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Thread: Marcus Game Art Workshop

  1. Marcus Dublin is offline
    Location: Raleigh, NC
    Posts: 1,918

    Marcus Game Art Workshop

    *Update* 09/08/2008



    Hey guys I just wanted to let you know that I put together all of the files and it’s now available for download. The PDF is a bit large but that’s because I wanted to retain the visual quality. The creature Winrar file includes:

    Model: Creature
    Textures: Creature 2048x2048 diffuse/normal/specularcolor/specularlevel/lightmap/AO/UV template/optional original normal

    max9 file final low poly model
    max8 file final low poly model
    .OBJ file
    .FBX file
    7 tga's
    PDF tutorial

    Special Note: I included the original unedited "needs a bit of cleanup" normal map texture bake just in case you guys wanted to use your own bump overlay.

    Furthermore in order to render the max scene you have to turn off the self-illumination, which is set to 100% by default. Enjoy!

    Web version: http://www.marcusdublin.com/ParagalisTutorialPage1.html

    Here’s the link to the PDF by itself: *link removed -->* megaupload.com/?d=IKQALEXU

    Here’s the link to the PDF and creature model files: *link removed -->* megaupload.com/?d=6LC42RM2

    By the way I also included the links in the SDK section as well!

    08/14/2008:

    Hey guys I just wanted to welcome you to my little workshop. I’ve been getting number of PM’s and e-mails asking how and why I do certain things and if I could explain my workflow more in depth. The obvious answer to that would have been to create a few tutorials but life, work, and plain laziness tends to get in the way of doing so! That being said I figured that a step by step (work in progress / tutorial approach) would work best within my schedule. Hopefully this format will not only allow me to work at a comfortable pace but also answer any and all questions right here in the thread. The workshop updates will be fairly structured and will involve WIP images along with a brief explanation of the creation process.

    Please feel free after every up date to chime in with your questions and thoughts and I’ll make sure to address them promptly! If things go pretty smoothly with this initial project I’ll proceed to make a few more covering vehicles, weapons, characters, and environments. For the most part my main goal is to make this a fun and interactive experience for new and moderately experienced artists alike, and hopefully you’ll be able to apply what’s shown in this workshop to your own creations! By the way I’m going to compile everything at the end of this project and convert it into a documented tutorial for download. I’m also going to release the materials to go along with it, such as the block out model, low poly model and textures.

    With that said I’m going to start this workshop with off with “Paragalis”! I choose this design since it’s much easier and less intimidating for beginner and intermediate artists to follow than say Garabolos.

    The Creature Summary:

    Paragalis is literally a walking parasite that’s approximately the size of a large dog from tentacle tip to tale! The creature is an ambush predator who catches its prey with a tongue that can extend to twice the size of its body. Paragalis’s tentacle like mouth contains rows of teeth for gripping its prey, with a barb at the end its tongue that injects toxic venom! Once the prey has been caught its then quickly digested with its remains excreted from the creatures back hump in a gassy form! “I’d suggest that if you were to run into this thing to run the other way, quickly!”

    The Brief:

    I’ll be going over modeling, 3d sculpting, texturing, retopo / optimizing, Uv’s normal map generation, Light map generation, lighting, and whatever ever else comes up along the way!

    The Specs:

    Lowpoly model / 7,000 triangles

    Textures / 1024x1024 / diffuse, spec, normal, alpha

    Tools:

    3dsmax 8 / 9
    Photoshop
    Mudbox
    Zbrush
    Crazybump

    By the way I’m primarily going to use Mudbox for the sculpting aspect of this work flow but I promise do some Zbrush stuff for you guys in the future!
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  2. Marcus Dublin is offline
    Location: Raleigh, NC
    Posts: 1,918
    Step One: From concept to model

