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#1 eamon

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 06:13 PM

Hi all.

Well, I am back after my rather long absence from the forum/project and am now working on the "Spawn" alien model...

The parts that I am having the most "trouble" with are the face/jaw and arm/leg Joints.

-Face/jaw

For the face the view in the concept art is sort of vague when it comes to the aliens mouth/jaw and how it might move... for now I am going with sort of crab/ant type pincers separating the top jaw and also a more standard jaw on the bottom. Comments/Suggestions?

-Joints
Keeping with the idea that this thing might be crab/ant like in limb movement I am unsure of the best way to form the joints for the best look (deformations) for when it is animated. So for now the arm/leg joints are sort of generic/non-existant. Comments/Suggestions?

Mostly done in blender "as is" it has 2184 tri-gons. In the "standard" model pose it fits mostly well, minus the arms, in the 2.5m by 1m block and would be about the size of the solders.

Attached File  spawn_alien1b.jpg   55.62K   68 downloads
Attached File  spawn_alien1a.jpg   70.85K   79 downloads
Attached File  spawn.jpg   45.18K   94 downloads

Any feedback you might have will help me finish this model. I will also look through the "creative texts" later to see if I can find anything they might have written about this alien...

-Eamon
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#2 Mad

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 02:16 AM

Spawn: http://www.xcomufo.c...?showtopic=3554
Spawn Autopsy: http://www.xcomufo.c...?showtopic=6212

It looks pretty good already - at least to me. I think, maybe go for a standard jaw, to avoid too much "Clich?"... But it's not like I'm sure about this - i guess I'm lacking imagination to be really helpful with this one... :rolleyes:

Edited by Mad, 18 March 2008 - 02:20 AM.

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#3 kafros

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 10:29 AM

Concerning the face, I imagine a Predator-like (as in "Aliens vs Predator") movement. The lower jaw moves down, the left moves toward the upper-left part and the right part of the mouth upper-right. If it grabs something, it "pushes" it down it's throat.

Concerning the joints, I imagine crab/scorpion like movement for the 4 hands and dinosaur-like for the legs.

A tiny nitpick, I think the smaller "finger" of the feet should be a little longer, the guy could have stability issues
There are 2-3 things that could be changed on the model but I think that they can be easily improved/solved with texturing

Just 2 cents by me, if you want me to elaborate on something I'd be more than happy to do so :)

Nice job so far!

#4 dteviot

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 01:00 PM

Concerning the face, I imagine a Predator-like (as in "Aliens vs Predator") movement. The lower jaw moves down, the left moves toward the upper-left part and the right part of the mouth upper-right. If it grabs something, it "pushes" it down it's throat.

Concerning the joints, I imagine crab/scorpion like movement for the 4 hands and dinosaur-like for the legs.

A tiny nitpick, I think the smaller "finger" of the feet should be a little longer, the guy could have stability issues
There are 2-3 things that could be changed on the model but I think that they can be easily improved/solved with texturing

Just 2 cents by me, if you want me to elaborate on something I'd be more than happy to do so :)

Nice job so far!

Looks good.
A couple of minor comments (more musings than anything.)
1. The arms look very long, more than 1 meter, so they're going to give geometry issues (specifically, interpenetration.) when close to a wall.
2. However, I think the Spawn is supposed to be a 2x2 unit.
3. I've yet to figure out how to handle 2x2 units. (They introduce a whole set of problems, with positioning and pathfinding.)
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#5 kafros

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 01:41 PM

The spawn and the zombie are both 1x1 :O

btw dteviot you have a PM

Edited by kafros, 18 March 2008 - 02:12 PM.


#6 Vaaish

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 03:38 PM

I think you have the overall shape down but we need to work on some finer details. You are missing a joint on the feet and the existing joints won't deform correctly since there are no extra polys to absorb the deformation. I think he is also a bit too "fat". if you look at the art he has this skinny almost ant like look. He needs to look like he has an exo skeleton. Right now he's too organic.

try to match the look of the concept more first and then we can work on the head.

#7 eamon

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 10:53 PM

Thank you all for the good and quick feedback! :)

After taking a look at the creative text and your comments I decided to crap the model and star over fresh... for those of you that might wonder why I started over... here are some of the bigger reasons.

1.) Easier to create new limbs with better joint geometry than to add it to an existing limb (IMO)
3.) I did not like the old claws
2.) To get the neck to not be so "lizard" like
3.) Practice modeling starting with tri-gons instead of modeling in polygons and later converting to tri-gons.
4.) Sometimes you need to know when to "let go" of a "bad" design instead of fighting with it.
5.) many times I find that the second or third fresh build of a model are just better because you know where you ran into problems the last time...

"just my 2 cents" on how I think... just to share for what they might be worth. I am learning a lot about modeling and having fun with this model so I hope you like it.

Feedback is a huge part of my work flow so please keep the comments and suggestions coming.

