Baron Samedi Return

Hello, I have returned back to work on Baron Samedi, finally, going to need to do some work on the character.
Firstly, I have to go through the project and refresh myself with it as there a lot of stuff I have to organise and fix.  Some of the meshes are still Dyna meshed, they have to be turned into Zmeshed and I need to go through all the sub tools to check and organise them. blimey, a bit of work to be done.
I have to clean up and optimise the sculpt and not actually sculpt, as much as I want to, I have to wait. On the Plus side, the head was already remeshed and it still looks good, but it needs to be done with correct topology.
This is where I left the character awhile back.
These are the three things that I must do before I do any work to the character.
  • Remove and reduce duplicates of items
  • Retopology for low poly mesh
  • Rework some areas.
Took screenshots images of the necklaces to remind of how they looked like for when I rebuild them in the future and I  need to optimize the scene and file, so it doesn’t take forever to load and save, while not being resource hungry.
As the necklaces are modular parts, I can break them down into three or four variants, the same process I did with the Sumo necklace, to avoid repetition of the same asset repeated with some variations.
Started to remodel the harness, The first version had issues, hidden verts and broken, so I thought it would be easier to rebuild from scratch and adding a lower waist belt.
I have a file full of belt clips, belts, bolts, that helps to avoid making everything from scratch again, however, somethings have to be fixed and iterated on to be improved.
After the harness has been poly modeled, then it will be dropped into zbrush for additional work and detail,  I’m going to avoid polypainting in zbrush and texture all of the textures in Substance Painter.
Worked on the Lowpoly version of the Military harness or actually called,’Military Suspenders’ as I found out when doing the research, now overall a better version.
Honestly, the Harness looks better, There is a lot of the loops and they will be duplicate of one variation, once I finished all the pouches, loops, belts, I will share a screenshot of them when they are all done.
Once all the low poly assets are created, organized and laid out, the detail will be worked in Zbrush, baked and made into necklaces.
The pouches and two-way radio have been done. Made three variations of the pouches to break up the repetition.
Added the pouches/pockets to the harness to see if the work and look good.
After organizing the assets in name and cleaning up the file, I dropped the Military harness into Zbrush and it doesn’t look bad.
Next step was to zbrush sculpt the surface and add some surface noise, fabric texture, wear and tear, additionally refine the model a little.
The next few days is sculpting and fixing the character up, I want to get as much done as soon as possible and then I want to be in the process of retopologising the character.
Sadly things didn’t go well  as the next day has been a terrible day, productivity was killed with software issues and save files not behaving, I had to split the harness, character and pouches Subtools in Zbrush into separate files, this is because they were resourced hungry, slow at saving and loading, there was also increased amount crashing which hindered progress, urgh.
Worked on one of the pouches. Going to work on the others and give the shapes going to add.
When the splitting the UV maps, I’m going to have harness and pouches sharing one UV texture map, to make my life easier for high details, additionally is that if I rework and replace the harness and pouches I would be working on this texture map an not messing up the other texture maps for the character.
After some sculpting, the pouches got some creases in there and will all get done, even if it crashes on me about ten times.
It has been a frustrating couple of days the crashing has continued and slow saves, seriously, I have even split the character from the harness and pouches. But, I shall perceiver with it and work out what is causing that.
Painting and texturing as mentioned before are going to be made in Substance Painter, I’m just going to bake the ID map, Normal, Ambient and a few others texture maps in Marmoset toolbar to help to texture in Substance Painter.
The shirt and vest were done in Marvelous Designer as I wanted to replace the originals ad the originals look lumpy.  The shirt and vest were dropped into Zbrush and add an additional detail of folds and stitches.
Here is the update, the left side has the new updated shirt and vest and the on the right is the old version. Newever version much better.
The turntable of the character and shirt. I swear there is something is making it crash and can’t figure it out.
Has been a day of fixing and cleaning up, the animal skulls and jeans have been fixed, something odd was going on with them and to fix them, all I did was create a new set of jeans, reproject all the detail onto new mesh and that fixed mesh. The feet had another pass over it and are reworked often throughout the process of sculpting, for the time being, removed the military pouches for the turntable shot.
The cleanup and an additional pass has helped improve the model.  The next step is going retopologies all of the character assets everything, that is the only thing I should be doing, then split assets into separate UV maps.

