Daily Sketches 170 – 2016 – A bit late

Ok, I did an action-ish page, experimenting with a brush pen.


Daily Sketches 166 – 2016 – A bit late

Hello, yep I’m late, the daily sketchbook has been burning my eyes and my mind for the last year and guilt. It has been a long time since uploading any of these sketches for ages, well…… since last year in fact, very bad of me.  Made some time,   going to upload them batches at a time.

Each of these sketches was about five to twenty minutes,  had fun sketching them out, some days were more successful than other.

Additionally, a side note, I did stop doing the daily sketchbook this year as I’ve been drawing in other sketchbooks to finish them and I don’t like blank pages in sketchbooks.

Then by chance, I found journal, a proper daily sketchbook at Paperchase with no line called 365 Journal. Man, it was such a pain to find one, now it’s sitting there waiting for 2017 sketches.

365 journal.jpg


Late Night Diner Character Modelling Part 17 – And Environment Modelling

Hello all. 

A quick post update and want to post as often as possible, seriously the editing take ages and then it’s still not edited properly.  The alien is nearly done. Work continues after a few days of being kept busy with other projects.

22nd August 2017

Some more playing around with making label art for the space suit, I want to do more and would like to redo a few as they need a little iteration, Happy with some of the result of labels. One aspect I really enjoy jumping onto illustrator for this is doing vector art and with a nod here and there to other characters.

Added the decals to the Alien, it’s nearly there. Changed the lighting and the background from the black and I prefer it like this look, helps with the silhouette, as on the previous screen grabs, it was difficult to see the Alien. I got to make changes to the helmet as it is a little too reflective.

26th August 2017

A little bit of tweaking took down the reflection of the helmet as it was way too shiny, I’ll probably be playing with the reflectivity until it’s a little bit shiny.

I got bored with the neutral expression and so made a few odd expressions, I think I’m almost done with the character, got a couple of things to work on.

I’d like to get this character finished and I think I am nearly there and the more I look at it, I’m enjoying the look more and more.

Future projects I am going to make more silly looking, colourful and interesting characters with higher polish. Going to try and avoid the serious looking work or generic looking artwork,  I want to stand out. One thing I really like is colour, really colourful stuff going to push more for that with other projects when I work on them.

While I worked on the project I took some notes on thoughts about the project process and how I would do things differently on future projects with texturing and modelling.

  • Make the low poly model version first instead of sculpting them from scratch, it would be so much quicker and cleaner.
  • Teeth I would combine into one mesh instead of separate ones, reducing polygon count and speeding up work.
  • Do the UV Map different, reduce wasted space, dear lord have some wasted space.
  • Make sure that seams are hidden and edges by making sure that the joining UV face the same direction.
  • Reduce cleaning time of textures and meshes.
  • Better hard edges with extra support loops as some of the edges are off and too tight.
  • Make sure that all cylindrical objects when are unwrapped are straight and not curved in the UV map, to conserve space and make sure that the Normal map edges look clean.
  • Move fully onto Substance Painter and Quixel really must do that. That is going to be done next.
Hope that all that is apparent on the next project when I start it soon. Tata for now.

Late Night Diner Character Modelling Part 16 – And Environment modelling

Back to work on the alien.

Alien hed.jpg
1 August 2017

The first step I wanted to add some extra detail to textures for the Alien, the same as the vampire patches on his jacket.
Made a start in space astronaut space patches, gathered some reference images of astronaut patches and made a few in vector style, kept them simple.

Reviewed the mesh of character, firstly it has way too high polycount and that needs to be reworked, It’s about thirteen thousand, want to get it down to seven thousand polys. Going to fix the teeth and reduce the polycount that is sitting at two and half thousand, I want to bring that down below a thousand and also duplicate the teeth with the same UV space, saving texture space and freeing up more. Remesh the knee pads which has a high polycount, fix the backpack, which is bent, fix the air vents, may redo them as I don’t like them. Remove duplicates. As some assets can share the same texture, like the harnesses. I can just bake one version and duplicate that one, saving texture space. The dials on the front are a way too high for poly count. I would like to make them lower.
A wee small task, but, it has to be done to improve the look of the character. Should have him looking better soon.

