I’m so exited to share with you guys my newest character, Jack. Jack is my first character that I attempted to fully develop. Starting off with modeling all the way down to texturing, rigging and rendering. The concept of the character was made by a fantastic artist, Joshua Black. You can visit his cgHub portfolio HERE. With this project, I primarily did all the modeling within Zbrush. Started off with the basic sphere and developed everything from there. The following video is a work progression of Jack.
Since I’ve never extensively textured a character or created hair in Maya, this project was a great learning experience for me. I really had to do a lot of research in order to figure out how to do the hair. I ended up coming across a great timelapse video from an awesome artist Tarkan Sarim, which shared a how to develop hair curves. Take a look at the video below.
So after seeing that video, I utilized what was shown and modified it for my own project. What I ended up doing is bringing my sculpted hair into Maya and made it “Live”. Then once it’s “Live”, that’s where all the magic begins. By making a piece of geometry “Live”, you’ll be able to snap anything to the surface of the selected object. So you’ll take the EP curve tool and draw along the flow of the sculpted hair. Now, if you really want decent hair, it will require a lot of time and patience to massage the style and details you want. Unfortunately, in order the get the details you want, you’ll need to draw a lot of curves. In the end, it took 495 curves to style Jacks hair. Not including the 124 curves for the eye brows. Yeah, I know that seems a little daunting, but it’s well worth the trouble.
To make it easier on myself, I had to make the hair curves into patches(groups) by categorizing the different hair lengths I needed for Jack. By grouping the curves and assigning Display Layers to those categorized groups, I was able to change the color of the curves to better visualize the different lengths. Once that was done, I had to connect the starts (control vertex mode) of the curves to Jacks head. I learned a pretty cool trick on how to keep the length of a curve in Maya. By holding down the “L” key, you can keep the spacing between each control vertex on the curve. This will ultimately create additional flow to the hair and it’ll look pretty sweet. Now I could finally assign hair systems to the selected curves. After everything was said and done, I assigned 6 hair systems for the different styles I needed for Jacks hair. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything online that showed how to use dynamic hair systems. So I had a fun time figuring out how to style the hair through a long process of trial and error. Here’s a little tip, if you’re having trouble figuring out how to do something in Maya, their help documents come quite handy. Other then that, you definitely need to be adventurous when trying the different settings.
The following images below are some behind the scene shots of what Jack looks like.
As for the texturing, lighting and rendering – I did a lot of trial and error with that as well. Saw what worked…. and what didn’t. I do have to say that Zbrush is a very powerful tool. It really gives you full freedom to explore many avenues to develop your piece. For Jack, I heavily relied on Spotlight to layout a foundation for some of my textures. Especially for the poncho. For the eyes and face, the textures were hand painted. Once I had the textures completed, I brought it into an application called CrazyBump. This little piece of software is very nice for making your details come to life. You can pop out a number of different maps based off of your one diffuse texture you bring in. Normal, AO, Spec, and displacement. This guy came quite handy for most of my maps.