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Endterm200 - Character / Rigging / Lighting

Endterm200 - Character / Rigging / Lighting

Raphael Stiep
by raphaelstiep on 16 Jan 2024

With the goal of creating a rigged and animated character i went out to create this really cool Robot in a fitting Environment which ended up being a Spaceship Corridor kind of thing with quite a bit of Action...

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After starting this Year with a quite intense week creating my Enterm200 at PixlVisn I am very happy to share it with you guys.

I am quite please with what i was able to achive this week, however because of the sheer amout of stuff i wanted to create i was unfortunately not able to put my best into all the single steps towards creating the final product. Said that it was a really cool experience to go through the full workflow by myself and seeing the Project come together more and more.

I wanna say thank you to all my instructors and friends that really helped me out with this one, critiquing stuff and giving technical support made this Project to what it has become. Especially i want to mention Maksym Osmolovskyi for all his honest feedback from start to finish, and Felix Riehle for guiding me into the right direction when it came to lighting the shots which was quite the struggle in the beginning.

Also happy to share the Link to the amazing concept art for the Character created by: artstation - rafaelamarante

Enjoy watching it and always feel free to feedback or critique anything you see to help me grow my skills.

The Modeling stage was very fun and i had a lot of freedom in it. Since i only had 1 Reference image i had to come up with everything else that was not shown in the Concept. Also i had to try and make sure that all the pieces worked mechanically since i was gonna rig the Robot later on. This especially was a challenge when it came to Modeling the hips.

(Last image show is the Concept Art by: rafaelamarante on Artstation.

After a few long hours of doing the UV´s it was finally time to start texturing him in Substance 3d Painter. Since quite a few pieces in this model were made out of different materials (metal and painted metal on the same object mostly) i decided it was easier and quicker for me to assign different lamberts in Maya to the geometry itself, and then use this colored version to bake ID masks onto the main mesh in Substance. Even though i did not sculpt any detail additionally on it, this snipped of the low poly --> high poly workflow made it a whole lot easier for me to quickly mask the different parts.

Also from my mistakes in earlier projects i knew i had to move away some objects like the chains and the dynamite pack because they were later on gonna move away from their original position. This avoids having Ambient Occlusion baked into the textures of those objects.

Unfortunately i had a very tight time plan for this project which meant i only had a bit more than half a day to texture him, which resulted in some more generic textures than i would have liked to give him. I feel like adding some more specific details and damaged spots would have sold the look of this Robot a lot more.

(Also the pink square you can see on his head in the turntable is an export error of some graffiti decal from Substance. Unfortunately i realized this after the render was complete and could not fix in anymore..)

The Rigging Process was quite fun but also very challenging. This was the first Rig i did which i actually had to animate with afterwards which meant that it had to be good enough for me not to go crazy when animating xd;)

One of the challenges was creating the IK / FK switch in combination with the inverse foot roll control. After reading a lot of documentations and watching tutorials i finally got it to work in the end, which made animating a walk cycle a whole lot easier.

Also there where a few parts in the model which did not quite work with the Rig i had in mind. Especially the fingers are not working at all, so in the end i just had to accept that and make sure it is mostly not visible in the final product.

After all that preparation it was finally time for creating the shots, settling on the story composition etc..

I created multiple Slapcut versions starting with the robot in a T-Pose and slowly adding more and more animation end elements to it.

Following the first 2 Slapcut versions of this project:

As already mentioned the lighting and overall look of the project was the most difficult thing for me to nail. It took me quite a few iterations and also a lot of feedback from other people.

Starting out with the original idea of a monochromatic red look i made most of the materials red itself, which clearly did not work out. I played around with a lot of different looks after that and finally came back to a sort of monochromatic red look. Only this time i left the materials in grey and blue and created the final look only using Lights. This process fluently transitioned into the compositing part of the project where i used lightgroups in Redshift Maya for the first time and animated the different lights after rendering inside of Nuke.

I learned a lot about compositing and rendering in the final part, especially the importance of compositing on your test renders, even before you decide to render the final product.
Also a really cool trick i learned for the gunshots is to use quite a few different lightgroups (multiple point lights) in the same area to create the effect of the gunshots coming from different guns and hitting multiple targets :).

Layer Contact sheet of all the Shots:

After adding the quick introduction shot to make the beginning quite a bit more interesting it was finally time to cut it all together and polish the final product as much as possible.

Looking back on this project i learned quite a lot of new stuff. Especially my rigging, lighting and compositing skill were improved a lot by it.

I was already really good at finding references for the Modeling and Texturing parts of a project, however the struggle with the lighting taught me the actually obvious importance of references for getting the mood of a shot right. I knew about that but kind of neglected it, which i will deffinitely not do anymore for future projects.

This Project was quite a big one for one week and let to me trying to get everything to an acceptable level rather than making something as perfect as possible. Although i kind of like making projects that are this complex including a lot of different workflows, i wanna try to focus more on some specific parts of a project for the upcoming one, to actually be able to show what i can do if i give my 100 percent at something.

I hope you enjoyed reading through this and having a little peek into my workflow.
If you have any feedback or questions i am very happy to hear from you.
As we all know getting and listening to feedback is the best way to improve for all of us.


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