Monday, January 30, 2012

Dev diary 2 - of bugs and bones

Last time we left off with flat, half-textured feet - time to break a few bones and set the foot into position for high heels. And in case you missed it: part 1 and part 3
I spend more time than I would care to admit, just trying to figure out the HOW of various processes. And again, this is no exception. Starting from a flat foot sounded like a superb idea on paper - I would be able to reuse it as a naked foot or for heels of various heights. Then came the moment when I had to bend that stupid foot into shape. Zbrush has a nice plugin called Transpose Master which also allows to pose figures using a Zsphere rig (if your eyes are glossing over, it's ok, the techy stuff is almost over) and I was planning on using that. Alas, once it was all rigged and posed, something went wrong and it couldn't apply the transform back to the original mesh. So I spent about 2 hours trying to track down the issue and finally gave up.

Luckily, Blender comes to my rescue \o/ a quick & dirty rig later, here we are, with a posed foot and half a shoe. The foot still has a bunch of issues (and no nails) and I totally skipped over making the shoe because that part wasn't interesting. It's just the sole / heel of the Selene boots.

Squished foot
There's also been a bit of progress on the texture side, though I have to say I am very intimidated by the prospect of texturing that damn foot. I'm photosourcing and painting in Zbrush (seriously, Spotlight is one of the best features ever) and postprocessing in PS. The highlights are still too chalky, and the ankle bones need more definition, and I have no idea how I'll do the various tones. Meh!

Less squished foot, and more shoe
I spend some time fixing the geometry (yeah the toes still suck, and the tendon from the smallest toe doesn't reach that high, as dear MD friend helpfully informs me), add the upper part of the shoe (which is another canibalized part of Selene) and sculpt some wrinkles into it, just for fun. I like the wrinkles. Guess they will stay!

But the mule is still missing the most important bit - a pompom. I play around a bit with Zbrush's new fur system, but I don't really get along with it, so it's back to classic polygon modelling and I end up with this lil pompom guy which has a PE of 1.4 prims. Time to rig the whole thing and do the first complete upload to the beta grid. I'm excited to see what it will look like in-world!

Pompom! And a mostly low-poly model with no nails.
I dig out an old texture to test the pompom in-world and am pretty happy with the results - until I wear the damn thing. Yay surprise bug! Apparently, there's an issue with rendering transparent bits of worn rigged mesh. (And there's a Jira for it. Which I would link, if I had the issue number). So my options at this point? 1. no pompoms =( 2. hope the Lindens fix the bug until mid-february and deal with TPV users who have whatever version of the rendering code and might still be affected.

Fuck you too, LL
I guess that means no pompoms. *pouts* So instead, I start working on the materials - I can reuse an older leather material for the sole, but I have nothing for satin. (No, using the library "satin" texture is most definitely not an option.) (And the rendering happens in modo. Because I haven't been able to really make friends with Zbrush's material and rendering system) So here's a quick render test, the lighting needs adjustment and the material looks vaguely metallic instead of satin but eh, it's a start.

Someone forgot to do the nails' uv map
Looks like the project is coming along nicely and for the first time I start feeling like I might be able to finish it on time, and have something presentable. But with every issue squashed, another two raise their ugly heads. The todo list? Let's see .. debug and texture the HUD, fix a few issues where the nails join the toes, uv map and texture the nails, make a smoother join between foot and leg, possibly re-topo the foot once again because I'm not too happy with it, finish the foot skin texture, make a bunch of skin tones, figure out a nice material for the shoe top, fix the light setup for rendering, add some stitches and detailling to the sole, um ..

Guess I'll be playing Skyrim tonight :P

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