Making Of 'Crustation'
This is an overview of the steps taken in making this scene, or any scene using Lightwave 3D 7.5, Photoshop, and 3D Total's Texture CD's. I won't go into too much detail in any particular part, well maybe uv mapping because I couldn't find too many tutorials for that in lightwave :) This presumes you already have some experience with Lightwave, but the rules apply to any 3d program. Anyways, lets get started.
Always sketch first, It'll save alot of headaches and will anticipate problems before they happen! In this case make front,
side and back drawings and load them into the viewports in Modeler.
I love how you can just make points and connect them in Lightwave! used the create points tool to make a mesh of your model in each view. When satisfied, connect the separate parts. By doing this our goal is to work, in a way, backwards.
First we make everything into separate parts then connect them later on (left and below). It can help make flow and interest in the mesh, and can save your computer from chugging too many polygons at once.
At a certain point you're forced to break away from the drawings and just model it out by eye. you may want to name different surfaces of your model and set their initial colour differently (when naming them). this may come in handy later when you want to select them for uv mapping, or make bone weight maps for animation, or posing.
Lightwave is a little more hands on than other programs when it comes to uv mapping. Instead of bringing the projection to the uvs we have to bring uvs to the projection.
Start by making a new morph map, and unweld all vertecies. On this morph map we have to take our model apart and lay it out so that a projection can be taken straight from the x, y, or z axis. So pick an axis and lay them flat as best you can. Use the polygon statistics panel to help select/deselect polygon surfaces. As for the legs and ay other tube shapes, lay them so that that the area you want the seam to appear faces the negative axis.
The advantage to this way of uv mapping is that you can adjust the flat surfaces to be more flat, and the tube surfaces to me more tubular before you start uv mapping. This way you avoid fiddling with the map. Now make a new uv map with no initial projection, choose make uvs, and apply planar mapping in the respective axis for the flat parts, and cylindrical mapping for the tube parts.
Remember the seam for the tube parts will be on the negative axis. you can use a checker texture to fine tune it. Finally merge verticies, send it to Layout and save transformed object to delete the morph map.
Bring the uv map into Photoshop using any screen capture. On Mac its shift+command+4 then drag a box around the area you want captured. I usually make a bump texture first, then diffuse, then specular, then colour.
You can use whatever order suits your model, but always use one map to compliment the next in some way. For the crustation I also used translucency, and transparency on the thorax flap. The eyes have three layers (outside layer is transparent).
The 3D Total Texture CD's were used to make the underlying bases of the colour, bump, and diffuse channels. If you are making huge textures (as in this case) just duplicate it and erase the edges to make bigger textures. Another thing you can do is go select > colour range on one texture and use that selection to delete other textures and reveal yet other ones underneath. there are plenty of textures on the cd to work with.
For this scene I used the textures for pattern and under-painting rather than literally matching them to real world materials. There is no absolute rule to making textures, but using alot of layers, and masks is handy, and remember size and colour doesn't matter because they can be adjusted easily. Pattern matters most.
this is where things can slow down if not careful. In Layout (object properties panel), Set the display subdivision level to 0 for everything, use unseen by camera, and/or 100% object dissolve on objects your not working with directly, and use quickshade rendering mode for positioning your objects.
In modeler for the background I made three planes and fooed around with it until I was satisfied, then fooled around with the model and camera angle in layout again untill satisfied. I just think that unpredictable composition is important.
I ended up adding skelegons to the legs and posing the character (but I won't get into that).
After that you may want to use some special effects, to add intrest and harmony to the picture. I ended up using regular fog, and depth of field for focus, and light fog and "Bloom"(glare from shinny surfaces) for intrest.
Tip: Use quickshade mode for testing DOF.
Thanks for reading.
Send me and email for comments if you wish.
Have a nice day :)