4th August 2017
Reworked the backpack from scratch. Has been of sorting out the low poly mesh. The old backpack would’ve taken too long to save as it was too janky. On hindsight I wish I save the back bit.  On the helmet, I have added support to the back part, at the moment it’s just one side. I need to duplicate and flip it. I also added an antenna, in the original illustration of the alien there was an antenna. So with this one, I decided to make it. I really kept it simple.
I’m happy with the result, so further work needed other places.
My next target is set for the vents. I don’t like them as they bring the model quality down, a second version needs to be created, once the tweaking of the model is done.
The texture is going to need a little update with some of the suit and add more variation to the blue jumpsuit itself, it looks dull a little cleanup and some decals to the suit.

9th August 2017

10th August 2017

More work progress of redoing the character, this time the vents.

Some rework on the characters chest unit, and the side vents, I have no idea it would take me this long, what a silly joke.

Worked on those Shoulder vents and they are looking much better.

It took a few days to do, with a lot of trial and error, looked at car fender vents, exhaust pipes, close ups of concept cars detail and nothing was working, sketches and iterations after of sketches, I went back to the original version and worked on that for awhile make the shape sharper. and enlarged the vents, this time, it does not have the warped edges and corners.

The chest Unit was redone and happy with the result, I’ve got missing buttons, so I got to work on them.  So far, it is looking much better, than the previous ones.
Next step is to finish the space badges, create some more decal art for the suit, add the missing buttons on the render. Going to add some detail to the space suit, it looks a little plain and cleans up the textures, they look a little grubby.

Work on the space patches continues, made some new ones and iterated on the older ones.

Hellish days of unwrapping, UV issues and just really problem-solving. The new Lowpoly meshes had problems. When brought in UVLayout the UV was a mess. I got to read up about this, I’ve never encountered that before and that will be in my own time.
The green flower is parts for the new models mesh and it’s fragmented, the reason is that I merged the new low poly meshes for the character with the old ones and UV layout didn’t like it, caused a headache and I want to that.
To resolve the issue, the meshes were loaded and the options ‘New’ and ‘Clean’ where ticked ‘Edit’, the result was the mesh where reset and clean, made everything easier. After the unwrapping, I got to this stage, getting here was an issue.
Then another issue occurred, when the new mesh was opened in Zbrush, the mesh was broken, a good majority, well all the faces of the mesh was missing, I double checked if the faces were reversed, nope this was broken.
Done another check in UVlayout with the options, nothing different. Checked and re-saved it, still, the same problem was present, the UV and mesh were fine in UVlayout, however in Zbrush, it was broken.
So, a brief moment of panic, I saved the file from UVlayout as a .ply instead of the usual .obj file format opened it in Zbrush. Rejoice, the assets were visible now, but, the UV map was not showing up, almost in despair, I opened the .ply file back in UVlayout, checked that the mesh and model was visible, which on both accounts they were, Then, I saved it back as a .obj file and opened it in  Zbrush, it worked perfectly, the mesh and the UV were visible, phew.
My next step is to merge the mesh of the character Uv’s together and organize them to bake, I swear, this was supposed to be a simple straightforward job and not take me days of problem-solving and fixing.
I really want to get this thing finished, I feel like I am having my own battle with this alien, to me, it’s akin to putting a cat in a Pet Carrier if the cat does not want to go in, you got a mission to get in with its claws.

After the unwrapping, it was time to merge the UV together, so far so good.

