Realistic Male Character (mild nudity)

Hi All,

I start too many things before I finish them. But seeing as I plan to turn them all into an updated reel soon(ish) I guess it’s a good thing. Just better not start anything else… :o

The topology is a reworking of my female WIP character - which is why the arms and legs look quite dainty at the moment compared to the head and torso where I’ve spent most of my time thus far.

I plan to use the same rig for both (so I can re-use animations and build up a bit of a library) but with this character I plan to use a mesh deform cage for most of the deformation control.

At the moment, his upper torso looks a bit to bulky for the rest of him, I want him to be fit, not bodybuilder type of physique. Not sure on age, I was going to give him a younger face, but liked the direction the zbrush sculpt was heading so I’ll probably keep him how he is. Topology I’m happy with, so it’s a matter of finishing the sculpt before I start to rig and texture.

Rig will be motion capture ready (for both characters) when done.


This is looking great! Excellent sculpting work on the muscles. What’s your current poly count?

Aside form the legs and waist as you already mentioned the hands are tiny.

Keep it up!

woa! thats really good

little off topic here but… could you tell us how you did the lighting/material for that? i think that’s a really nice setup you got there for showcasing models like that


Polycount is 7206 faces (either all or nearly all quads) for the base mesh, rendered at subsurf level 3 which is 775,624 faces. Subsurf 2 and a normal map should be fine when he’s finished. Really happy with Blender’s displacement of a full head and body for under 1 million polys though.

Jeepster - - if you haven’t read this, I would recommend it. My setup is a variation of one of the .blend files on this page, but I’ll make a basic version of my .blend and post it here shortly.

Basically it is 4 spotlights, AAO and node setup - no raytracing involved! Standard Oren-Nayar material on the model as well. I decided to do some actual lighting research rather than the usual ‘play with light values until it looks ok’.

Lighting Rig -

.blend is attached to this post

The node setup is arranged in three ‘chunks’ - gamma/tone correction, DOF effect and glow for objects with object PassIndex 1. Glow isn’t used in this particular example, but it works a treat if your model has glowing sci-fi type gear on their outfit or is holding a torch/lightsaber/etc. It’s glow. You get the idea.


LightingRig.blend (599 KB)

technically the tone mapping and gamma correction go at the very end, after all the dof and glow have been done in linear colour space.

True, I think you mentioned that in my other thread. I’m just a little slow on the uptake it would seem. Still getting the hang of exactly which node does what in the tone/gamma correction ‘chunk’. Will fix it a little later.

EDIT - New .blend on this post, with all the tone/gamma nodes at the end. Is this better ZombieJohn or am I still missing something?


2_LightingRig.blend (599 KB)

Hi Ben,

Nice work there mate. I have had a quick sqizz at the node setup you’ve posted and added a quick addition that I have used in the past in order to help pull out some of those darker tones. Basically I have removed the AAO pass from the combined to its own channel and then inverted it using the colourRamp node. Then use the AAO pass as a kind of mask in order to combine the gamma corrected result with a non-gamma corrected result. Basically this uses colour values to deepen the AO effect instead of just greyscale values which I find can give a “richer” result. Anyhow just thought I’d throw that one out there. You can fine tune the mask using colourRamp node by changing the interpolation type for different fall off types and also to clamp the mask values to your content. Let me know if this works for you its a bit of a wip at present.


EDIT: I just added an exemplar image for your comparison - though I am working on a non-calibrated monitor at the moment so it may come out a little dark


2_LightingRig[1]_edit.blend (609 KB)

Thanks JoshC for having a look at my setup, I’ll take at yours after work. Does look a tad dark compared to my previous renders.

Small update, saved from Zbrush. Final work will still be Blender of course, but it’s quicker that re-exporting the base mesh and displacement map and tweaking in Blender for each forum post. Also, this more metallic material shows up the forms a lot better from a helpful critique point of view.

Since last post, the legs have been worked on (knees are still a bit wonky), feet and arms/hands haven’t been touched and the torso (upper half in particular) has been tweaked to be less bulky. I think the stomach transitioning into the pelvis should probably stick out a bit more, almost looks concave with the default Zbrush lighting.

Having fun though. :slight_smile:

Oh, and poly count for body alone is still only 306,000 polys at this level of detail. Doubt I will need any more than that. The head doesn’t have an inner mouth at this point, but geometry wise, I should have the whole character at highest displacement come in at just under 1 million polys. Which means drop it back one level with a normal map and I’ll have a detailed character for under 250,000 polys which is a ballpark figure I’m quite happy with.

ah, thanks ben!!

that model is looking really awesome :eek:

Very nice model, but where are his genitals?
I always find it weird to look at a model like that, like looking at a head without ears!

er, just me? I’ll get my coat…

Cheers Jeepster.

Michael W - fair enough. I don’t have any issues with nudity in art, but I intend to use this character for motion capture tests mainly, so he will at least be wearing undies otherwise it will just get a little wierd when all is moving. I haven’t decided on a default outfit for him yet, more concerned with the musculature for the moment then the rigging. Something simple like that probably. I’d like to do some more testing with the cloth sim while I’m at it. Will draw some concepts when I get that far at any rate.

Big update!

And a rendered turnaround (around 3mb, h.264 .mov)


And a rendered motion capture test (around 3mb, h.264 .mov)


Things I’m looking for with comments mainly involve overall proportions at this stage. I’ve done that bad habit again of looking at multiple sources for reference, so while I’m happy with the forms, I’m wondering about some of the proportions. Mainly the size of feet, head and hands in comparison to the rest of the body and each other. Anything else that stands out I’d be grateful for hints on too. One other thing on the modelling - you will notice the shoulder/armpit region is a little rough - I sculpted in a pose good for sculpting (in my opinion, seemed to help) and then re-posed the arms quickly to try a bit of rigging. Will fix that up properly.

