April 29, 2013
Dev-blog of April, it will be short unfortunately (next month will probably be a small update too), mostly because of the FBX bug I meet these last days. It slowed down a lot my "production". If you want more details on this bug, I wrote a detailed post about it here. I also spend a bit of time on updating my Maya scripts (mostly my retopolgy tools) because they really needed it.
I worked on an other part of Lena this month. Since Lena can lose her clothes, I thought it would be consistent that she lost her skin too and displaying then her bones. I also wanted to show her skeleton for some cinematic effects and to use it as her shadow, to show that her body is an illusion. Something like a metaphor of her death.
I sculpted the skeleton in zBrush based on some references found here and there. The retopology was the worst and longest part (I totally underestimated the amount of work it would need) but the final result is very satisfying for me. It took half and one week of intensive work.
I streamed on Twitch while I was working by the way, as an experiment. Unfortunately with the limitation of my free account I lost almost all the videos. Still, the result is here ! 🙂
The skeleton is made of 30 500 triangles, with 2 sets of textures : 2048² for both diffuse and normal map on the body, and 1024² for the diffuse and 512² for the normal map on the head. This can seems high, but this is a tricky character. A skeleton is made of a lot of parts and it’s hard to keep a low polycount and still have a nice silhouette. Also, I don’t have planned a lot of character in-game so I don’t think I will have performance problems to deal with, even hidden under the skin of Lena.
I have also made some quick tests to see how I could blend the skeleton. My current process is to bake a gradient on the UVs of the character and then add a little noise to add some randomness in the blending. This time I also used a little motion blur effect on the noise. The result is interesting, it’s like a fur growing on something. Not very useful for a skeleton but I will keep the effect in mind, maybe for the Colossi…
For multiple reasons (that I will enumerate here because I want to keep the surprise) I decided to create the name of my project as a 3d object. So I sculpted each letters and imported them inside the UDK. I will have multiple uses of it, one of them if to display it as a logo inside the main menu.
Here is the process of one letter, accelerated version of what I streamed on Twitch :