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Reallusion Character Design - Geoffrey J.

Posted By AdventDestiny 3 Years Ago
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AdventDestiny
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So finally I've gotten access to the special trials of iClone 6 Pro and Character Creator! It certainly seems like an interesting interface, though the character creator doesn't seem to be as in-depth as I hoped. I quickly put together a new female model as a template, trying to keep her proportions equal to those of the reference sketch.

https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/6d8ba94e-3fec-4c42-b886-3c66.jpghttps://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/40d37038-a9f2-461f-9abd-3fd1.jpghttps://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/5231670f-8482-471c-9bd5-eaad.jpghttps://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/b9e73cfa-99e7-49eb-ab92-35a1.jpghttps://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/38727c32-c06e-493a-9a13-654f.jpghttps://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/ef709dcd-ea5e-403d-9883-fea4.jpg
I tried to match the structure of her face as much to the drawing as I could, but there are limits. I'll end up taking the mesh into ZBrush, which I've been practicing at for a while. I'll also create a new texture for her, though the real challenge will be the inclusion of the hair and fin membranes, the only real analog for clothing she'll have [she lives in the water, so it doesn't make sense to have her wearing something that would slow her down in the water]. Thanks to some advice I got from ZBrushCentral, I now know how to divide the model into multiple subtools, allowing me to sculpt and texture different pieces of anatomy... no more accursed lashes in my way!
AdventDestiny
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I was originally planning on starting a new topic for discussion of design and story development for my entry in this contest, but decided that it would be better to maintain that discussion here, as a potential learning resource for the other competitors [I just hope it get's enough attention here].

My plan is to create a short film animation, which I'm currently calling Daughters of Pandora: The Beginning [the idea has come from a story concept I've long hoped to turn into some kind of film or game, and I intend this contest entry to be a sort of promotion for the concept], a very simple tale on how the desire for the sensual and beautiful can lead to disaster, if overindulged.

There are several details that I want to animate into my siren character beyond general movement;

I want her to have four fins, two on her forearms, one on her head, and one along her back. The back and head fins need to fold back completely, like a fan, so as to not be readily apparent when not in use. I plan to have the head and back fins fan out violently when the siren enters 'attack mode', with the fins vibrating the way the Spitter Dilophosaurus's frill did in Jurassic Park.

I want the finger nails on her hands to be retractable, like a cat's. I also want something similar for her teeth, which are always sharp, but I want them to become longer when closing in for the kill.

Her mouth needs to partially gape wider than usual, with her jaws actually poking their way out of mouth, the way a Great White or Goblin Shark's jaw can.

Her eyes also need to be able to shift, her pupils changing from a soft oval to a cat like slit, while her iris changes color, to indicate a change from a passive to aggressive state.

This is a list of the programs I have access to, and plan on using to put this whole project together;

ZBrush: To modify the appearance of the CC model, to give her a more subtle inhuman appearance. I also suspect that I will have to sculpt the four fins on her from scratch.

iClone 6 Pro and Character Creator [Trial]: Obviously as I mentioned to provide a human template to build off of, and to actually animate the final model. I don't think I'll be able to animate the fins with iClone however.

Blender: Haven't used it much, but then again haven't really used iClone either. Blender I mainly expect to use for the elements of animation I can't achieve in iClone, specifically the movements of her fins, her retractable claws/fangs, her expanding mouth, and the shifting eyes.

Unreal Engine 4: For the actual environment, since I'm honestly not sure any available environments from iClone will work for me. What I'm looking to do is a simple island beach, with a small rocky cove where most of the action will take place. What I ultimately want is a high quality environment that can be rendered in real time.

I may also try and use Substance Painter and/or Substance Designer to focus on designing the texture and colors of the siren [I may consider trying to use multiple sirens if I can, in which case Substance Painter could be very handy at quickly creating and modifying copies of the same UV map, so that I can reuse the same siren model, but with different colors and patters].

