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Old 03-17-2007   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Oceanside, California USA
Posts: 21
Question Organic Head Surfacing

Fairly new to Maya, and have what is probably a basic question: I've recently purchased the Organic Head Surfacing DVD's authored by Alex Alvarez. How important is it to follow the process exactly as outlined in the DVD's. I've been through them a couple of times, and started to model one on my own, and am realizing that I have deviated a bit in step to step the processes.

In 2D the order things are done can effect the end result and I am wondering if the same applies in 3D.

If this is not the correct forum to address questions concerning the DVD's, please direct me to the correct area. I have a few other questions I cannot quite work around. Desperately need help.

Thank you,

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Old 03-18-2007   #2
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 38

Hehe, oh man. Yes, you can deviate however you like as long as the finished thing looks how you want it to look.

That being said, I cannot think of, nor have I been able to find someone who can think of, a reason to make organic models in Nurbs. I assume you want to make characters. Polygonal modeling tools have come sooooo far in the last 5-7 years. NURBS is generally considered a thing of the past when it comes to character modeling.

That being said, I hope you won't feel like you wasted your money because there are still many uses for nurbs. The first thing that comes to mind are products. Cellphones, cars... stuff like that.
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Old 03-19-2007   #3
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 38

Ok, well:
1. Post up some renders of the models you have done. Perhaps I can give you some specific pointers on what you could improve. I'm not sure what you mean by "until the program requires me to change the model back into polygons and get this boxy looking monstrosity" Please explain a little further. (screen shots would be great. is your friend)

For reference, take a look at the portfolio section on (click portfolio on the top bar) Some of the artist I look to for realism are: Steven Stahlberg, Olivier Ponsonnet, among others.

2. Post a list of DVDs you think you should get, and tell us what you expect to learn from it. Be specific, the more specific you are about what you want to learn, the more likely I'd be able to tell you if that DVD would be the best.
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Old 03-31-2007   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 19

I don't know in which program you'r making it
But try playing with Hard and Soft Edges.
Hard edges will always render with a "polygon" look to them but if you have enough polygons and turn them to Soft Edges it will render with organic feel as the edges are with soft angle.
Mitko is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2007   #5
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 19

Well the idea is this ...
You have to chose the best projection for a part of the character.
For example if you have a part of it that looks more like a cylinder, like a leg or arm for example, what you can do is chose the lower part of the leg ( if the leg is bended) chose the faces and apply a cylinder projection.Then in the UV editor you can switch to UV mode and when you select a single UV you can use the Select Shell option which will select the entire part which you mapped.
Then move it away from the place it is because if you deselect it and select the creature again the next time you select the creature you will have the whole UV stuff displaying in the UV editor and it will be hard to find that part you just mapped.
After you move the part you mapped away you have to select 1 UV and use the Relax option in the UV editor and then Scale the whole thing until the checker pattern seams the same with the rest of the body.
This way you ensure that you will get no "stretching" effect of that part when you paint on it in photoshop.

For example if you have a whole body to texture you have to figure out what parts to map so you can glue them back together so it will be easy to paint on them in PS.
The point is that when you map a part of the body and then another part of it, when you go to pain on them in PS you will not get a seamless result because all the Pixels that end on the boarders of the BodyPart1 must match the pixels of the other BodyPart2 that you mapped.
So when you map a leg and you first map the lower leg and then map the upper leg then you can chose to Move and Saw the two parts because when you paint on them in PS you will have seamless result.
That's why it is very important to Scale the two parts in the UV editor so that the checker pattern looks the same , because if they are not, when you paint in photoshop the one part will look great but the other will look blured because the size of the quads in the UV are for example larger and different for the two parts.

UVs are just representation of you Mesh Verts.
A single quad of UV is that exact single quad on your mesh.
If you make that quad larger, it will take more space from the 2D texture you will make and so it will have more detail on it.
If you make it smaller it will take less space from your 2d texture and it will get less detail.

You can paint something in PS and they move the UV over it, but i doubt that you will get any accurate results or any seamless results between the parts.

IF you do a simple automap and try to texture on the billion parts of it in photoshop it will be impossible because the UV matrix is spread around in total chaos.
For example you can have parts of your leg turned in billion parts and taken to the upper part of the UV editor.And when you paint on your leg UV you will have to paint on that small parts too and it will be hard to find them ...

