Photo Realistic Character Developer on Marketplace
Q: Where does your inspiration come from when creating your models?
I think all of us have the same "source" of ideas - it's real world surrounded us and everyday impressions which come from it. It can be family, friends, job, music, books, movies, TV shows and many many others.
For example Ancient Warrior character is my "impression" from excellent TV show "Spartacus: Blood and Sand".
Q: Describe your workflow and the pipeline you use when designing your models for iClone.
For model (character) creating I'm using practically the same methods as most game developers and my workflow usually consists of 4 main steps:
1. Prototype creating (or in other words creating of the character shape).
On this stage I sculpt character in Zbrush. But it's brief sculpting without small details.
2. Character modeling (mesh creating).
As result of first step I have hi-polygonal model which looks like my future character but absolutely useless for real time animation. So I need to make low- or middle-poly model suitable for manipulating in iClone. To do this I'm using small but very powerfull program "TopoGun" which specially created for "building" middle/low models on the surface of hi resolution model.
3. Character rigging (attaching model surface to the bone system).
Rigging is iterative process required a lot of testing in 3ds Max and iClone and sometimes even changing of character mesh.
Should add that even basic knowlege of human anatomy will be very helpfull on this stage. Rigging my models I'm always keeping in mind how real human bones will move and what shape muscle groups will have and this help me to make my characters a bit more realistic.
4. Creating materials.
At beginning of this stage I have fully functional model but without materials it does not look "real" at all. Texturring is very important step when your model turns into the character. iClone have perfect Normal Bump visualisation and to give my character "real look" I'm always making detailed sculpting of final model in Zbrush. And of course Adobe Photoshop is "key program" in materials creating process.
Q: How do you think iClone can benefit professional animators and artists who use other software?
I can classify iClone not as replacement for expensive professional software (especially if they already have it), but as excellent addition to it, which will help to make creating process much easy and faster.
First that come in mind - game development and video production.
For game developers iClone can significantly speed-up character and creatures testing process because it has all necessary features:
- Non-Standard/Non-Human Characters and motions import;
- DirrectX based visualisation which used in most of modern games.
And of course Video production is main field when iClone can be extremely helpful.
Last version of iClone (iclone 5) has excellent human kinematics, phisics simulation and perfect visualisation quality comparable with Autodesk 3ds Max. But in iClone You can gain very good result much easy and faster, and most important that video creator can make all himself (iClone does not require special 3D skills) and see result of illumination, composition and other scene changes immediately.
Thats why when I started my PR (photo-realistic) series I first of all kept in mind this sphere of application for my characters and specially made all textures "ready-to-use" for close look in HD video format.
Q: What are the most important things to keep in mind when creating new content?
Key feature of iClone is real time visualisation and it does it just perfect, but as any other programs it has some restrictions. It's not so hard to make hi-detailed model which will looks great, but it will be practically useless for animating in real time. Also I never forgot that my content can be used by customers which have not very powerful computers and i'm always trying to optimize my products for some middle configuration requirements - minimise number of polygons in the model and do not use too many or too hi-resolution textures if it's not necessary.
Q: Any plans for future projects?
I just released my first PR5 character on the G5 skeleton base (young male) and I'm planning to create some "company" for him - young female character. Also I'm going to expand the range of character types by adding character with specific body shapes (strong male for example).
In cloths modeling I'm going to keep the same two directions:
- everyday (casual) cloths models which will come with templates for texturing and can be useful for both regular users and material creators;
- specialized cloths (characters) with more complicated cloths models (like my PR2 warriors).
I should remark that my plans are not something static and I allways open for any sort of feedback and requests from iClone users.
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