While I do some research on all these programs, feel free to post any advice and suggestions on what you think may help to put this concept together. I plan on writing a short outline of the story I want to animate soon, which I'd also appreciate any creative feedback on. I also hope that this topic may potentially provide some insight into the process of creating a full concept, from beginning to end, and that it will help others bring their own ideas to life in the future!
AdventDestiny
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I wanted to experiment a little more with Character Creator, see just how far I could take a base model and try and make it conform to the design of my character. After I created a second model in CC, I ended up playing with all the texture and UV options in the advanced editor, and this is the result:
https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/91524f22-23a8-45cf-98f2-1b7f.jpghttps://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/cdf18caf-416d-4f94-b50b-d2b4.jpghttps://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/a0dc66b4-6f46-41d4-86c5-0e83.jpghttps://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/57f5901e-ea81-4d54-bea2-5065.jpghttps://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/235d2541-66ba-40b5-8064-0ae9.jpghttps://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/97660c23-e45e-440f-b08e-57cf.jpg
Pretty good, although sadly it's really not much different from other programs like Fuse [though I admit the eye controls are quite effective, it allowed me to quickly experiment with a more subtly inhuman eye that I've been planning for her]. Right now I'm going to try and find out whether or not I can find a way to preserve this texture map in ZBrush, specifically after I've resculpted the mesh. If I can fit the old texture around the new model, it could save me a lot of time in regards to creating a new skin for her.
AdventDestiny
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So here are some new updates on my contest entry;

I decided to quickly redesign my Siren, scrapping the head fin and instead focusing on giving her the ability to open her mouth impossibly wide, thanks to a slit along the cheeks. My goal for the character is essentially to create a predator capable of disguising itself as an alluring woman, and more importantly without resorting to fantastical morphing that I've seen used in movies and games in the past. Everything that makes her terrifying is there when she's beautiful, and vice versa, you just need to look real close to see it, which will likely be the last thing you do!
https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/73f94bb5-13a5-4cb6-a578-a9cd.jpghttps://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/93a9c0ea-012a-4ada-80e0-5403.jpg
Honestly I really like the head profile design, it was something I did really quickly that turned out great. I love how the entire silhouette changes, turning something that could pass for human into something more like a velociraptor, just by the opening of the mouth and extension of both the jaws and teeth. I decided to try and experiment and design a digital maquette, something to see whether or not the current design will work in three dimensions. I also want to try something new and replicate the pose in the top drawing, something I've never done before in ZBrush! This is the ZSphere rig I will begin with, after which I will use an Adaptive Skin to create a mesh that I can use to sculpt more mass and detail over the 'skeleton'.
https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/d54afce9-5777-499f-81ff-10d0.jpghttps://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/3533a8c3-f027-48a6-bec7-53e8.jpg
AdventDestiny
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[First off I'd like to say that I really goofed up with my previous post of the maquette pick; I said I had planned on using a Zsphere armature to quickly put together a reference model, but I made some mistakes that made it unusable, which I would like to illustrate so that others don't make the same mistake! 1. When actually designing the Zsphere armature, make sure you use the adaptive skin and sculpt all the details BEFORE trying to pose the rig, otherwise symmetry sculpting will be impossible! 2. Make sure when you're actually posing the limbs to hold the shift key, or the limbs will be stretched or shortened differently, making the different parts uneven... unless that's what you want them to be, of course!]

I noticed that some of the competitors have been creating mood boards to illustrate their references, so I decided to do the same [saves a lot of space in the posts too]! I decided to start off from scratch with this project, which includes gathering a more refined set of reference that's a combination of female faces and body types, along with some animal and monster pics to present details that will all be combined in the final character design. This was all put together in Manga Studios 5, and I have to say I'm impressed at how easy it was to actually put it together: [I censored the nude pics, please tell me if they need to be censored more and I'll go back and cover them up some more]
https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/dbca871f-ae59-41ee-912f-0abd.jpg
As I've mentioned before, Sirens are essentially a species of ambush predators that has adapted itself to prey on humans, specifically men, presenting themselves as alluring, nubile, and seemingly delicate women. The list of animals I was using for reference has been stripped down quite a bit, leaving just the Black Mamba [for the prominent mouth color, and possibly the jaw slit along the cheeks], the Domestic Cat [the eyes], the Piranha [the teeth], the Goblin Shark [the jaws], the Rainbow Boa [skin iridescence], the Siamese Fighting Fish [for the 'hair fins'], the Poison Dart Frog [basic colors], the Dromaeosaurus [general build and structure of feet], in addition to the stripe patterns of a Tiger and both the fins and poison injectors of a Stonefish [neither of which are represented here, sorry!]

