Thursday, March 7, 2013

JLA What-If Week 1 - Behind the Scenes

My long-awaited Justice League What-If is finally here, and this week, I "released" Superman and Classic Batman in what is actually my 150th POST OF ALL TIME! Yay! :D

Now, you know by now that I don't like to repeat myself, and I've already gone over how I made the Thunderbolts loading screen, and how I composited the TDK Batman gameplay pictures, so you'd think there wasn't much to say as far as how I created these images. Except that I haven't gone much into detail as far as the actual modeling process of these heroes goes.

Each hero starts with a cube. Not a box, which is 2 dimensional, but a cube, which is in 3d space.

I then began manipulating the cube using various tools, which is where things start to get complicated.

Here is the cube after I have subdivided it, which basically means that wherever there was one side, now there are four. But it gets even more complicated. This type of subdivision is called a Catmall Clark Subdivide, which rounds out edges. Of course, I don't think about this kind of thing while I'm modeling a hero. That would be distracting.

Here, I pushed around the polygons a bit, by bringing down a point to form the top of the chest, and flattened the sides of the cube.

Here, I extruded the sides to form the arms, and pushed a few more points to strengthen the chest area. I could go on like this for many, many more steps. I could describe how I carefully add symmetry modifiers, weld separate objects together, convert to points and invert the selection to get rid of unneeded objects, etc. etc. But I know that that would probably bore anybody who doesn't really understand it to death, so I'm going to stop here. You can, however, request a full tutorial if you would like to know, down in the comment section, and I might be tempted to write one if enough people are interested. 

The real reason I showed you all this was to impress upon you how much effort goes into these What-Ifs. It's not like I have a team that models, textures, rigs, poses, lights and renders these heroes for me. Each hero takes me roughly thirty minutes to an hour to model, twenty minutes to texture, and two to three minutes to rig.

Here's what Batman's model looks like, un-subdivided and without textures:

I'd also like to mention that I actually model the hands and legs separately, and then attach them later to the body model. And that, in the final model, the cape is rigged for movement as well as the skeleton.

Another new thing that I did involved Superman.

You'll note that my Thunderbolt What-If didn't require any male characters with their faces exposed, which made it really easy for me to model them.

I did need to model Moonbeam and Songbird's faces, though. Unfortunately, I didn't do a very good job, as a closer inspection reveals.

But for this What-if, I needed two completely exposed faces: Superman and Wonder Woman.

I spent a lot of time on Wonder Woman's face, trying to make it not completely flat. And Superman's head gets re-used for every other male character except Batman, because I liked it so much. I think it works best on Flash and Green Arrow.

Here are the hero icons:

I can't wait for you to see the rest of this What-If, it's going to be AWESOME!

-- SHSOFan.