Mary Poppins illustration

Hello, I have returned, been working and been busy.

Yes, London. You know- Fish, Chips, Cup o’ tea, bad food, worse weather, Mary****ing Poppins, London! Yes, London.” – Snatch

That time again with birthday cards and started to do a Mary Poppins birthday card illustration, never done a Mary Poppins illustration, kind of out of my comfort zone.
I have about five days to do this card and have to work smart work and not crunch, I think I shall do it.

Initially sketched out the idea, made a few thumbnails and of course got reference images, you need them. My initial few ideas were to have her stand on a chimney, rooftop. But looking a little gloomy, so I went with her flying over the rooftops London, it’s one of the recognised bits of the film to me and it’s repeated on film case covers and other illustration.

Created a few doodles and chose this layout, it is the default illustration, Mary Poppins flying over loosen, everyone has done it.

After the sketching, started to block out the illustration, to place the objects and character, not fussing of how things look, I just wanted to block it out and get going, additionally using reference images as a guide.

In two minds with the London building rooftops, chimneys, I may make it modular assets and use the linked symbols, build one asset and apply changes to all that are linked, saves a lot of time and I can refine and improve a few instead of a load of them. What I went with is create the variety of chimney shapes silhouettes and copy and paste them and modify them a little and it worked. Also will need to few unique buildings, St Pauls, Big Ben, to make the skyline interested and people know it’s London.

The focus was on Mary Poppins, to the character fleshed out getting looking right and so for the next couple of days going to get her looking right, once done, the next step is to work on London Skyline.

Ater the work on Mary, moved to the roofs, 1910 London, I think it’s 1910 ish. I double checked, I swear it was that date.  Once had the variations of chimneys, it was a process of duplicating and shrinking it to the distance.

Some progress of the London and the focus on Mary’s bag and trying to match the images on the actual bag from reference used photos of flowers and vectorised them to a low fidelity.

Refined the scarfs around the neck, refined the shoes and then, broke up the base of the skirt, made it wavy. Then moved onto the foreground chimneys as an experiment.

Spent some time with the parrot umbrella, for the size it’s going to be on the card I spent a bit too much time on it, stopped any further work as I don’t think it was necessary to work on that high detail for something so small.

A little bit here and their changes, especially the face and hair of character, some further work on umbrella and bag. Some bit more experimenting with the foreground chimneys.

Next step was to change the face and work on it further, this was going to take some time to get right as I was trying to make it look like the person the card is for, created more chimneys in the foreground, was starting to like the chimney’s in the foreground.

Worked more on the face, that was really tough to get it right, it’s getting close to finished.

Further last bits of tinkering and I am going to call this done. Added Bert, Penguins and a ship, changed the colour a little.

It was a project tougher than I thought and out of my comfort zone, as I’ve never done something like Mary Poppins. Additionally, I think I put made up much pressure on myself with the project and that’s not good, never do that, seriously, don’t.
Some bits a bug me a little, like the chimney smoke doesn’t go all the way up and fade out, wish I did that. Mary looks stiff, but not as stiff as she flew in the film. If I had another day, but I hit the deadline. I think I may have fixed a few of the issues. Over I do like it and I would want to visit Mary, but, overall I was happy with it.

Demon Sumo Done – Late Night Diner

Finally, I have finished the character and added to my Portfolio, phew.


Sumo Time

I can’t embed the 3d views as they don’t work here, however links below. 🙂

There are a few more images at my Artstation page. Anyways,  onto the next project, learned a hell of a lot of things on this project that I can take with me onto next project,  now, a quick break and continue the work. Tata for now.

Demon Sumo Nearly Done – LND Artwork Part 38

Hello, nearly done, currently making headway with the Sumo, getting to an almost finished placed, have a couple of things to fix with Sumo’s beads and hair.
Reworked the tentacles, now they look much better, changed the mask back to the original version I had previously done, added a water lily tattoos, variations of the fish and a couple of other things.

All the work for the tattoo was done in vectors, it additionally made my life easier to change and fix parts of the tattoo when need, I may do some further work on the tattoo with a paint over to clean some bits.

Finally, I have been posing the Sumo as well,  the character got it auto rigged at Mixamo website, a quick and good solution, not the best, it has its limitations, as you still get some odd deformations on the body and the website doesn’t do faces. I shall have to soon learn rig characters myself using a different software, Maya, Advanced Skeleton or Akeystu.