I have not had time to add a face to this version... but after I take a deep breath I will start in on it again.

thanks again,

Attached File  render1.jpg   43.15K   51 downloads
Attached File  render2.jpg   41.01K   42 downloads
Attached File  render3.jpg   32.31K   32 downloads
Attached File  render4.jpg   33.88K   42 downloads

Model in .obj format
Attached File  spawn_alien2.zip   13.76K   14 downloads

-Eamon
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#8 Mad

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 02:34 AM

Much better than the first one, good work!

I would concur with davids analysis for the first model, but, unfortunatly I would extend it to the second model as well. So maybe you could try to make the arms a bit more thinner - and maybe a bit longer, although this might give problems with the geometry...
The torso still feels a bit too bold for me, especially at the main joints (hips, shoulder, 2nd shoulder...). This goes for the front-view. Viewed from the side, I think the whole torso could be a bit thinner, but this is difficult to see with the "head" shadowing the torso in the top-down view.
I think you could still remove a bit of the "muscle mass". The way it is now, it still does resemble the "Gillman" from TFTD a bit... At least I get a bit of an amphibic/aquatic feel when I see the model (due to the strong muscles at the torso around the joints), whereas, when I see the concept-art, I think of an alien from a desert planet with a lot of nasty storms, where it is of great benefit to have a sleek and thin physique, so the wind does not have much "attack surface".+

edit: I am however not sure, if these desired effect can't be done by adequate texturing of the model...

Edited by Mad, 20 March 2008 - 02:35 AM.

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Of course I have gone mad with power! It would be completely ridiculous to go mad without power!
And no, this is not a quote from the Simpson's movie, I want it on paper, that I actually wrote that quite some time before the movie came out.

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#9 kafros

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 04:02 AM

Indeed that second try was much better :)

I think:
1) The model needs a longer tail (so it can reach its own stomach, that way it'll be long enough to reach the victim's belly) and a bit smaller hands. That's because the Spawn is a fearless terror weapon, he'll go next to the victim no matter what, you'll feel its breath on you (and his neurotoxin inside you :P)
2) Concerning the muscle thing, I think I'll agree. Tone the arms down a bit, and maybe make the belly thinner

Fine job!

#10 red knight

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 10:38 AM

One thing strikes me, aim for 10K tris at least... and even though, dont worry if you need 100K just make it look "Great" and then we can generate the bump map out of the High Poly versions with Melody.

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#11 Vaaish

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 12:47 PM

Looking better. I can't quite tell from that view, but could you post a version without the wire frame visible too? I think the arms shouldn't bulge and the waist area can be thinner yet. He needs to look spindly and skeletal with an arachnid flair to him. No soft tissue on the outside so all muscles would be inside and possibly more hydrolic in their function instead of actual tissue. also note how long the segments of the arm are. Perhaps another influence would be crustaceans.

Edited by Vaaish, 20 March 2008 - 12:52 PM.


#12 dteviot

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 04:24 AM

I'm going to suggest that if we really want the arms to be that long, we designate the spawn as a 2x2 unit.
Saving the world from the scum of the universe is hard work. Especially when you have to create the scum to begin with.

#13 eamon

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 12:25 PM

Thank you so much for the great feedback... they have really helped to shape this latest build.

1.) Longer tail
2.) Arms thinner
3.) Torso too bold
4.) 10K tri's at least!!!
5.) Spindly and skeletal
6.) Arachnid flair/crustacean feel
7.) No soft tissue on the outside
8.) Spawn as a 2x2 unit

OK so 1,2,3,5,6,7 are what I focused on... hope you like the new "crab" look... as for number 4! the model is now 9,744 Tri-gons, so close to 10K... and I have never worked in really high poly counts before so that has been fun. As for 8, I am not sure changing it to 2x2 is best for gameplay... so if you guys want I will try to scale the arms down to make it better for 1x1... but don't be fooled, right now the position of the arms is deceiving as to the resting length. right now the arms are not much longer "in proportion" to the body than human arms are.

I will try and post more renders when I have more time. for now here are two "test" renders (one with smoothing) and the model with the arms bent... (I did the bending quickly just for show)

Attached File  r_render1.jpg   95.9K   45 downloads
Attached File  r_render2.jpg   94.39K   49 downloads
Attached File  render_arm1.jpg   38.17K   49 downloads
Attached File  spawn3.zip   97.16K   13 downloads

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#14 dteviot

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 05:23 PM

Stupid newbee questions.
Are we stitching or skinning the combatant models?
stitching == each mesh vertex is coupled to a single bone, skinning = mesh vertex coupled to multiple bones.
Have we decided on a standard set of animations for each combatant?
Do we have known "virtual bones" in the "hands" of each model to allow attaching items to the hands?
Saving the world from the scum of the universe is hard work. Especially when you have to create the scum to begin with.

#15 eamon

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 06:58 PM

that is not a stupid newbee question at all... I have been around this project on an off for years and I don't know... I think that the art department should start a topic or something to talk about work flow and pin down these types of issues... and if a policy has already been made on any point concerning work flow it should be documented and posted on a "Work Flow" Wiki page. But overall I think we are heading in the right direction. The more I look around the forum the more I see just how much has been done in the time I was gone. But I think we as a project can never be "too" organized and need to consolidate information for quick reference and general information purposes onto one location.

