Making Of 'Enjoying Summer Break'
Hello everybody, First of all I would like to thanks 3DTotal for giving me the opportunity to write a tutorial for this amazing site. It really means a lot to me because when I started learning 3D I followed a lot of these tutorials and now I have the chance to make one - the cycle is complete!
From the beginning I've never really been into fantasy creature or video game characters (I tried them, but without much success), so I decided to look for my own style. Step-by-step, and with a lot of pain, I'm finally starting to create characters that I like. One of my favorite Peter de Seve's quotes is, ''An artist's sketches are like a catalogue of shapes he likes. When I draw something, I try to find shapes I like. I think that is what people are calling style."
Enjoying Summer Break is one Illustration from the serial Life in Pink. It is definitely one of the steps in my search for what we call style. I obviously have a lot of other new characters that I'm working on right now and they will also help me to refine my artistic skills and style. Without any further delay, let's jump into the tutorial.
My first idea for this illustration was to create a super-appealing girl, who was energetic, sweet and innocent. I searched for references on the internet that could help me to figure out my idea. You can see my main references in Fig.01 and here's what I used each one for:
a. Swimming suit
b. Understanding how water reacts to light
d. Facial expression
I'd used this character in three other illustrations, so she was already modeled in modo and rigged in Maya, which made posing the body for this image easy (Fig.02). To create the rig I used a free Mel script I found on creativecrash.com named "Advanced Skeleton" - you can find it here:
After finish the main posing using Maya, I imported the mesh into modo and made some adjustments directly on the mesh, especially around the arm pits, where the skin is often not that great. I also spent a lot of time on the facial expression, focusing on the smile and also on the general look - never forget the look, it is so important. Then I modeled the bikini and refined the hat shape (Fig.03).
Concerning the texturing, I did most of this after finishing the model of the character, apart from the body's textures because they were all done (as I'd used this model before). I mainly reworked the skin color to give a slight tanned effect. I created the hair, hat and bikini textures, as you can see in Fig.04.
To light the scene I started by activating the Indirect Illumination in the Global Illumination panel of the render. I modified the directional light by activating the Physical Sun. I modified the angle and parameters of this guy using the Time and North Offset parameters to light the character from behind. And I created two area lights at the front to simulate the reflection panel used in photography (Fig.05).
For the skin texture I used a diffuse color for the surface and added a second texture, this time a Subsurface with a darker color (Fig.06). Using these two textures together gave me a good skin result and meant the light would work properly on the character.
For the sea I used a simple Normal map and you can see the parameter in Fig.07. The sand is just a beige diffuse, nothing fancy.
Now onto the rendering! I created several different passes: Depth, Ambient Occlusion Pass, Surface ID, the sky and the final color (Fig.08).
Then I opened all these passes in Photoshop and I worked with all of them, duplicate passes were needed, blurring some or playing with the contrast. You can see in Fig.09 the way I organized my layers and the percentage I used on each of them. The Surface ID allowed me to easily select any part of the illustration. It is a very handy pass.
In the end I reworked the eyes a little bit directly in Photoshop to give them a little more smile (Fig.10). And voila!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and you learned something from it. Let's all keep learning and sharing our skills together and keep growing as artists. Thank you for taking the time to read this tutorial right to the last line!