I thought it would be good to bring you up to date with how the looks of the ‘23 Degrees..’ characters are going.
We had signed off on the Professor Orit model, which is the grey scale model below:
So the lads started doing some initial hair tests. Hair is a really tricky thing to get right & as you can see from some of these early tests (on a previous, unfinished model), Professor Orit started to look more like Jack Black.
As I have said before, short films like this are always used as a testing bed for trying out some new techniques. But once we realised the amount of time we were going to need to get the hair looking really good, we abandoned the idea of ‘realistic’ hair & went for a more sculpted look instead, using Zbrush & working with textures & shaders.
We already had enough new techniques on our hands, like a Maya Pipeline & rendering in Renderman, to have to worry about a proper hair system as well. So we decided to focus our energies elsewhere.
Here is some of the texture work done by Stephen O’Connor on Professor Orit:
The render below shows the Professor’s modelled hair but the colour was not right.
After we were happy with the texture work that Stephen had done, we then had to create the skin shaders for the lighting passes. Below are some of the tests for Orit’s skin at various stages in the story. He is looking a bit strange with no eyebrows!
When we were happy with how all of these were coming together we would combine them for an overall render. The render below was looking good but Orit’s hair was probably a bit darker than we needed it to be.
....and below is the final Professor that we are all happy with!
We had the same issues for Professor Orit’s student, Babbage. Here’s a look at some of the early stage hair tests. We abandoned these quite quickly when we realised how much work would be involved to get it looking any way good.
Sean Forsyth (who’ll kill me for showing these hair tests as he was so unhappy with them that he never wanted them to see the light of day!) then went back to the original 2D designs and basically sculpted new hair in ZBrush & we treated it with displacement instead.
Here’s the results ( although he is also looking weird without any eyebrows…):
...and here he is with his old & his young self.
Aaargh! You sold me out!18 February 2011 by Seán Forsyth
You should never be afraid to fail Sean…. Of course I could have said that you were delighted with the results but I talked you out of it ;)19 February 2011 by Doc