CAP 3D Modeling Project

Golui

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I have seen geometrical swirls be done, and they look fantastic. Add to that the outline, and we have some good clouds on our hands.

While I'm sure the texture would work, you'd see that it's flat in the final render.
 
Oh, sorry I was unclear! By "effect" I mean how Mega Altaria's clouds are animated and rendered; i.e. the shaders and rigging, and really nothing to do with the wireframe at all. This visual effect is what we're trying to get (if you ignore the shape of the clouds)

I'm pretty sure it's only one joint on each blob, being scaled up and down, and cast by a few surrounding lights. I think Cyclohm could use this setup too but with swirls instead of blobs!
 

paintseagull

pink wingull
is a Top Artistis a Forum Moderator Alumnus


In the official artwork, there are both deliberate swirls and effect shading where the bright parts merge into the clouds. I can imagine both looking good!
I know that most Pokemon don't really have this kind of fancy setup, but I can see Cyclohm looking really snazzy with Altaria-like gradiated lighting effects on the clouds, especially if the glow looked like it was coming from its heads?
I guess the alternative is something like this :

I'm happy to leave it up to the artist's discretion though.
 

Golui

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Oh, sorry I was unclear! By "effect" I mean how Mega Altaria's clouds are animated and rendered; i.e. the shaders and rigging, and really nothing to do with the wireframe at all. This visual effect is what we're trying to get (if you ignore the shape of the clouds)

I'm pretty sure it's only one joint on each blob, being scaled up and down, and cast by a few surrounding lights. I think Cyclohm could use this setup too but with swirls instead of blobs!
Ah, alright then. Sorry for the confusion. That's actually a very neat idea!

And i suppose the swirls we have with Mega Ampharos will be a good compromise between geometry and texture. But as paintseagull said, it's ultimately the artist's call.
 

Golui

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Sorry to double post, but I'd like to post my results on the Krillowatt model I've gotten around to doing yesterday evening.



If there are no objections, I could maybe even claim it. I could do both the wireframe and rigging, since segmented bodies are easy to rig. (I have never rigged nor created a model like that before, however)
 
Pyroak's UVs are done! (edit: the relevant source files are here)



(below) The bright lines show where the seams are. I tried to put them in obscure places so they're not too noticeable.



If we end up having textured patterns for the skin, the seamlines on the map can be blurred out with 3d software. If no one has comments, I'll start the coloring guide so we can all have a practice texturing the model!

Btw, Golui, your shrimp is adorable. :D
 
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Golui

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Right, here is the first version of the Krilowatt wireframe. Any and all criticism is welcome, since this is my first serious project.

Ignore the 'eyes'. I put them there just to have a perspective on how the model looks. They are there to make it look less derpy, although they are doing a poor job of that.


P.S. Thank you, QxC4eva. It was supposed to be a fierce beast from the depths, but adorable works fine too :P
 
That's a pretty nice start. I like how you added extra edge loops on the "elbows" and "knees" to get up some good deformations! The polycount is crazy though. I guess there's no need to obsess much at reducing polys (we're not building a game engine, after all) but to me it's kind of a red flag for Krilo's simple design. I looked at other CAPs' polycounts:
  • Plasmanta: 20,878
  • Pyroak: 19,146
  • Tomohawk: 14,382
  • Mollux: 9,104
  • Cyclohm: 7,520
  • Aurumoth: 6,688
  • Krilowatt:

... so what you got right now is a bit too much!

I think the main culprit is the over-smoothed front and hind claws - perhaps lower their subdivisions by a level or two? The ridge on the mid claws look like they can be cut down, as well as the edge loops along the thickness of the tail. Maybe take another close look at your model to see if there are other areas that can use the same treatment.



For other parts I suggest rebuilding the antennae so it's completely straight, using less circumference divisions and more along the Y direction. I think it should end up making the rigging process a bit easier. I notice you created a slight bend to mimic the reference drawing, but we're probably going use an IK spline rig over a RP solver- so it's okay to remove it I think. It's great you're paying attention to these details though. :D



I also think the pupil should be removed from the eye (which can be textured on) and swap the sizes of the front and hind claws; the hind claws are the bigger ones. Hope this helps!
 

Golui

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That's a pretty nice start. I like how you added extra edge loops on the "elbows" and "knees" to get up some good deformations! The polycount is crazy though. I guess there's no need to obsess much at reducing polys (we're not building a game engine, after all) but to me it's kind of a red flag for Krilo's simple design. I looked at other CAPs' polycounts:
  • Plasmanta: 20,878
  • Pyroak: 19,146
  • Tomohawk: 14,382
  • Mollux: 9,104
  • Cyclohm: 7,520
  • Aurumoth: 6,688
  • Krilowatt:

... so what you got right now is a bit too much!

