Making Of 'The Kid'
Research and Concept
In the year 2000 the "Der Spiegel"(the mirror) magazine (a german politics and society magazine like "the times") published a work by the fantastic caricaturist Chris F. Payne on his cover here. I'm a huge fan of caricatures and totally fascinated about the realism they put the artists in their works. And I identified myself and my own childhood with this work and I think to myself that I want to try a similar work one day. That was some month before I start to deal with 3D computer graphics. Over all the years I remember me often this image and at the beginning of 2007 I knew my skills are good enough and so I can start on my own version of this image. I also had a lot of inspiration through my niece and my nephews. It's incredible how arrogant and cheeky kids can be. Long story short. I started searching modeling references in different image databases and found a lot of good stuff.
After I found a lot of references I started the modeling. It's good if you have images for head modeling from side and front view but I learned on this work that I most important that you feel the form of the object and you have an understanding of the volume, shapes and curves. I started the modeling with only one side view reference image but to notice that it's better if I continue without viewport modeling images and do it free form. The whole modeling of the head and body was made poly by poly. I completed a normal posed model and after this I make a facial expressed model. I used a morph modifier to slide between the two models. I find it's a nice way to get more control about the final pose.
Rigging and Clothes
I didn't want to make an animation so that a complete rig wasn't useful but I make a simple rig for pose and for cloth simulation (sometimes I like the easy way you know). For the rig I used a bip and the physique modifier. For me it's faster than bones and skin modifier but the most vertices weighted by hand. For the cloth simulation (only for the final pose) I used the SimCloth plugin. I like it so much. I mean the max intern cloth tools are cool but the final meshes... you know what I mean ;). I started with a simple model of the shirt and pant, uvw mapped it, smoothed and simulated it.
In the next step I make the stitches. I selected the edges, chamfered a bit, extruded a bit, fixed the uvw's, solidify modifier for the thickness, fixed the overlapped polys, make a collar and voila the shirt is finished. On the same way I make the stitches for the pants.
Unwrapping, Textures and Shaders
In the next step I unwrapped the whole model. I didn't use any special technique or something. Only the good old unwrapping with max standard tools.
The texturing was more interesting. I used photoshop to make my textures and it was the first time I used the psd file format for texturing. It's a cool and easy way to create the textures and see any modification on the texture in the 3d max viewport. Ok...I know it's not the same like bodypaint or something different tools but hey so what. I'm definitely not a texturing guy. I love modeling and like procedural shaders but textures... I feel not familiar with it.
The Textures it self I painted from hand or used photos. Diffuse- and bumpmaps for all objects and some special maps for the skin shader. Only the skin shader is a mental ray sss fast skin shader the others are simple standard shaders.
Lightning and Rendering
The light setup was also not really complicated or special. It's a simple 3-point lightning with 1 extra light for the background plane. No global illumination or final gathering but I used two different setups. The first setup was for the guy with clothes and stuff and I used mental ray area lights and the second setup Is exactly the same but I used standard light and scanline render for the hairs. I render it in different passes. A main pass (the guy with clothes and stuff), a background pass, a hair pass, different alpha passes (for t-shirt, pants, arms and so on) and an ambient occlusion pass.
In the post work I combine the passes in photoshop to a final result. Put the passes together, little color correction, little bit retouch and some background extras. That's all.
I hope you enjoyed the making of and maybe you learn something. Thx for reading.
Claudius Vesting aka chainsaw|clausen