Tragic Kingdom: Issun…kinda

Picture it….

Sitting, huddled in a blanket, surrounded by nachos, fingers about to dance across the keyboard as if composing a rousing concerto as I rig like a mad man!

….then a hurricane comes, creates a storm, launches a lightning bolt down at my little ol’ cottage atop a big tall mountain and BEWM goes my computer’s motherboard and power supply. And my life for the next 5 days. Sad as that is.

Silver lining is I got a newer, better computer out of it, but it’s set me back a bit progress-wise. Ah well. I’ve decided to post what I did today anyway, between the other stuff, as some have expressed an interest in the rigging portion of it all. From here on in, I will likely be taking a break from Issun and TK in general, as I’ve been asked to be part of a small animation project and will be dedicating myself to that entirely, and using whatever spare time I have to (finally) build that website I keep talking about.

 

Orienting the joints before parenting

Testing the IK handles for the leg animations.

I did warn it wasn’t much 😛 Busy busy busy. On another note, this rig when it’s finished will of course be a bit more in-depth than the first one, which was basically made for a specific pose, one not very demanding at that. I decided to start from scratch, because rigs tend to be fickle things when working backward. That and they’re fun to build ❤

On another note, I just realized I never posted a screenshot of the very low-poly model after the textures and normal mapping were applied:

 

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Tragic Kingdom: Issun-Boshi 4 – Texture

This is part of the sculpt update, time just got the best of me yesterday. At this point, the base texturing is complete, though I’m still going back and forth on the possibility of camera close-ups on the face. It may be that heads get their own maps, haven’t completely decided yet. For now, I’m really happy with how these came out:

I’m working on a custom design for a tattoo sleeve now for the right arm and chest. That will eventually be part of the design, but I’ve never done one before so it might be a while before I settle on something I find pleasing. In the meantime, I’ll be focusing on rigging and animating most likely, and will also be getting started on a female base mesh which will then be incorporated into the designs of more characters to come.

The texturing took ~many~ hours of blending high-res photos of actual people with painting and compositing techniques for something realistic and attractive. I must admit though, while I’m happy with the results, I texture sort of begrudgingly; to me, models always look their best in gray.

Hey there’s a thought…a complete black & white aesthetic :O

Tragic Kingdom: Issun-Boshi 3 – Sculpt

Big ol’ update! The sculpt took a lot of time and I didn’t get to add as much detail as I’d have liked. My computer, as it turns out, can’t handle going above level 5 in Mudbox, out of memory errors galore. Fortunately I have a newer, stronger computer coming in soon, but in the meantime I’m pretty happy with the detail I pulled out of this guy at a medium resolution.

I toyed around with a few different ideas for musculature, but in the end I went for something more realistic and ‘attainable’ rather than comic book amounts of muscle and sinew. That’s never really been my preferred style….ironic since I still read and love comics.

Yes, I’m a geek.

Tragic Kingdom: Issun-Boshi 2 – Modeling

So, the modeling was actually very easy thanks to my prior work on a base male mesh “Kai”. I only had to reroute a handful of edgeloops to get the topology I wanted, and the face was largely pushing/pulling verts to get the desired facial features.

I’m rather happy with how he came out. I’m also waaaay under my poly budget, set at 20,000tris and only coming in at 10k. This is meant to be a one-on-one fighting game, so I have a lot of elbow room with polys, even more considering how under budget I came in for this particular Issun costume (I’m planning several for each character). From here, he’ll be UV Mapped and taken into Mudbox for sculpting and eventually normal mapping. I’ll post those results when they’re ready!

Deluge! p2: Tragic Kingdom

A few people already know that I’ve been working on a concept for a game; writing out scripts, doing concept art, etc. Well, during my last class (Intro to Games) I decided to take the opportunity to begin developing assets for it. First, some concept work for the first two characters (and the mascots of the game), Big Bad and Little Red:

Red is mostly a WiP, I haven’t quite finished painting her yet or doing everything I want with the background. I won’t go into the storyline yet, but there are many more characters to come based off their original incarnations, which were much darker “fairy tales” than people are probably used to. Who knows, maybe I’ll even inspire a new rating system, complete with hate mail from the AFA! One can dream.

As I said, more characters to come. This house is one of the assets I developed in the games course, created from modular components that were then put back together inside the game engine. Even with an extremely low polycount, it’s amazing what you can do with some decent texture work. Took hours and hours and hours of blending sometimes dozens of textures together to make them unique, but it was worth it. It’s rather pretty for a burned-down, decrepit pit of bad memories. This is Cinderella’s house, by the way. She might’ve ‘snapped’ just a little bit.

The following are just a couple of the additional many assets made over the course of the class for the scene, with more to come, including the house (not yet textured, not sure I’m going to actually need it yet) modeled as pristine and new:

Side note, I took that ornate gate into Second Life just out of curiosity using their new polygon-compatible software. Single digit prims even when blown up to a large size, can you believe? I might have to start taking that thing seriously.

Cinderella, Issun-Boshi, Chi Li and Prince Charming are on the chopping block next, though I may try and get some modeling done on one of these guys before I get too heavy into the concept art for the whole crew.

Base 16: Rigging

Rigging is something I used to be afraid of, until I dove right in and discarded all apprehension. It’s actually rather fun, once you get the hang of it! The start is pretty straight-forward. For now, I just need a very basic rig. When I have a clearer idea of what I’ll need this model for, I can go in and tailor the rig to the project.

Once the profile-view joints have been placed, I move on to the arms. This is where it gets a little annoying. I’ve left my model in a relaxed T-pose to help maintain proper deformation during animation. It’s probably the better way to rig, but it does complicate some thing a bit. Moving joints around and trying to align them perfectly takes some time, and Snapping only shortens the workload so much.

The hands are done next, aligning them both with the mesh and the axis of the joints as well.

And that’s pretty much it! I mirror the arm and leg joints over to the other side, which is literally just a few button clicks. Afterward, I start building in the controls with which to manipulate the rig.

Special thanks to Digital Tutors for showing me some tips and tricks along the way!

Base 15: UV Mapping

While he’s not up for texturing as a base asset, I still want him UV mapped and ready to go. Each part of his body is isolated with a planar map, then connected where relevant in the UV window. While pelt mapping and other more automated tools are potential alternatives, I don’t feel they give me the control that comes with more manually dexterous methods when time allows.

Most if it is relatively straight-forward. The head tends to boggle some people though, so I’ve documented how I do it more carefully. First, I planar map each section separately: the face, the top of the head, the left and right side of the head/ears, the front of the neck, the left and right side of the neck.

Afterward, the UVs are stitched together so it’s one, flat piece.

Finally, the UVs are relaxed to provide even distribution of the UV Space. Notice the unavoidable seem is placed in the most inconspicuous area near the back top of the head, where hair is most likely to occupy and in the event of a bald style, where camera and shadow will obscure any potentially noticeable texture seams.

And here’s the final map.