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08-09-2012, 09:43 AM   #1
TravisCowsill
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Floating Toolbox's MAYA madness
Hey forum.

New thread here. Everything post-worthy I'm doing in MAYA; from newbie to Expert (however long that takes).

Posts will include time-lapse vids, jpg renders and anything else related to the individual projects. As always, CONSTRUCTIVE member input, tips and/or critiques will be appreciated. Hope you guys enjoy. I'll make it all as entertaining as possible.

All videos will have sound (so crank it up gang!)

Here's the first entry. Special thanks to MrJackson for making the last 20 seconds of this video possible! Appreciated mate. Youtube link to time-lapse below...

PROJECT-

-Viewable in Youtube's HD settings-

My first character model WIP...

Using one of my old pre-production designs, the intent here with this exercise is to model "Robot" while keeping his simple, original concept as intact as possible; adjusting a few of his inherent 2d design flaws (torso length, leg spread, etc.), and without re-visiting the design aspects overall as I might do now 10 years later, after his original inception.

That will be for a later date as he needs some upgrades and a few aesthetic modifications.


Hope those viewing enjoy. More from this series and others soon.

Thanks for tuning in to the Floating Toolbox channel.

Regards,
T.C.



LINK

(HD) MAYA_Modeling a Cartoon Robot_part_01 - YouTube
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Last edited by TravisCowsill; 08-09-2012 at 05:33 PM.
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08-09-2012, 01:37 PM   #2
misterjackson
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Nice work Travis Thanks for the name check

Perfect music choice.

You could try adding a 2 lights to you real rendering set-up Directional Light and an ambient light.
Switch shadow maps on the directional light, set the map size to 2048 and the filter size to 5.
In the ambient light reduce the intensity to .5 and the ambient shade to 0

Angle the directional light to your preferred angle, press "7" on the key board to use all lights in the scene, not forgetting to click shadows on in the lighting menu. Adds that extra pop to your real time lighting.

When you're ready we can talk about image based lighting

If I may I would also like to offer another tip? It might be a personal preference but it's one that works well for me. I tend to model in a much lower resolution, then use the "3" key to quickly show the model subdivided. If you want to go back to your low resolution version you just click "1" and hey presto, your back! Nice thing about this is you can do all your UV mapping in low res, models are so much easier handle and change when they're not too dense.
Plus the render will render it all when sub-divided.

If it helps, I would happily do you a video which may explain it better than my clunky words. I could PM it to you if you'd prefer.
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08-09-2012, 05:36 PM   #3
TravisCowsill
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Hey Tony.

Thanks man...for ALL of that. I'll PM you shortly and YES! I would actually like to see a video with the lighting very much. But please, only when you have time. I'll be working between my horror set and Robot all weekend, so it'd be neat to be able to up his quality with that.

I'll touch on the other portions of your reply in my PM.

Had to delete your lovely comment on youtube as I was having trouble with the upload settings and inadvertently killed the whole post. Re-posted now. Didn't want you to think I didn't appreciate that.

TC
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08-09-2012, 07:45 PM   #4
daverave
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For me also the poly count was a bit high its easy to add polys with smooth but its hard to take edges away, also you do not need to smooth all parts of a model this is when I do use more pollys to start with but use less because how smooth work (pressing the 3 button). The parts I am showing are not smooth and will use 50% to 70% less pollys (added bonus no UV stretching)..............dave
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08-09-2012, 08:18 PM   #5
TravisCowsill
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Hi Dave.

I REALLY appreciate that input. So think "lower polys" wherever possible then. Got it!

I'll do some refining and see if i can do what I've started at a lower gate with that in mind. Thanks you again for the assist!

Travis
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09-09-2012, 07:29 AM   #6
Gen
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I made that mistake and it ended up really bumming me out for a while lol. Starting a model like that is especially tough on you if you're creating any kind of organic form and nailing those down is hard enough without the added complication.
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10-09-2012, 06:06 PM   #7
TravisCowsill
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Thanks again for all the advice.

