SSS, Dynamictopology - Retopo and Texturing Tools


due to some free days I started to dive into a little blender project testing or rather getting accustomed with blenders new sculpting, texturing tools and also wanted to put myself to the test of doing a full retopo from my dynamic topology sculpt (I tend to neglect that since I basically work with stills and not animations, *except for work - but that’s another story).

Technical notes:
I started off with a dynamic topology sculpt, did a full retopo on that do paint wrinkles, pores with mulitres modifier.
All the textures are handpainted (except for the back of the nose - it just didn’t get it right by hand) with blenders new texturing tools. Just an AO bake, some colors over it, some different noise patterns blend together and all that. Then cycles hair and shading (it’s a modified SSS node approach by bao2 - thanks for sharing it, works great - all I changed was add a texture map for the gloss values, like a specular map). The water is ocean sim modifier with ripples for head, seaweed and drop (from the fishes fin) from dynamic paint. And just a few compositing nodes for color, vignette, water spray on lens (too subtle maybe).

Being just about done (I was still tweaking things like eyes, seaweed and eyelashes over and over again and I am not completely happy with those yet but I decided to call it finished nonetheless and find myself something new to work on) I feel like I want to share it with you.



I like more the one with the sky.
I miss the whole face wet and the glass reflection. It would be great if the face were wet. Also the fish needs wet.

Is incredible the high quality of “newbies” threads lately. Is there someone that is not trying Blender these days?
What is your experience with blender? Was easy? What software is the one you are using in your job, maya, max, xsi ?

I would go beyond what Bao2 told, he should actually drip water, it would be perfect!

Nice work!


nice work! only wish he looked wetter and the goggles had some reflectivity

Whoops, accidently made a double post the second one is more informative.

Wow, I love it!! such a cartoony render, too! I think to add to the scene’s humor you should give him some eyebrow movement or a twitching eye. Besides that… awesome!!

Damn good job. I like the stubble.

I forgot to say, to make him look wet change the glossy node that is responsible for the highlights. Change it from GGX to Beckman and change the roughness to 0.05 and then the mix node where it is connected must be changed to 0.2 probably. Also don’t enter any bump in that glossy shader because we want a uniform layer of water not bumps and not different glossiness.

The areas with hair would not need so much wetness. The hair seems not necessary to change it, if it were large hair it would need to change the color to more dark and the glossiness higher too and then clump together the hair to make it look also wet. A lot of work on the hair to make it appear wet, but you don’t need that because the hair in your scene is only some milimeters high.

This is perhaps too much wet for your scene but a little of it would probably look great:

thanks for the comments. well - the wetness is in the works and I do have a version with drops on the glasses too and all … but it’ll still take a bit of time. I am doing a combination of SPH particles to dynamic paint bake and use the map not just as gloss factor but also in color and bump - you’ll see what I mean (I hope it works) when I am done.
@bao2: I am not a newbie after all - I have been working with blender since april 2006 (before I played around with cinema 4D - not my favorite piece of software though), have studied communicationdesign and also taught blender at university and you may have seen some stuff from me already without knowing it was me like e.g. the grim character in the blender demoloop (and on blenders feature page for texture painting) and back in the day of old blendernation the chef was part of the header roll.
I work in automotive industry with cinema 4D and VRay (unfortunately blender is not an option to my employers - no matter how hard I try to encourage them to take a closer look - using it as pipeline tool). So, I guess I am a bit experienced and not a newbie. Blender is my tool of choice - I find it very easy to use. When I opened it up (2.42a) I tried to navigate then closed it again and almost forgot I had it. Then I saw some tutorial tried it and started to love it.
good point. I will try to put some more reflection into the glasses. It’s totally gone in the dark render (I didn’t even notice haha).
yeah, the stubble was fun. The head is actually scaled like a real head (so it’s a small object compared to the default cube) and the hair looked just like huge dots in the face. It looked so weird at first … but when I had the size right, it worked quite well. For the cloth simulation (the seaweed and the wetness maps, I have to scale a copy of the head to make it work after all - this is somewhat funny behavoir in blender I think - since if I model a glass with the size 0.15 blender units, simulations won’t work well - even if it is physical correct size … I understand why that is, still curios to me).

First time I opened blender I couldn’t select the meshes nor understood how to navigate. I closed blender and for 1 year or so I didn’t tried again.
In my second try I found the User Preferences and there I could change it to select with left mouse button instead the default right button and other changes so it was more like I was using in max.

Desiring to see the new version wet.

So, here’s the update. I don’t want to turn this thread into a W.I.P. thread so I just leave it like that. But a few texture stills, a wireframe and such things will follow when I have a little time. Also slightly changed the eyes - not yet totally happy with them … from now on I shall put a bit more effort into understanding the art of making good looking 3D eyes.

I think looks better now with the wet skin. I like the little drops of water in the glass too.

Beautiful job. Looks much better with the higher specularity of the water on his face. Both the day render and the black render look magnificent.

This is awesome! I especially love the water! There’s something so convincing about it but I can’t quite put my finger why. Great job!

Great! :slight_smile:

Can somebody post a link to the sss material please?

Thank you

I love this image… he just cry’s out… I’m having a bad day. The only thing that seems off to me is the mouthpiece for the snorkel, but that’s so trivial. Great job.

Thank you all for the comments and the feedback - much appreciated.
So, here a few ‘making of’ images including the SSS nodetree (credit basically goes to bao2, since I just copied most of it - just added glossmaps as I explained above), a short breakdown & a screenshot of the multiresolution sculpt (approx 2.5 polygons - which isn’t much really for those details but works thanks to retopology).
I’ll add texture samples and a better wireframe later on.

The wetness-map is not included but basically just a black and white image (white = wet) from the ‘fluidparticles-flowing-over-the-mesh-dynamic-paint-bake’.