Making Of 'Cyrax vs Sektor'
Mahmoud Amghar gives us the rundown on how he created his popular image, Cyrax vs Sektor
In this project overview, I will talk about the process of creating my image, Cyrax vs Sektor.
So, to start I'll tell you about the origin of this project. This idea started out as an entry for a competition on Facebook in the 3D Fan Art Challenge group. The subject was to create a character from a video fighting game like Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Tekken or King of Fighters.
At the beginning I decided to make a dynamic pose between 2 similar-looking characters. The idea behind this was to make a single base mesh for two similar characters to optimize the working time, and reduce the number of character choices, for example:
Akuma vs Oni (Street Fighter), Takuma vs Rio (The King of Fighters), Cyrax vs Sektor (Mortal Kombat).
The second factor that pushed me to this choice was my passion for robotics design, which meant that a lot of 3D objects were ready beforehand in my library. This meant that the choice was automatically fixed for the 2 cyber ninjas of Mortal Kombat; Cyrax and Sektor. Once my choice was fixed, the work could start.
I searched for and gathered many reference images to inspire me (working on the overall shape, color, materials and other details). Generally I use several keywords in a search engine but if the result is still insufficient I enlarge the number of possibilities by translating them into several languages.
To add a personal touch, I had the idea of reworking the design into my own style (though of course, without losing the spirit of Mortal Kombat). This took a lot of time because I needed to find new traits with another aspect of realism.
Usually, the conception requires simple tools, such as a pencil and paper to sketch, or some clay to make a global shape. The current technology allowed me to use both at the same time: a stylus and digital clay – in other words, ZBrush.
So to start, I began with a primitive sphere or a standard base mesh converted into DynaMesh. DynaMesh is perfect for allowing users to sculpt in low and medium resolution without the cares of topology constraints, and is an ideal solution to start sculpting a volume base for any mesh.
Modeling time lapse
As already mentioned before, and to help you understand the developmental stages of my workflow, here is a time-lapse video which gives you an idea of how I created the bust of a similar robot.
Then my base mesh was ready for the next step, which consisted of working on the retopology. During this step, I focused more on modeling certain parts and pieces that I cut and refined later in 3ds Max. To have more control when forming my mesh, I was forced to do this manually, and so I returned to the classic method using ZSphere. This video gives a breakdown of my process.
After that, I switched to 3ds Max to form parts of my mesh. The modeling tools in 3ds Max gave me more flexibility and efficiency in the second, more detailed level of the modeling process. My manual preparation of the retopology allowed me to have the correct edges (ring and loop) to facilitate when cutting pieces that I had previously drawn.
At the retopology stage, the most-used tools are: Extrude, Chamfer, Split and Smooth. For a clean result though, it is very important to know how to use them in order to control the behavior of the mesh after Smoothing.
The modeling process
The final video on the modeling process
Unwrap the UVW I
After the modeling had been completed, I then needed to work on the UVW. With UVMaster and UV Unwrap the process of unwrapping becomes child's play, especially as the armor of our cyber ninja is divided into several parts.
Here is a video to show you how I proceed:
Unwrap the UVW II
I reworked part of the torso, and in this video below you'll notice that I split it into several elements in 3ds Max. This allowed me to trace the borders to ensure that the UVMaster plug-in would unwrap them correctly and avoid any uncontrolled unwrapping.
When the UVWs were unwrapped, I began the texturing process. In this project I used V-Ray materials like VRaylightMtl to simulate a few light diodes, and VRayBlendMtl for complex materials such as armor (I used the same textures for both cyber ninjas – I just changed the color by changing the hue in Photoshop later). I also used VRay2SidedMtl, which allowed me to create translucent materials to simulate blood stains, for example.
Some of the texture and materials used in creating the characters
In this video, I assigned some textures and materials to the characters. These are similar on both cyber ninjas and the method is almost the same.
The environment of the scene was quite simple. I worked on the logo of Mortal Kombat with some strings in 3ds Max.
I also I imported some rocks to the background, and as I used the depth of field function, I didn't work too hard in fine-tuning this area. I then imported the backgrounds directly from ZBrush in high poly and applied the ProOptimizer modifier.
The lighting really begins as soon as the subject starts to takes shape, so at this stage I tried to light the intensity and composition, and also position the light to showcase my subjects. For this project I placed 3 V-Ray lights and I added a Spot light with an atmospheric volumetric lighting effect.
Before starting the rendering (which lasted almost 2 hours) I added some Alpha and depth of field passes for the post-production in Photoshop.
I rendered the image with the resolution I wanted, and chose presets that gave a very good quality. This step became very simple and quick with the SolidRok plug-in. With this plug-in you can just use a simple slider to set all the options needed to create a convincing result in a short time.