[Completed] WIP: Her Ancestor (Make a Splash in Amsterdam)

EDIT: the WIP is complete. Click here to jump to the conclusion!

Hi all!
Decided to take part in the new challenge. I will share my progress here, in the open spirit of the challenge. So, let me begin by sharing some guiding principles I have set for my project, and my general idea.

I will remix Blender 2.81’s splash, as I find it so lovely and full of details. It was created by Alex Treviño, based on a concept by Anaïs Maamar. Both are great artist whose work I recommend checking out!
My idea is to make it happen in a different era, a far away past where an ancestor of the girl is still running the same shop. It probably runs in the family :smiley:
For the setting, I was thinking about a Ancient Greco-Roman/Mediterrean scenario, but this will become more defined as I work on it. I am very passionate about history and recreating materials from the past, so I’d like to cater this part of me in this process.

A few points I’ve thought about, in no particular order:

  • I will remake most assets of the scene to make them fit the different era. However, I won’t alter the “essence” of the scene, as really, the meaning of it must be: different era, same humanity.
  • Every single new asset included will be, of course, created by me.
  • I will create new textures and assets for the scene. Everything that is new will be shared in the end under CC0 licensing. I won’t win this challenge, but at least I might contribute something to the community!
  • I’d like to use Blender’s new hair tools, as I haven’t had a chance to play with them yet.
  • As the project will be shared on Sketchfab, I need to make sure it will look good from all angles and that it will be optimized for it. But I will also make a nice render for sharing here, and that will resemble the original splash in camera positiong/photography.
  • And, of course, my progress will be shared here.

Ah, and the title of this entry will be… Her Ancestor

I’m excited for this. And I’m excited to see what others will create for this challenge. May the works begin!

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Nice idea!

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Ooh, placing that scene in a different time sounds fantastic!

Be careful with that - hair won’t work on Sketchfab and even if you instance the meshes, they’ll be VERY heavy. For real-time display, using tricks like hair cards will work better.

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Ah, of course, thank you so much for the tip, Bart! I think hair cards will do the trick :smiley:

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Great idea - I always imagined the junk shop as a family owned thing, so having an early ancestor makes a lot of sense.

You should also look at Anaïs Maamar’s original concept art. You can find it here along with some additional resources:

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Thank you for pointing me to the original concept! I had checked her ArtStation but it wasn’t there.

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Great idea! I can’t wait to see your progress :smiley:

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Thanks to all of you for your encouragement! Today I have annotated the original image with what I want to change, more or less:

I think I will replace the two little robots with a turtle and a hare. I’d like to sneak in a Hesop reference. But, if it was that I won’t have time to include the hare… well, then the turtle by itself can be a reference to Zeno’s paradox. In fact, the turtle will be looking at a pair of ancient looking rollerblades placed at the bottom.

I will also include: an ancient Greek pot; a big clay jar for wine; beautiful fabrics that will provide both a roof and a cover for the table; a tiled stone floor; etc.

I’ve quickly blocked out the turtle that will replace the left robot:

I have used Quad Remesher to quickly retopo it and bring it to a low enough poly count. I plan to do most of the heavy lifting when texturing. Spoiler: I am not a character artist, so I confess that the turtle and the hare are the parts that worry me the most.

I have started working on the textures of the shell, but I won’t share that yet.

I have also optimized the scene for the latest version of Blender. I’ve updated the render settings to make use of Cycles X’s speed, I’ve switched every Principled Shader to GGX and disabled SSS. I’ve also removed the background wall, as that won’t be included in the Sketchfab model. By doing all these things, performance has become very smooth, and I can now easily use this viewport with Cycles to work on the lookdev part of things. I’ve replaced the lighting with a simple daylight Nishita (probably that will change later on).

For the hair of the girl, I’m evaluating every option to make the file okay for Sketchfab. Perhaps I might go for a setup like this:

Or perhaps, as discussed above, I will go for hair cards.

Finally, I’ve studied the file structure and decided what will stay, what will go, what will need to be edited.

Today’s work was foundational. Hopefully the next updates will be more exciting!

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And hair cards it is! Today I have replaced the particle system that generated the girl’s hair with hair cards.

