Monday, 6 January 2014

Pre-Production: Benjamin 3D Expression Sheets

Hello Everyone,

I have another little extra to lay on everyone just because I couldn't resist and like I said modelling can fry my brain if I'm not careful. Basically I set out to make some bog standard basic expressions in ZBrush but found myself buying into a weta concept for each individual face. The expression tests quickly turned from 1 into 6 and I thought it would make for a damn interesting post. I even took the opportunity to play with the light settings within ZBrush to see what kind of results I got. It has opened my eyes to the possibilities!

Anyway after playing in ZBrush for a bit I had all of my expressions and passes then it suddenly dawned on me to try and line them up to make a really choppy but precise expression animation. This is what truly astonished me. Obviously the key problem is the lack of in-betweens but It was an experiment that went this far. This has also helped me gauge how I want the blend shapes for our character mesh to go so I am quite happy here. Anyway I will do this post and get cracking with other bits and pieces before diving back to modelling.

So here goes... lets check out these awesome 3D expression sheets!!!
The crude animation above was made in Photoshop from my complete render passed images. I made it into this after having a strange epiphany... I basically got the inspiration from watching "Only Fools and Horses" on television. The opening sequence where there faces are on stickers and it shows a couple of quick stills. I didn't think it would work as well as this but after lining up the lower end of the body the movement fell into its own. I guess its true what they say inspiration is everywhere if you know when and where to look ha-ha.



The diffuse render passes (above) show the subtleties from the 3 different lights in the scene. I made the fill and rim lights a pale blue keeping the key a strong vibrant orange. You obviously have to know what colours to use when lighting anything. Orange complements blue just like red compliments green. Anyway I also love how the model looks in this form. It looks like a classic style statue and it adds subtle hues of colour to the Weta concepts. I will probably be using this a lot more in the future to knock up quick 3D concepts... I just love it.

Just in case any of you are curious I am not coming up with these expressions willy nilly. The image above shows Benjamin's "Innocent" expression as it has evolved over the course of 3 years. Sammy's original was made back in 2012 for the "little shit" version of Benjamin. In 2013 I made a rendition to go inside my array of expressions although I called it "Hiding Something"... Sammy's original is what inspired it and it is present in the animatic for the "Frog" sequence. In 2014 right now you have the 3D model version which I am pleased to be able to deliver.


Next come the Beauty passes directly from ZBrush's built in rendering system. These still look pretty good without the passes but I think the passes add a little more life to the character. Obviously realism is not where we are aiming with "& Son" but seeing as this is the conceptual stage I will plod on the only way I know how. There are a couple of different materials in action for these renders. The face has skin shading while the hair has a bone shader. The shirt has a white mat cap and the hat has a gorilla mat giving it a rich darker tone...

Last but not least I thought I would line the renders up just in case people get a little tired of trying to narrow down an expression from the animated gif above. I have also listed the expressions names just in case people wanted to know what expression they relate to. You can refer back to Benjamin's expressions and see if you can link any of these images to those. You can find the old post here! I think the sad expression is the only new one here but I did try to build it on another expression it just wound up looking more sad.

There isn't long to go now till D-Day so I am trying to get as many ducks in a row as I can. Barnabas is coming slowly so I am not sure if he will be ready on the day but if I think its looking bad I will prioritize getting Young Barnabas as up to speed as Benjamin is. At least that way I have 2 complete characters as opposed to 1 complete and 1 marginally complete and the other two incomplete. I just want to be in as good a place as we can be and I have been taught its quality over quantity. Anyway I have done my best here so I hope it all pays off in the end ;)

Catcha later people!
xXStItChXx

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