Snailhouse

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Snailhouse

I have started to do some assets for a bigger scene. I need a snailhouse. So i started some experiments with the Add Curve Extra Objects addon and its spirals. I ended in using a spiral with spherical falloff. I am not fully satisfied. But there is not enough control over the falloff. So that's the closest i could get.

The result is attached.

Now follows retopology since the created snailhouse has self intersecting geometry.

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Looks great. - It´s good to

Looks great. - It´s good to see, that you are also using Bforartists from time to time and not only work on the code.^^

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Yeah, it's a good feeling to

Yeah, it's a good feeling to be back at the art front Smile

EDIT, i noticed that i forgot to set the attachment to visible. The scene is attached too. So that folks can have a look at how it is done.

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Nice. I'm curious to see how

Nice. I'm curious to see how you'll do the retopology.

 

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Normally i would load it into

Normally i would load it into ZBrush or 3D Coat. They both have a autopo / Remesher. Which would be good enough. But here i am at the good old manual method since there is no automated method in Blender/Bforartists. Poly by poly ...

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This should be fairly simple

This should be fairly simple to do with the "shrink wrap" method. - Or give retopo flow a try for more comfort.

If you are looking for a freeware automatic retoloplogy workflow, check out "meshmixer" and "instant meshes". - Depending on what you want to do with the mesh, this might save some time. It is definetely a way to make the model 3d printable. If you need to create texture coordinates for it though, manual retopology would be better anyway to achieve clean edge loops to split along.

I gave it a quick try. Export from BfA to Meshmixer > Make Solid > Export to Instant Meshes > Retopology > and back to BfA in two minutes.^^

There is only a small damage at the bottom of the snailhouse, that should be fixed in the original mesh before the procedure.

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Instant Meshes is a great

Instant Meshes is a great system. And it's paper is opensource, could technically be integrated with some good math genius. You do have some good control in a way there.

But yes, I find Blender can be good with Bmesh grease pencil drawing tools, the F2 fill addon, Retopo Flow addon, the shrink map method, and the Remesh modifiers are.. all tools that potentially could be good. My favorite is the Bmesh grease pencil retopoworkflow. Though.. I haven't done it heavily. 

 

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Ah, should have known about

Ah, should have known about the F2 addon before retopo. Would have saved me quite a few clicks. Thanks for the tip Smile

I think about to activate it by default, and add a menu entry for it.

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I'm glad you are adding this

I'm glad you are adding this by default. I use this all the time.

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Thanks for the reminder. Need

Thanks for the reminder. Need to make an issue here I-m so happy

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Yeah, external tools would do

Yeah, external tools would do the job for sure. I have ZBrush, 3D Coat, Meshmixer, etc. . But this project is to test Bforartists, not Meshmixer Smile

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I understand.;) Anyway, once

I understand.;) Anyway, once solid the shell 3d prints without a problem. - It´s actually a quite realistic shape.

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You printed it out!? Wow!!!!

surprise

You printed it out!? Wow!!!!

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Cute =3

Cute =3

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Here comes the retopologized

Here comes the retopologized quad mesh. On with mapping ...

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Unwrapped with first texture

Unwrapped with first texture and material tests. Still a long way to go ...

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Geez, no hiding of geometry

Geez, no hiding of geometry in texture paint mode? How is one supposed to reach inner regions then?

Workaround: duplciate mesh, delete geometry that's in the way. paint, go back to original mesh, duplicate mesh ... -.-

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Textured. Now sculpting and

Textured. Now sculpting and baking. And then the material. Not sure if i should go the PBR way here.

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Hm, setting up erverything

Hm, setting up erverything correct for baking is still a mystery here and there. Mesh was invisible, and the bake button turned greyed out. Took me a while to find out that it was the invisible mesh. I also ran into the cyclic dependencies trap again with baking the textures. I just can't imagine of a good way to lead the user in a better way :/

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Why sculpt when you can

Why sculpt when you can displace? I-m so happy

Makes also the normalmap obsolete. Hopefully. I hope my old pc can handle the scene then. We will see.

