Plasmanta 3D Model workshop

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On and off, for the past few months, a handful of people have been working on the first 3D modeled CAPmon to honor Game Freak's switch to full 3D for the gen6 games CAP19, Plasmanta, was the first CAP created to compete in the Gen6 metagame and has been our focus for kicking off 3D modeling and rendering as a second branch of dot art/spriting the winning art design for each cap.

As a rough timeline of what we've done so far:
-There was a shortly held competition for creating an original 3D model that was won by koldrage
-I've been on quality control for the model to get it as close to a version that's ready for animating
- Quanyails began working on a rig for our model

We're now opening up all remaining work for discussion and other volunteers to complete Plasmanta. Our goal is to make a .gif of a textured, funtioning Plasmanta in an idle stance, each step of which will be made as public as possible for anyone wishing to contribute. At this point, we have to follow a kind of pipeline in the following order:
Model Quality Control- For this one, we want to say that this is completed and simply talk about what could be done better.

UV layout- We need to create a blank texture page that can be worked on to give Plasmanta its color and it's look. This requires creating a png with a layout of Plasmanta's vertices for a texture artist to work on. I'd like the UVs to be completed and posted on the thread so that anyone can take them and work on a texture.

Rigging- A riggist will create the structure that the mesh/wireframe is animated to. Currently, Quanyails is working on this.

Texture- A texture artist will be expected to work in image-editing software like Photoshop while working in maya to make sure their texture lines up with the model. This process can begin immediately after the UV images are finished.

Animation- My personal favorite, once the rig is completed, I'd encourage everyone to try their hand at making an idle animation for Plasmanta. We can discuss the most appealing or sensible motion for the manta to make and really flesh out his character (while he sits perfectly still, lol) as best as we can.

Compiling- The final step is taking the winning animation and translating it into a .gif with a transparent background. The person tasked with compiling will be expected to render a playblast in 3D software that can be exported into After Effects or a similar program to create the final fron-facing and back-facing .gifs to begin using in Pokemon Showdown.


I'll keep a chore list of who's doing what and the order of what needs to be done. Presently, we have:
Modeling- koldrage (done)
Model QC- Yveltal (done)
UV layout- koldrage (done)
Rigging- Quanyails (done)
Texture- koldrage(done)
Animation- Quanyails(done)
Compiling- Quanyails(done)

