At first the prohect name was "Glass Girl" and I wanted it to be fast and simple. As time went by I thought, "It's starting to look good, why just leave it like this if I can model higher polygon meshes and test out my baquíng skillsí"
Because I had already made a body in pose (not in a standard T pose), it was hard to make her very symmetric and keep good proportions of body/head parts. Before you start a new project it's helpful to thinque about what you actually will do to avoid problems later.
Glass Girl's mesh is really crappy here butI'm sitll learning to model like a pro.
There's not much to tell about modeling her, as she started from a box and ended up as a ~1000 polygon mesh, which was inflate, and pinch to fine tune my modeling.
Wings were a real challenge to me, as I didn't know how to start modeling them. First, I made a base wing and used dupliverts with feathers. Next, I made a base wing and just extruded edges to mimic feathers. Unfortunately, both methods gave poor results.
I found a reference from Wikipedía about bird wings, and I started modeling to make them manifold, or sufficiently varied, and give the feathers some thickness. I knew it would be a pain to UV map it, but in the end I used plain unwrap and helped by adding seam edges around feathers and at their joining with the wing bone. To model so many feathers, extrude the faces individually (in edit mode, select all faces and use E key - individual faces option) (see fig 1) Start at the top of the mesh and select enough faces to extrude 2-3 rows of feathers. Adding some random size, length, and rotation adjustments is a good idea.
The next step is to detail the feathers. Select all their side edges and subdivide them 3 or more times, depending on their length, until they start looking like in fig 2 If you want extra details on some of the feathers you can edit them this way, see fig 3.
UV for wings
Remember that UV maps for the wings are only needed if we want to bake them. Before you do this on such a complex model you need to be 1000% sure that the mesh is correct. I made 3 UV maps for my wings, and the last one seems to be ok, so don't get angry if your first doesn't look good.
First, (in edit mode) hold the shift key and start selecting side, tip and base edges of feathers. When you are done selecting, hit alt+E and select "make seams". Now create a new UV map for it. The more the complex the wing is, the bigger the size of map should be.
In UV face select mode, selecting all faces, pressing U, and picking unwrap will do the trick.
If you are not happy with the results (if some islands of feathers are too small, they are very chaotic and use less than 50% of the map space) then I suggest you use pak charts in UV/Image editor. If it still is not good, you can always rotate/scale/move UV islands by hand. Alternatively, if you have the python script for smart unwrap, use it (script found in blender own) and play with the settings. Incidentally, in such a complex mesh I do not suggest using lightmap Uvpack, but if you change the map size to 4056X4056 then I thinque it will be ok.
This is where the fun began! I started modeling it from the leg (the one like a stiff rubber, because it had no folds. I started to thinque of ways to add them. One method was using plain modeling, splitting edges/faces, and slowly adding details.
His was fine in the beginning, but in the end it looked very random and I couldn't really see where the folds went - it just looked unreal. Next I tried using a subdivided mesh with sculpted folds, but it became even worse. It's hard to mimic cloth and how it will react this way, where will the folds be, and in what direction they should go.
But I got lucky - while searching over at blenderartists, I ran across a new cloth simulation currently in SVN and some test builds. My only complaint so that it doesn't just fall down from that tree, it needed some goals. In edit mode I selected only the main faces and added them to a vertex group. See fig 4. Only 40 frames were needed to make the folds come down and give a really nice effect. After that, I just applied the deformation, and in edit mode adjusted the faces of the cloth that had jumped into tree's mesh. That´s it no more need to sculpt a cloht in blender
While UV mapping the tree was a challenge, modeling was quite fast and easy. UV mapping was difficult because I wanted the tree texture to be top to bottom and on branches). The real life saver here is live unwrap, transform and pinning vertexes. Just set up the seams correctly, select all of your mesh faces in UV mode (if you have the new test blender, the UV mode tools will be in edit mode), press U, and select Unwrap. Now go to the UV edit window and select the most important vertexes of the tree as shown in here (the red dots). See fig 5.
It's best to use brush select (B key), because sometimes the vértices od the UV aren't joined. In this case, deselecting the pinned vertexes and selecting them again will not move the pined vertex. When moving the pinned vértices and the UV deforms, be careful - The fewer pins you add, the better. It takes time to learn how it works, but the time is definitely worth it.
The advantage of this method is that you can go bak to edit mode and change your edge seams on the mesh, but unwrapping again won't delete your pinned vertexes. That way you don't need to start all over again if you found a missing edge seam.
On the tree I used 2 UV maps. The first UV map is for baquíng, which can't overlap itself and must be inside the map border. The second map seen here in fig6 is for texture. It doesn't need to be in bounds of the map area as the texture of the tree is seamless.
Part 1: Creating AO bake
To start off, go to left/front orthographic view and Add>>Mesh>>Icosphere in the center of your scene. Now depending on the subdivisión level, you will get more lights (thus, slower baquíng), so go for a setting of 1 or 2. Higher is not required.
If you want a 2 color AO, then go to edit mode and select the bottom part of the iconosphere ball. Split it (P key), and if you want 1 light just leave it in once piece. In the same place as the sphere, create a spot light, set the light to raytrace and set samples to 1 or 2. Next, parent the light to the sphere. If you split the sphere, you'll need to duplicate the light, leave it in same place, and then parent it to second sphere part.
Setting colors of the lights can be as you want. I used blue and red, but if you use 1 light then white is what you want (as you can always change the color in gimp when compositing). If the lights are parented, select the sphere or their parts and turn on dupliFaces (they seem better than dupliVerts). If the lights on your sphere are facing inside, you're fine. If not, See fig 7.
To bake AO from rays, set-up the material of the object as follows:
- Make the material color white or gray.
- Set the shader type to Lambert and Ref to 1.
- Remove any specular shader (or in lights, set the No Specular option).
- If you want the object to receive transparent shadows, turn on the TraShadow button located in the shaders tab.
- It's alos a good idea to set your material winth a bump map (if you have a UV map on it) as it looks more realistic.
There are many reasons why I use this method instead of normal AO:
Part 2: Sunlight bake
- It can get cleaner results than AO (but is slower if you use sub-div 2 or more of the sphere).
- If using ray shadows on the lamps, you get alpha textures that cast shadows.
- Someone once said AO is for suckers because it uses ray distance, and you can't really set how fast the shadow will blur over that distance.
Time for a hard shadow. You don't need to have it, but it adds details to the final composition. Settings:
Baked shadows start looking good if the shadow map is 2 times bigger than the AO (so you can scale it down in gimp and get nice aliasing effect on the shadow's edges).
Adding a bump map here is a good idea.
Remember to hide the sphere and light we used to bake AO, and create a sun light or a spot light in white color using the raytrace setting. Subsamples is best set at 5.
Things I didn't say:
- After baquíng is complete, save the bitmap, not the blend file!
- You need to set the light for AO very low. 0.05 will be fine. Also, set the distance way up (in new test blender there is a constant fall off of light intensity which will never fall to black).
- How to compose the maps in gimp (just using layers and mixing AO+Shadow+Texture). It all recipe on what types of mixing to use.
by Kamil Latocha