Sakuya Izayoi - Touhou Fan Art
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Sakuya Izayoi - Touhou Fan Art

Andrew Fellows
by drheatsync on 1 Jun 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

Fan art of Touhou's Sakuya Izayoi. Rendered in Marmoset Toolbag 3. Thanks to Ryan Kingslien and other artists for feedback during her development.

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Sakuya Izayoi
Real-Time Touhou Fan Art:

Hi, I've been a fan of Touhou Project for a really long time so I wanted to make some great fan art and learn a lot of stuff on the way. This is the result I got from this experience.

Render Pass Fly-through

Wireframe Renders

Base Renders

Processes and Breakdowns

Sakuya is often portrayed in Touhou games as a strong and flexible character. I went with the design she was given in Touhou Gensou Wanderer with some more dynamic aspects from Touhou Luna Nights. I really wanted to capture her imperviousness in the former to contrast fluidity in the latter.

High Poly Sculpt:
I opted for clean and recognisable shapes for the sculpting of forms and cloth.

To create intricate forms such as frills, braids and stiches, I created some simple IMM brushes that I could apply using drawn curves.

Frills have some added complexity due to being thin, double sided materials. Sculpting such double sided assets presents problems with uniform thickness and are an absolute pain, here is how I circumvented this:

In the brush I've created the frills are single-sided. I try to do as much work on them whilst they are like this. 

Extraction is used to make the frills double-sided, but I then need a clean, divisible extraction. I extract at lowest possible and the highest sub-divisions, where the lowest possible subdiv can form well to the high extract properly. I use projection to get the high extract's forms. Repeated projection nets a subtool with divisions to reach the original's fidelity. The Reconstruct Sub-divisions tool is then used to generate the lower subdivisions that the low subtool may not have been able to reach initially due to accomodating projection.

Low Poly mesh was retopologised and unwrapped using Maya. Maps such as normal, ambient occlusion, cavity, curviture, thickness and position were baked using Marmoset Toolbag 3.

Texturing and Substance Painter
These are some base processes I went through with these textures in general; I set up a base layer that defines the basic colour and roughness values to start with.
I then add fill layers which have darker colours, higher roughness and in some cases cavity values which are masked by cavity, ambient occlusion and gradients. This gives me a base to work with before I start hand painting.

With painting colours on the texture I start with a paint layer that is quite rough. I just want the highest and lowest colour values and I disable all of the other channels on the layer. 
I create another layer, disables all channels except colour and blend them much like painting in photoshop.If I need to make adjustments to the other channels I will do on their own layer.

Finally if I need to create insets such as the linework in the hair, this is on a fill layer with a set colour, roughness, cavity and height value and I paint the mask. In this case below it is used to seperate hair elements from each other.

Below are final textures created for Sakuya. AO, Roughness and Metallic are normally compiled into an RGB texture but are seperated here for clarity.

Below are more specialised textures such as Sub-surface Scattering and Cavity. Cavity is used here to limit the amount of light an area receives; this is used in this to intentionally limit light intensity where spreading the light value via roughness was not enough.

Rigging
The scary one. I decided that I wanted to rig Sakuya instead of trying to pose her via Zbrush or using an auto-rigger like Adobe Mixamo. Partly because I wanted to be able to pose her with a great level of dynamism but also because I wanted to make a rig that could be reused long term.

It isn't perfect, but I learned a lot about the process by doing this, so here are some breakdowns and demos of what I learned and achieved.

Rendering:
I adopted the mindset of 'painting with lights' which I learned from Bao Vu. There are some elements of three point lighting applied, they are applied with many lights with varying strengths. I wanted to add in a dramatic contrasting red to make things interesting and its a way of highlighting the frills, the skirt and the hair off to the side.

I applied Hejl tone mapping to the camera. I increased exposure, contrast and sharpening to effect and the result is much more exciting. The default settings are on the left, post processing on the right.

Ending
If you made it this far, thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed looking at my work. I have learned a lot and it has been quite challenging but also highly enjoyable.


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