Friday, 27 November 2009

The Finale.

So after a very hectic last 2 weeks of my project, it comes down to deadline day. I must say i'm very disappointed that i didn't get to finish. Unfortunately my weight painting wasn't good enough to make any proper animations. It's a shame that I ran out of time as, i really felt like i was getting the hang of the process.

I did however manage to get some renders of my model throughout its process and placed them into a montage to hand in. I tried out some poses also but i just didn't feel they were good enough to render out. However despite not being able to finish my project to it's entirety. I am extremely pleased with how my model looks. I've never really modeled a character before and i was so thrilled to see how my design translated into 3d.

I think reflecting on the way i worked in this project, that my main problem was my persistance with one task at a time. If something went wrong in the process, instead of moving on where i could and getting help later on, i stayed put and kept trying with no prevail. I think this was ultimately my downfall, as my trouble with the 3D paint tool set me back alot further than i was comfortable with.

After that I let panic set in and everything became more and more rushed, ultimately lowering the quality of my work and the amount i was learning. Though I was incredibly proud of my mesh and the way the model looked, I do feel my designs were a bit too ambitious for my first ever character. I should have stuck to simpler shapes or maybe not have give him so many human characteristics.

Ive learnt so much about modeling and the tools i can use in this project. I feel alot more confident with the maya interface and comfortable that i can handle myself when things go wrong in maya. Even though I didn't meet the outcome i wanted, I can't help but feel proud anyway with the amount i've learnt this term and how far ive come in just 8 short weeks. I'd like to thank all the tutors for putting up with my constant questioning and for all the hours they put in helping me with this project.

That is all!

Painting Weights.

After receiving my basic rig from puppet master, I could move on to Painting Weights. This has now become the biggest hurdle as time is running out. I know that there are many ways to paint weights, i.e. the component editor or the Paint Weights tool. I decided to use the paint weights tool as the layout of said tool is similar to the 3D paint tool, which i used whilst texturing.

I knew this would be the biggest hurdle as like the rig, it had to be completed to show any kind of movement on my model. However, this piece of the project has to be completed just right, as, this determines how the mesh works with my rig. There are all sorts of problems that can occur, and i was also quite worried that the tool i wanted wo
uld not function properly as it is very similar to the 3D paint tool.

The process has been long and hard. My mesh, though fine at the feet and knees, has been very temperamental in the torso and arms. The best way to complete this task was to create a short animation that i could scrub through, that distorted the mesh as much as possible. Then use the paint weights tool to fix it. The tool worked fine, however the whole process was trial and error and unfortunately took me a lot longer than i wanted to spend on this part of the project.

Below are some images from this project.


The Rigging Process was long and hard. I used the book as guidelines and became increasingly stressed as I had already lost time due to the problems with the 3D paint tool.

I started by creating my joints. Which was fairly straight forward.
However when it came to the rigging there was a pr
oblem with the instructions with the book. This was incredibly frustrating as it was to do with how she explained rigging the arms and creating the elbow navigator.
I had already lost time to the texturing and i began to panic as i still needed to paint weights and animate. Luckily Steve emailed with a life line. A shelf installation for maya called puppet master which basically created a basic IK rig for you. So After battling with the instructions with the book a little while longer. I decided to give it a whirl.

It worked, kind of, most of the rig worked except the fingers, but i couldn't complain as it catapulted me forward to the weight painting stage.

Monday, 23 November 2009


So I moved on to Texturing. The book only has a small tutorial on it, and the outcome is very basic. But still, I wanted to keep Cornelius simple and clean looking.

I started by creating my UV map using the Automatic Mapping tool. With that done, I went to the rendering menu and used the 3D Paint tool, under the texturing Menu. This allowed me to paint my textures straight onto my Model.
This sounded to good to be true. It unfortunately it was. For some strange reason, the tool doesn't seem to work properly for me. Perhaps its my copy of Maya, or maybe my laptop. I end up painting on this.
However after playing with the tool, I managed to work through, even with the strange black static, by switching between using the 3D Paint Tool and the UV Editor. It took a Very Long time, but here is my UV map (which looks terrible and complex)
And here is my textured Cornelius.