I think the main culprit is the over-smoothed front and hind claws - perhaps lower their subdivisions by a level or two? The ridge on the mid claws look like they can be cut down, as well as the edge loops along the thickness of the tail. Maybe take another close look at your model to see if there are other areas that can use the same treatment.



For other parts I suggest rebuilding the antennae so it's completely straight, using less circumference divisions and more along the Y direction. I think it should end up making the rigging process a bit easier. I notice you created a slight bend to mimic the reference drawing, but we're probably going use an IK spline rig over a RP solver- so it's okay to remove it I think. It's great you're paying attention to these details though. :D



I also think the pupil should be removed from the eye (which can be textured on) and swap the sizes of the front and hind claws; the hind claws are the bigger ones. Hope this helps!
Wow, thanks for all that feedback! I'll be sure to follow those to the T :)

Let me quickly run down with some points I'd like to touch on:
  • The antennae - I would suggest keeping them in the bent shape as they are. I imagine them as having a single joint down the middle, and the rest being some sort of stiff chitin exoskeleton, rather than being flexible all the way through.
  • The legs are at Subdivision level 2, I'll lower it and make some adjustments to make them look better on lower level.
  • I'm not really sure the eyes are even required to be modeled. As I said, I put them there just for reference and I'll be happy to remove then altogether, and just roll with a texture.
I'm fixing it as we speak, will update the post with the new wireframe when it's done.

EDIT:

And here is the new wireframe. I hope I didn't go overboard in the other way now :P.

Other than lowering the polycount way, way down, I also fixed some geometry in the head that was bothering me from the get go (some triangles here and there). I also tweaked the scaling of the body parts to fit each other better after the slight changes in shape while removing unwanted polygons.

 
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paintseagull

pink wingull
is a Top Artistis a Forum Moderator Alumnus
I've updated the first post (which was long overdue) and put some of our best practices and resources we've made along the way there too.

Quany and I were just looking at the Stratagem UV's, which seem to be a little bit messed up after Yveltal's update. I think Quany is making progress on it.
 

DJTHED

Amateur 3D Animator
is a Pre-Contributor
I've updated the first post (which was long overdue) and put some of our best practices and resources we've made along the way there too.

Quany and I were just looking at the Stratagem UV's, which seem to be a little bit messed up after Yveltal's update. I think Quany is making progress on it.
Oh, I was going to continue working on the UV's on the revised model sometime tomorrow.
 

Quanyails

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Go for it, DJTHED! Maybe your file has the right UVs for the fat tip of the lower claws. It'd probably be better if the UVs are fixed on your side instead of me trying to untangle and clean up the triangle that I see.

I'd also like to mention that Mollux is up for grabs. I hadn't been able to make much headway on getting the wax inside the lamp to loop using nParticles before other art caught my attention, and now that it's summer, I lack the time to look into alternate animation methods.

QxC4eva: Are you working on Pyroak's textures? I'd just like to check, since you didn't link to an updated file.
Golui: In case you didn't get my message, the link to updated Krilowatt wireframe is broken in your last post.
 

Quanyails

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My apologies for the double-post, but I think this deserves its own post.

I ended up sorting around Stratagem's UVs and trying out a texture because it's strangely fun and relaxing to sort and manipulate graphs. This is what I had made.

I momentarily switch Maya to open to a different file. When I come back to Stratagem, its UVs turned into spaghetti.

I had a backup file. The backup's UVs also had turned to spaghetti upon opening the file. :( I have no more backups. That's a few hours of work that has been lost, and this is greatly discouraging me from working on Stratagem's UVs again. Is there any way to salvage or repair the UV edits done?
 
My apologies for the double-post, but I think this deserves its own post.

I ended up sorting around Stratagem's UVs and trying out a texture because it's strangely fun and relaxing to sort and manipulate graphs. This is what I had made.

I momentarily switch Maya to open to a different file. When I come back to Stratagem, its UVs turned into spaghetti.

I had a backup file. The backup's UVs also had turned to spaghetti upon opening the file. :( I have no more backups. That's a few hours of work that has been lost, and this is greatly discouraging me from working on Stratagem's UVs again. Is there any way to salvage or repair the UV edits done?
Oh no :( Maybe try deleting history next time? Idk.. Maya is a bit screwy sometimes, mine actually died a while ago and I'm stuck with Blender. On the bright side, once I reinstall Maya I'll share a tut of how to unwrap Stratagem in a few minutes!

I'm sure it's no wasted effort and you still learned something, so smile and don't give up!! \^o^/

Are you working on Pyroak's textures? I'd just like to check, since you didn't link to an updated file.
Oops sorry I forgot that, here's the link. I'll only texture Pyroak if no one else wants to do it... so far no one reserved it yet. Honestly I think you're the only one able to take the job anyway (maybe paintseagull and Yveltal as well but I'm not sure) so I'm going a bit slow. I'm working on a brush UI for the viewer so we can paint the model straight from the screen - which will take a while but it might get us more texture artists than just you and me. But if you/someone else are desperate to texture I guess I'll do the coloring guide now, and save the programming stuff later!

About your Mollux model, is it okay if I start making changes to the wireframe? There are some things I wanted to fix, but if you want to keep going with it I can post some feedback here instead. =]
 

paintseagull

pink wingull
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QxC4eva I'll give the Pyroak texture a try! :) I think I can figure it out without a coloring guide. The UV map is pretty clear!

I am pretty sure Quanyails is happy to let someone else take over the Mollux wireframe. I'm actually messing around with the tentacle rig / Spline IK at the moment :) So if you want to make changes feel free, but if you have other things to do I can keep working with it. It's my first time doing this though so no guarantees that it'll be any good! :) Spline IK is cool though!!

Here are some screenshots of my attempt at an uncurling tentacle rig, but I made some mistakes on that so I'm starting from scratch with a better understanding of how it should work. There were some parenting/scale/roll issues there I believe. After attempting a weight paint on the curled tentacle rig, I'm trying a flat tentacle to start instead. I'd really like it to curl/uncurl like in the sprite animation.
(actually now that I see it, there is way less uncurling than I remembered.. hah)

 
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Golui

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QxC4eva I'll give the Pyroak texture a try! :) I think I can figure it out without a coloring guide. The UV map is pretty clear!

I am pretty sure Quanyails is happy to let someone else take over the Mollux wireframe. I'm actually messing around with the tentacle rig / Spline IK at the moment :) So if you want to make changes feel free, but if you have other things to do I can keep working with it. It's my first time doing this though so no guarantees that it'll be any good! :) Spline IK is cool though!!

Here are some screenshots of my attempt at an uncurling tentacle rig, but I made some mistakes on that so I'm starting from scratch with a better understanding of how it should work. There were some parenting/scale/roll issues there I believe. After attempting a weight paint on the curled tentacle rig, I'm trying a flat tentacle to start instead. I'd really like it to curl/uncurl like in the sprite animation.
(actually now that I see it, there is way less uncurling than I remembered.. hah)

Why not just rig it with a curve?
 
Working on the Pyroak rig. Does anybody know of any inventive solutions for the skirt that doesn't require a lot of joints? I was thinking of putting three or four around the waist to control the skirt at different parts, but that feels kind of ghetto.
 

paintseagull

pink wingull
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I'm making some progress on Pyroak. I'm still perfecting the wood texture, trying not to go too detailed but still keep it looking like wood. (I can't believe how good this looks, QxC and Yveltal you are amazing, having a Pyroak model is unreal... I'm giddy that I get to be a part of making this!)


As for the skirt, Yveltal, can we set it up as a fairly stiff cloth using Physics settings? I guess we'd have to separate it into a separate object, and that might mess up the UVs. It might also end up looking too realistic? Hawlucha is a pretty good analogue for Pyroak too, how do you think that's done?


Golui: Yeah, the Spline IK means you use a curve to control the armature. I'm not sure if you can directly replace the armature with a curve though? I'm assuming not, based on my understanding of how weight painting works. But I've already found better tricks for this method, the above screen shots are very rough.
 
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Yveltal Hmm, maybe just go for what it is; one joint per edge loop on each leaf. That makes 96 joints if I counted right, which is clearly a nightmare to animate. But then perhaps we can hook up each leaf to a SPLINE IK (:D) and drive it with hair dynamics. That's probably the easiest way to get it looking cool!

Speaking of spline IK, it's amazing you got it working in Blender, paintseagull. From what I've read splines are good for pieces that tangle in different axes (like a snake, for example) or closed kinetic chains (eg. Mollux hanging onto a branch at the edge of a cliff).

For this part of the animation:

(''===3
__ᕤᕤ

the front legs curl along one axis in open chain so I think FK rigging is better (aka. rotating the joints, nothing fancy~) The curling is caused by the joints rotating in unity, so the rig might have a controller attribute "curl" which links to the rotation values of each leg joint. I'm not sure what Blender calls it but in Maya there's a few ways to do it, such as writing script in the expression editor, assigning connections, or "set driven key".

This part can use spline IK though!:

The legs having contact with the ground (and a bit of stretching) makes it a closed chain.
 

paintseagull

pink wingull
is a Top Artistis a Forum Moderator Alumnus
I just did a quick test with the Cloth physics in Blender on the front 3 sections of Pyroak's skirt, and it totally works works pretty well. I had to separate it into a new object but it didn't ruin the UVs. I think the UV's and shader settings were parented (yay!). You just need to set cloth physics on the skirt part, set pinning vertices, enable collision physics on the rest of the pyroak mesh, then play with the cloth settings until you're happy.

