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New piece for the portfolio

comments posted prior to June 7, 4:30pm refer to a nearly identical version, found here.

It's horribly flawed, don't get me wrong. But given how little time I can ever find to work on these things, it could be a lot worse.

v2 edit:
Redirected eyes to better relate, though I'm not sure this is right either.
The other criticisms below still hold.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 6th, 2003 02:05 pm (UTC)
Wait, you think this is "horribly flawed"?!! Well, something must be wrong with my eyes because I think this is awesome!
Jun. 6th, 2003 02:36 pm (UTC)
Ah, but just imagine if the little guy had teeth, and both of 'em had gums. A bit of saliva dripping off those fangs would help sell it, too.

I did as much as I could with body language, but.. neither character actually has a body. =)

There's something "off" in the face and eyes I can't put my finger on, but which makes it feel like the two of them aren't really interacting. And this last one is what really gets me, because it's the only aspect I don't have an answer for. It'll just come with time and experience.

I'm definitely proud of myself for progressing this far. But I'm also realistic about where I should be.

I mean, I love that there's so much room for improvement. But it probably shouldn't be so obvious that there's room for improvement.

Does this make sense?
Jun. 6th, 2003 02:40 pm (UTC)
Re: =)
We are all our own worst critic. What type of programs do you work with?

Maybe it's in the eyes - the location of the eyes might help to indicate that they are in the same scene interacting with one another.

I can relate to the no body thing...back in the day, when i wanted to become a cartoonist, I had a whole line of characters...all heads. No bodies. :)
Jun. 6th, 2003 03:33 pm (UTC)
I used to model in Organica, but have recently fell in love with ZBrush. Much of the texturing was done there as well, before exporting to 3D Studio Max.

I've built a very basic animation rig for the floating head - rotating one bone moves the teeth, while simultaneously driving the morph targets to properly open and close his mouth. That's about all he can do right now.

Finishing touches on this one were done in Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0, which is just sad, but I'm waiting for Photoshop 8 before I upgrade to the full product.

Thus ends what went into this image. But..

When I'm satisfied with a character (complete with body), I can bring that into Kaydara Motionbuilder (the $100 Freelancer Edition) and do most of my animation in there. Much faster viewport than Max, much nicer character rig to work with. And motion-control tools for real-time puppetry! (using this, to start with)

But, what I'm really impatient to get to is FaceStation. I bought that several months ago, and haven't had a chance to even play with it.

On the plus side, I think I'm going to be done paying for all of this next month!
Jun. 7th, 2003 04:48 pm (UTC)
The eyes helped.

The good news is, I'll only have to create those once for any character. The bad news is these are not in any way optimized for that sort of workflow. Frankly, they were an excercise in instant gratification, which is otherwise lacking right now.
Jun. 10th, 2003 05:00 pm (UTC)
Re: update...
I can totally relate to the need for instant gratification. I'm lacking a LOT of that at work right now.

Sorry to hear about the corrupted files...sometimes I'm convinced that computers are our enemies...or maybe in screwing up a file they are trying to tell us that they are human too. They make mistakes.

Jun. 7th, 2003 01:58 am (UTC)
You mentioned the face and eyes. As define23 said, the eyes are probably the biggest factor. While Purple Guy is obviously looking at Slimer on Steroids, SoS doesn't appear to notice that PG exists...They should either be looking at each other, or should be looking at the same object in order to get the fact that they are in the same scene.

On a more technical note, where the two figures overlap, it seems like there should be something shadowy going on there. Right now it literally looks like one was overlaid on top of the other. Also, it's probably because of the funky neon blue tones in there, but I'm having a really hard time discerning where the light source is for Slimer on Steroids. Purple Guy, on the other hand, has a very obvious light source. That difference may also be a contributing factor. But, those last two are things that I only thought of because of what I've learned from you...

Jun. 7th, 2003 12:49 pm (UTC)
Good points. I should pay attention to my shortcuts and workarounds - these things have consequence!

The eyes are a problem, and will be because the characters aren't on eye level with each other. When SoS looks down, I expect the expression will become more condescending than menacing. But that might be a good thing. I can also try making him look straight at the camera. Their positions are "faking to the audience" as it is, so maybe I should run with that.

The two characters were originally created in different files. SoS had a mostly traditional three-point lighting setup, but the lights were lower and aimed upwards.

When I brought purple guy into the scene, he mostly blocked light going up to SoS eyes and forehead, and was largely shadowed by SoS despite being in front of him. I didn't really want him lit from below anyway, so I just threw another light in there.

This made SoS too bright, so I told it not to illuminate his flesh or teeth. It does help out with his eyes, but in doing so creates a second highlight which isn't reflected anywhere else in his body. That last one would have been better solved by telling one of the other lights not cast shadows on his eyes, though I suspect the real solution would have been to relight the whole scene with both characters in mind.

Purple guy does still throw a shadow across the side of Sos' mouth, and upper head. But with these other things going on, it's hard to tell.

The neon blue patterns are indeed self-illuminated, and their visibility is based on which polygons don't face the camera directly. Much as I love 'em, those probably have to go. There is something similar going on with the teeth, which I may also have to lose. That's not as prominent, though.

In fact.. Here. (divX 5 required) The camera's moving, but he is not, and neither are the lights. The nifty green pulsing is caused by different polygons facing the camera. (He does cast shadows on the spherical backdrop behind him, if you're curious about actual light placement) I can't imagine what chaos that would cause in a complex animation, but I'd love to find out. The user icon on this comment has a more simple implimentation on it - I can get away with that much...

Sadly, I can't apply any of this until Monday, as I've left something important at the office, and have no way to anyone with the ability to shut off alarms. Spent three hours last night trying to do so, and trying to purchase a spare so this doesn't happen again, but aside from driving me into a "Hulk Smash!" antisocial funk, this effort was without results.
Jun. 7th, 2003 04:40 pm (UTC)
The eyes have it.
Well, okay. Maybe I'm not as incapacitated as projected. Got the eyes adjusted, anyway. The rest will wait until Monday.

(top post edited to reflect this change)
Jun. 6th, 2003 04:03 pm (UTC)
I think it's killer ... very good work ... and the flaws ... can't find them on MY screen ;-)
Jun. 6th, 2003 05:33 pm (UTC)
Wow. I want a flaw-proof monitor!

That'd rock.


...okay, fine.
"eye of the beholder" point: taken.
compliment: also taken.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


self portrait (escher)
some guy

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