He may look like he’s floating in the thin air at the moment,  the chairs will be added later when I finalize the diorama for him, not sure what it will be, however, I think I got an idea. 😉

I made a blog entry at Artstation with it viewable in 3D.  I can’t embed 3D  blog posts from Artstation, I can only embed the ones from the finished portfolios, oh well.

Over the coming day, the character should be done.

The next post should be the finished thing.

Demon Sumo WIP – Late Night Diner Artwork Part 37

Hello there, here we go.

The UV’s, have been unwrapped and laid out, textures and high poly detail have been baked…..Even that Waist cord! The White and the skull masks having been fixed and rebaked, phew on so many levels.

Bakes are looking good, there are things I have learned baking with and I like Marmoset3 it’s nice, it’s fast, straightforward, additionally, I can see the textures almost instantly and adjust if necessary. The colour of the Sumo looks closer to the original illustration which I am happy about, however, this fingers are a little blue compared to the rest of the body, they may need a bit of amending.

Facepaint amended to match the original illustration,  I think I may need to make a couple of fixes to it.

I decided to get the hair done and my word, a little bit of a nightmare to do for a while, the baking did not work, somehow the UV’s misbehaved, I exported and reimported the files and that worked…. something I was told a few years ago and it works. After a wobbly start, I added the hair strands, it looks good so far and needs to make a couple of iterations on the hair strands.

I moved onto the eyebrows and I wanted to experiment further with the hair strands I had created, the original eyebrows I had sculpted were good, but they lost the original look of the eyebrows from the illustration concept and to get out of my comfort zone and give it a try.  After a bit of work of layering the hair strands, the look of the eyebrows, really look good, they work and give a better representation of illustration, I am glad I did that.
Those eyebrows really do look bushy and yeah, they make a big difference to the look of the character making him look better.
Yep, those eyebrows are bushy.
The ponytail needed to abir more work done to  The base needs tightening. And the top curving a little down.  I am going to play around with the hair a bit, as the hair is smooth, I may sharpen it up and move the sideburn a little, that if I can. I don’t want to be tweaking this character forever or I will never finish it, he must be finished.
Colour ID MAPS
Baked colour ID maps in Marmoset3 to be used in Substance painter and blimey, it was easier than I thought, however, there are a  couple of boo-boo’s with the baking and they have been sorted out… I can’t remember what they were. The Kimono ID map wasted UV space, I have to fix this.
Increased the size of the gems, as they looked a little on the small side an the looked lost.
On the Kimono texture I created a fabric normal map and used it as Detail Normal maps, helping the clothes making them look like fabric, it makes a big difference to it, as it does not look smooth and gives the surface some noise. As the meshes share normal maps, I had to create a Mask map for the normal map, otherwise, everything looks like fabric.
It does make a difference, even if it doesn’t appear in the game because it may not be supported by the platform and may have memory constraints, I could bake it to the actual Normal map,  However, I shall keep it for the portfolio.
The turntable of character in the current state, with kimono.
Without kimono.

It’s getting there, had to update Substance painter and as I have not used in awhile, they’ve done a big update to the User interface, I need to do a refresher day with it.

For the space on the Kimono texture, I think I will model Geta Sandals, the more I think about it the more it makes sense, I think him wearing sandals instead of being barefoot all the time.
Ok, my advice to myself, bake all the maps a once when possible. I have backtracked with a couple of textures for the character, as some of the maps like the height and curve maps had not be done, I need to keep track of that, very bad of me.
I have been thinking about how to get the tattoo texture on to Sumo, I’ve been playing the Yakuza games,  I think the tattoos in the game are on a separate mesh and are a duplicate part of the back, shoulders and chest, additionally that UV map has been unwrapped specifically for the Tattoo design in mind, this, this also negates the muddy textures, seams, and make them look clearer.
Height comparison with Eric…. I think I did this before.

Made the Geta Sandals, need to be worked on especially the straps, they look janky and are floating.

Here is the first time doing the tattoo texture.

Close up of the test version of the tattoo up, it’s a bit big and warped as this was taken straight from the concept illustration.  it works.

Next update. 

Double checked all the texture maps have made and they are all there and ready. More work was done on the tattoo, changed the sizes of the images.

No way finished, the tattoo needs to be adjusted and fixed.