    Once I have the design of the creature illustrated I then proceeded to the modeling phase. I find it helpful when making a symmetrical creature to at least have some sort of concept and or rough outline to work from. This makes things easier on the modeling end and cuts out the guesswork when trying to nail the profile! I used a simple box modeling technique to quickly rough out the base mesh, just be mindful that I wasn’t going for any high-level detail and only focused on the broad strokes. This is important to remember since the model will change to some degree in the sculpting stage. When modeling the base mesh I try to keep in mind how much detail will be required in certain parts of the model, for instance I know that the tongue, tale and tentacles will need a good amount of detail. I also use this level of thinking when I work on characters as well, hence extra edge loops in the head, hands, etc.! Anyways as you can see from the images below I simply extruded a bunch of edges and faces in 3dsmax “editable poly mode”. Once I was satisfied with the profile I then switched over to the perspective view port and began shaping the form and proportions making sure the design held up in 3d. Since I didn’t draw a front sketch of the creature I had to use a bit of imagination on how wide it would be. I usually judge width by heads but had to use its tail and a pigs body instead due to the creature’s unusual design. As an artist it’s always good to reference actual creatures, people, places and things when making judgment calls on forms and proportions, having this extra tool works wonders. Anyway the total modeling time was around an hour and a half and it’s completely made up of quads.

    “Special note” I want to apologize for the wimpy modeling aspect of the work flow but I didn’t think of this idea until I was pretty much done. I promise in future installments to go over this crucial step a little more in depth!

    Step Two: Separate elements

    When it comes to creating block out base meshes it’s always good to think two steps ahead so you don’t run into any issues later on down the road! This is why I created the tongue separately, doing so will free me up in the sculpting stage to not only hide that part of the mesh easily but also subd the hell out of it for more detail. I can get away with this method since the tongue goes pretty far back in its mouth and doesn’t contain any obvious skin interaction.

    Step Three: SubD Smooth Test

    Once the mesh is completed I then run a few tests, mainly 3ds max “turbo smooth modifier”. As a rule of thumb I always make sure that my quad based models can withstand a turbo smooth. This is important since this’ll give me a heads up on how it’s going to smooth in either Mubbox or Zbrush, not only that but I can also look out for any weird pinching in obvious areas.
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  3. Marcus Dublin is offline
    Location: Raleigh, NC
    Posts: 1,918
    Workshop Continue:
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  4. Marcus Dublin is offline
    Location: Raleigh, NC
    Posts: 1,918
    Step Four: Prepping for export

    Now that the mesh has been created and a checked for any oddities it’s time to get it ready for export. Since I’m paranoid about things like double faces, multiple edges, holes, etc. I make sure to run 3dsmax “STL check modifier” This will instantly highlight any errors your mesh contains. Once the modifier has been run it’s time to “Reset Xform” which basically resets all transforms made to your mesh! Last but not least it setting up your pivots, I tend to center my pivots to the object and then adjust it to a comfortable position. The reason you want to do this is so that both the pivots in your modeling app and sculpting app match up, I find it helpful when working with multiple elements, for example a space marine with tons of gear, etc.

    Step Five: Model export

    This is pretty easy as you can see the settings that I use from the screen shot.

    Step Six: Model Import

    This is pretty self-explanatory much like the export step but I did want to highlight the fact that I name my separate elements! I think it’s a good habit to get into when dealing with multiple objects. Once both objects are in my sculpting app I then subd the mesh to a workable density level.
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  5. Marcus Dublin is offline
    Location: Raleigh, NC
    Posts: 1,918
    Step Seven: Creating the reference sheet and paint over

    I find that it’s important to gather your reference materials even at this early stage and create what’s called a “Material callout sheet”. Generally this sheet is created before the texturing stage but comes in handy when you have to sculpt as well. I can’t stress this enough but it’s always good to be prepared and have some sort of reference handy! I see way to many artists pulling out detail from thin air with out any real appreciation for the surface their trying to simulate. With that said your sheet should have a healthy mix of photo’s and illustrations as well. While the reference sheet isn't written in stone it'll serve as an initial guide for you and or client, art director, etc.! The last thing I wanted to touch on were the teeth, I kept them separate since they would just get in the way of my sculpting. Imagine trying to work up a nice level of detail in your sculpt while avoiding rows of little teeth along the way, it’s annoying as hell and best to leave small details like that off until the sculpt is near complete.
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  6. Marcus Dublin is offline
    Location: Raleigh, NC
    Posts: 1,918
    Step Eight: Creating a rough sculpt of the creature

    Iíll have this posted in a day or two, promise!
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  7. Cunipshun is offline
    Location: League city
    Posts: 339
    finally (make sticky plz) and if only ThatDon could do the same
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  8. SuPa- is offline
    Location: Roanoke
    Posts: 332
    This is looking pretty sweet
    I don't mean to ask anything of you, but if you ever have the time, could you make tutorial like this but instead of just an organic model, a cybernetic/armored model with many different components, both organic and hard-edged? Because I personally have no idea how to manage all that stuff

    Good luck on this, I'm looking forward to the sculpt
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  9. Marcus Dublin is offline
    Location: Raleigh, NC
    Posts: 1,918
    Cunipshun: finally (make sticky plz) and if only ThatDon could do the same

    Marcus: Sticky it is!

