Character Creation

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This Character was part of an assignment at university were we had to create a 3D character with a maximum triangle count of 15000. The task included only modelling and texturing, but I needed practise in rigging and animation so I used this character to follow the "Animator Friendly Rigging" tutorial.
I started out by gathering reference and sketching the first ideas. I know I had problems portraying female characters, so I tackled my weakness and made a woman. Her character is loosely base on Ciri from the Witcher series, with a bit more warrior mentality.

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My 3D workflow started out in Blender using its sculpting tools and Dynamic Topology to quickly define Volumes and find the right shape. Especially with the face I had a lot of problems finding the right proportions, which is why I created so many different Versions. I then did a retopology to get below the triangle count. For that I used a free retopology addon for Blender which helped immensely laying out the edge loops. Since the sculpt wasn't very clean I didn't bake out a normal map, but only ambient occlusion for help with texturing.

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Texturing was done in Blender and Photoshop. Because of time constraints I was only able to get a diffuse map done. I probably should have looked at programs more optimised for texturing like Substance Painter, but I was eager to get it done and start rigging.

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The Animator Friendly Rigging Tutorial really gave me a kickstart into rigging in Maya. I did some rigs in Blender before but they were simple compared to this one. For the PRO4 (Semesterproject in 4th semester) I needed to get up to speed in rigging and animation because I was the one that'd do most of the work in the field and supervise the rest. This was the main reason why I wanted to take this character further than the assignment needed me to.
The sword is set up in a way, that the hands are constrained to it and you only animate the sword. The problem with that is, that you have Euler locks all over the place. Maya's Euler filter kind of worked, but it is not a nice solution. I could have tried to put the sword into Quaternion mode, but it looked unusable in the graph editor so I decided to fight against Euler instead.
The face rig is bone based because I wanted to be able to create any expression when animating and not be limited by the blendshapes I created beforehand. It only worked slightly usable, but provided great experience for the next Project where I then was able to create a fast and easy to use solution for the face. Furthermore once you know how a bone based rig is easily set up and highly scriptable, which can also make it a lot faster.

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The last stage was to actually animate in Maya. This was a test how well I can animate with the rig and how well my general animation skills are developed. It took some time but in the end I really like animating in Maya. I still have problems displaying weight and momentum, but I am positive that I will figure that out soon.