Making Of 'Will you be my Valentine?'
First of all I would like to thank 3DTotal for giving me the opportunity to write my first Making Of for this amazing site!
I'm Rohith Rao, an Indian who lives in Dubai, the UAE. I work as a 3D generalist at Real Image Productions, where I head the modeling and texturing department. I've always loved to work with Maya and ZBrush and have experimented with different methods to reach a good quality of renders. My aim is always to achieve artistic and photorealistic results.
I would like to thank my wife Chaitra Rohith for her love and support, and Aiham Ajib, CEO and Creative Director of Real Image for his support (www.realimage.tv).
Living in the UAE, I am very fascinated with the traditional dress here and so I wanted to use the different types in an image. Before I started to model, I went through lots of reference images. It is very important to see the details of an object in the photo; that way you don't waste your time trying to understand it (Fig.01).
My aim was to get good topology. I started with the angel fairy character and created one base mesh. Once I was satisfied I used the same mesh for all the characters as they would be having similar features. I took the base mesh into ZBrush to change the shapes by using the Move tool.
Rigging and Posing
To create the rig I used the Setup Machine plugin, which you can find here. Once I was happy with the rig I did the posing. I took photos of myself doing the poses, which is always a nice thing to do to make the posing simpler (Fig.02).
Textures and materials are very important when it comes to creating realism in work. Good textures and materials make the model more expressive, whereas bad ones destroy even the most gorgeous geometry. UV Unwrap is the base for any texturing. There are many plugins for UVs, like Roadkill, Pelt, Unwrella, etc., but I always manually unwrap my UVs in Maya as it gives you much more freedom while texturing.
To avoid seamless textures, I painted my textures for this project in ZBrush. Once I was happy with the base texture I did epidermal, subdermal, overall and diffuse in Photoshop (Fig.03). Photoshop is an indispensable tool for creating textures, both at the texturing stage and in post work.
Shading and Lighting
It's important to build shaders and lighting in an organized way. Creating a simple lighting setup before you start texturing is a very good idea. Here I used a studio lighting setup. Studio lighting and lighting environments are very different. I always have one key light where my light source is and then, depending on the model, one back light and also one fill light.
You can have shaders built with a color-correction plugin used for textures. In most cases this will enable you to adjust the shaders without 2D texture editing. I used a SSS shader and assigned all my textures to it (Fig.04).
I did a light rig, which gave me a good result. I used a sphere with normals facing inwards (Fig.05).
It was important to remember to enable color management in the render settings. Then I checked the main light graph (Fig.06).
For fill lights I just duplicated the back light and changed the temperature and intensity. If you think you need more lights in an image, you can always add additional fill lights (Fig.07).
The most important thing is color correction in Photoshop. I rendered three render pass: ambient occlusion, matte and color (Fig.08). I always work with Levels, Curves, Selective Color and Color Balance adjustments.
I hope you enjoyed this Making Of and you learned something from it. Thank you for taking the time to read it and feel free to email me your feedback.