Friday, 18 February 2011

3D Modelling: Playing around with Mudbox

Mudbox is a modelling programme that is famously known for bringing concept art into the the 3D world. It is widely used within both the video game and movie industry to produce all sorts of 3D models, such as figurative/character or objects and environmental sculpts. As aware of it as I am, I have never used this software before and with our project to make a 3D sculpted head, I was a bit apprehensive. In the past, I have sculpted a head from a life model using clay and that was a a fairly strenuous task for all sorts of aspects, like muscle and bone structure alongside detailing on the skin. However, the benefit of using Mudbox here is for the fact I can undo mistakes at the touch of a button.

Because Mudbox is so new to me, I thought it would be a good idea to practice with the software so I could gain a better understanding of the tools and materials. I decided to have a go at making a random sculpted head without using a reference photo. The reason for this is so I can use my recent life drawing skills and put them to the test. As I began modelling the head, I began planning the definitive features like bone and muscle. With my progress I began imaging the facial structures and started adding specific features to give my character personality. I decided to go for a Male's head as i wanted to focus on strong bones and muscles that shape the face, such as jowls, cheekbones and he structure around the throat/neck.

I really enjoyed using and adjusting the tools to create different surfaces and textures around the face. I liked sculpting the muscle around the chest and neck, alongside adding bones like the cheeks, eyebrows and jaw. My favourite part was the nose construction, as I really felt I had the freedom to produce any shapes that I wanted, which I believe resulted in an accurate looking nose. Being able to add and remove the surface really gave me that freedom to express  detail and add character the face of the model. However, I did have some underlying issues, which I believe would've been resolved with a reference photograph. I still believe that within NOT using a picture to help me, I did a pretty good job considering I had no references. But with this risk came a couple of issues, that still in the finished product look very wrong.

I found it complicated to get the mouth structure looking realistic. I had to really practice layering up the surfaces and removing sections to try and get that muscle around the lips more defined. However, even with a lot of persistence, I just couldn't get the mouth to look right. Another issue I found when finalizing what I could with the head, was that the eyes were far to large in comparison to the rest of the face. With a lot of reshaping and sculpting, I managed to retain the majority of the size, but even now it still looks a bit peculiar. The benefit now after uploading them onto this blog, I was able to re-evaluate the sculpted head and found where I went wrong. The upper lip on the mouth is way to predominant to the rest of the oral features because it is coming out further around the sides, which gives the illusion that the figure is pouting or has swelling of some sort. I need to gradually add the muscle here and more so around the bottom lip in order to get the shape just right. As for the eyelids, I simply need to layer on less surface and pay more attention to the lower lid just as much as the top. Hopefully  when I construct my head for the unit, I can take on board these faults and make sure I fix them if I should come across them.

In during this small practice, I learned a lot about the Mudbox software and how to use the various tools in order to make shapes and textures. I really enjoyed playing with this and because of it, I am feeling ambitious to make my new 3D model head. I think I did well considering I had no reference imagery, but I should use references in the future to help me understand the topology of the face, wherever i find complications and also to strengthen my artistic skills within this software.

Here are two images showing my practice head I constructed:

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