The strands are low poly and look good, in my opinion. I created a simple hair texture with Substance Designer. In Blender, I have created the curls by converting a curve spiral to a mesh and then joining it with a copy of itself. I have then applied as a texture on it the hair texture, which was stretched along the whole curl. Then, using proportional editing, I have manually placed each strand and gave it the same placement and size of the original particle system.

I’m quite happy with it!

EDIT:

just a little funny detail, and a testimony to the great work of the artist on this splash.
Did you know that the girl (named Mona, from the files!) is wearing a Red Hot Chili Peppers t-shirt? Never noticed it:

image

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Aaaand I have a new tiled stone pavement texture. If it was displaced it would look nicer, but I want to keep everything light, so that it will perform well online :slight_smile:

If I will have time, I will add here and there some grass, just to add more depth to the floor.

This tiling texture, like every texture I’m creating for this project, will be available as CC0 at the end of the project.

In the render you can also see I tweaked normal, roughness and base color of the hair cards. I gave her hair a kind of blue shine.

I think that’s all for today!

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Let me begin with a little tidbit of historical background of my artistic choices.

In Pompeii you can find a perfectly intact example of a stand of a thermopolium. It was a street food/little restaurant were supposedly you could choose from a variety of dishes and wine, and eat it quickly at the moment.

image

(A funny thing is that you can also see an inscription above the painting of the dog saying “Nicia cinaede cacator”: Nicia [a person] shameless shitter! Timeless.)

What I like about this is that it is another nail on the coffin of the idea that ancient cities were all temples of immaculate stone. They weren’t. This is something that should pass to common knowledge, a bit like we’re now getting used to the idea that dinosaurs had feathers.

Why this premise? Well, it’s interesting and, most importantly, it will be a guiding factor in the realization of the new counter for the scene.

The counter will be made out of stone. It will be frescoed, both with fitting natural leitmotifs and with the same information that is found on the current one, but directly painted on the stone.


the information that will be transferred as a fresco to the new counter

Moreover, the rooftop will be replaced by a fabric roofing. Why? Well, first of all, it is realistic. Second, it looks good. I have recently developed some texturing techniques to make beautiful fabrics, and I can’t wait to apply them here. But third, and very importantly, the mesh of the girl is only a bust. She is missing her legs! While this is fine for a static render, it is not for a 3d turntable model on Sketchfab. The illusion will be visible!

So, I need to conceal this. And I will do so by having the roof cover the sides as well, and not only the top.

I have already modeled the simple, lowpoly counter. Let me show it to you:

It is untextured, currently. The counter and the wooden sticks are very elementary shapes. The cloth was sculpted using Blender’s marvelous cloth brushes. I started with a cube shape, I removed the front and bottom faces, then I sculpted the cloth to add some tension and bending.


Visualization of the scene. All the colliding or flying assets will be fixed in due time. Now, the next step is texturing it.

(pics src: https://www.sci.news/archaeology/pompeii-thermopolium-09193.html )

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I love the historical depth and your take on how we view ancient society. They were all people that lived normal people lives just like us!

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Yes! I always try to go back to history for my own projects, as somehow it brings what I am making to life. And your comment makes me so happy, as this is exactly what I would intend to highlight with this remix. The appearance and the year count changes, the struggles and the joys stay the same.

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Not many updates today, as it is my birthday :slight_smile:
But one small thing I managed to do:


a cloth texture for the sides. I have chosen a color scheme that hopefully will fill the rest of the scene later on.
image
(from Paletton)

The fabric uses a weft faced twill pattern. I have recently worked on my methodology to generate fabric patterns, and I believe what I have is both effective and original.
I usually draw my base pattern as pixel art. My go to editor for this is Asesprite, but any image editing software will do.

this is what I drew. As you see, it fits the scheme above perfectly. I then feed this drawing to a graph I have prepared in Substance Designer.

I hope you like the result. In the next days I will proceed more speedily, but for today this is it.

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Awesome work so far. And have a happy birthday!

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Thanks a lot:)

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Happy birthday!

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Thank you, Bart!

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Happy birthday! Your texturing abilities make me jealous. One day I’ll know texturing well enough to develop my own personal method.

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Ahahah, thank you! In the end, a personal method for something just means having spent a lot of time messing around with things until they somehow work out :smiley:

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