Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Soda trip - modelling background assets

I did this stuff at the end of last year and just now getting around putting the notes in a sensible way. If you're not interested in modelling  this post is going to bore you :)

There are two types of geometry in an animated film- one that is to be skinned - with good organic topology edgeflow to serve the deformations and one that is to be used as a background asset. That needs to be:
  • as Low poly as possible (for proxy use during animation stage)
  • edgeloops at the right places- to keep those hard edges when subdiv modifier is applied during rendering time
  • edgeflow doesnt create any shading problems
  • Use the whole toolbox and modifiers wisely to save time- pick the right tool for the right job, instead of 1 tool for every job (I'm looking at you extrude and edgeloop insert ;))
So with these goals in mind I set off to model the things in the long list, so each asset is

Easy to edit:
  • non destructive editing (modifiers,curves,etc)
  • Reuse geometry and its modifier stack where ever possible (no need to build modifier stack from scratch for everything, just separate new objects from existing ones)
  • work on halves, Instance and dublicated geometry where possible
Here is a list of the modelling tools that I put to practice in blender:

Lofting: using surf curves+mirror modifier to create a nurbs patch. I use the mirror modifier for reference, then just dublicate the curve and flip it (s,y,-1).

also used nurbs patches for the typewriter body. This allowed me to tweak the proportions easily before going into any detail.

Using CV curves and nurbs is an excellent way of creating precise shapes that have some curvature. The method is quite simple, yet still  flexible in blender!

In order to create the keyboard, I made 12x4 rows of vertices for each button, then made a single button that was instanced on the place of the verts automagically. This allowed me to scale the button and change its design on the spot, updating all of its instances.
I dublicated my button map object and used it to create the button trunks by extruding the verts and then applying a skin modifier for the created edges.

similar technique to the coat hanger:
its using a 3d curve that is set to bevel and that object is being instanced on the vertices of a circle object that goes around the hanger's pole. 4 verts= 4 legs.

Something common with all the assets is that each is made with the minimal amount of geometry to edit. I try to leave as much as possible to the mirror modifier- sometimes using 2 or even more mirror modifiers, array modifiers,instancing and so on to procedurally generate the parts of a mesh that repeat. It's procedural, but it saves time. These sort of tools are present in maya as well, but they are much worse and quite unreliable some times.
Here one edgering circle is being dublicated by the array modifier, mirrored by the mirror, solidified and the subdivided.- all non destructively, so to change all the rings, I need to edit only the two edge loops that form one 7 faced edge ring.

I used a bezier curve+ text object for the fridge logo- so it fits the shape of the fridge door and also has this corky bend to follow the curves of the curcle beneath it. I made sure the curves handles are precise by copy and pasting their corresponding coordinates from the start node handles of the curve (left side) to the end node handles (on the right side).
The text object is editable, so I can change fridgeomatic to something else if I want, swap the font, resize, etc etc.
 You can see in the wire that the fridge door also has some jars, ketchup and other stuff modelled. Everything is using a subdiv modifier, so it has a low poly proxy stored.

Other modifiers I used on assets that are not in the screenshots: Boolean, skin modifier, etc etc..

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