Archive for July, 2011

Scout Ship: Pilot’s Head Test Render

Posted in 3D, Design, General, Maya, Photoshop, science fiction, scifi, zbrush on July 8, 2011 by Jim St Ruth

Here’s a test render of the scout ship pilot’s head.

This started out as Michael 1 from poser, taken into Zbrush for some extra sculpting and fine tuning; it’s not recognizably Machael 1, I don’t think, but I’m not quite skilled enough yet to have confidence about building a head from scratch… and I don’t have the time, either. From Zbrush, the figure was taken into Maya and I re-skinned/retopologised the whole head, giving me better edge flow, a lower poly count and some extra fine tuning. Then it was back into Zbrush to polish out some areas where the edges were bunched up.

The hair is a sphere that’s been sculpted into shape with the Clay Brush, and subdivided a few times. I used the Clay Brush on each subdivision level to add form and detail to the hair. This will be retopologised to remove the unwanted parts of the hair, then I’ll re-project the detail onto the new hair mesh.

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Scout Ship Update

Posted in 3D, Design, General, Maya, Photoshop, Pictures, science fiction, scifi, Uncategorized, zbrush on July 6, 2011 by Jim St Ruth

A busy and productive day, today. I’ve been going through the first two-thirds of my treatment for my next book, got stuck in the rain while I was out for a bike ride (and completely drenched, he-he), I’ve been up to my elbows in fish poo while cleaning out my fish tank (and the two angel fish that the guy at the aquarium promised me wouldn’t grow bigger than an inch and a half are absolutely enormous), and I’ve even had my mud coated bike in the bath for a scrub down (so that’s what it looks like!).

I’ve also had chance to set some test renders of my scout ship running. The exterior is mostly textured and almost finished, bar some flaps and the texture for the exterior air lock hatch. The interior of the main deck is now almost completely modelled, with just the control panels, displays and lighting to be modelled – which will be quite a lot of work, and great fun.

I spent a lot of time over the weekend looking for free UV mapping software, but to no avail. I even tried to download Blender to help me UV map the outer body of the ship, but I just don’t have the time to learn Blender at the moment. Then it came to me in a flash! … and yes, the moment was pretty dramatic for me. I carved the pieces up into UV islands in Maya and then used GoZ to import the model into Zbrush. Zbrush’s UV Master only allows you to ‘suggest’ where the borders of your UV will go, but thankfully you can set it to respect any UV islands that are already in place.

I unwrapped the pieces in Zbrush, then took the model back into Maya for some fine tuning… and discovered that I suddenly understood how to unwrap things in Maya. No time lost, but perhaps taking the model into Zbrush was unnecessary; I’ll have to see how I got with the interior UV mapping to say whether I’ll need Zbrush for the job in future.

The exterior was textured mostly in Photoshop, with some dirt and scratches textured in Zbrush – Zbrush’s Lightbox makes it so easy to import textures and photographs and paint them directly onto the model; most importantly, you can paint without having to worry about how texture-strokes match up across UV islands.

Here, then, are the latest test renders.

WIP: Scout Ship

Posted in 3D, Design, General, Maya, Photoshop, Pictures, science fiction, scifi, zbrush on July 2, 2011 by Jim St Ruth

It’s been a busy and enjoyable week.

I’ve sent of my first novel to a prospective agent and I’ve been steaming ahead with my treatment for my second book; both very enjoyable and exciting activities. My new weights workout is going well too; I bought Beginning Bodybuilding from Amazon and I’ve worked through five workouts so far. It’s an excellent book from what I can make out, and it should certainly help me to progress beyond what limited weights I’ve done in the past. I’ve already lost some girth, so that’s great… and when my replacement phone arrives I should be back to going running as well.

In between all this activity, I’ve been working on a new 3D project: to model a scout ship inside and out, with landing gear, food machine and everything else that I can think of. It started out as a rough 3D sketch in Zbrush, using Zspheres as a base on which to build a low poly model in Maya. This didn’t turn out quite how I was hoping, and it needed more work. So, back to Zbrush it went and, after some additional sculpting, I brought it back into Maya. For those of you that are interested, I made the sculpt ‘live’ and rebuilt a low poly model on top of it; Zbrush is great, but I find it difficult to get the exact shapes that I need. It’s easy to lay out new geometry on top of a sculpt in Zbrush, but hard to get cylindrical body parts regular enough that I can then optimise; I want something that’s looks as though it’s compose of 4 million polygons, but don’t want the mesh to be anywhere near that dense.

The resulting rebuild in Maya, after smoothing and removing excess edges (to reduce the overall poly count) was around 70,000 polygons. I’ve also started to build the interior, and have the main deck, the airlock drop-tube and engineering deck roughed out. Here are the test renders from tonight, but note that neither of the interior decks have ceilings at the moment, and there is much more detail to be added before I start to texture the model.

You can click each of the images to open them in a new window or tab.

Front View:

Rear View:

Interior View, looking towards the cockpit:

Looking inside, through the cockpit towards the living quarters:

The engineering deck, with hatch to main deck: