Making Of 'Victorian Freak'
This project was kind of inspired by Van Helsing Frankenstein. After watching the movie I thought I could create a better freak than that! So I did.... God knows why?
I have to say I had nothing to start off with on paper. Its not that I'm bad at drawing, its just that the project was so spontaneous. Onto the 3d stuff I said to myself and the design was clear in my head, man Vs lantern. lantern wins over man simple, 'Magic Lantern man'. I would have to confess if you want to do this properly make a design on paper
When I looked for reference I referred tohref="http://www.3d.sk/" target="_blank"> www.3d.sk for human reference and clothes then looked at Alan Moore's 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' comics for ideas on Victorian technology which seemed to be a perfect place to start as it was full of pages of insane Victorian machinery and weirdo's.
Getting a Template
First I looked through my archive for a male model to use as a template. If you do decide to create a lot of different human figure characters its worth your time creating 'naked' male and female template model. These will provide you with something to build from and save you a lot of time, rather than have to start from scratch. When you do create the template just work on one side of the body and use a symmetry modifier or a mirrored instance to see the result. Only one side of the mesh will be required for template models. For this model I also added a range of walk and run animations for skin testing,
with the first frame being set for the Christ 'skin' pose.
For the mesh I used a stack that combined these modifiers
This gave me the chance to test out the skin while allowing me to modify the mesh. Rather than having to apply and check all the time.
If required you can turn off a modifier giving more processing power. Or set the modifier to work only when rendering This rule mostly applies to MeshSmooth, which slows down things even when not subdividing.
Good enough I tell myself. He won't look that pretty soon. Notice the old school max.3 bones and a set of teeth I have to say I do prefer the old school approach for setting up bones and IK's, with less IK helpers and bone constraints, which can fill a scene up with lots of extra information and objects. But this is all just a question of taste
Because the template model has already got skinning I should at least say something about it. I know it may seem a little strange so soon in the tutorial. But bear with me this will help with the model process.
Envelopes - A lot of people pooh-pooh skin envelopes. Mainly because they are not very precise, but for starting your model they are a good system for doing basic skinning, as they don't mind you altering the mesh when dropping down a stack, unlike vertex weighting that can go nuts if a new vertex has been introduced to the stack. Once you're happy with a mesh you can then use the envelopes to convert into vertex weighting and do all the fiddly work. With the model I was building I found I didn't need to use vertex weighting as the skin envelopes where affective enough.
Mess him up good and proper
So off I went to mess up a male template model
Extend the arms...
Take out the face, replace with lantern and beef up the arms...
Tip - If you want to beef- up a body part you can fatten the mesh by moving the vertex
along their Z-axis using local axis cords. Or apply a Push modifier, which works on the same system.
Then refined the arm so it has robotic extensions and started work on his trousers. For the chimney I used reference from magic lanterns to get an idea of Victorian design
After getting all the basics done I went onto the details, and I wanted lots of the stuff
Tip - I made great use of Max's Poly mesh's, which allows you to create creases for when you apply a mesh smooth or NURB iterations. This is ideal for creating machinery that's been engineered to be curved with sharp edges. Using the loop and ring tool will save lots of time selecting the edges, as it
will automatically find the edge connections.
To get the trousers right I looked at reference and used extrude and chamfer to generate creases from selected edges. Then
collapsed unwanted edges.
Onto UV mapping something that all artists will confess hating, its really not much fun, but it needs to be done well if you want to make it look perfect. First I set the ID's for the polygons. Defining different coloured areas for each part that required a different texture. After setting ID areas I then went on to selecting them and applying the UV
mapping to one side of the body. I later then mirrored the half and flipped the UV's for the body, head, lantern, heart and trousers then merged the two halves.
Tip - After cylindrically mapping the head I had to fix its mapping. 3ds max is not
100% accurate in the way it maps and can leave broken areas that require moving
and stitching. It's a good idea to check through your UV mapping if you use texporter to create reference textures, as texporter wont pick up these flaky parts as they are outside the area.
Once I completed all the UV mapping I used texporter to generate reference textures which I could then use in Photoshop to give me an idea what I'm texturing onto.
After getting all those exported I then started to create textures making full use of the photos supplied with 3d.sk and rusty metal textures.
Fall-offs. After creating the textures I needed the skin to look right, as skin will absorb
light being made of hundreds of layers of transparent skin, blood, muscle and
then bone. For this I opted for a cheap affective fall-off material applied to the
self-illumination map. I also used the fall-off material for the lens to generate a green glowing affect
Fall-off maps are lots of fun and can do so much to alter the way light hits a surface and what's more they are cheap on processing power.
Illumination fall-off, Towards / away
Illumination fall-off, Towards / away
Illumination fall-off, Shadow / light
Illumination & opacity fall-off, Towards / away
In all, the project took a week to finish, working on it on and off. Using 3dsmax 6 with a 3ghz Pentium with a gig of RAM