Environment is just a temp HDRI atm, I’ll eventually be building a proper alleyway to go with it, and maybe some props for it to hold (a pokedoll? A shadow ball? Anyone have any ideas?). As far as the character itself goes, I need to add some more contrast to the fur color texture (yes, there’s a fur texture…see what I mean?). I also need to do the facial rigging and skin the tongue and back spikes. And probably detail the eyes a bit more. I also don’t think the structure of the eye lens is quite right atm, I think I need to take a look at some drawing of cat-eye anatomy on that one.
I might also switch to a spline rig for the tail. Was hoping to get away with a simple IK chain because of how short the tail is, but that seems a bit too naive and optimistic now. The simple-IK tail is really awkward to control even with how little range of motion it needs.
Character again. Still messing around with the fur brightness. Trying to find a shade that isn’t so dark it disappears, but isn’t so light it looks hot purple instead of shadow-like.
Additionally, full scene is now modeled enough to show something (silly looking clay gengar also included for reference, pose is not remotely final):
I’ve included the paper lanterns in this shot, even though I’m debating if I’m actually going to keep them. At first I thought of adding them to make it look like a city street in a Japan (where pokemon is from originally, of course). But when I was building them, I started doubting I knew enough about Japanese vs western city streets to even pull that off. I fear trying it will look like a western city’s alleyway with some asian-looking things slapped in it.
Ok, scene is textured (except for the dumpster) and sort-of lit right now. It still looks a bit dark, and the lighting feels a bit flat too, so I’m going to need to brighten it up somehow while not losing too many things in shadow.
Here’s the result from a brief layer-comp test:
And the character:
As far as the fur shader goes, I want to make it more translucent (the backlight rim is nowhere near as bright as I wanted it to be). I’m also debating whether or not it needs to brighter or shinier. Thoughts? Btw, I am happy to say he is now dressed in the new Cycles hair shader, and damn. It is MUCH faster to render than using the anisotropic node for the shine.
For a lot of pokemon, it’s not clear whether they have fur or not. For some it’s obvious, for example, Ninetales definitely has fur, Blastoise definitely doesn’t. For pokemon that aren’t based on a furry animal and there’s no references to fur or scales or anything in Pokedex info, it’s kind of a tossup. Gengar is depicted with a lot of spiky protrusions on his body. It’s never really clear what these are. Are they anime hair? Spines? I decided to go with a combination of the two. The other reason is that Gengar is somewhat derived from the idea of shadow people, which are usually depicted with a broken-up outline: http://peterboroughghosthunter.webs.com/shadows.jpg
Often, this is done with pencil sketching and the like, but on 3D character, this isn’t really an option. The best way to do that is with coarse fur, so that’s what I did. (i’ll eventually be adding some smoke around him, but that’s a later step).
This image? This is just a character test with an HDRI, it won’t be used in the final product. The image of him in the alleyway is the main shot. I’m planning to render a few character shots, but those will be in a different studio setup I haven’t built yet. As for the alleyway, I’m working to rebalance the lights so he throws a creepy shadow on the right hand wall, in the image I posted its a bit washed out due to the paper lanterns.
I think I finally got the pose right. I think. I also added a fill light over the top so his head isn’t so overly-shadowed. And finally, some “shadow threads” in his other hand. Plus a whole bunch of tiny comp tweaks.
I think this is getting closer to a good finished product, but I’m still not sure about the lighting and brightness. Sometimes I think it’s too light, sometimes I think it’s too dark. (night shots are hard…)