Making Of 'Revolution'

This character was modelled in Maya, using the low polygon modelling process. Firstly, I modelled a standard human body, spending much time on his topology structure because I will need him to pose a highly difficult gesture at the end. The teeth, eyes and hair, all require great patience.

The blue arrows indicate where you need to be careful when modelling.

Following all this, it's time for the aircrafts and the details in the foreground. I must say something regarding the city; because I will use matte painting to do it, I don't need to model it too seriously, just like a real city.


This character was made for an illustration, so I didn't set UV according to the normal method. I simply let the parts which can be seen take up more UV space. The UV of the other things are nothing fancy.

Skin shade

Someone once asked me how to connect Mental Ray 'Fast Skin Shade'. Everyone has his own way. On the whole, in my opinion, I think it's best to control every parameter as best as you possibly can. Therefore, I used about 10 maps to control the more important parameters (such as Diffuse Colour, Epidermal Scatter Colour, Subdermal Scatter Colour, Primary Weight, Secondary Weight, and so on). My own experience is that the 'sss' effect of some places, like ears, can't be too high - that is, not being too reddish - because a real man wouldn't be like that. We need the feeling of the skin to be between plastic and wax. Because I used the HDR to illuminate, I must click 'Include Indirect Lighting' in the light map node.


For this image, painting the texture is a complicated process. Basically, most textures of this character are 4096x4096 in size. First of all, I did the colour map by hand-painting and using some photos, then desaturated the colour and made the bump map and specular map afterwards. I changed the tone and details of the colour map, as the Epidermal Scatter Colour, Subdermal Scatter Colour, then changed the specular map as the reflection map. I got a very detailed normal map in Mudbox, by a high-resolution model which included about 5-million polygons. I wanted to let the scene look worn and real. Then I used body paint to remove texture seams and added more bloodstains and dirt - I like all the small details.

The following images show the colour, bump and specular maps.

The image below shows the normal map and trousers.

Pose Layout

In this step, I bound the character, posed him, put in all the aircrafts and objects - generally making them look like my own design.


After the layout, I began to model the high-resolution poly (this step almost made me crazy). I adjusted the body feature in Mudbox. I then finished the high-resolution poly human-body model, and imported it back into Maya. I then constructed many tubes, which are just NURBS. Attention must be paid to their disordered positions and where the blood vessels are also coming out, so it was just endless placing and modelling. Then I modelled the clothing, gloves and trousers.


I used Mental Ray IBL with an HDR picture and several lights for a special purpose. There are two primary light sources; an aircraft spot light above the character and the huge area light source in the background.

Hair & Body Fur

I finished the body hair and "fur" using Paint Effects, of course using 'fuzz' (if you can see them).


I rendered the image multipass, which allowed me to easily modify and control them. The final image size is 3500x2500.
The image below is the diffuse layer and body fur layer.

The images below are the occlusion layer and deep layer.

The images below are the reflection layer and specular layer. I exaggerated the effects for you to see.

Matte painting

Because this is not a tutorial for matte painting, I won't say too much about this step. I simply constructed the city in Maya and rendered the deep map, ambient occlusion map, and atmosphere map. I then used the photo references, which came from the Internet and digital pictures taken by myself, to complete the city in Photoshop. This is the complete background. I'm not worried about the areas that are covered by the character, so I am quite satisfied.


I put all the passes into Photoshop and made use of my skills to get them work together better.


Add the effect in Photoshop, such as lens effects, light fog and noise effects, and adjust the layers.


At the end, I refined the image, concentrating on things such as the micro-blood vessels and the beard.


The details of the aircrafts and the foreground.


The image below is finally finished. I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. If you have any questions or comments, please email me. Finally, I would like to thank my parents, my girlfriend and my friends. I also want to thank 3DTotal.

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