Post Formative... :(

After the Formative it has become clear that I am not meeting my personal deadlines. This is upsetting as I'm really enjoying this project. It seems I did not take into consideration the Post Production Project whilst planning my project. I must admit splitting my time between the two has been hard work and this is something I will definitely have to improve on. Whether it be setting more realistic goals or picking less ambitious ideas.

After thinking long and hard about it, I have decided to drop Pocahontas from this project as I feel any attempt at her would be rushed and this may cause the standards I'm hoping for Cornelius to slip also. I feel this is the only way to have an outcome I am happy with on both projects.

All I can do is learn from this experience.

You Eyeballin' Me?

I could not wait to give Cornelius eyes, as at the moment he looks like just a mesh. No Life, No nothing. So I got on it right away using the tutorial from the fabled book.

I created A nurb sphere and used the Hypershade editor to create a phong surface for the eye balls. I then used a 2D texture Ramp with a U Ramp setting to create the pupils and Iris.

I then created another Nurb Sphere, Slightly big
ger than the first and edited it's start and end sweeps to create Cornelius' Eye lids.
Heres the Outcome.

Mirror Geometry.

So I finished Modeling half my geometry, the next step was to mirror it so I have a full Body. It sounds like an easy step, but this was the hardest thing I've had to do in this project yet.
I followed the instructions in the book i bought, by using the mirror geometry tool. However when i used it, the vertices in the centre of the mouth pinched together. The book warned that this could happen and the only way to fix it was to either play with the mirror geometry settings or to move the verts at the centre of the mouth further away from each other. I tried both of these however and for some reason it just didn't work.

So then I asked Steve and he told me to d
uplicate the mesh, flip it on the origin and merge the vertices. However I got the same results, pinching in the centre of the mouth. He then reminded me to check all the centre verts were snapped to the origin. So I went through them all and sure enough, some were not. So after fixing this problem I went back to trying to do it the book way. Yet again the Mouth verts pinched and it did the same trying it Steve's way again. I looked it up on the internet to see if others were having the same problem and found it was quite a common problem. But the only way of overcoming this was to keeping playing with the mesh.

So after a few days of trying with the same results, I got quite annoyed and was about ready to scrap the mouth all together. But In one last attem
pt I played with maya, experimenting with other ways to combine separate meshes. First I duplicates the Mesh and flipped it on the origin, then i tried combining the mesh. This worked and the mesh became one, however the central verts from both meshes still existed so I had a strange seam. So I tried merging the verts and it worked. So FINALLY after possible one of the most horrible week long set backs I have had in this pro
ject, I had a complete mesh. And despite loosing a week to this I couldn't help but feel incredibly proud.

So the last thing to do in this step was tweak the geometry as after mirroring it looked a little too fat and not very organic, especially on the head.

Modeling Head

So after Modeling the hands and feet i moved on to the head. I came across several problems whilst doing this. The book i was using as reference modeled the head and body within the EP curve we made at the start. But as I made my gorilla quite stocky and muscular I couldn't really do this as he doesn't really have much of a neck.

So i Decided to block it. The main problem that occurred during this process was moulding the vertices to fit a basic muscle structure for a face, from a bulging neck which it was before. The whole process was very time consuming. I then had to Extrude eyebrows for him and pull back basic eye sockets and a mouth for Cornelius.

Finally I notices that there was a hole at the very top of cornelius' mesh. Which after scouring the internet for hours I found I could bridge the vertices for so yet another problem solved.
Overall i'm pleased with the low poly head. The next step is to mirror the geometry.

Keep On Modeling

So it's been a while since my last update. And if I'm completely honest it becomes so easy to get caught up in Maya that I completely forgot about the blog. So sorry as I'm about to update in bulk.

Anyways, the next step in modeling i took, were to block model the hands and feet. I felt cocky on this one and went ahead thinking I knew what I was doing with them, but rule one is to never be cocky with maya as... it will knock you on your arse.

I started by extruding squares from the arms and and then scale extruding five more faces off the end face of the palm I created. These were to be extruded outward to become fingers. I followed the same steps with the feet.

Only after I did this, did i discover that i had in fact made the palms of both the foot and the hands, like 800 sided poly's. I spoke to steve however and he said it is fine, as when i take the model into z brush it should fix my palms by splitting it into tri's and quads for me. So overall, great success...i think? :S