My learning curve is really steep, so all these tips are crucial. I really appreciate everyone's input.

I have 10 months to catch up on from last year's loss of equipment to be close to where I should be by now, in order to push forward with my goals and skill-set. Not to mention actual physical projects that need to be finished by this time next year that were started in pre-prod before I was robbed.

Frantic pace. very frantic.

Anyway, thanks again everyone. I'm going back into the torso and other areas to see how many poly's I can eradicate, but spent some time on modeling the rest of him this weekend.

The underpants were a huge experiment of trial and error before I could finally get them to work. And low poly's didn't seem to be an option overall. I wound up remodeling them probably 6 times fully before figuring out how to do the vertex hole cut ( and jettison my love of bools-god I hate them now...so havoc-wreaking in complex geometries) )and how to set that hole method in the underwear well-cavities. I haven't edited that completion footage yet, but here's everything sort of up to the point of me merging the vertexes before actually making the holes for those interested. Other design stuff worked on as well in the description. But, just allot to sift through and edit to make my little art-house pieces here, so I cut together a mini trailer to experiment a little with a different vibe for the full second Vid next week.

Here's a temp cut preview of that time-lapse until a proper edit of all the remaining footage Sunday.
Just part of the grand experiment of upping my body of work. Enjoy or don't.

That's what this is all about kids.

TC

Description-

CONTENT OF PREVIEW- Modeling the metal underpants in preparation for the vertex-point socket holes for the interior femur ball-joints.

Content of upcoming FULL-LENGTH video- Finishing of the underpants, primary modeling of the arm and leg bands, knee and elbow joints, belly-spring segmentation and start of constraining edges /edge refinement over the model (including the head...yes, I know there's a seam around the dome until I constrain the cyclops eye).

Catch you next week!

(HD) MAYA_Preview trailer_Modeling a Cartoon Robot_part_02 - YouTube
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10-09-2012, 10:18 PM   #8
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Could you upload a ref for the underpants and I will see what low poly model I can make, I myself will some times have to do a few meshes before I can get the right edge flow..............dave
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13-09-2012, 04:45 AM   #9
TravisCowsill
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Thanks guys!

Finished my torso and a shout out to the forum...Dave there's a message for you as per your request at the end...

(HD) MAYA_ Modeling a Cartoon Robot_Torso completion - YouTube
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13-09-2012, 01:18 PM   #10
TravisCowsill
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Woo hoo!

Did a last try to get the polys down and got it clocked in at 150 polys total, at 2 segments!
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14-09-2012, 06:40 AM   #11
misterjackson
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It's great to see how you're progressing, keep the videos coming.

You're appreciation is ... appreciated!!
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18-09-2012, 12:39 PM   #12
TravisCowsill
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Thanks Tony.

YOU'RE appreciation...is appreciated!

For those interested, I'll be posting Time-Lapse video #2 this evening. He's almost ready for texture and rigging. Trying to find some nice background music for this one 'cause it's multi-segmented.

See you guys tonight. Off to my day job.

TC

PS...Oh, yeah, today's entry brought to you by the letter, "Save after every 5 key-strokes if you have auto-save disabled!"...I lost 3 hours of work and the matching video on the final keystroke last night.

Last edited by TravisCowsill; 18-09-2012 at 12:43 PM.
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18-09-2012, 08:38 PM   #13
misterjackson
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oops my bad. Your ... appreciation is appreciated ... damn my English.
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25-09-2012, 04:38 PM   #14
TravisCowsill
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Hi Forum.

Well, the best laid plans. I had a major bout of dayjobitus and had to put Robot on hold for a few days.

(Dave Rave-I got the Undies to where I am comfortable, but they were a nightmare. Can I still send you the ref images now that I've made the effort of doing it on my own? I could really use the help because I don't even know how I pulled off what I pulled off. here as it is, and as it stands, it's the only high poly geometry still left on the model.