There is a problem I’ve noticed, I’m losing the texture map details below the tattoo, normal, occlusion are getting washed out, I can reproject the high poly model mesh of the character body’s on to the tattoo mesh and create normal, occlusion and cavity map or bake the tattoo textures directly onto the original low poly texture body mesh….. something to try and think about.

After tinkering with the tattoo, I baked it to the body texture, it worked, it just lost detail from the original, as the original is 2048×2048 and baked it to a smaller than 512×512, it does still look ok, it’s front got a bit grubby, added a slight gaussian blur to break up the blocky pixels.

A close up of the shoulder, the seam is noticeable, it’s like badly wallpapered wallpaper. It may be ok for long distance shots and small screens in-game, it may not be noticeable unless you’re looking for it and stare at it.

It does look ok, using the Gaussian blur does help, however,  again I may have to do this as it may not be supported by the platform, may have memory constraints.

I decided to go back and bake the high poly detail on to the tattoo mesh to keep extra detail maps, now, it looks sharper, even when baked with the tattoo mesh. The texture is 2048×2048 and stupidly high so I may need to bring those texture sizes down to 1024×1024 and 512×512 variations.

Close up of the shoulder and no seam issues, this time with clearer texture, the seam is not visible as on this tattoo mesh it has been split differently to the body mesh. There is a bit of artifacting below the beads, those odd stripes are on the Normal map, I will need to give the mesh another bake or just clean that edge up.

Here is the tattoo on the back clearer and with the normal map, ambient, and cavity map, come through and show details that got lost when not baked, it makes a huge difference.

I put together a side by side comparison to see the difference, on the left is the higher resolution texture and on the right is the lower res version of the tattoo.

The White mask does need some work to it, as the shadows around the eye socket don’t look great, they just look bad.

The turntable of Sumo, also, I have made a push away from black backgrounds, so you can see the character and have a better look, it’s better presentation.

Here is a video of the turntable


I Finally managed to jump into Substance painter a bit of relearning and getting used to the new layout of the software and after some work, I decided to use the Substance Renderer, it looks completely different and not bad either. 🙂

Still, more work to be done, some parts of the hair bother me. There are a couple of lines on the normals to be fixed. I may reshape and rebake the hair as there are some odd bits.

Ok, I really want to finish this character, been too long of going back and forth fixing and tweaking which has improved the model, I have learned a lot working on this model. But as I’ve mentioned before, this needs to be finished and move onto the next project. Tata for now.

Demon Sumo WIP – Late Night Diner Artwork Part 36

Hello, I am finally back to the Sumo, I have been away busy with other work doing a few illustrations for the book cover, you remember that. The author has finished the book and a few more months left before it comes out, which means I can share the artwork soon, additionally, I did a few birthday card illustrations from Aliens, Judge and Jagi, I’ve shared them already in the previous posts and PC issues….. really annoying.

Let’s finally get to business.

I think all the game friendly low poly topology has been done and I the read and white masks were left to be done. The red demon mask has had its low-poly game friendly mesh done.

Oops, I just noticed, there is a dodgy edge line on the eyebrow. I need to fix that later and an edge loop that is going over the nose, it’s too close to another edge. I can sort that out later.

Hmmm, I think I will not poly paint before I project details, I had to repaint it, almost from scratch, a bit of a waste of time.

Once the Red demon mask was done, the white demon mask was a quicker to do, as I reused the red mask as a base mesh to work from, of course, some manipulation of the mesh had to be redone.
With all the masks have finished, I am going to come back to the models once all the bake and texturing has been done to reduce the polycount even further down.

Finally with all the retopology has been done and finished, unwrapped all the UV’s, it’s not the most exciting, however, it has to be done, the quicker it’s done, the quicker I can get back to texturing.

Gladly and thankfully done, now more to do others.

Now, the unwrapping has been done,

The next step was to bake textures and it was a good day of baking, baked almost all of the textures. A couple of issues popped up and I they needed to be figured out. I hit a snag when the  UV was all unwrapped, all the vertices where separate from each other, I don’t how that happened, however, they all had to be rejoined,  both on the mesh and UV.  I am still not sure what options I clicked on,  I will need to find out what it was and not do it again.

The first test bake went extremely well, had a tiny spec of two of artifacting when baked, they are easy to clean up and the seams are not visible, I call that a result.

