I’ve had the New Post window open for the past few days waiting for an opportunity. I’m moving very quickly though with this short, and whenever I sat down it was a choice between either writing a blog post or making progress on the movie. But I’m taking a a bit of a break today to catch up on some Blender tutorials.
So last week I was working on the concept design for the main character, Nemu. As I said in my first post, getting her character working, and more specifically, the face is the biggest hurdle for the movie. Without her there’s no movie.
I settled on a design I liked and on Monday I jumped into Blender. I hadn’t used it in a few months so I was a little rusty. The first day didn’t go so well, but I’m quickly getting back up to speed. I posted a work in progress photo up on Twitter, and on the Facebook Pagewhich you’ll have seen if you follow me on either one. Here are the results from the full week:
I spent most of my time this week pushing vertices around the old fashioned way, trying to get the anatomy and topology right. The corners of the mouth and eyes gave me the most trouble. In future it probably makes more sense to focus on one or the other at a time (anatomy or topology) and then retopologize or reshape the mesh afterwards.
Still to-do are: checking the eye articulation (make sure they can open/ close properly) and the inside of the mouth.
At this point, unless there’s any showstoppers, I need to move on to the rest of the character and start working on expressions for the face rig. From there I can start blocking the first scene and the rest of the movie.
I could definitely continue improving and refining, but this is a quick and dirty production. I’ve already spent more time than I wanted to on just this one element. Besides when you stare at one thing for too long I think you start picking out all the imperfections and little details that probably don’t really matter that much in the bigger picture. I’ve been in a constant flux of “This looks terrible” and “That doesn’t look bad” all week… So it’s time to stop and show the world to figure out the real verdict.
I’ll start posting my WIP on Nemu on a few forums, to get a good gauge. I might take on one or two changes to the head, based on the direction of feedback I get. If you do see anything that really looks off or out of place, please let me know in the comments. And I’d love to hear what you think of her in general so far too.
The most important thing is to make sure her character reads. Stylistically I wasn’t sure how realistic to go with the look. I went slightly more towards the realistic side in order to get a good level of detail to the facial animation, but depending how things go once I get into it I may scale it back (or add if necessary) to get the animation looking good.
Lighting, textures (if any -I don’t really care for an overly textured look), and the animation itself will also play a part in how she looks on screen so the sooner I introduce those elements the better.
The make-up around the eyes is something I’m trying to work out. That’s an area that’s obviously crucial to nail down. How much eye-liner, eye shadow will she have on etc. because that can drastically change the look of the face. Getting the eyes right is probably the biggest priority.
Aside from that, I’m still trying to push the character and play around where I can, but the schedule looms large and I need to get something working. The benefit of spending most of the first half of the year learning anatomy is paid off now when I need to move fast and make quick decisions, because it’s important that this time is spent trying to capture and push her character, and as little time wasted fumbling around with the anatomy, or the software.
This is meant to be a quick and dirty production. I’m just trying to put as much character into the design as I can before it’s pencils down.
An aside to those who know me well: Can’t stress enough the importance of meeting deadlines.
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