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11:06 am

 Oh my weekend was so...
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Jesus stole my Saturday. LOL. Actually, I'd planned to spend my saturday working on the Paris project, but as it turns out, My mom's Church needed some help with their computers for the GED lab. As soon as she said that, I knew my weekend was gone. Church computers =AGONY.



No Virus protection. Now Updates. Two of the computers were Windows 2000 HP Vectras that could only support like 512mb of RAM. The other three were all Windows XP SP2. Plus every single one of them had like twenty different apps running in the background that slowed the machines to a crawl. If I had my choice, I would have burned every last one of them and started over. UGH!

So at 7:30pm when I was finished, I felt like hammered poo. However, You'll be happy to know that I'll be putting together a quote of what to get to bring their computers into the current century --and most likely I'll be installing them, too.


But I didn't let that stop me. I'm determined to see this Paris Project through, so I set about the task of grouping the model so that It will work in Poser/DAZ. I'm even considering taking it into C4D since I have Octane for it as well. I'm mulling it over... I'm going to go through the vertex pusher Rigging tutorials, and if I can make it worth, I'll be re-rigging all my modles for C4D. DAZ/Poser gave me a good start, but posing and animating in either application is a nightmare, and some of the functions that you take for granted just aren't there yet. 

I managed to get him grouped and separated in Silo. I sometimes wish they would go back and bring it up to date --if they could give us an updated version, I would be one of the first in line to get it. It's such a simple application that it's easy to develop confidence in using it. I'm not fond of some of the stuff but I was able to become pretty competent in using it without a lot of help. When I was done grouping in Silo, I brought the mesh into Zbrush and merged it preserving the components as polygroups. You can see it below.

Polygrouped and Ready

I did this so that I could concentrate on different parts of the mesh without having to do a lot of masking when I get started. I'm going to be using one of my other figure's skin textures  to texture him. I'm doing this because to be perfectly honest --there aren't a lot of mail skin textures that I like. A lot of the male skin textures seam blotchy and just thrown together --at least the ones that I have. I don't know why, but the girls skin textures are always superior in quality, so it makes sense to use them if you can instead of using a texture that just doesn't seem up to par. 

The next two or three days are gonna be hell because I'm waiting for my Unfold3D license dongle to arrive. I think one of the only places where Zbrush falls short is Doing UV maps. You get some of the wonkiest cuts I've ever seen even when you use the paint protection/attract seams brushes in UV Master. I should have taken a picture of it so you could see the results. I tried Headus UVlayout, which I found to be obscure and archaic, I also tried out Roadkill, which was only slightly better. I tried UV Mapper Pro, and Silo's tools, but the Unfold3D interface was easy to get around in, and the controls are pretty easy to understand --even without the manual. I was able to get a result in Headus --just not as good as I wanted and doing separate UVs for the head vs the body and limbs just was too confusing--so I let it go.

I've basically decided to really get into the modeling/texturing side of things, so I think that it's best to use the best tools you can find. Other people have their favories, but I've gotten pretty comfortable with the Silo-Zbrush-Unfold3d mix. 

6:51 pm

 Breaking Molds
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Oh God... Where to begin. 

I thought I would die waiting for work to be over today so that I could get back to Zbrush...

I started reworking an old mesh for a character for my graphic novel last night. I actually started the project two years ago, but I put it on the shelf because my skills weren't up to the task at that time. I didn't have Zbrush, and I didn't know very much at all about modeling --just the basics. When I started developing the characters, things were pretty dicey. I knew what I wanted, but I just couldn't get it to where I wanted it to go, you know.  for The Second Coming of Mike  I had very clear ideas in my head of what they looked like and  Poser looked to be like it was going to be the most likely solution for getting the looks that I wanted out of the models that were available, and so I set about the task of trying to work out the main characters. Mike was easy, after all she's the main character; but Paris --man... he was not easy. When I was putting him together, parts of myself subconsicously came out when I was trying the first go around. That's not to say the character is based on me because he's not. But he has elements that I wanted to bring out in his character and appearance.

Paris Original

He had to have an appearance that was soothing and easy going. This is a guy who's not the leader by choice, but has all the qualities of one. He's the kind of guy that you trust with your life because he's a good guy at heart. the Idea to use Terai Yuki as the start of him was only made possible by the CDI Morph packs that I found on the DAZ website. When I tried the face morph, he came out almost immediately. The only trouble was that the face was the only thing that came out. The figure geometry itself was terrible

Terai Yuki Male Physique


In the mean time, Genisis popped up and made a lot of the other characters possible without a lot of effort. Many thanks to all the vendors who made that possible. I put together another Paris in DAZ Genesis, but I could never really recreate the look that I'd originally created. I was able to do the initial scenes of the story, but he was younger and that meant I could do a little with it, but when it got down to it, the Genesis version just wasn't "Paris".

So I set about the task of finding the right body for the head. It didn't matter that I didn't know squat about modling. It didn't matter that I knew even less about figure creation. All I knew was that I was going to make my original vision come to life.

I went looking for a donor geometry that I could work with. One thing I will note is that 3D modelers all seem to think that ever male should have Hercules like proportions, and that made it even more challenging. I wanted his physique to match him. He works outside with his hands, but doesn't go to a gym. A construction guy -solid but normal. If I looked at the physique and it looked like it came out of MUSCLEHEAD weekly, then my OCD wasnt going to let me use it. It took me a few months of searching just to find the right physique. I found it months later, but it was not going to do me much good as a body without some work.

So I had to get bold. I did most of my work in Nevercenter Silo. I had to learn to save often because it crashes a lot. I had to learn how to weld points, subdivide to check your edge flow and what was good and bad topology. That part took a lot of time and trial and error, but I was able to get into it thanks to silo's simple interface.  After a while, I was confident enough to make an attempt. The figure in my gallery conceals it's weakness --it's not connected to the rest of the mesh. 

Disconnected Mesh

Well after a wasted evening, I am back on track. I spent about two hours last night spinning my wheels --though I have to accept responsibility because it was completely my fault for being so stupid. When I first tried to merge the mesh, I was stupidly trying to preserve the lower body part of the mesh as much as possible, so I tried to do the merge where the neck meets the chin which was a nightmare. 

I got it merged, but the topography was so bad I had to toss out the results. Even Zbrush said "Hey, stop being stupid!" when I tried to do a little smoothing. There were ugly triangles everywhere and I felt a deep sense of shame when it was all said and done. I caused myself a couple hours worth of headaches because I was locked into thinking about the task inflexibly. Of course it would be an ugly join if I tried to do it there. After I got frustrated, I put down my mouse and was headed off to bed -defeated. 

As my head hit the pillow, I slipped, hit my head on the sink, and when I came to I had a revelation! Make the join further down on the neck where the geometry is simple! ARRRRGH! What was I thinking!

New Topology

I couldn't wait until this evening to try out my theory, so I slipped quietly into silo and gave it a test. About ten minutes later, the join was done with all quads and the subdivision tested perfectly. I had to bide my time at work waiting to get back home to fix the rest of the mesh in Zbrush... Damn job! Anyway, when I got home this evening, I'm proud to say that Zbrush restored my faith in my own ability to make something work in spite of myself.

 Now after getting to Zbrush, I was able to smooth everything out and subdivide. This is the final look at base resolution of about 50k verts and Subdivision level 3 at about 811k verts. Marvelous...

Zbrushed and Ready to GO

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