Anyway, back to the update (with pics below)...

Jpegs are enlargeable to full size.

The update so far...

I'm working up the next time lapse video into something sort of special (for me anyway) , but honestly it's becoming such a production and i have such high ambitions for what i'm trying to do with it, that it'll be a while till it's ready and I thought I'd pull the first next-phase jpeg renders up to get some feedback until that's more under control.

So, here's the Model at 60% complete below. A brief note before the official update...

For the final completed model, I'm going more steam punk, photo realistic copper and brass color/texture/surface detail and am right now going through every anisotropic tutorial I can find, looking at (and trying out) a few photo-real shaders I found online (which some I can't for the life of me -YET-seem to get to work right from one lighting set up to the next (I hate being a newbie) , and just doing my homework on those issues at present. For the time being, I used a nice series of preset metals and goosed them accordingly to start getting that sort of photo-real cartoon, fresh-off-the assembly-line look, before I then push forward later into more detailed anisotropic territory after final model.

But all in all, and all things considered, I think he's turning out pretty decent.

This is apt to be a detailed and longish update, so read only if and when you have the time to catch up on what's actually going on with thee model and in these pics, and if you're interested. But I think the below should explain my take on the whole thing and probably pre-address potential comments. And your comments are appreciated as well as your input, critiques and pointing out anything I may not know or have done ass-backwards at my current skill-set. I'll show off the fine details such as his chest-piece's light-well interior build, The eye mechanism, and a little extra and all that soon and probably in the long-form video. For now, below are the stats for the model and the jpegs. Thanks for looking...



CARTOON ROBOT UPDATE- 09/25/2012

The physical model here is 60% complete (not taking into account eventual texturing), with some fine edge detail work to do I've just begun. Think of where I'm going with the surface details as the original star trek series TV show versus the design subtlety upgrades of the reboot movie. Where you really, more or less, notice the depth of the detail upon close examination. it's there, but so subtle as to almost miss it.

This allowed me to stick as close as physically possible to the original drawing, address and fix that drawing's more obvious problems (I'm a better overall draftsman now ten years later in general), and bring the close range detail into a richer territory. Again, not re-designing. I'm trying to discipline myself to the experience of the exercise itself of modeling what I've got, not changing him from that original concept, and making him look good in the end.

So the surface metal detailing has just begun. For most of the final work being performed and discussed below, anyone looking should reference the posed model for those detasils and upgrades.

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE/ HAS BEEN DONE OR IS BEING FINALIZED...

I'll be replacing the temporary small glow strip at his belly's bottom with a lighted, sequential toggle-switch array (like star trek buttons) of varying incandescence, and finishing of the elbow and knee swivel-joints (they are not done yet on the various stages of the model here, but the final joint model is in the four last jpegs of this update. Signed off on them this morning and will be swapping them out on the bot tonight).

I went back to the original design with the nod to the Hal 900 chest-piece lens (am still tweaking the bulb incandescence levels) as that's what I designed originally...again, disciplining myself, while I did probably 5 different takes from gold light and clear glass, to blah blah blah before finally deciding to stick to the basics.

The hands , under neck ball joint(s), and secondary belly bowls are not even close to modeled yet and are their basic smoothed, placeholder geometries here.

A note here on the overall geometry-

As you guys are probably aware from my first time-lapse vid of this guy, I blocked out most of the basic geometry's using curves. I did this because this is a cartoon robot and emerged from one of my 2d drawings. I wanted my hands "on" as much of this model through the mouse as possible. I wanted to be able to simulate my line style, without totally mirroring it. So you will notice that , upon close inspection (there's that word again), there are some subtle asymmetries going on across the board on every piece (except the arm rods themselves, which I'll be goosing slightly with the deformer tool in the end).

Now, the asymmetries only relay to the design aspect of the goem's.

