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The Making Of Chef Eric

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Date Added: 18th December 2013

Texturing in MARI

After I was done UV mapping all the parts, I fired up MARI and brought each part in one by one. MARI is a powerful 3D texture painting software that can handle multiple UV tiles and hi-res textures easily. In my case I didn't use multiple UV tiles, though.

I won't go into much detail on how to use MARI, but it's pretty simple to learn and from version 2.0, the software has been revamped to be more user-friendly (I used version 1.5 and I must admit that the shader and layering system was a bit odd). I found this website with a bunch of MARI tips that were useful.

To aid in painting textures I exported a Normal map for each of the parts from ZBrush and used them in MARI to display the details that I had sculpted. This helped in deciding where to paint the textures, since it showed where the character had wrinkles, folds, imperfections, and so on.

The main tools I used were the Selection tool (S), the Paint tool (P), the Paint Through tool (U) and Clone Stamp. Also, I found it very handy to use the shortcuts to access the color picker (J), the Brush palette (K) and the Image Manager palette (L).

The tools available in MARI that were used in this project
More tools available in MARI that were used in this project

Texturing in MARI II

One last tip: MARI comes with different types of masks, and the most useful one for me was the Edge Mask, which can be accessed in the Projection palette. The shortcut to activate this mask is ?G' and you can show/hide masks with ?,'.

The useful Edge Mask tool in MARI


The reflection and gloss maps for some of the parts (like the hammer, stand, knife, etc) were made in Photoshop using the diffuse texture as a starting point, and then de-saturated and adjusted to achieve the level of reflection or gloss needed. Also the eye texture was made in Photoshop following Kris Costa's great tutorial found here.

After that, I went back to ZBrush and imported the UV-mapped OBJs to update each SubTool's UV mapping co-ordinates. I then exported 16-bit displacement maps. Each SubTool's displacement map was different in size, but most of them were either 1k or 2k.

Full body view of the final diffuse texture
Some of the detailing with the final diffuse texture
The plinth with its final diffuse texture

Assigning materials

Once I had all the textures ready, I moved all the OBJs into 3ds Max and started assigning materials. I used a VRayFastSSS2 material for the body, and for the rest of the objects I used regular V-Ray materials with a map for the Reflect and Refl. Glossiness nodes.

I applied a TurboSmooth modifier to each of the objects and then the displacement maps were applied correspondingly with a VRayDisplacementMod. The one shown below is the modifier stack for the body.

Adding a TurboSmooth modifier with a VRayDisplacementMod to the body

Assigning materials

I used V-Ray for rendering with a linear workflow. Yes, those 2 words send shivers down my spine too, and I can't tell you how many hours I've spent reading about it, from the beginner's guide to the highly technical stuff, but I highly recommend using a linear workflow on every project you work on. If you want to learn more check out these tutorials on how to set it up in 3ds Max:

Linear Workflow: A Guide
Linear Workflow ? The Whole Shebang!

For the lighting setup I used 4 spotlights instead of V-Ray lights since I wanted more control over the highlights and shadow placement. After experimenting with several setups and moods I went with one where the key light is positioned higher up, since that helped give more dimension to the character.

This image shows the positioning and the basic parameters for each light

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