    SuPa: This is looking pretty sweet
    I don't mean to ask anything of you, but if you ever have the time, could you make tutorial like this but instead of just an organic model, a cybernetic/armored model with many different components, both organic and hard-edged? Because I personally have no idea how to manage all that stuff

    Good luck on this, I'm looking forward to the sculpt

    Marcus: I'll consider that for the character session, lets just get through this one first.
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  10. warrior21 is offline
    Location: Winnipeg
    Posts: 229
    awesome. thanks for posting this. i know alot of people dont have time to usually do this kind of in depth character workflows/tutrorials.i'm interested in the texturing process of this project cuz i have a hard time with it. looking forward to updates on this .
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  11. ShadyD is offline
    Location: The Hague
    Posts: 1,022
    You're the man!
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  12. StheV is offline
    Location: Vlaardingen
    Posts: 21
    Awesome.
    You should publish it as a book once it's all finished
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  13. Elcura is offline
    Posts: 879
    Thanks for doing this, seeing the someone else's workflow in detail is incredibly helpful.
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  14. Aftermath is offline
    Location: Frozen Tundra
    Posts: 983
    Marcus, thanks so much for doing this! Now with all of the posts in your thread im sure you wish you had locked it huh? Would of kept it cleaner for you and others to display and maybe had another thread to comment on this in? Looks coool im going to follow along.
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  15. Marcus Dublin is offline
    Location: Raleigh, NC
    Posts: 1,918
    Quote Originally Posted by Aftermath View Post
    Marcus, thanks so much for doing this! Now with all of the posts in your thread im sure you wish you had locked it huh? Would of kept it cleaner for you and others to display and maybe had another thread to comment on this in? Looks coool im going to follow along.
    I left the thread open so that it can serve as both a tutorial session and a wip workshop. I would like for anyone who's interested to be able to ask any questions they may have along the way since it'll help me when I have to put everything together. When the Paragalis session is completed I'm going to post a banner on the first page linking to the completed tutorial as well as the files. If I find that this format isn't working then I'll come up with something a little more appropriate. All in all things are moving along well and I should have step eight and nine up by tonight!:thumb:

    Thanks again for the comments guys!
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  16. Supernova87 is offline
    Location: London (Southend-on-Sea)
    Posts: 243
    Very very nice tut here MD! I'm sure to find it extremely useful.

    Thanks for spending time to write this up.

    :thumb:
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  17. JeremyK is offline
    Location: Charlottetown, PEI
    Posts: 799
    Thank you so much for taking your time to share this with us. I'll definitely watch this thread. Are you going to show some rigging too in Max (at least for posing)?
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  18. Japhir is offline
    Location: Utrecht
    Posts: 1,080
    great! i love it when people make good tut's . looking forward to more! (even though i don't really like reading that much :P)
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  19. J Randall is offline
    Location: Kitsap
    Posts: 46

    Exclamation

    Thank you 1,000x from me and all the people that should be thanking you for this. I smacked myself in the head on seeing the reference call out sheet, I have just had them in a dir all piled up and then get to the texture phase and forget what its all for aper: Thank you.
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  20. Marcus Dublin is offline
    Location: Raleigh, NC
    Posts: 1,918
    silent_fox: Thank you so much for taking your time to share this with us. I'll definitely watch this thread. Are you going to show some rigging too in Max (at least for posing)?

    Marcus: I wanted to keep this tutorial pretty straight forward and software neutral, so I'll tackle rigging and such for the advanced character tut.

    Japhir: great! i love it when people make good tut's . looking forward to more! (even though i don't really like reading that much :P)

    Marcus: Not to worry Japhir, I'll try and include a good deal of images to along with summaries!:lucky:

    Anyways I'm almost done with step eight will post it sometime tomorrow. Thanks for checking everyone, later!

    "Updated 08/16/08" The lesson continues on page two
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