For anyone interesting in examining the model thus far, the download link is here (It's a .fbx, so you can import it into Maya, 3DS Max, Blender, etc)
And feel free to talk about anything, or ask any questions you may have! We want this to be a learning experience to get interested forum members involved with 3D modeling and also to help create a process that caters to CAPs needs.

~~~~
Having all that out of the way, the following is my progress:




My task consisted of two things; Cut down the polygons and optimize the model for animation. Koldrage provided us with a beautifully intricate model that was at roughly 12,500 polygons/faces and would have served rather well in animation. So far, I cut the model down to just above 10,000 faces, counting the ones on every ring and claw. All that's left that's urgent is to use rings and claws of a smaller polycount as the current model still uses the ones that koldrage created in ZBrush, which are unnecessarily hi-poly.

Originally, the model had Plasmanta's spiked gills on the bottom of the model along with a mouth. I dummied those out of the model namely because they were extremities that could be drawn on or represented in the texture, and were adding on to the overall polygon count needlessly. I justified this by noticing the outlining and shading on the textures of Pokemon in-game.


Lucario's ears don't actually divot to create the inner ear, if you look at the model. The shadow you see in-between the black portion of the ear and the blue is simply painted on during the texture phase. This does two things, though I'm not sure which is the primary purpose. First, it augments the model nicely so that it has a good cel-shaded, painterly look, and second, it cuts down on polygons!

This made me think, though. Lucario's eyes, along with many other Pokemon, are simply flat surfaces with an animated texture. For another example, here's Skitty's 3D model ripped from the game
[/IMG]

the red lines around the eyes and the mouth are the borders of the images sitting on top of Skitty's face. While not every Pokemon uses a flat image for their eyes, the design choice to do so serves functionally to add a cartoonish blink for some Pokemon and also makes it easier to run through different facial expressions my not having a collection of vertices forming the eye socket to move around for different emotions. I don't anticipate having to make Plasmanta go through a range of emotions, but I can't decide if it's a better idea to make his eyes flat on the face (we don't really need him to blink, do we?) or to leave them as-is with a sphere that's smaller in poly-count for the eyeball, but I wanted to see how people felt.
 
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Quanyails

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Hi, all! I've had time these few days to play around with Autodesk Maya and make a Plasmanta animation. Here is my rig and a work-in-progress animation. Please note that the model in the file is outdated and anyone using it should use the model in Yveltal's post.

Here is what the work-in progress animation currently looks like. I know the undulation is a bit exaggerated and jerky compared to Mantine and Kyogre. I'll continue to change it, but if anyone else wants to help, feel free to modify the animation.

Edit: Updated animation. Not done yet (still have UVs, lighting, shaders, etc). Old animation versions are here, here, here, here, and here.

Mantine and Kyogre as comparison:


Edit: Also, for rendering, this tutorial by our own DJTHED (go take a look at his reposes here!) may be useful.
 
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Hi, all! I've had time these few days to play around with Autodesk Maya and make a Plasmanta animation. Here is my rig and a work-in-progress animation. Please note that the model in the file is outdated and anyone using it should use the model in Yveltal's post.

Here is what the work-in progress animation currently looks like. I know the undulation is a bit exaggerated and jerky compared to Mantine and Kyogre. I'll continue to change it, but if anyone else wants to help, feel free to modify the animation.
The undulation is a little exaggerated, but that also helps to see how well and flexible it is. Which isn't all that bad :p
 

paintseagull

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If I have time, I'll be happy to give the texture step a try when the UV map is ready! No idea how successful I'll be though, so someone with more experience is definitely welcome to claim that slot.

Everything is looking great so far! Thanks so much to the above 3 artists :)
 

DougJustDoug

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Wow, this model and animation is looking AMAZING! My jaw dropped when I saw Plasmanta swimming along in full 3D glory.

Thank you so much to those of you working to bring Plasmanta to life. Bravo!
 
Gotta agree with Doug, these 3D models look really great! Plasmanta looks like it's swimming very happily alongside its true manta and Leviathan friends.
 
Hi, all! I've had time these few days to play around with Autodesk Maya and make a Plasmanta animation. Here is my rig and a work-in-progress animation. Please note that the model in the file is outdated and anyone using it should use the model in Yveltal's post.

Here is what the work-in progress animation currently looks like. I know the undulation is a bit exaggerated and jerky compared to Mantine and Kyogre. I'll continue to change it, but if anyone else wants to help, feel free to modify the animation.

Edit: Updated animation. Not done yet (still have UVs, lighting, shaders, etc). Old animation versions are here, here, here, here, and here.

Mantine and Kyogre as comparison:

Edit: Also, for rendering, this tutorial by our own DJTHED (go take a look at his reposes here!) may be useful.
looks great, but the colors need to be lighter...and greyer. why did they have to make gen 6 models so goddamn washed out? Fug you gamfrek u sug
 

Bughouse

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It's threads like these that make me wish we hadn't gotten rid of likes in CAP.

Truly amazing work.
 

Quanyails

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Thanks to koldrage, here's a completed draft, brightened, next to Mantine and Kyogre again. :) I updated the body so it's actually a little dark, as the original art and sprites show. The bright versions can be seen here, here, here, and here.




Here are the files relevant to the model, if anyone wants to make some further refinements with the lighting, shaders, or other materials. Please notice that I made some small edits to the dorsal fin's vertices and UV map so the texture fits nicely!

There are a few things that could be further done I'm not exactly sure how to do:
- Make the back ring edges sharper.
- Render the GIF in a way so the 'seam' on the back GIF's tail isn't present.
- Add toon lines where the fin meets the claws.
- Play with shaders more to render less realistic shading but with drop shadows.
- Fix the fin 'folding' when it flaps on the back GIF.

Otherwise, I can optimize these GIFs to PS!'s color limit and make shiny recolors. (I can always integrate the changes later, anyway.)

Edit: Shinies!

Edit 2: 16-color versions for PS!


 
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I can make the back rings slightly sharper if you want. I didn't do that earlier thinking it would screw up your rig if it was already skinned. Oh and don't worry about the the UV tweak. I had a feeling it needed some modifications.
 
Ohmagod.. This is really impressive.

The shiny colour palette seems to look so much better in 3D.

I have a question; will this 6th gen update happen for all past CAPs? or just for new ones?
 
You've all done a marvelous job at creating Plasmanta's models. They all look fluid, clean and definitely in line with the other models of Generation VI. Again, excellent work; my hat's off to you!
 
Ohmagod.. This is really impressive.

The shiny colour palette seems to look so much better in 3D.

I have a question; will this 6th gen update happen for all past CAPs? or just for new ones?
They may happen in the future, but understand that each one takes a HUGE amount of time and effort.

That being said, brilliant work. Can't see the eyes that well, but I don't think that will be a big concern.
 
I have no idea how such an amazing task was done, but it happened. And it happened beautifully.

I think CAP has reached to a new level!
 
This is some really cool stuff! I had a look at the model and it's a bit too high poly for my taste (tho I guess there's not much you can do about it at this point).

I think the eyes could stand out more. It's probably because you had the eyes as part of the model, rather than textured on as how the originals had it. I would prefer it textured on as it gives you more control over the outlines, which are currently not visible at intersections inside the image. This also applies to the part between the tail to rings, and the body to the claws:

To fix that you probably have to texture the black outlines on as it'll be hard to get the shader to do that for you.

I also thought the UV unwrapping of the fin was a rather odd choice. The current set up has it so the inner part is separate from the outer, and it's very hard to not get artifacts from that:


Wouldn't a simple planar map + a bit of UV unfolding work better?



The skinning of the model is decent, the only part I noticed are the left and right antenna joints have influence on part of the head. Here I rotated the antenna and you can see the eye and back of the head pinching out and in. Want to perhaps use the Component Editor to set the weights back to 0.


I'll have a go animating it later and see if I find anything else. Once again good job!
 
Outstanding stuff, it's great to see such high-quality work and the effort put in shows, the 3D looks freaking awesome :)
 
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