Now, with the Wireframe.

My friend would be laughing at me, I have finally done a nude male.
After doing the kimono texture, it really needs some work done to as it looks a bit bland and underworked. But that is ok, I know I got work on it and I’m going to drop it into substance painter to work on it there.

Size comparison between the sumo and zombie Eric.

So far so good, there are a few things left to bake, that are the rest of the masks and the kimono cord.  I am going to sort out the hair strands, bake one strand and copy them across the hair even his eyebrows.

I’m happy how it’s looking, it’s lacking some bits of need extra work. I may darken the kimono, as the moment it blends in with the skin, I may also adjust the skin to lighter, so many choices.

With the teeth I’m glad that I took a different approach to modelling them, the previous characters of monsters had wasted poly meshes for the teeth and I don’t want to do that again, I want to cut the polycount down,  so this time I created a low poly meshes for upper and lower teeth and palette and used as a base for sculpting on and bake the textures onto them, it was good to see it worked,  I’m going to refine the process even more as I liked that approach.  Perhaps in the next version, I can bake high poly individual teeth and gums to the low poly mesh.

I recently was able to use the newest Marmoset 3.4 as I haven’t been able to use the newest version, this was due to my pc not having a media player update, so I bit the bullet and fixed the issue, I should have done it sooner.

Honestly, it looks better on the newer version of Marmoset.

I haven’t forgotten about the eyes.
So missing from the character was the facepaint, I decided to add the first pass paint to see how it looks and it doesn’t look bad, with a bit of work and iteration it will look better.
This was supposed to be a day off from this and do other work, however, after installing the new version of Marmoset, I wanted to play around with new features.

Things have changed in Marmoset for the better, one feature I’m really happy with is baking textures in the app. Honestly, it’s really good, I’ll still use Xnormals will still do, however, I’ll use Marmoset as it’s quicker and I know that Xnormals is there and I can go to if I have any issues.

A bit of texturing and sorting out, I got about here. One of the heads low poly mesh needs to be done as it has moved slightly and when projecting detail.

Unintentionally looks like two friends out for a walk.
Played around with the skin tone and honestly, I actually like the new version and nice to see Eric as a size reference. Actually, I need to increase the size of the Sumo, he’s not big enough.

Currently, the project has gotten to about here,  the skin colour change was an accident, I was playing around with colour, contrast and tone settings, got a happy accident and  I am happy with it,  going to play around with it more.

A close up of the character with the updated texture, yeah, it’s not bad.

I got a couple of bakes left to do, as mentioned, I have to redo the Devil white mask again,  as somehow the mask was slightly rotated on its axis and makes a mess when baking the textures onto it, that needs to be fixed. The other thing I need to do is bake the kimono cord and that should be it and then, then it is fully on to texturing mode and do the rest of it in substance painter.

Right, it’s tata from me, back to work for me, well after a break 🙂

Jagi Birthday card

Hello all, another birthday card illustration, this time for my brother. He’s a fan of the Fist of the North Star /Hokuto No Ken anime mange movie.  Based on the 1986 Anime Movie which my brother is a big fan of.

I decided to illustrate Jagi from the Manga, made a couple of sketches, I wanted to do a pose like this and get the over the top steroid induced muscled Jagi.

After a couple of attempts, I was having trouble illustrating it. The problem was, it was not working for me, perhaps it was the awkward pose, the hands, I had to drop it and I decided to go with a different approach and time was short, I had to get the illustration done in a few days, also, I could only do the work in the evenings as I had other work to do in the daytime.

After a couple of evenings of work and I got here, closer shot to the head to see the spikes and the scars on this chest. There were a couple of areas that I wanted to make a further couple of changes to.

I made changes to the aura glow, I prefer the pink glow over the blue and replaced Fist of the North Star text with the Japanese version.

If I had more time, I would have recreated the Hokuto no Ken text as crumbling rocks/bricks.  Would have loved to draw more of Jagi and had some more time with this illustration, perhaps next time, however, after all that, I actually like it.

 Since I started experimenting with the Judge Dredd artwork, I’ve enjoyed the continued experiment by mixing vector artwork with paint brushstrokes and colour halftones, I will continue to do it as it looks good and it helps to stop the artwork look flat. On the plus side, it actually helps to speed up my pipeline.

Anyways, tata for now.