Zero, Part Deux

Posted by Akrid (1356 posts) -

This Week,

I continued on with my Zero model (From 999). I was unexpectedly busy, so I didn't get it finished, or even get it to a presentable state for that matter. Keep in mind that I usually try and get to a good point for show-and-tell when I do these. This time I didn't have that luxury.

Illustration by Kinu Nishimura (I think).

It quickly became clear that I wouldn't be able to reproduce the illustration perfectly without resorting to drastic, borderlands-esque methods. The scale is too crazy (That boat is supposed to be a cruise ship...), the lighting is completely impossible, and the shading is inconsistent. In order to reproduce this perfectly, I'd basically have to forgo any benefit you usually gain by working in 3d, which would really entirely defeat the purpose. I decided not to worry too much about accuracy any longer and just make something nice.

All of the textures you see are 100% procedural, meaning they're all generated on the fly within the program. No .jpg's were harmed in the making of this image.

I couldn't very well keep the hood so boring so I figured some fur would look nice. But then, common sense dictates that a fur-lined coat would only be worn in a cold environment, so I rolled with it from there. The fur looks alright, but it would look even better if I could replace that stupid cloak completely with something a little more natural. Meanwhile, I'm running into a plethora of issues with the background.

Background, in all it's glory. This is very much a work-in-progress people.

The ship is obviously untextured, and please ignore the floating icebergs. I distributed the icebergs with the same method described a while ago. I modeled 5 "Prototypes", just basic iceberg-y shapes. I then replicated them along the surface of the water geometry, using specific parameters to randomize their scale, rotation, and position.

Still really unsure where I'm going to go with all this. The only thing I'm satisfied with at this point is the mask itself, the rest is still looking pretty terrible. That's also kind of the problem. I'm trying to conform everything to the fraction that I think is decent, which is proving to be quite difficult. I'm also running into crippling technical difficulties, getting crashes every other minute as well as combating the dreaded NaN artifact, a well documented issue that basically causes chunks of pixels to render black for no apparent reason.

I'm not entirely confident that I can salvage this direction I've taken with this project, and under normal circumstances I'd probably be already calling it quits since it seems fate is conspiring against me on this one, but for some reason I feel like trying a little longer. If I can't manage I'll have to lower my scope a bit.

Comments/criticisms very welcome! I'd love some advice on where I should be going with this.

#1 Posted by Akrid (1356 posts) -

This Week,

I continued on with my Zero model (From 999). I was unexpectedly busy, so I didn't get it finished, or even get it to a presentable state for that matter. Keep in mind that I usually try and get to a good point for show-and-tell when I do these. This time I didn't have that luxury.

Illustration by Kinu Nishimura (I think).

It quickly became clear that I wouldn't be able to reproduce the illustration perfectly without resorting to drastic, borderlands-esque methods. The scale is too crazy (That boat is supposed to be a cruise ship...), the lighting is completely impossible, and the shading is inconsistent. In order to reproduce this perfectly, I'd basically have to forgo any benefit you usually gain by working in 3d, which would really entirely defeat the purpose. I decided not to worry too much about accuracy any longer and just make something nice.

All of the textures you see are 100% procedural, meaning they're all generated on the fly within the program. No .jpg's were harmed in the making of this image.

I couldn't very well keep the hood so boring so I figured some fur would look nice. But then, common sense dictates that a fur-lined coat would only be worn in a cold environment, so I rolled with it from there. The fur looks alright, but it would look even better if I could replace that stupid cloak completely with something a little more natural. Meanwhile, I'm running into a plethora of issues with the background.

Background, in all it's glory. This is very much a work-in-progress people.

The ship is obviously untextured, and please ignore the floating icebergs. I distributed the icebergs with the same method described a while ago. I modeled 5 "Prototypes", just basic iceberg-y shapes. I then replicated them along the surface of the water geometry, using specific parameters to randomize their scale, rotation, and position.

Still really unsure where I'm going to go with all this. The only thing I'm satisfied with at this point is the mask itself, the rest is still looking pretty terrible. That's also kind of the problem. I'm trying to conform everything to the fraction that I think is decent, which is proving to be quite difficult. I'm also running into crippling technical difficulties, getting crashes every other minute as well as combating the dreaded NaN artifact, a well documented issue that basically causes chunks of pixels to render black for no apparent reason.

I'm not entirely confident that I can salvage this direction I've taken with this project, and under normal circumstances I'd probably be already calling it quits since it seems fate is conspiring against me on this one, but for some reason I feel like trying a little longer. If I can't manage I'll have to lower my scope a bit.

Comments/criticisms very welcome! I'd love some advice on where I should be going with this.

#2 Posted by RagingLion (1364 posts) -

The mask does look quite nice with its metallic sheen - more real-world believable than the drawing.  The hoses on the mask do seem to give this Zero character (haven't played the game) a lot of his specific visual identity, so your own guy is clearly something different without them but it's your project so use it however you want - and having something consistent is the main thing I guess.  As I said, the mask looks pretty good.  There is a definite disconnect between the mask and the hood - something to do with the lighting but I'm no expert so I'm not quite sure what makes me think that.  The right side of the fur trim does seem better with that dark purple light glinting off it, but maybe it's a deeper/different issue than the left-side of the fur trim seeming a bit out of place.  Those are my thoughts.

#3 Posted by Akrid (1356 posts) -
@RagingLion: The hoses are there actually, they're just hidden by a layer in PS. I thought it looked kind of nice, but that image was a really quick mock-up so I haven't really evaluated it fully. I honestly didn't even notice that it completely hid the hoses!

You're right that the lighting isn't even. I did that light setup before I placed him into his environment, which of course would probably lend itself to a more even lighting scheme. I'll redo it.

I'm thinking that the disconnect between the mask and hood is coming from either the scale or position of the mask within the hood. I'll take another look at it.

Thanks for the advice, I'd of probably missed these things had you not pointed them out!

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.