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You may want to credit Critical Role and Sam Riegel for the character creation.
3D character artist Tushank K. Jaiswal gave us a breakdown of the production process behind his most recent project, Neolibyan Character. The artist discussed some milestones of his creation – modeling, working on clothing, creating accessories and many more.
Well, I am a 3D character artist with an experience of 3 years in Games and 3D Print industry. I hail from Lucknow city in India and currently doing freelancing. I did my graduation from Frameboxx Animation & VFX in New Delhi. After that, I got an opportunity to start my carrier at Little Red Zombies, a well-known studio in India. I worked there for about two and a half years in which I got the chances to work on several projects including few AAA titles (unreleased). Lords of the Fallen, Ironkill and Neca toys are few of the projects that I was a part of. During these years, I learned a lot about the pipeline that our game and print industries are using and I am looking forward to get even more chances to learn, keep myself updated and create better artworks.
I am a huge fan of the works of great concept artist Marko Djurdjevic. Once, I was checking out his works online and I saw this cool concept Neolibyan from Degenesis. I immediately fell in love with it and decided to make it in 3d.
I used the male base mesh from Mudbox for body creation as it offers a very good topology and body proportions. First I matched the body type with the concept to get a good silhouette and then I worked on mid level forms of the body and a bit on head. Then I moved on to create the cloth and accessories of the character. Details including skin pores were done at the end of high poly stage.
Head plays a very important role in a character. So, I did a lot of research to get a good understanding of African head anatomy. Artist Sriram Chandra helped me a lot with this.
For any head, skull is the most important thing to understand. Then come the features. I took few references of African heads with good lighting so that I can read forms and apply them to my model.
Adding skin details was a fun part. And, on the other hand it was challenging too. I used few skin alphas that are easily available on net and made few custom alphas. I had to spent a lot of time on it to get what I was aiming for. The layer system in Zbrush was very helpful here. Also, I would suggest watching the legendary artist Kris Costa’s tutorial in which he shows how to make wrinkles and skin pores.
For clothing, I used Maya to create base meshes. After preparing the base meshes, I imported them into Zbrush and did the rest of the job there. I used Zbrush’s UV Master to quickly unwrap the elements and used Surface Noise to give fabric texture. Surface noise was only for presentation purpose in Zbrush. The bakes were done without the surface details as they were applied later in texturing stage using procedural texturing in Substance Painter.
The approach to accessories was similar to clothing. Used Maya for base meshes and Zbrush for sculpting. But here I didn’t had to spent a lot of time in sculpting as polymodeling gave me desired result. Only a few tweaks and detailing were needed.
POLYMODELING! I have done enough polymodeling during my graduation. Even now, I prefer polymodeling in Maya, whenever I need to make some hard-surface objects in my character. Also I used surface noise and did some manual surface breakage in Zbrush to add realism.
I used Substance Painter for texturing. I find SP a very handy, easy to use and the best platform to get the realistic materials/textures. PBR metal/roughness shader was used here. For all hard surface elements, mostly mask builder and generators worked fine for me. I did some manual tweaks to match it with the concept. For clothing procedural maps were very helpful. While using procedural maps, I had to fix seems in few areas, but fixing seems is not a big deal in SP. it gives you an option of material painting.
For skin, it was mostly hand-painted inside Substance Painter. I also created few textures in Photoshop and used them here in SP as layers. Texturing the head was the most challenging and time taking part in this project. But I enjoyed it.
I used inbuilt HDRI environment in Substance to lit up the character. And did renders in Iray. I also rendered it in Marmoset Toolbag for real time shots. In Marmoset Toolbag, I did some lighting using directional and spot light. My main focus here in lighting was to differentiate the model with background getting good depth and contrast.
Post-production was pretty simple. Used two layers of dark and light color to give a good gradient in the background and some level adjustments plus color filter and exposure setting to enhance the overall look and feel of the character. That’s it!