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Gnomon Workshop - The Making Of 'Trin' by Alex Alvarez
Trin was started to create a high-res 4k still image, yet evolved to become a looping ten second animation rendered in vertical HD at 1200x1920 to be displayed on a wall-mounted digital display. Starting from a personal sketch, Trin was created in twenty hours using Photoshop, Maya, Zbrush, UVlayout, Bodypaint and Mental Ray. The entire process was recorded and is demonstrated using timelapse footage, where I explain every step with an emphasis on both the technical and aesthetic thought processes. Level: Intermediate.
Chapter One: Orthographics Trin is based on a pre-existing design that was drawn on paper as a frontal orthographic. The first step is to generate a side-view sketch from the front view design. Using Photoshop, I design Trin's profile ensuring that it aligns perfectly with the front, while trying to create a sideview that holds true to the design. I then import the front/side images into Maya and prepare the image planes for modeling.
Chapter Two: Base Mesh, part one There are two ways to approach a basemesh when Zbrush is going to be involved. The first is create the simplest possible form via box-modeling. The second is to create a topological model where the edge flow follows the musculature of the design. While a Zbrush sculpt can be retopologized, if I know that the 2D design must be exactly followed, I often prefer to make a topological basemesh from the start. In this chapter, the model begins by importing a human head basemesh that I then cut up and redirect the edge flow to suit Trin's anatomy.
Chapter Three: Base Mesh, part two The basemesh for Trin is completed, including the coat and other details.
Chapter Four: UV Layout Using Headus UVlayout, the UVs for Trin and his components are flattened and then arranged in Maya. The separate elements are then exported as 'obj's in preparation of Zbrush import.
Chapter Five: Zbrush, part one The ZTL is assembled and sculpting begins on the head primarily using the Simple brush.
Chapter Six: Zbrush, part two Sculpting continues, with high-frequency detail added using the Rake tool. Forms are resolved using the Simple brush and Move tool.
Chapter Seven: Shaders / Lighting Normal maps are generated in Zbrush using Zmapper, then Trin's components are exported from Zbrush to Maya. Once in Maya, I block-in the initial shaders, normal maps, SSS and lighting. I then export a 2k render to Photoshop and create a color study.
Chapter Eight: Texturing the Coat Trin's coat is textured in Photoshop using scans of leather that are assembled together using the transform, warp and liquify tools.
Chapter Nine: Texturing the Head Trin's head is textured in Bodypaint, where I painted the color map from scratch using a texture stamping technique.
Chapter Ten: Modeling the Hallway The original design is very vague when it comes to the background. I interprete the sketch as being a hallway, and let myself design as I model. In this chapter the hallway geometry is finalized and lit.
Chapter Eleven: Texturing the Hallway Using Photoshop, the hallway is textured by overlaying many different photographic textures in order to create a grungy look. With the textures imported into Maya, the final hallway background is rendered, ready to be composited in Photoshop with Trin.
Chapter Twelve: Photoshop Composite With the background and foreground elements rendered at 2k, I now take them into Photoshop to develop the final look for the composite.
Chapter Thirteen: Quickrig and Animation With Trin's 'look' finalized, I decided that perhaps it would be cool to create a short and simple looping animation of him that I could display on a wall mounted display. In this chapter I show how to create the skeleton, a quick lattice rig for his head and eye constraints.
Chapter Fourteen: After Effects Composite With the ten second animation rendered in HD as just two layers, fg +bg, I recreate the look developed in Photoshop using After Effects. The final Quicktime movie is then rendered and Trin is ready to be displayed.