Saturday, 21 September 2013

Risen from the ashes

This is a new start for my blog. I will be documenting my personal projects in 3D modelling, animation and game design.
For my first post I would like to show you some of my recent work.

Lester (as in Red Leicester, you know because rats like cheese.. I'll let myself out..)
The character was designed as a courier for the game DOTA2. It was uploaded on the steam workshop.

My initial sketch of the character:

Initial concept of Lester the Rat
Based on the sketch I proceeded to create the mesh. I ended up having to remove a ton of detail such as ropes, potions and equipment which so heavily affected the poly count.
Fortunately, this allowed me to focus and simplify the design and in the end, stripping a lot of superfluous detail was a good thing.

Next the textures were produced. My process was influenced by the documents on texturing released by Valve however I had to make it up as I went along  for a lot of the process because I wanted to experiment with various colours and multiple layers easily.
I first started with a an ambient occlusion pass which was then heavily modified to eventually become a "Value pass". Essentially I put down all the values I wanted on the character to make sure it read as well as possible.

Blender makes this process very easy by providing 3D painting tools. I simply painted in black and white , using a soft low opacity brush, where I wanted light and dark colours to be while every so often zooming out to check how well it reads. Painting directly over the ambient occlusion I produced a gradient where the darkest part was near the legs and the lightest part near the top of the body. This directs the viewers eyes to the interesting parts of the character.

Here's the result of the first part:

The ambient occlusion was painted on top of using black and white to produce a Value pass
Next it was simply a matter of overlaying colours as described by Valve.
This is the result after much painting and tweaking:
This is the final result of texturing
The nice thing about this method is that the value pass gives you a good start for the shading. After that you can collapse layers and painting some more.

The model was then animated as required by the engine. The result can be seen in the following video. Unfortunately I forgot to record the special idle animation, so you'll have to wait until Valve adds it to the game to see it ;)

And here is the final beauty renders of Lester in both ground and flying versions.

Hope you like him!

Lester posed in ground and flying versions

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