Anatomytober

Many artists had inktober and I had antomytober instead. It all started three weeks ago when I was working on a 3d model of a human and then it was sent for a review to a 3d forum and pros criticized some anatomy mistakes I made. I have decided to eliminate the gap in knowledge and been watching all lectures on anatomy by Scott Eaton, which I highly recommend to anyone attempting to study anatomy for artists. His lectures are, probably, one of the best; he shows you CT scans of real people, shares tips on generalization of forms when you render your artworks and turning complex topic into something extremely comprehensible. While watching videos, I have been writing down names of muscles and doing sketches trying to memorize them all. I thought it would be quite boring but I was so hooked up and obsessed, I’ve been spending 12 hours a day doing exercises on anatomy every day, sometimes missing phone calls, lol.

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In addition, I have accumulated quite a collection of anatomy books and wanted to do a quick review if anyone is interested in the topic.

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I think the best book that I have seen so far on the topic is the book by Uldis Zarinis Anatomy for Sculptors and Anatomy of Facial expressions. This book has been crowdfunded and been published in limited quantity, although I have managed to get my pirate paws on this piece of literature. These books are super awesome, because they explain 3-dimentional aspect of general body forms which is essential when you try to digitally sculpt something in any digital sculpting software.

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Next awesome book is Dr. Paul Richer’s book “Artistic Anatomy”. It is a classic anatomy book, and most peeps know about it, I had French version of it and the illustrations are awesome. This book is suitable for everyone, but mainly 2d artists.

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Last spring I bought a book by 3d Publishing Anatomy for 3d artists, It’s quite a decent book although it is kind of vague in its attempts to explain how to approach such complex subject like anatomy, instead it just gives you workflows of famous artists, which is not necessarily really beneficial to a person who just starting out.

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In august I bought a book Force Drawing anatomy by Michael Mattesi but I just can’t get the logic of the author, it’s too complicated and sometimes I find it to be insane, I don’t know how to approach his workflow to be honest, I think traditional way of memorizing everything by parts is easier, maybe not…

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Everybody knows Loomis’ Figure Drawing for all it’s worth, its epic and brilliant, everyone should read it in primary school. And one of the sad findings for me this October was Barrington Barber’s Anatomy for artists which is basically plagiarism and a really bad one, it’s just bunch of sloppy reproductions of Paul Richers work, really bad reproduction…

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That is it, now when I am confident in my knowledge I will proceed with modelling 3d realistic character…

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Full human ecorche in Zbrush. Long and fulfilling anatomy studies. Frazetta fan.

Today was an especially good day. I’ve finally finished retopo of characters for Going Live and was able to get some sleep and had some free time for independent studies. I think the best way to level your artistic skills up is NOT to actually work like hell to meet the deadline but to take your time and use your brain to thoroughly analyse and study something you want to improve at for a really long period of time with no rush. The key is to understand and memorise and after these sessions of self-studies previously intuitive things will be systematised in your head and then you can perfect certain things in your workflow.

So I wanted to do some anatomy studies and started doing doodles, looking at the art of one of my favourite artists – Frank Frazetta.

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I know, these doodles are awful, it’s usually something that I don’t show, just a stretch, and not a good one, it took me 10 minutes to do them and I was trying to analyse the way he blocks out his characters. But, hey, we’re reflecting, right? So I’m allowed to write any b.

So while doodling I was listening to the lecture of one really cool 3d artist where he was ranting about how it is important to perfect you anatomy fundamentals in 3d and he mentioned software that he uses for referencing called PureRef. I decided to give it a try. IT’S A BOMB! How could I have lived without it???!!!

This completely free software lets you bash as many images as you like in their original size and create mood boards/ reference boards and full screen that stuff and navigate through it. OMG, it is so much better than opening hundreds of tabs in Pinterest and scrolling down and not seeing stuff on the second monitor when you need a reference.

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I was so excited that I decided to make Frank Frazetta anatomy tribute reference board and kept on doodling. After a warm-up I thought, it might be a good idea to start modelling full human ecorche that I could use for all my future human male models. I have gathered tonnes of references and started sculpting.

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Started really quickly with a basic head block out took probably 15 minutes, the key to keep it fast is to make resolution of the mesh as low as possible at this stage and concentrate on the shape.

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Trying to meet Frazetta’s anatomical proportions, sculpted a rib cage and a neck.

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Added blocks of chest muscles looking at Frazetta’s titt  references.

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Blocks of shoulders and biceps follow ahead.

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Added block of lower and mid back muscles. Everything is quite fast, low res and made of a single sphere.

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Frazetta’s characters breathe testosterone and have quite developed traps to pack a good punch and wrestle with monsters.

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Correcting block shapes on the front.

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Added forearms.

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Added hands, each finger is separate, I made every major limb part and muscle group separate so that I could control it when I will be using this ecorche for modelling purposes. Every finger is made from two Zspheres, that were shaped out to look like fingers. I noticed that fingers are actually really square shaped, not round should note that when doing fingers.

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Adding some nice sexy and juicy gluteus muscles.

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What is natural – not shameful.

