The Making of "Prototype SX-09"
This piece started as part of my school assignment. It was an individual project in an area we would like to specialize in. I was always fascinated with 3d modeling, texturing and the big question "How do they do it?".
Here is my proposal that had to be pitched in front of the teachers (dragons den style) as you would in the real world in front of clients.
Ideas / Research
This is where your brain really goes into overdrive. Ideas can often be amazing but when it comes to bringing these ideas to life you can often get intimidated as how to achieve them (especially with us rookies). I am a strong believer if there is a will there is a way. There is a ton of information on the internet now in regards to CG and you can pretty much get answers to anything. I wish I had that opportunity 15 years ago when you really struggled to get any information out there.
So the idea was to create a mech suit and explore hard surface technics in Zbrush. I gathered a ton of reference images and looked for elements that I liked. I have to give a shout out to Riyahd Cassiem and Furio Tedeschi, a true inspiration and both amazing artists. Their videos about hard surface modeling thought me a lot.
For this process I used Zbrush. I started with the basic shape for the head and everything grew from there. In order to get the panels, I duplicated the head base mesh and worked on the copy. I use masking to mask an area and then extrude function to get my panels. the main brushes I used were Clay Buildup, HPolish and Clip Curve brush.
You will find that there is a lot of repeating processes going on in hard surface modeling. For the body I used Zbrushes default Male Average Tool. You will find it in your LightBox under Tool Menu. That saved me a lot of time and helped me with the proportions. For the body panels we use same process as mention above with duplicating your tools and transpose. When it comes to details like rivets, wires and even robot assembly arms I used Insert Mesh Brushes. There is a great amount of them on Zbrush Central.
For the end I merged my subtools and assigned polygroups into more organized manner, thinking also ahead what materials are going to be used. I also decimated my subtools to reduce the polycount.
I bring my mesh into Keyshot and start assigning materials to my subtools. Since I had them already organized in Zbrush the process was fairly simple and quick (click and drag). If you want to assign a material to a polyrgroup, expand your group in the scene tab there you will see all the polygroups in the subtool and click the unlink material button so you can assign it a different material. (see picture below).
After all my materials are assigned I then decide on the environment lighting and background to suit the composition. Keyshot comes with a small library of different lighting environments but you can always find more online. I recommend two sites:
For all the writing on the suit I used a feature called Labels under Material Tab. They were all done in Photoshop and then imported in. The position function allows you to position the on the right object and then manipulate the size, angle and so on.
To get your renders you can just hit the screenshot button or render still image with desired format and resolution. Pretty straight forward.
For the final image I took the render to Photoshop and added a motion blur, smoke, particles and logo. I also added saturation, photo filter and color balance adjustments.
Here it is! All done!
Overall it was a great learning process. It thought me a lot about hard surface technics. There is always room for improvement and I will continue to learn and invest my time in this amazing world of CG. As they say you learn new thing every day.