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    Wow - The Night Elf - CGSociety Tutorial
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    I wanted the Night Elf to look believable, despite the fact that this particular kind of elf, besides the enormously huge ears, should perhaps have violet skin, freaky eyebrows and blue hair (also two belly buttons and a third nostril on her back). I began constructing the material and the lighting setup process for the Elf as if she was a human, gradually mutating her into the intended creature. The hair ended up being just a few planes with textures, painted in Photoshop with a mouse because I actually don’t have a tablet. Even the teeth, I modeled separately.

    Since I didn't have an anatomically accurate reference and using any regular photographs are inherently problematic because of the perspective, after finishing the 3D model and working on the materials and the lighting, I still had to constantly correct her face, saving the renders along the way. Here are nine stages of the facial generation.

    I call this image "The evolution of the Gollum".
    his was a Blizzard fan art competition entry that I didn’t get to submit because of time. I am such a fan of the Warcraft series that I thought I should continue for educational reasons and to just have a bit of fun.

    When I begin personal projects, I have a habit of starting something not knowing exactly what it should look like, but still imagining some very small and unimportant details that definitely should be there. While it may be seen as very unprofessional, that’s what makes it fun; exploring the possibilities along the way.


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  • For a fast representation of the SSS materials in this scene, I used the misss_fast_skin shader which I really like and recommend for the ease of use and its cool features. After playing with the settings of this shader I arrived at something that is shown in the pic below. It is very much dependant on the scale of the models. I used real scale. The strength of the lighting in my scene is completely arbitrary, not based on any numbers.

    There are some important points worth mentioning here. I used a Lambert shader with a Fresnel incandescence to simulate the peach-fuzz skin effect. This is connected to the Ambient slot in the Diffuse Layer of the shader. All the other connections seen here could be single textures, but I made some networks in Hypershade for the correction of color values that could be done in Photoshop. Another ‘trick’ is not to use too many UV maps and at the same time use different textures for different parts of her body.


    Here is the long awaited tute on her eyes.
    When rendering something like a human face, it's still more a task of using my observation skills and there is much less depending on the software itself to give me that pleasing render.

    When I started making material for the Elf's eyeballs, I looked at a great many photographs with similar lighting conditions to that which I used in my scene, so I’d already imagined what the final result should look like.

    I made the material for the eyes reflective, but not too much so. Just enough so it would only pick up the strongest light sources and not reflect everything in the scene. I placed some small light-emitting objects right in front of the eyes, so they did not effect the overall scene lighting, to simulate some partially obscured light in front of her face.

    For a better close-up, it’s probably a better idea to use a light-emitting image for some more believable details. I used a strong SSS on the eyes and made a very simple texture for the iris and the capillaries in the eyeball. You can see just how simple the eyeballs are on their own in the picture, below. Bear in mind though, that I didn't plan for such a close-up.

    Here is a picture of the light-emitting objects in the scene. The two black dots are the eyeballs. The big brown plane is a blocker of the global light-emitting sphere. This was for the Elf's face and doesn't really affect the eyes.


    The bulge on the right side of the eyeball is a sculpt deformer that pushes a part of the eyeball over, to close the gap between it and the area around the tear duct. This is parented to the head and not the eyeball. There is a second sculpt deformer parented to the eyeball, pushing the eyelids.
    There are many ways to make an optimized representation of the eyeballs, the one I used is a combination of two objects. Firstly, the outer shell that has SSS, bump map and reflections. This outer shell is partially transparent to show the inner lens. Secondly, the inner lens to handle the refractions. On it's backside there is an opaque picture of the iris.

    On the right is the outer shell's shader parameters:

    Max Kor is an Israeli artist, with experience through his professional work and personal education. A very private person, Max Kor has made fleeting visits to forums in the past, and always raised a stir when he posts his latest work. Backed up by wireframes and differing angles, his images do not fail to impress. Previous models like ‘The Final Battle’, shows staggering reality.

    your 2 cents worth
    Download Hires Image
    Max Kor’s CGPortfolio
    ‘Night Elf’ on CGTalk galleries
    ‘The Final Battle’ on CGTalk
    Blizzard Fanart


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