Making Of 'Fruity Flash: The Creation of Mrs Pear'

In this mini tutorial I'd like to show briefly how I modelled and textured Mrs Pear, as well as talk a bit about the texturing process in Mudbox. This character, as with the strawberry, was originally scheduled for two days max. The first day was going to be for geometry and UVs, and the second day for refining the geometry with Mudbox and creating the textures in Mudbox and Photoshop.

At the beginning I was a bit scared of the time limit I had set myself. Not only did I have to do all the modelling and texturing, but I had to make the shaders, handbag, eyes, tongue, teeth, etc. I wasn't sure if all of that was possible within two days!

I started the base mesh with a "lathe", controlling the amount of polys (Fig.01).

Fig. 01

Fig. 01

After several minutes of working - bearing in mind that I was mainly focusing on the loops of the mouth (the eyes weren't important in this case and I was in a rush) - I got something like the image shown in Fig.02. It looks much more fat and static than the final model, but I wanted the geometry to be okay before making any modifications, or using a "Blend" modifier, so at this stage the more orthogonal it was, the better!

The arms and legs were inherited from the strawberry, with some modifications. For the hands of the strawberry and the pear I modelled and rigged a basic hand to get quick poses. You can see in the image how the hands are still not welded to the arms (Fig.02).

Fig. 02

Fig. 02

Once the base model was done, including "Bend" and welding, the geometry looked like this (Fig.03).

Fig. 03

Fig. 03

You can see that at this point it's been subdivided. This subdivision was done to make it easier to attach the arms and legs to the body.

With the mesh being simply correct, it was now time to do the UVs. For this there is nothing better than UVLayout. UVLayout is a bit weird to use, and its interface is a bit "medieval", but it relaxes you better than a foam bath. After a session of "cut-relax" the UVs were like this. It wasn't perfect, but it was good enough and I knew that I could always use Photoshop to help fix any little imperfections and remove seams (Fig.04 - Fig.06).

Fig. 04

Fig. 04

Fig. 05

Fig. 05

Fig. 06

Fig. 06

So... this brought me to the end of the first day.

The second day started by importing the object with right UVs into Mudbox and refining the mesh. Mudbox 2009 has the skills to manage massive numbers of polys quite easily, so the pear was subdivided at around five million polys to get enough definition to generate a good 4K normal map.

Basically, apart from general deformations, the main details were the little bumps of the skin and the detail of the lips. Here you can see a "before" and an "after" of the process (Fig.07 & Fig.08).

Fig. 07

Fig. 07

Fig. 08

Fig. 08

It's often a good idea at this point to extract the normal and/or displacement maps, because sometimes, after texturing, the files are too heavy to do things easily and quickly.

To generate the normal map Mudbox is extremely easy. Basically I started by selecting the object I wanted (Fig.09).

Fig. 09

Fig. 09

Then I went to the upper menus, clicked on "Maps" then "Extract Texture Maps", and selected whatever was shown there (I'm afraid I can't be any more specific than that as Mudbox is refusing to open at the moment!)

Once there, I chose "Normal Map" because that's the only thing I wanted to create. I clicked on "Use Selected" in the "Target Model" and "Add Selected" in "Source Models" to indicate where the details should be gotten from. The value for "Search Distance" should be automatically displayed, but if not then you can click on "Best Guess" to generate it. Finally I selected the size of the map (4k for Mrs Pear as I knew the render was going to be quite big - 5000x3500) and pressed "Extract".

Here you can see a full list of the parameters that I used (Fig.10)

Fig. 10

Fig. 10

The extracted map was can be seen in Fig. 11.

Fig. 11

Fig. 11

The last step in this tutorial was to create the texture for Mrs Pear. I find that the easiest way to make textures without having to worry about seams, etc. is with the Projection tool in Mudbox. You only have to look for a nice image to be used as a "Stencil" and then just paint and paint! I made these two textures in Photoshop using that method (Fig.12 & Fig.13).

Fig. 12

Fig. 12

Fig. 13

Fig. 13

To apply each of the textures, I selected the tab "Paint Tools", and then clicked on "Projection" (Fig.14).

Fig. 14

Fig. 14

In the bottom right of the interface, I selected the "Stencil" tab and then "Add Stencil" (Fig.15 & Fig.16).

Fig. 15

Fig. 15

Fig. 16

Fig. 16

Once chosen, the texture appears in the centre of the screen (Fig.17).

Fig. 17

Fig. 17

I used the shortcuts shown in Fig.18 to move, rotate and scale the textures.

Fig. 18

Fig. 18

Once I had the geometry and the stencil where I liked, I just clicked to start painting. This caused a pop up window to appear, asking for the resolution of the texture (I chose 4K again). After defining this and clicking on the "OK" button, it was time to start painting (Fig.19).

Fig. 19

Fig. 19

And ... paint (Fig.20)!

Fig. 20

Fig. 20

To keep a good level of control while I paint, and avoid being destructive, I find that it's always good to work with layers. So I created a new layer by clicking on the "New Layer" button (top-right of the interface). After the already known pop up about the resolution appeared, I started working on the new layer (Fig.21).

Fig. 21

Fig. 21

For this new layer I chose a new stencil (Fig.22 & Fig.23).

Fig. 22

Fig. 22

Fig. 23

Fig. 23

And... that's all! I only had to export the textures into Photoshop to finish the work. For that, I right-clicked on the layers to get the exporting options.

After Photoshop the final texture looked like this (Fig.24).

Fig. 24

Fig. 24

The shoes area was left like that (with no texture) because for this I only used a procedural shader with the normal map. The lips were painted with a different shader and a mask was applied to control them.   

And here's the final image (Fig.25)!

Fig. 25

Fig. 25

I hope this small tutorial has shown you a bit of the creation process behind this image. Thanks for reading!

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