Before pressing Play:


After pressing play and letting the cloth physics take action:
 
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Golui

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This is a very slight update of the wireframe. As QxC4eva pointed out, the leg proportions were considerably different from the art. This is basically all I have done here. I believe this model is ready for UV mapping, if nobody else has any objections.

One more thing to note, I decided to make the eyes a texture, even though the reference art says otherwise (they are clearly popping out). My reasoning behind this is that the perspective will make it difficult to properly position the pupil, as well as the fact that it simply appeals to me more.

If anyone feels like the eyes should be 3D regardless, feel free to add them on. A compromise would be to leave the eyes a texture and add a transparent hemisphere above it, so as to get the outline. Maybe make the pupil 'float' inside that hemisphere too?

And here is the wireframe.
 
I got Maya working again! So here's the tut I promised. (tagging Quanyails)


Unwrapping Statagem in Maya

This workflow was something I developed over time, so it works for me but some artists may prefer different ways. To find what works for you just keep practicing! Anyway, first delete all the duplicate pieces of Stratagem's mesh. Once unwapping is done they can be mirrored again to save us time. Leave the ones in the middle alone (don't chop them in half).

Select all objects and create a planar map (Create UVs > Planar Mapping). It doesn't matter what axis you use.

Go to edge mode (F9) and select the edges where you want seams to appear. UV mapping is about finding a "sweet spot" between the number of seams and the continuity of UVs. You don't want too many seams because they're ugly, but too few isn't good either because your texture ends up looking distorted. Luckily, Stratagem's pieces are all sphere-like so the idea is simple; the sweet spot to unwrapping a sphere is have the seam line going along half its circumference. The best place to put it is along the back, because we want the front of the character to look best. So I selected the back edges of each shape:
In the UV Texture editor, go to Polygons > Cut UV Edges. The selected edges are now seams.

Go to UV mode (F12), select all UVs on the map, then go to Tool > Smooth UV Tool. Drag the "unfold" label towards the right and watch the magic happen! Unfortunately it only does one shell at a time, so you have to go through them one by one.

Some shells won't unfold properly, for two possible reasons:
  • A) there's not enough seams, or
  • B) the UVs are too tangled up.
To decide if the problem is A or B, think of untangling a rope - if the edges are too glued together that it's physically impossible to untangle them, then it's problem A. If you think it's possible to untangle them (just that Maya wasn't able to), then it's problem B. To fix A, select more edges and go to Polygons > Cut UV Edges. To fix B, go to Tool > UV Smudge Tool and mess up the UVs a bit. All it does is give the smooth tool a new arrangement to work from, which will then hopefully work. If not - keep smudging and unfolding, and eventually it'll work (if still not then perhaps it's problem A and you need to cut more edges!)

Now that everything's unfolded, it's time to mirror the objects we deleted before. Select the originals, duplicate (Edit > Duplicate), group (Edit > Group), set scaleX to -1, then ungroup (Edit > Ungroup).

The last step is organizing the UV map. Move, rotate or scale the shells until you get something tidy. For Stratagem I'd group the shells by their color (grey, brown or pink) to make things easier for the texture artist.

To test our UVs, I made a texture from a grey canvas with a pink square and brown rectangle, and overlayed it with fractal clouds.


Here's a quick render:


Wow that looks silly, but it's done in 15 minutes so uh, cut me some slack. :P


In a nutshell:
  1. create planar map
  2. mark edges to seam
  3. unfold UVs
  4. layout UV map
 
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Krilowatt's model is good to go. Texturing and rigging are up for claim! Here's the UV map:


The relevant source files are here.

I decided the eyes should be modeled on, because:
  • The eyes in the reference drawing are popping out.
  • Similar-looking Pokemon like Omanyte, Omastar, Paras and Parasect all have wireframe eyes. (Clauncher doesn't but his eyes are quite flat in the official art)
  • Perspective is less of an issue once the rig is done; the animator will be able to rotate the eyes.
  • There's no eye sockets to complicate things.
  • Facial expressions will be easier to add!
Golui, I thought the antennae were bending the opposite way, but I trusted you knew what you were doing. Since someone else will be rigging, perhaps it'll help them if you explain why it's set up like this?

 

Golui

(ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡ǝuᴉɟ sᴉ ƃuᴉɥʇʎɹǝʌƎ
The antennae are setup like that, so that they are 'straight' but also show the geometrical bend. If you look closely, the joint is right above the base of the antennae. If riggers have issues with the model for any reason, just drop me a PM.

And also, great work on the UVs QxC4eva
 

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