Thoracosaurus neocesariensis

Thoracosaurus neocesariensis

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Skin Painting

I finished up the painting of the skin in Pixologic's ZBrush. It saved me a lot of time of guessing and checking UV coordinates in Photoshop...and the time was better spent making things look better opposed to simply lining things up. I looked at a lot of Gharial photographic reference to try to get the texture down. I was also able to use the same alphas I used when sculpting the displacement detail as brushes for painting. I really enjoyed taking the time to grunge things up, and make the guy look worn. I even went as far as adding dirt and mud on his legs and belly; stuff he probably would have picked up when transitioning from land to sea.

ZBrush 3.5R3 has a much more streamlined pipeline than the last time I used ZBrush (which I think was version 2 over a year ago). I was able to export displacement and normal maps, as well as color texture maps, and bake out a cavity map to multiply on the diffuse image, all with very little effort. I'm still working on baking in the Ambient Occlusion to the texture. I still need to paint a texture for the eye, which I'm looking forward to. (Images are directly out of ZBrush.Click on Images for Full Detail).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sculpting Work

Here are my digital sculpts (Click the images for high-res view). I put a lot more detail into the skin through ZBrush, after Autodesk Mudbox was giving me a lot of trouble with memory handling. Constant crashes and clunky pipelines drove me to ZBrush which has been much more stable. All of the scale detail is from black and white "alphas" sampled from actual crocodylian images. The tail and underbelly came from an alligator, and the sides, neck and arms came from gharial texture reference. It could be a bit cleaner but ZBrush is giving me a problem with subdividing one more level. It should be enough detail for now, but I'm looking for methods to get that final subdivision level that would make it all around polished. I might be able to achieve it through adjustments to the exported displacement map in Photoshop. Anyway, next is painting the skin and attaching the skin to the muscles (which seems to be relatively straight forward from the tests I did). I got approval on my muscles from Dr. Dodson, other than a few minor tweaks in positioning that I have to do. Mostly the back muscles didn't go quite high enough, so I will adjust that. Hopefully I will be getting some more motion tests out this weekend or early next week if all goes to plan! Very Exciting!

On another note, check out the recent article in the Drexel Triangle that talks about the Drexel Paleo program, as well as mentions a bit about my project, here.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

LOTS of Progress!!!

Sorry for the severe lack of updating on all of the meantime, here are a bunch of images to show you where I'm currently at. I started and finished the muscle system...pending approval from the committee, and I just finished the base mesh. That is the mesh below does not have any textures, shaders, or sculpted displacement (scales, fine skin texture etc) just yet. That's the project for the weekend. Hopefully sometime too I'll get around to posting a video of the dynamic squashing and stretching of the muscles in action. Very Exciting...anyway. I'll probably post my UV pelt this weekend....they always make interesting images in and of themselves...

As always, be sure to click the images for the full resolution versions:

Above, you can see the muscles (red) laid over the fossil (blue) and appended bone (green).

Above: Details of the edge flow for the Thoracosaurus model.

Now it's on to combining the skin to the skeleton/muscle....wish me luck!

-Evan B.