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And material is also setup. A

And material is also setup. A few tweaks remains. Translucent and SSS eats up the texture when chosen too strong. And the displacement map needs a bit more love. There are regular artifacts. But in general i'm close to what i wanted to achieve Smile

Scene is attached.

Now i need a snail body too ...

 

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Looking good. - You could use

Looking good. - You could use your displacement texture with a contrast adjustments on the roughness and specular inputs to make the ridges more reflective than the grooves. Also using the diffuse texture in the specular color slot might make the reflections more realistic by coloring them slightly with the underlaying color.

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Great tips. Could you be so

Great tips. Could you be so kind to modify the file with the changes? I'm in general still lost with the Cycles nodes I-m so happy

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Sure, no problem. Find the

Sure, no problem. Find the adjusted material attached. - The trick with the translucent material mixed with the principled shader is not really neccessary. I would simply use SubsurfaceScattering for this, unless you want to make a rendering, where the snailhouse is actually lit completely through from the back? - You could even skip that completely for faster rendering depending on the lighting of the final scene.

A bit of explanation of the nodes

  1. The math node is not really neccessary, but I used it for illustration purposes here. The larger the SSS radius, the more area the light shining through the object will affect. - I put a purple light into the shell for testing.
  2. I used an RGB Curves node to modify the diffuse texture for the SSS color. By giving it more contrast, dark parts of the shell will appear darker and light parts lighter, when light is shining through the object. The Hue/Saturation after that is used to take the amount of color added by the contrast down a bit.
  3. Another RGB Curves node is used to tone down the diffuse map using it for the specular (reflection amount) and specular tint (reflection color) input. You could split this into one RGB curve for each input for better control over reflectivity and color, or use the displacement map for the specular input instead. But it seemed to work out that way, so I kept it simple here.
  4. The input to the roughness value runs through a color ramp node. A white value would make the material completely rough, a black value would make a completely clear reflection. That´s why the light/dark values are reversed, so that the higher parts of the displacement will be more reflective. By adjusting the grey values in the color ramp the glossiness can be changed.

I hope that helps? - Curious to see the snail you are going to put in there?;)

 

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Ah, many thanks for this

Ah, many thanks for this. I would have never figured this one out by my own :)

I dunno how the snail will look. It's been a while that i made art. And i am usually a game developer. At least i was for many years. Realism and stills isn't my strong side really. Of course it has to fit to the snail house then. We will see :)

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Snailbody modeled. Now

Snailbody modeled. Now unwrapping and texturing. Still not sure if i should again displace or if i should sculpt this time. But i guess i will try the displace way again.

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Ran into several crashes

Ran into several crashes while sculpting with dynatopo. Needs investigation

Ran into several problems with the try to bake textures. One was the almighty cyclic dependencies. Needs investigation.

No vertex color baking in Cycles yet. Bummer!

EDIT, render from vertex color seems to work with a special node setup. Render TO vertex color with an addon.

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Body is done. The material is

Body is done. The material is once more killing me here. But it could be worse. And i will do the fine adjustments in the final scene then*. Important is that all textures are finished.

*I was not able to append the snailhouse. I had to export the mesh, and reimport it in the current scene. That's why the snailhouse is missing the good material and displacement here. The modifiers are in the way with appending it seems.

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I find appending groups is

I find appending groups is the best way to transfer data, or even the scene.  With a group everything related to the object will come with it in the group. 

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How could i group a single

You mean i should create a group with just the snailhouse? Worth a try Smile

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Then snail looks great, I

The snail looks great, I like the material of the body.

Instead of appending or importing it, copy / paste also works from scene to scene. Wink - CTRL-C / CTRL-V ftw.^^

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Thanks for the tip

Thanks for the tip Smile

I still hit the uncanny valley here. And wasn't able to put the finger at it. But i guess it is good enough for what i want to do. Hyper realism isn't my goal :)

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Assymmetry. Make the eyes

Assymmetry. Make the eyes peer around a bit, add some personality. Make a subtle facial expression. More often than not, it's just pose and personality that hits the spot when it comes to makeing things "feel" less fake.

