JF make 44
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Creation Date: 2002-01-04
From yesterday's venture into the face, we move down to the torso and arms. First off, I'd like to point out that the human body has no sharp edges. However, low-polygon 3d modelers have to deal with the fact that we can only use edges and shading to emulate curvature. high-polygon 3d modelers can use bezier splines and lots of triangles to make curvy stuff. For example, Lara Croft of Tomb Raider is a curvy person. But in Tomb Raider 1, her breasts looked like Madonna's breasts. In the second one, they added a few more triangles to make it curvier. In the third she got another breast job and they even worked on getting the bounciest right. For crying out loud, it's not rocket science, is it? For low polygon modelling, the shape is more important. In fact, the viewer can distort themselves to see what the person's curvature really looks like. Guys need a barrel shape for the chest. However, that's no reason to make it a box. They have ribs and then the fleshy part between the pelvis and the ribs. When he sits, they almost touch. That's why rumor is that Marilyn Manson had surgery to get rid of his lowest ribs. But that doesn't interest us much. This torso thing is very important for animation. If you don't belive me, check yourself. The shoulder ought to slope down a bit, but they should not slope too much. I'd say 10 degrees from the horizontal is okay. I personally have no structure to my shoulder, but some people do. It's apparent in a few poses, so beware. The arms are pretty complex. It's hard to get them right, but you'll know when they are. To know that they are good, check from every angle. If it looks right from the front and side, that just means that you're forced to look at the person from the front and side because the 3d view will look terrible. I think these arms are about 80%. Important parts are: top of shoulder joint, armpit, outside of elbow, inside of elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand. The width of the arm should not vary a bunch. But within that small limitation, stretch it a lot. The bicep must be curved, the forearm must be straight and become thinner as it goes to the wrist. I must say: do not use a box or a cylinder. I had to do it vertex by vertex and it's a mess, but it looks right in 3d at all angles.

As expected, this is my best torso and arms combination ever. Of course, you wouldn't expect me to create uglier models as I learn and test more, right? Well, lately it's been really tough getting it right. Every attempt to find a silver dagger in the heart of my artistic inability proves to come up useless.

I just finished reading The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien. It was a great book. I'll have to start reading Lord of the Rings soon. I haven't seen the movie and even though I have two free tickets, I haven't found a good time to go see it. I hope it doesn't ruin the book..

For reference, yesterday's face-neck-shoulder model had 42 vertices and 80 triangles. That is extremely frugal in the terms of normal 3d modelling. Considering that it's supposed to be beautifully simple, I think that low-poly is the way to go. Also due to the fact that one day very soon I want to present this in real-time 3d medium, low poly is important also. You see, the fewer triangles, the more people and buildings I can have. But I cannot just sacrifice quality for quantity. However, on the other hand, I cannot sacrifice number of people for quality. So I get the trade-off. My solutions include: balancing low poly with high quality, buying a $350 video card (GeForce2 GTS 64 DDR), and pre-rendering my models. So far, I don't need the latter two because I'm doing so well with the first one, but who wants to be let down with a bad video card or other people's slow systems, right? When I say that JF is pre-rendered so to say, since it uses PNG files instead of actual 3d objects.

This lesson stemmed from a letter I sent to the KeenSpace Mailing List. Before I was half way done on this model, I got two responses. What a wonderful community! It brings me back to the days of my youth (as if I'm not in my days of youth now) back when I was only a year or two old I belonged to a warm community of Jonny Quest Mailing List. You see, I, Javantea, was born in a chat room. Joel was born long before that, but I, Javantea, Joel's controlling alter ego (the author and subject of this website) am only about four years old now. I'm really mature for my age. In fact, I act about 20 years old, which is what Joel is. ^-^ Anyway, where was I? Oh, the mailing list is ever so busy. I think I got about 100 kb of e-mail today alone. That's nice when you want friends, but no so nice if you don't need an excuse to blow off important stuff. Here's the text of the e-mail in case you're not on the list.

My comic, "Javantea's Fate" is completely 3d cg rendered. I know that it isn't the first of it's kind, but it is a new field considering that I haven't seen a single 3d comic in all of KeenSpace. I'm wondering about people's take on 3d as it relates to comics and perhaps also video games. I know that many video game developers are hesitant to use 3d while others are hesitant to use 2d anymore.

My take on it is that with 3d, you gain a dimension, but the artist loses a bit of control giving it up to the computer to decide the shading. But the lighting engine gives perfect gradients every time. I love getting a gradient and not having to do anything to make it happen. But then again, there's the factor of purity. Often, realism can make a comic look ugly or impure. I love Frank Miller comics, but they lack any even slight bit of purity.

Well, I think that I might be able to get a more pure comic style with better models and maybe a cartoon renderer. The end might be that it's just the author rather than the medium. So that's what I'm wondering.

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