On another note: Here is a scale reference for the Spawn Alien as far as I know... and now that I think about it the arms might be a little long... that extra joint! :(
If you would like to see the model from all angles I recommend downloading the spawn3.zip (.obj) file from my last post. If you don't have 3D software you can use a free 3D model viewer such as GLC_player.

Spawn Alien: 2.13m tall (7')
Solder: 1.8m tall (5'9''+helmet)
Standard game space: 2.5m tall

Attached File  scale1.jpg   36.62K   43 downloads

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#16 Vaaish

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 10:05 PM

Getting better! I think we have a very good base to refine from now. Perhaps we have taken the exoskeleton idea too far since I'm not really liking the segmentation of the trunk. how about we do a hybrid, have a thin skin stretched over the "exoskeleton" to give him more of a gaunt appearance. A good example of the type feel of this would be a termagaunt or genestealer arms from 40k. note how the arms are now more concave growing to the joint instead of overlapping the previous. Also note how they attach to the body, the shape of the body and the adjustments to the abdomen and hips.

I've adjusted your front view to get some ideas.

Attached Files


Edited by Vaaish, 22 March 2008 - 10:07 PM.


#17 eamon

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Posted 23 March 2008 - 09:17 PM

Thank you for the great reference picture! I wish I could change the model that fast and smoothly :)

I like the classic feel of your changes and will most likely work on it a little at a time this week... I have an evaluation coming up for a class I have been sent to and I will not have as much time as I did this week but anyway... I have been looking at pictures of termagaunts and genestealers for reference and totally like the direction your changes will take the model.

I do have one question though... did you mean for it to be shorter? I see that next to the solder they are now the same hight. in the creative text the spawn aliens are 7 feet tall. I happen to like the sizing in your picture but will go with whatever hight you say is best. I have been trying to keep the model to scale as much as I can.

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#18 Vaaish

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Posted 23 March 2008 - 09:58 PM

Liquify is a wonderful tool, too bad it isn't in 3d :) Yes I did mean for it to be shorter. with how it balances on it's legs it'll be about the same height as the soldier but if it extends itself it should stretch to 7 feet. It's not really all that much taller than the average 6'1" soldier.

#19 dteviot

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 01:25 PM

I do have one question though... did you mean for it to be shorter? I see that next to the solder they are now the same hight. in the creative text the spawn aliens are 7 feet tall. I happen to like the sizing in your picture but will go with whatever hight you say is best. I have been trying to keep the model to scale as much as I can.
-Eamon

This might not be the right place to discuss this, but I thought the terrain was being modelled as a set of "cubes" that are 1m x 1m by 2.5m high. (Therefore, it's very important that no aliens are bigger than that cube, or their head will go through the roof of the floor above (when they're in a multi story building.)
Second, when I put a 1m x 1m x 2.5m cube on the barracks facility model, it appears to be more than 2.5 meters tall. (See screen shot here:
Have I misunderstood something.
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#20 Vaaish

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 01:52 PM

It might mean that you have the facilities scaled to small. They are 24x24 meters. Way back when, I was under the impression that we were going away from a grid based movement system and to a more fluid movement system kind of similar to the old Battle Isle: The Andosia War system.

#21 dteviot

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 02:04 PM

It might mean that you have the facilities scaled to small. They are 24x24 meters. Way back when, I was under the impression that we were going away from a grid based movement system and to a more fluid movement system kind of similar to the old Battle Isle: The Andosia War system.

That doesn't make sense. I've scaled the facility to LESS than 24 meters, and this reduced size facility is still more than 2.5 meters tall.
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#22 Vaaish

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 02:44 PM

I'll double check and see if I listed the facility height, but I'm pretty sure the ceiling height should be above 2.5 meters.

#23 eamon

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Posted 25 March 2008 - 10:46 PM

I don't have much of an update yet but here is one screen shot to "feel out" more major changes to the overall shape. The geometry is not as clean as I would like it to be but I will keep working on that... that is after the "main" shape is ironed out. I will be making the top of the main body wider to make it more gaunt and I am still working on the hips... also for now I have straightened the legs to try and keep clean animate-able geometry. I am finding the higher tri-gon count more difficult to manipulate "elegantly" than I originally thought it would be. Of course I am adding shapes to the model that were not there before so it has a few "growing pains". Overall the shape is coming along though and I think it will turn out nicely in the end.

Attached File  spawn_leg2.jpg   31.28K   55 downloads

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#24 Vaaish

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 08:10 AM

I think it's coming along pretty well. Watch the legs mostly, they seem to have gotten shorter and the ankle shape isn't quite there yet. Keep the legs the same length as before and slightly bent.

#25 Shinzon

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Posted 29 March 2008 - 01:13 PM

Adding some sort of varience in the thickness of the arms and legs could be good; as in right now they are the same thickness throughout (The joints not withstanding) It might make the creature look more interesting if the thickness of the limbs was more varried (Look at your own arm; its thick at the shoulder and gets skinner as you approach the arm)