With the mocap test, the difference between this test and the one I have already on vimeo/youtube is that this character is (roughly as you can tell) rigged to a variation of my current more detailed rig that is getting its motion via constraints and such from an imported .bvh armature. I know there is probably a more efficient way of making that happen, but for now it’s an important step for me to at least run some tests with mocap using my rig rather than just an imported bvh armature.

I intend to use a mesh deform cage still for the rigging so I’ll be able to make some geometry changes during the rigging process, which should be very helpful. A lot of modelling hints I’ve got for my other main WIP character were given after I did the rigging with shape keys, making them hard to implement. Still helpful for future reference though. :slight_smile:

Edit - polycount for stills and rendered turnaround is 750,000ish (subd level 3) and mocap animation was rendered out at subd level 2 - (213,387poly) - the latter taking 8 seconds per frame to render with composite nodes. Didn’t get around to setting up motion blur nodes before rendering though. Do intend to work that in to my default setup though, adds a lot to motion if not over-used.

Very, very impressive BenDansie. Keep it up!

Cheers Krayon.

MaleMocap20002_0320.MOV - h.264 3mb .mov

Another test using the same mocap file. This time using a mesh-deform cage on the character, seem to be getting quite good results without too much hassle at this point. I think one thing I need to work into my rig soon is a slider to switch from mocap file control to manual control. I think there are roughly 10-12 bones that would be affected, currently have to turn their sliders up and down each time I re-attach the mesh deform cage to the armature. Although that wont be an issue once the cage is how I like it. Not too many changes left I don’t think.

Oh, and the head will be reattached later. It’s a sculpting/zbrush thing.

Constraints are a little different too, still working on those.

Great model. The hips look a little weird in the mocap though.

@ben - Cheers. The rigging is still in the very rough stages and hips, shoulders and to a lesser extent elbows and knees are always the big culprits. I’ll be able to fix them, just haven’t got that far yet. There is other things too, like his feet always point forward to the camera, but that is the sort of thing I’ll probably have to manually animate depending on how accurate the software is I’m about to test. Don’t have access yet, just trying to do what I can now so I’m ready to go when I get it. :slight_smile:

Also, I’ve been thinking in terms of documentation as well seeing as it is meant to be a community focus next year of sorts.

If I were to do a large writeup of a character creation process in the style somewhere between - third post down


Would that 1) be useful to a lot of people? and 2) fit on the wiki somewhere?

I am getting better at using screen capture software but I’m not game enough to do video tutorials yet. That and doing the amount of stuff I plan to do via video rather than text could easily turn into a sell-able DVD project. Not ruling that out, but time wise it would be something to do a little later on.

It would probably cover -

UV unwrap
Sculpting (Zbrush integration as well)
Texturing (Inc SSS skin stuff)
Setting up for Mocap (?) - experimenting with that now…
Lighting (?) Basic stuff, probably more links to appropriate resources and some .blend file templates
Rendering (?) Hints more than anything if I do it.

If something is already covered in great detail (like modelling to a certain extent) then the section will be more about my process, things that help, areas to watch for in topology like shoulders etc. rather than basic talk on edge loops, how to use extrude and such.

More on this later, got work soon. Thoughts?

well… ive done a litle human anatomy and overall i love this model… with one exception… the corners of his pecs seem to low to me. idk ybut someone that muscular seems as if their chest would be more defined (chest is pecs, torso is the whole thing) idk… i may be wrong but thats how i c it… lol good job though i love it… i whish i had ur sculpting skill lol…

Thanks Magnum_rb, I’ll look into that. The rigging was messing with the torso a little, but it is probably a modelling thing. I need to rework the shoulders anyway.

One thing I need to improve in my workflow in general from now on is sticking to one set of references rather than lots of various images that I like / find useful. I guess for initial anatomy studies that isn’t so bad, but it does throw consistency in proportions around a bit.

About time for an update.

Above is the current concept for a full outfit, which I plan to use for a fully polished and rendered ‘shot.’ - for details.

Basically I want to create a short film, but my love of detail has me concerned over how long it will take me at the quality level I’m after. With that in mind, I’ve decided to do one potential ‘shot’ that involves a little bit of everything to give me some sort of idea.

Back to the concept - it’s as finished as it needs to be for the moment, but he doesn’t have any equipment yet. I was also wanting to get some cloth in there somewhere to test out simulation, but on this design it seemed like I would just be tacking it on for the sake of it at the moment.

Also, if you haven’t tried - designing a sci-fi ish trooper that doesn’t look like a stormtrooper or something out of Halo is hard… In the end I decided to just go with the forms I liked and run with it.

The above two images are from a previous modelling test of mine just to see if I could model such a suit. I used to be limited with my concept designs based on my confidence on whether or not I thought I could model what I was drawing. Still the case from time to time, but in general I just draw now and try to deal with the modelling when I get there. :slight_smile:

And on a quick side note, the motion capture testing is coming along well. Nothing to show off just yet of my own - it seems lighting and calibrating the cameras are two areas I need to get sorted better. That being said, I’m still getting results out of the alpha versions of the program in spite of my setup.

that looks great. by the way that mocap video had me on the floor. idk why but I thought that was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while. The model looks great. well done.