Here it is in Zbrush, working.
I have a few gripes, I have too much-wasted space, I may add some other meshes, but for now, I must move on and get baking the textures.
Today baking with xNormals has gone well, towards the end started to get issues with some of the high poly meshes in Zbrush.
After sorting out the textures for the Alien.
Currently, I have got here, most of today was to merge the baked textures maps, all the assets had to be baked separately to get the best results, with some of them had to be split again, as some of the spaces were too tight and artifacting would occur. I still got a few things to sort out with the textures as some have not been baked and some of them have not been textured, additionally, rework the wetsuit/spacesuit, well, after all, the alien is a surfer.
The next step is to work on the character further and get it all textured up in the next couple of days, additionally finish parts of the mesh have not been textured too. I am happier with this version of the alien.
There is a lot I had to remember about baking, the concept of baking textures is simple, but the execution to get the textures baked right can sometimes be tough and when they don’t work they look bad, however, when done properly, it does look awesome…. mines not there yet, but it’s getting there.

The second pass of this character iteration has fought me almost every step of the way, sometimes work goes smoothly and a problem pops, this one has thrown issues all the time, I like to think of it as a good learning curve, but man, so many issues to solve, even last night some of the high poly meshes I had previously worked on did not work properly anymore, mainly paint them and even unwrap them. Today the files I worked on and saved last night didn’t open up. I had to go back to the previous iterative saves, lost about a half hour of work and didn’t lose much progress, I stuck with it and got some done. What A week, time to batten down hatches and get the Alien finished as soon as possible.

16th August 2017

Half day of work, Further work on the character done, sorted out the teeth, started to redo the straps, the darker colours I do not like and I want to lighten the colour. The suit was bothering me as it looked blend so I decided to break up the suit colour and it helps. The next step is to refine that further and add some texture to the normal map. Tomorrow, I got to do the buttons, fix up the antenna, sort the feet out as there were parts that were not working both in look and with baking, then add some of the decals of the badges and to work on some of the this is going to be a rush to get this done.

I just realised, he’s missing his knee pads, need to add them back in. I removed parts around his ankles and feet, they were not working. I am much happier with the character now, I want to have a finished version of the character for screenshot Saturday.

17th Aug 2017
Have been cleaning mostly and adding some colour…. I think. Still, have problematic areas I want to fix, the buttons on the front, I am going to remake them and the bit on the back of the backpack is not working.
Added some surface texture detail the suit.

20th August 2017
Firstly, well, oh my dear lord, have had a really frustrating couple of days.

Somehow when tweaking new low poly mesh of models created, I moved the mesh a little or was it the texture, that is how my day was fixing a problem, that I thought it was the textures maps I may have moved, it turned out that I moved some of the mesh ever so slightly, now all them mesh of the character, was out just a bit of him and I had thought it was the textures maps were wrong, turns out they weren’t. So in the picture the alien on the right you can see black edges, even the edge padding was not enough.

I thought I was done with it this weekend blimey, what a frustrating and highly stressful session of work, huffed and puffed to get it fixed, I have never been so angry with myself for making that mistake. All I wanted to is add new mesh of buttons on the chest unit, turns out I messed up big and it had to be sorted.  Alignment was fixed. Some bits still left to fix and finish the buttons.

The mesh has been almost sorted out, just need to align the shoulder pads or rebake them, I really thought that it was all done, all I wanted to do was add some decals to the buttons and caution signs and that was before the weekend, but man, I never want to go through that again, so many issues from a simple mistake, being tired didn’t help, end of the day. On hindsight, I am going to be careful with those issues in the future. I eventually took my frustration on the Uruk-hai Shadows of Mordor, which helped.

21st Aug 2017

Got into the rhythm of work, had been a frustrating few days,  all I wanted to was fix some buttons and then it turned into a nightmare,  today has been a better start, today was fixing the should pad.
With and without the helmet of the alien.

The focus was to get the space patches added to the Alien and make new ones, so far so good with patches and a couple of nods to other sci-fi films. I have a few more to do.

Character reminds me of Matt Damon more and more, it’s the hair and space suit

Next thing to do is add more patches, do a little texture painting on the shoes, I think I am almost there, I still have nightmares about last week, however that was last week and I want to focus on this week,  I want to sort out the button images, do any clean up left and finish this character in a day or two and do some checks, the next part is the scary part, get the portfolio sorted out and not to forget to pose the characters in the diner.
Right, tata for now, I am exhausted.