What you can do is this :
Go to the Windows-Preferences- Polygons-
Then find the Highlight borders and chose the UV borders option and make the border size to 4 or 6.
This will highlight your UV borders on the mesh.(UVs can be always edited and changed)
After that you have to get yourself familiar with the projections and the way they act.
When you apply a Planer proj on a cylinder looking mesh you will get the following result.
The parts of the mesh that are close to the projection plane will be evenly spaced in the UV editor, but the parts of the cylinder that are away from the Planer projection will be smaller and even on the edje of them you can get overlapping UVs which will not take anything from the texture you will paint because they are one above the other and in result you will get a "stretched" texture on that place.
That's why for cylinder parts you should apply cylinder mapping because the plane of projection resembles the mesh and you will get less distortion and less editing in the UV editor.
The idea is that you need uniformly spaced representation of your 3D mesh in 2D plane.
What the projections do is they act like a camera.
Imagine that you render a shot with a regular camera and the mesh is cilinder looking.Some parts of the mesh will be invisible and andthey will look far away because you will get light shading on the round forms of the mesh.
Thats exactly what's happening when you apply a planer projection.The only difference is that the "light shading" is represented with smaller UV quads which are away from the plane of projection.
But if you had a cylinder camera .... then the mesh will not get any shading because your camera looks it from all sides and no light can be shaded and you will see all the parts equally.
That's why you should use different projections for different parts.
I tend to use a planer projection for hands and foots, cylinder projections for legs and arms and body.And for the face i use planer projections but i skin parts of the face.
For example i will turn the camera to a front view and select all the visible faces in the front of the face and do i planer projection ( note that you must use the projection plane axis (x,y,z) or ajust them manually so you will get a nice projection.You can't get a good projection if your mesh plane is " | " and your projection plane is " -- ".Then i will turn the camera and make a projection from the Top view and from the Side view and after scaling the UV parts so the checker pattern looks the same i will use the Move and Saw UV's and combine it to one peace so i can pain on the entire face in one peace in photoshop.

After your done with this things you can use the option in the UV editor - Create Photoshop Network.
What this does is it creates a Photoshop File with the UV snapshot in it ( make sure your making the texture size as big as you can in the options ) and it creates different layers for the options you will chose for the material when you create the Network.
Before you create the network chose a good material and apply it to your mesh because when you create the network Maya takes the material currently applyed to the mesh and gives you options to chose from.For example if on your mesh you have Lambert you will have to chose from the properties of a Lambert material in the create network window.

Or you can simply take a UV snapshot and paint on it in photoshop and apply the image to the color attribute of the material for the mesh.
Use Tiff files they are bigger but you can work with layers and that's great because you can avoid errors in the production of the texture.

In photoshop get yourself familiar with the "Clone Stamp Tool" so you can transfer the texture from the end of one UV matrix to the beginning to another UV matrix.
Arrange your UV parts so they mean something to you and you are able to recall which part that was in your UV layout.

So the goals of UV mapping are :
1.Get an uniformly ( the quads on you UV mesh are with almost exact size as they are on your mesh ( checker pattern helps and scaling the UV part in the UV editor) ) spaced quads.This is the most important one because you will get distortion of your texture if you have not uniformly spaced UV coordinates.

2.Saw together parts of the UV on which you want to paint a detail texture different then the Base color for the entire thing (Move and saw parts).

3.Export the UV snapshot and start painting in Photoshop.

4.Make a seamless transition from one part of your UV coordinates to the next one ( upper leg - lower leg ) with the Clone Stamp Tool.

That's all
I hope i didn't confuse you even more
But to get a good grasp of UV mapping just go and try to UV map primitives.
This way you will understand what projection is best for you for the different looking meshes.
Always use Checker pattern because where the checker pattern looks distorted you will get distortion on that place for your texture.And move the UVs so the pattern looks the same everywhere.Like i sayd a bigger UV quad in your UV editor will accumulate more texture from the 2d space picture, a smaller one will get less and if the checker pattern is blurred for example you should resize the quads in that area (switch to UV mode on your mesh and UV mode in your texture editor - when you select a UV point in your UV editor or in your mesh, the same one will get highlighted in both views, same appplys to selecting edges or faces ).

Now theres an interesting moment here - how do i know that i already mapped this face of the mesh and where are the borders of the peace of mesh i just mapped.

Like i sujested use the properties- polygons to highlight the UV border edges.
Another CLEAN aproach is to use the Show only selected objects(faces).
This will enshure that you didn't select any other faces from the mesh.

Here are some commands for your shelf.
Isolate selection.
enableIsolateSelect modelPanel4 1;

Show all.
enableIsolateSelect modelPanel4 0;


Xray on
modelEditor -e -xray 1 modelPanel4;

Xray off
modelEditor -e -xray 0 modelPanel4;

If you use the PSD network option you will benefit from this command because it updates the PSD file so you get an updated texture when you use Hardware shading.


This one merges two selected UVs in the UV editor

performPolyMergeUV 0;

Well i hope this helps (sorry for my bad english )
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