Example...The knee and elbow joints (even the finished model in the last few pics here) are just a wee bit off kilter in terms of some subtle, really subtle warping. Juuuust slightly off normal. Same with the gold arm and leg bands. If you look closely, they are not perfectly straight, hard or totally symmetrical in terms of planes and degrees. Just these little subtle nuances were helpful in making him not so rigid in the end (for a rigid inherent model really to begin with) and give me the feel and semblance of my original cartoon drawing, while , I think, successfully transitioning the bridge into 3d. There is of course a symmetry to the mirrored components between the left side and right side of the body, but I think you guys get my point.

I'm obsessive compulsive. So we're talking in terms of a few degrees here folks.

LASTLY

I'm fine tuning volumes as I go. I've bulked up the arm rods a bit as well as the elbow and knee joints (on the final models for those-(last jpegs-though not yet attached to robot pose models) to give him a tad more girth, and will probably give him one more overall "bulking" across the board. I like him spindly, and that's the design but a few more degrees will probably be added to fatten him up by about 5 to 8% once I deform the arm rods and see what the back pack does to the balance. I designed the back pack on the back view of the original turn around drawing only. But never attached it to the 3/24 view, so i don't even know how it's going to affect the design yet till i stick it on.

He's more ornate, steam-punk Jetson's territory rather than clunky Star wars. As was my initial concept for the design -though I don't know if I'd go that route now ten years after the fact) I still have to design and ad his utility back pack. THERE IS A FUNCTION FOR IT.

I've almost finished his roving, cyclops eye-light internal assembly; Which is now real glass over a fuchsia plasma-gas-field interior, and the center light you see glowing through, illuminating the socket, is an inner build piece consisting of a basic light inside a bulb (the old eye in my first blocked out color test model was just the colored glow placed directly onto the poly surface faces of the eye strip area and self-illuminated- cool and lightsaber-like, but not close enough to my concept drawing.)

The inner eye-bulb (when completed) will be on a rigged swivel arm so he can subtly look at you, his surroundings/points of interest and have some subliminal eye movement behind the glass. If you look closely, you can make out the inner well of the assembly which I'm still working on behind the bulb.

Feet are missing the color swatch at back and inner swivel connection discs (interior ankles).

He is not rigged yet. I simply posed the model out at his pivot articulation points for reference when i go to rigging, and for me to judge where the balance of the model is going overall out of the "T" pose.

I have the first two stage "T" poses here on the stage not for comparison or display (well, maybe a little), but mainly because I'm testing and building against the steel-bot before transferring the revised modeled geometries over to the final T pose and reference rig poses. Eventually all three stages will be identical in terms of the model.

The yellow underwear front and back patch on the two ornate models is basic yellow gold mia metallic car paint. My first attempt at surfacing him when i did my first color test (not realizing I presets to start to work with) .I haven't yet gotten around to swapping that out for the new copper I'm using, and his belt is chrome. I'm still playing with the small design aspects. So it's modeling plus experimenting with the design.

Not visible here is that the shoulder ring attachments are supported on a swivel by a series of four tubular cables, bridging through into the shoulder balls. Back view coming soon to demonstrate.

This is under hard stage lights. I know the glare is a bit hot. That's okay. I wanted very bright working lights for the color value work. I'll be going into more subdued lighting later for the turntable and other stuff.

FINALLY-

Again, the intent with this exercise was/is not to re-invent the wheel here by updating or redesigning him totally from this simple, 10 year old concept. The intent is for me to, at my current skill-set, model him to a faithful representation of the original 2d design, and just give him those few, subtle extra details that will make him a little more detailed, and to fix a few volume and basic design flaws such as leg spread, torso length and overall dimension/proportions inherent in my original design.

Here he is...
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Last edited by TravisCowsill; 25-09-2012 at 06:37 PM.
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25-09-2012, 04:40 PM   #15
TravisCowsill
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Last ones...
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