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Assymetry will come with

Assymetry will come with rigging. I plan to pose this darling :)

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Working with groups is nasty.

Working with groups is nasty. The most important item is somewhere in the middle of the group menu. Well, alphabetically it fits there. But not for a good workflow.

Needs deeper investigation. We should group the menu items in most used and advanced menu items. That way we can have select group at the top of the list.

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First blocking and

First blocking and testrendering. Finding the fitting hdri is black magic. I have picked one from Greg Zaal here. Monks forest.

The snail needs a pose. The snailhouse needs the good material back. The environment is still a bit too empty at the moment. Maybe a few little stones and leaves and sticks or so. I should redo the trees. They don't really fit into this century and definitely not into a still. I made them many years ago. Low Poly. Stylized for a game. But nevertheless, it doesn't look this bad. 

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Trying to create some moss.

Trying to create some moss. But hang at the material again. Has somebody an idea for a better solution that doesn't paint the upper border of the moss black? I-m so happy

Troublefile is attached.

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I highly recommend you cutout

I highly recommend you cutout the alpha with geometry and Ngons where you can, and keep your transperency depth limit low - this actual method with alpha planes is sometimes x4 times slower to render and if you have thousands of cards deep... that's thousands of ray depths..... you get my drift, you'll start seeing the errors quite easily at low angles anyway with an overall huge render cost. 

 

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I see. Then i'll tweak the

I see. Thanks for the hint. Then i'll tweak the geometry here, and leave the transparency completely away for the moss.

Just curious, isn't the holdout shader made for such cases?

And do you have a good recommendation for a leaf shader that could fit here? I'm not so happy with the current solution with transluency.

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This is not related to the

This is not related to the material, but to the maximum transparency passes of cycles, while rendering. - In the cycles render settings>lightpath crank up the max transparency to a higher value untill the black is gone.

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Wow, thanks a ton. I would've

Wow, thanks a ton. I would've never thought of a cycles limit here  Smile

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Done as suggested. The moss

Done as suggested. The moss particle is now a mesh without alpha channel transparency. Around 200 verts. And i found a useful plant shader setup now. It's exactly this kind of common materials that is completely missing in the material library. Will make a task now to include it in the matlib.

Render times are with the current shader setup equal to the transparent solution. But looks much better now.

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Wow, that sped things up. The

Wow, that sped things up. The last render was 7 min and this one is 3 min. And the shader looks fantastic. 

I read a study on the geometry for cards tip on twitter because the graph and analysis was.. very convincing. But I haven't tried the holdout shader to be honest, might be worth trying out.

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Tried it, cant't get it to

Tried it, cant't get it to work Biggrin

To be fair, the moss looks just so great with the current hdri ...

And i start to cry here. Now that the material fits, now the particle system went fubar. When i modify it or when i move the object, then it breaks -.-

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Ah.. I've done that. Apply

Ah.. I've done that. Apply scale to the particle and to the emitter - and parent the particles to the emitter root. 

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Got it. I managed to have a

Got it. I managed to have a emit object with a negative scale. And then apply rotation and scale breaks the particle system since the orientation points now inwards. Let's have a look if i can repair this. File is also attached.

EDIT, hmm, narp. I guess i will just not apply scale here. Draise, could you have a look? Maybe you have an idea.

 

 

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Made a new emitter object.

Made a new emitter object. Problem solved.

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Current state.

Current state.

Getting mad with the displace modifier. Every time i turn around the displacement maps are mixed up again. Appending makes big fun here ... -.-

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It´s starting to get there,

It´s starting to get there, but it is lacking a story of some kind. Maybe the snail finds an interesting object to investigate? Or a second snail?

Are you using the microdisplacement feature? That could give a more three dimensional structure to the tree, rocks and ground than the normal displacement.

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Good hint. I'll have a look

Good hint. I'll have a look Smile

Story ... i start to run out of time I-m so happy

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And the final version. 

And the final version. I would say our next splash screen is ready I-m so happy

Microdisplacement at the ground. Filmic. Mist. Some changes at the snail materials. And a few final tweaks like leveling in Gimp.

Thanks for the tips Smile

 

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