Making of 'the Bedouin'
In this “Making Of…” I will try to explain the way in which I created ‘the Bedouin’, and break it down in to steps and pieces of creation and production.
‘the Bedouin’ was created as one of my demo reel pieces. It is based on an amazing photograph by Peter Stanton.
I started with building a base mesh in Maya, with the character standing in A-pose. After I layed out the UVs in UVLayout, I posed the character in Maya.
My goal for this particular piece was ‘realism’, so the cloth had to look as real as possible. To suit this purpose, I decided to use the program ‘Marvelous Designer 2’, which is a great fashion- design software with realistic weight and cloth density simulations.
By importing the A-pose as well as final posed character to Marvelous, I designed the cloth pattern and recorded the simulation. After that, I exported the cloth from one of the recorded frames. The only problem with this mesh at the time was it was all triangulated, so with Maya’s Transfer attribute function, I converted the triangulated mesh into quads mesh.
After posing and UVs were layed out, I imported all the meshes in to ZBrush.
For the body, I started by working with the major shapes, and then checked the overall silhouette to get the correct form and proportions. In the next step, I began to add the finer details.
At this stage, the most important thing I was trying to keep in mind was the overall consistency of the shapes first, and the details second. Once the body was done, to avoid the ‘CG’ look, I started sculpting the small wrinkles on the cloth to break up the form and add to the overall realistic look.
To get the desired effect, I used an area light and a reflector in Maya with the Global Illumination on.
I used Mari for texturing. It’s an amazing software that helps create textures of intricate quality and detail.
E.g.: Skin Texture Creation:
I started with baking Ambient Occlusion in Mari that I later used for masking features and enhancing the textures.
To begin the actual skin texture, I projected multiple high-res images of different people using 3Dsk Library as my main source. I then duplicated the projected textures, with each duplicate color- corrected and hue-enhanced. I added specific details to create separate skin layering, such as: Overall, Diffuse, Subsurface, Bump, Oil Map, and Sand Mask.
I used the high pass filter to create the bump map and added multiple noise passes to achieve the pore details. I then exported all the textures as 4K maps from Mari for later use in the Look Development stage in Maya.
Other objects in the scene were textured using similar techniques.
I decided to use the V-ray rendering engine for this piece. The look development was done using a neutral light setup in Maya. The idea behind creating the shaders in neutral light was to achieve the light independent material properties for all of the elements such as skin, cloth and metal.
For the skin, I used ‘VRay Fast SSS’ (as Base Material) along with ‘VRay Mtl’ (as Coat Material 0) with the help of ‘VRay Blend Mtl’ (say ‘Blend 1’) in Additive mode.
To get the sand on her body, I used another ‘VRay Blend Mtl’. In this step, I used ‘Blend 1’ as the Base Material and a separate sand shader as the Coat Material 0, then used the Sand Mask generated from Mari as the Blend Amount.
It took a while for me to get the cloth shader working the way I wanted. Most of my time here was spent trying to achieve the translucency. Finally, after many attempts and experiments, I decided to use ‘VRay Mtl 2Sided’.
Once I was done with all of the details, texturing and shading, it was time to render. I used Maya V-Ray for that.
I set a lot of different passes such as reflection, diffuse, GI, SSS etc. It was a very important stage as setting up my render in multiple passes allowed me to give myself more control for the final result in compositing.
To achieve the desired result, I brought all of the different passes into Nuke for compositing.
With the help of different matt masks, I used several nodes such as color correct, shuffle, grade, noise, Zblur etc. to get the desired result.
I know that there are many ways to approach a project like this to get the desired result. I will probably do it differently next time to learn more tricks and tools!