Making Of / 26 March 2019

Four Months Of Work - All done! Huzzah! Gypsy Widow Emerged.

The Gypsy Widow project is finally done!  I thought it was done a month ago to be honest however lets do some comparison shots so that we can work out why it wasn't done, shall we?

So this is my finished one as of the end of Feb.  Remember that I am pretty badly colour blind so to me I thought "Welp its done".  This is a fairly typical Ol_Blue moment right here though - I do all the hard work of making a mech and then either throw on some basic textures or keep it grey, throw in a few basic lights if that and pow... RENDAR.  I am not good at marketing or at showing my work in a good light really.

Ok, so to me that looks pretty good however, as I said, colours are not my thing so I never really had to think about making things look good beyond what I was building.  Anyway - my agent says politely that it needs a bit of texture, so as I agreed to work with Quixel Suite on it I go to start on building some textures up.  Heres the list of problems though;

1.  Unwrapping this beast of 9m polys and over a thousand parts?

2.  Making a texture set for said parts?

3.  Quixel Suite Suddenly Depreciated mid tutorial development.

Uh oh.

FORTUNATELY however, I have plenty of pals in the industry, who love to show their own skills and I LOVE a challenge.  So here is a quick summary of the new pipeline I came up with - bear in mind Arnold dropped an entire damn point release half way through the last 20 days of work as well...

  1. Find suitable base texture set (and purchase it)
  2. Create my own texture set using the base purchased sets and my library of existing Quixel textures inside Mixer.
  3. In Arnold create a material using above textures.
  4. Then put a layer node on each and every one of them.
  5. Then make a worn version for slot two / base metal version.
  6. Put a curvature map into the mix slot of the layer node.
  7. Add a noise map, tweak like crazy.
  8. Add a colour correct to the output of the noise.
  9. Link that node to the radius input.  
  10. Ok so now the photoshoppery.
  11. Create a library of transfer style things.
  12. in the third slot of the layer apply a camera project node.
  13. Put a camera in your scene pointing at the bit of mech that needs a bit of extra detail via a transfer.
  14. Use the image node linked to the camera node with the transfer / decal of your choosing.
  15. Go to 12 and repeat as necessary.
  16. Apply material to robot.
  17. Tweak.
  18. Move the cameras a lot.
  19. Tweak.
  20. Test render.
  21. Wait a LONG time.

That is the result of four material nodes linked to a material ID multi/sub with the decals applied via the main military green.

This is where I started having to replace the existing mat subs with the new shiny materials.

And this is pre-rigged pre-pose with some tweaks left (check the toe treads for example and also at this point I had not built the new heels for the mech).  I also added new lighting, used a different HDRI and gave it a more dynamic pose.

And that's why it took 4 months...