few more tests just to make sure, but the hole process was very easy. Given that I decided to use this on the main model.
By the end, I was able to create all the shapes needed to form an appealing hair design. I followed the turnaround sketches as closely as I could. But I did need to deviate a little under the ponytail. This was to add more appeal to the back of the hair design with the hair dropping down a little.
Time for retopology. Retopology is where you go over a high-resolution model with a smaller number of vectors. This leads to a far more optimised model. That keeps the detail, but can run on lower end hardware.
This is where the pain began, retopology is not fun. At least as a learner! I decided to begin the process at the head, As that is the most complex area of the model. To aide in this process I looked at a range of models on Sketch-fab and google. To get a better understanding of how they formatted there retopology. I looked at how they work around the face, and the layout of triangles and vectors.
The area I found issues in was once again that tail. I knew I needed to make it symmetrical. But I had no idea how difficult what was going to be. I firstly tried to just do it normally, by just doing the retopology on one side of the model. Then let Maya handle the mirror on the other side. This sort of worked… but maya keep bugging out. I think it was detecting the difference and then would get confused as to where it should be placing the next vector. This also meant smoothing out the Mesh was impossible, as I had nothing to base it on. In the end, the best solution was to wait until I was done, then delete and duplicate one half of the model to the other side. Not the best… but it works.
The other area that I found I needed to change was to do with the bra. During this whole process it had be apart of the body. But this led to a range of issues during retopology. Mostly around I could not get the vectors to effectively display and separate the bra from the body. In the end, I found that the best way was to make a copy of the body, and just deleting everything apart form the bra. Then edit it to have volume.
Time to do the UV Unwrapping. With the experience I had from unwrapping the previous model in assessment 1. This time the process was far easier. The main ideology I used for this unwrapping process was to do with texture resolution. In the previous model I had run into issues with the size ration of the UVs.
Now this was very difficult because of the shape of my model. Her long snake tail was difficult to position correctly. I didn’t want to cut it in half because then the scales I was planning to add would not blend smoothly with one another. While I wanted everything to be as highest resolution as possible, in the end I found I would just have to use a quarter of the canvas for the tail, and religate other objects to there own layers. While it is resolution will suffer, I can mask that in how I texture it.
While using more Tiles would have probably been more appropriate here, to help set out all the UVs. I was unsure of what issues that might create in substance painter. With time running out, I decided to just keep it to one Tile. But utilize separate materials to help divide it up into layers. As so texturing would be easier in substance painter.
Texturing! Now having used Substance painter, a considerable amount of times. The process here was a piece of cake.
I began by doing the skin and tail, to test the UVs resolution and quality. While the tails quality was lower compared to rest of the body. The difference in resolutions was very reasonable and could be easily hidden with specific texturing. After some messing around with different brushes and textures. I found the best way to mask this contrast was to use the interlace between the belt as a blend point. Here I could transition between the different resolutions easily without having to worry about people seeing it.
But I still needed a texture that would not be noticeable. I played around with some custom snake scale material from the substance SHARE Store. But unfortunately, some were too old and did not work with the current version of the program. While others were to realistic and didn’t match the cartoony art style I was aiming for.