At this point I'm going to make a new model in Character Creator, but this time I won't try and exaggerate the proportions to try and match the final design. Rather, I want to take an approach similar to Face Off, where instead the focus is taking a normal person's face and changing it into something monstrous through prosthetic makeup. Obviously in this case it'll be digital clay from ZBrush, but I do hope to ultimately capture the feel of an actual person's appearance beneath the inhuman attributes. It's also about time I started work on the actual story, since I plan on trying to make a short animated film as my main entry for the contest [I also plan on doing a turnaround animation, allowing close examination of her features as they are animated, which will be my Plan B incase my first one proves too ambitious]. Before I go, here's a new sketch I did yesterday, which was designed by referencing some of the images in the above mood board. Enjoy!
https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/1a593d90-304e-4cdf-a6a9-04ca.jpg
AdventDestiny
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After some issues with Character Creator, still not sure how it got messed up in the first place, I managed to create a new and hopefully final template model that I will use to create the Siren. I decided that instead of trying to match the final appearance as closely as possible, I would focus on making her more or less match the proportions of the model references from my mood board. I ignored modifying the nose and ears, because those are the features that I intend on altering in ZBrush. This is the end result:
https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/f18fc399-2e96-4912-b646-3635.jpg
Now there are some features that I couldn't match in Character Creator, like the longer, thinner midriff, which will require some tweeking, along with the creation of an entirely new texture map. Right now, I'm still trying to figure out how to take this mesh and give it the mouth I have planned. So far the best option to achieve creating a narrow slit along the cheeks is to use ZModeler, a ZBrush feature that allows direct modification and manipulation of the polygons themselves. I know it's the way to go, just a bit difficult manipulating the face in that state, considering the level of detail. I've tried reducing the polygon count [figuring that I simply subdivide the details back up when finishing the model], but this is the result:
https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/5ddfaa75-9fb2-49a9-98d8-1145.jpg
Not sure what's going on here... why is the nose twisting so asymmetrically? Anyways, this requires some further experimentation.
AdventDestiny
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I did a new sketch that I then colored in Manga Studios 5:
https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/e63d1626-d038-42b7-ad7a-9578.jpg
[Before anyone mentions it, yes I know she looks like Mystique, which was not my intention when doing this!]
This is mainly a conceptual sketch to get an idea of what the Siren could look like when fully colored. I've done very few digital enhancements of my drawings, but this is one my favorite and most complex ones yet. A lot of experimentation in using Multiply layers and the opacity of various brushes, which honestly I still haven't discovered a set that work well for me. It took quite a while to do this, probably two or three hours, not counting the original drawing. Hopefully in the future I can improve on this.
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AdventDestiny (8/26/2016)
Not sure what's going on here... why is the nose twisting so asymmetrically? Anyways, this requires some further experimentation.


That could turn out to be a blessing in disguise.  A bit of asymmetry here and there adds character.  Only computer-generated characters are perfectly symmetrical.





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AdventDestiny
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I'm all for a little asymmetry in a design, though maybe not as extreme as that... still have no idea what was going on in ZBrush when that happened!
AdventDestiny
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Thanks to some suggestions from a fellow competitor, I decided to add a new set of fins to the Siren, and also to make a slight redesign for them as well.

https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/7336795b-bf93-4031-bd3e-ae28.jpg
The new fins are attached to her feet, which I originally avoided because I was worried any sort of fins on the feet would hamper mobility on the land [I'm envisioning her as an agile ambush predator, so putting any flippers on her feet would not work], but after looking at the latest design's partially folded arm fins got me thinking; what if she can fold her fins completely flat against her body? Have them fold so tight that they only appear as a narrow stem-like member along the arms and back, that way they wouldn't get in the way when she's moving around on land, but can be popped open to aid in swimming, and with the bright colors could also be used as part of a threat display, or to be part of a jumpscare moment when she reveals her true nature.

With this new direction, I found that now there was no reason not to add fins to her legs, because they can simply fold out of the way when not in use, so I added them to her lower legs and feet, giving her something to provide more maneuverability when in the water.I'd also like to add, that already this contest has lead to new improvements in my art process. For a while, I've only been using an HB pencil to make my drawings, then scanning it into the computer, which resulted in poor quality. But recently I started tracing over the HB with a 6B pencil, which is much softer and darker, not good for sketching, but it worked perfectly to highlight my drawing. Now I don't have to play around with the contrast as much anymore!

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3 Years Ago by AdventDestiny



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