Progress At LAST! Face Modeling

Ever since I started working on the document side of game creation I have fallen behind in my art/3D work. I feel much better in general about the game’s direction and general possibility that we will finish some day but it felt really good to get back into Blender over the weekend and make something. Regrettably that something was not fantastic but rather horrific…

“Why, Leatherface, I didn’t know you were in this title!”

…but progress all the same.

So I have some of the character art in for the protagonist. It was enough to start looking at making a character model. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube but I found one that specifically broke down each little step for me and was using character art in the way that I was. It was by Darrin Lile and you can see it here:

My attempt started well but I didn’t know how to merge and fill spaces between planes. So my first attempt was awful. My second attempt technically worked but the face structure wasn’t very good for rigging. It didn’t move like it should and looked more like a golem or goblin than a human face. Rewatching the video I figured out how to do that. I probably ended up watching it ten or more times while doing this. I kept letting it play and forget to stop it and go back to what I didn’t know.

cathmodel1
cathmodel2 Have we met before? Like in Morrowind?

On the third attempt I kind of got things working like they should and it was coming along but I made mistakes in how the front of the face was formed. It turned into a really angular shape when I tried to stretch it into a 3D shape rather than just the flat plane.

cathmodel3
Something, something, fava beans…

The last attempt for the weekend I think I did everything right… till I pulled the camera back. I made the chin and mouth WAY TOO big and the forehead WAY TOO small. It might partially be that I need to just keep practicing but I was also a little distracted. I did half before lunch and half after. So I ended up with a fat lip. I tried to revert to an earlier save only to find out that I hadn’t saved in so long that I was basically back to the start.

cathmodel4

Doing this I found out:

  • that I need to specify with artists that I need dead-on perspectives for the modeling art. The 3/4’s view looks great for the test art but when you put it into Blender it is really hard to know if you are even close without the right perspective.
  • Practice makes horrific Cronenbergs–err, I mean better models over time.
  • Keeping art standardized is or will be very important. Something that bugs me is when models are all different sizes in random ways (see World of Warcraft). I think keeping art files to a standard pixel height may help avoid this. That is at least in the art for a single model (scaling doesn’t seem like a big issue for finished products in Blender).
  • I also learned more about how art translates to Blender. Thoughts like, “Do I have to animate a mouth or can I get away with just black oblongs that move like cartoon mouths?” regularly came up during the process. It may or may not guide how I think about future art requests (depending on the constraints I face in Blender’s model workflow versus my skill level).
  • I might actually be able to make this work!

In other news–enjoy that little bit of a sneak preview of Cath, our awesome protagonist/player character for our first title.

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