Saturday, 4 December 2010

Cornelius is complete!

I have just finished the texturing of Cornelius' body and now he is complete and ready for posing.  I shall begin by talking through the texturing of Cornelius' face.

His head is a separate model to the rest of his body, so I needed to texture this separately.  His face had a separate colouring to the rest of the head, so I needed to make sure this was done properly.  Initially, I was going to UV texture Cornelius' face, using planar mapping, as whatever would be drawn on one side, would appear symmetrically on the other side.  However, I found that this was too limiting and that some of the texturing of his face was coming up around the back of his head.

So, I decided to use Cylindrical Mapping.  I created a Cylindrical UV Map for the whole of the head, bar the headband and glasses.  I applied a new lambert to the head model, which I called 'gorilla_head'.  I then created a new 'PSD Network' in the UV Texture Editor, which is a Photoshop image of the UV Map, with the texture over it.  This meant that I could literally paint the texture on to the UVs in Photoshop.

I opened this new PSD in Photoshop and I got three layers;  the first was the UV Map (known as a "UV Snapshot"), the second was the lambert, which was currently a plain grey image and the third was just a  background image that is simply a default layer in newly created PSD documents.
In Photoshop, I began by colouring in around the gorilla's face and ears.  I decided that this would be a clean purple-grey colour.  I then decided that for his fur, I shall use one of the brush strokes in that actually resembles a strand of hair, and I then coloured his head in using this.  One of the key parts of Cornelius was that he is a middle-aged gorilla, so he has just begun to go grey.  I simply changed the colour of the brush stroke to a grey-white colour and then coloured around the top of the head and a bit around the face.  I then saved my file!
Back in Maya, I clicked the 'Update PSD Networks' and the changes that I had made were assigned automatically to the head geometry.  I had to manually move around a few UVs around his eye area and mouth area to get it the way I wanted.
Next, I needed to do the body.  I wanted his hands and his feet to have a slightly less hairy texture than the rest of his body, as you see with many real life gorillas, so I chose to use Automatic Mapping which meant I could go into more detail with each area of the body.

There was no easy way to do this.... I had to select each area of geometry to figure out whereabouts it is in relation to the model to decide whether it should be textured with fur or should be left clear.
I created another PSD Network and for each area which was to be covered in fur, namely the legs, arms and torso, I coloured in using the hair-shaped brush tool.  Each area that was to have no fur, such as the fingers, toes and some parts of the hands and feet, I coloured in a greyish-purple with a basic brush.  I then added a little more fur to the hands and feet so the textures blended more smoothly.

This was really hard as some of the areas of geometry were really jumbled up and I had to go to a lot of trouble to find out what each part was.  In retrospect, I think it would have made more sense to colour one half of the UV map in with the basic brush tool and the other half with the fur-like brush tool; that way I could just move each part into the correct half of the map, depending on what texture I wanted it to be.
I then saved this PSD file and updated the PSD network in Maya; and all the changes I made were applied to the UV map and to Cornelius' geometry.
It took ages to texture Cornelius, but I am happy with the outcome.  I think going with a more realistic fur texture was a good choice, because it states in the brief that the character must be reflect "claymation" practices and therefore, I would need his textures to look somewhat realistic.

I now need to decide on a few poses to put Cornelius in; for the digital sequences and 3d printing.  Please feel free to leave comments on the final outcome of the Cornelius model.

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