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Adding some abdominal muscle group.

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Adding some side-rib muscles, whatever their name is.

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Adding outer chest muscle group that connects shoulders and chest. If you strengthen these muscles your hook will be swift and dangerous, lad.

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Adding some thighs.

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Knee.

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The tibia /ˈtɪbiə/ (plural tibiae /ˈtɪbii/ or tibias), also known as the shinbone or shankbone, is the larger and stronger of the two bones in the leg below the knee in vertebrates (the other being the fibula), and it connects the knee with the ankle bones. The tibia is found on the medial side of the leg next to the fibula, and closer to the median plane or centre-line. Just so that you’d know, man.

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Added some feet and duplicated legs. That’s it. Ecorche is basically ready. I know that it needs some corrections, but general proportions are there and each part is separated into a polygroup which makes me really happy, this little dude here now can be transformed into different cool characters.

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I’ll tweak and perfect some details of ecorche and will keep it in my database to quickly model male characters when needed. The most satisfying fact is that this ecorche is MINE and has my “alternative” touch to it and it’s separated into parts which mean I can pose him any way I like! This was a really fruitfull day. And, yes, anatomy is super important.

P.S. Next time I’ll try and model and render Frazetta’s characters using this ecorche, should be really fun.

Main character final look test shots.

Okay this is going to be quite a long post about me studying pbr texturing and doing final test looks of the characters trying out some different shaders, it took a lot of time and it could easily be separated in several posts, but I’m just going to rant on about it.

So I was okay with skin being textured in Zbrush it provided quite a  decent result, but texturing clothes in Zbrush proved to be a nightmare, especially metallic and leather materials. This is my first test shots of my main character:

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As you could notice there were many problems with textures, details of the skin looked good, but I had also problems with the mesh of mouth (it was too thin) so I was constantly making changes trying to study different techniques.

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Here, I gave my test look scene a background to get the mood right. But I was not happy with texture colours and I started tweaking the texture manually in Photoshop, applying different textures and etc.

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These are the texture files that I literally drew on top of the existing ones in Photoshop.

These procedures, that took a couple of days of tedious work would give me this result:

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Still better that the last one, but it lacked certain OOMPH and swag to it.

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I started adding some mood lighting to make textures work.  But I was still not delighted with the results.

Then I would consult with Sean and I thought that maybe using displacement maps will increase the quality of my work. Sean showed me how to use Mental_rays mia_x_passes materials and apply displacement materials and the skin of my character would look way more detailed:

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I was still not delighted with how she looks like, her leather jacket did not stand out and the iron shoulder pad did not look like it was made out of metal. I was also experimenting with her hair, trying to give her polygonal hair patches maybe, but all in vain, I did not like how it would turn up.

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Then I was studying how Mental ray materials are working and which shading options should I use, I would create different spheres with different settings to render how it would show up in the scene.

Then I decided to retexture all my character again!

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I started with the leather belt and a shoulder pad. I have retextured those in Substance painter, exported 4 different texture maps and used MILA shading materials. It took me a while to understand how MILA shading material works, I would constantly get certain anomalies upon rendering objects like this unusual glossiness on the right side of the leather belt that you can observe.

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This is how re-textured leather jacked would look like in Substance painter.

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This is how it would look like in Maya upon rendering, and it took me two days to correct the issue of that excessive glossiness, dear god, I lost a lot of brain cells trying to fix that problem.

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OMG, WHAT IS THIS?

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Better, but the jacket and boots are way too glossy and have that strange white shade.

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Way better…

I think weeks of studying pbr texturing payed off. Now I know how to do it fast and easy. I made a little short video of my character in the end:

Creating realistic eyes in Zbrush and Maya. Mentalray render video.

Okay, I haven’t been updating this blog for quite a while, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been doing anything. I have actually been busy doing tonnes of characters for Going live project and have been documenting all my progress of my Major project.

I have enough materials for 10 posts already, I guess. Okay. Let’s start where we last dropped off. After I’ve done texturing skin I decided to give my character really expressive eyes, that would draw attention, would be quite realistic and vivid.

So I have studied the structure of the eye and read tonnes of materials how to make the realistic eye.

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I made an eye in Maya and replicated all 3 layers of the eyes that are visible from the outside. These are the cornea, pupil and iris, In Maya, they were represented by 3 different models and looked like that.

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I made a dent on the outer sphere representing iris and sent it to Zbrush where I used radial symmetry to and drew the structure of the iris.

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This is how it looked like in ZBrush. After poly painting and creating all these dents imitating the iris I have exported normal and texture maps and exported it back to Maya.

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Then I’ve tweaked the texture map in Photoshop adding detail and realism to its colour.

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Then I was playing around with different render settings.Realistic eye creation 11.jpg

Finally, I had the result that I was okay with:

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This is what the UV of the eye’s look like:

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Note that UV of the back of the eye, that we don’t see is super small, so I don’t waste the valuable texture space and can put more details to the frontal side of the eye.

I have been recording the whole process, and also I animated the eye in the end and rendered it in Mentalray to test how it would look like, here’s what I came up with: