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    Announcing the Public PreSale of EXOTIQUE 4, CGSociety presents the Making of ‘Open Green’ by Andrius Balciunas.

    CGSociety :: Tutorial, Andrius Balciunas

    Lithuanian artist Andrius Balciunas’ ‘Open Green’ is featured as a spread on page 74-75 of EXOTIQUE 4, now on public PreSale. Order your copy today, to ensure it is delivered the moment it becomes available.

    Everything began when I saw a photo of a leaf placed on a hand. It seemed like such a simple image, but because of the professional lighting, the style, colors or my mood that day, it looked really beautiful and cozy. The green color of a leaf and the color of the skin worked so well, it was very pleasing to watch. So it really boosted my inspiration and motivated me start to develop something of my own.

    It was interesting to start a project with just two colors. I began to splash digital paint around with a simple soft brush picking shades of green and warm light brown, to develop the mood I wanted. When I had something that resembled the mood I was seeking, I knew I should keep moving this way. I knew I wanted to create a girl wearing green. The idea of dressing her up with delicate chains and a big glass ball pendant on her back came to me later. The name ‘Open Green’ came to me naturally.

    I started collecting references of various girls on the web. In the end I chose one particular image of Adriana Karembeu. She is very gorgeous and I decided I wanted someone that looked like her. I started with my ‘default’ low poly base mesh which I modify and change to suit my projects.

    I rigged the model in Biped and started to make the desired pose. After that I began to tweak, change proportions and generally fine-tune the model. This stage was critical and I spent most of the time on it. This part was done on a very old laptop, when I was away on holiday. When I returned home I moved her to ZBrush to complete further anatomical correction. I really wanted to make her look correct, natural and very beautiful.
    Making cloth falling on her arms was a really interesting part. First I thought of sculpting it, but later I decided to do a video simulation. The main problem was that her body needed to catch that cloth so it would naturally simulate on her.

    So I made a morph between the “catch” pose and the original pose, seen here in the video.

    I needed to tweak a lot of morph timing and simulation parameters, but what I’ve created in the end was natural looking and a perfectly unwrapped cloth.

    I thought of doing a simulation for the necklace chain paths too, but it turned out it gave me much more control by doing them myself.

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  • Hair
    For hair making I used Ornatrix. It has really great way of making hair guides which I personally prefer more than hair that is created in 3ds Max. However, I’m sure this was the last time I used Ornatrix for rendering because it has a very poor compatibility with mental ray. I had to render it separately with Scanline, which caused a lot of problems when I was compositing everything together.

    I originally wanted her to wear her hair loose, but in the end I rejected it since it wasn’t looking that interesting, and the final style was much better.
    When I started unwrapping her model, I already had a fixed perspective. I decided to unwrap her in a way that all seams wouldn’t be seen by the camera. This got rid of the problem about texture blending on seams.

    Before starting to paint her skin texture, first I configured the skin shader. Then I began to paint color tones for the skin and her makeup. I detailed it with many brushes putting in imperfections and more realism. I didn’t concentrate much on details, because the overall shading was most important to me.

    The cloth texture was created by mixing a glossy reflective shader and a standard shader. I also added a fall-off to mimic the cloth look. Also there was an opacity map for some parts to give a lightness to the cloth. I made the texture by repainting various patterns, mixing them together and applying different kaleidoscopes. Since it was pretty much procedural, I could easily make any mask I needed.
    I used two photometric lights for this scene. I had no problems with the lighting setup at all. I was quite certain where I wanted the light sources to be and I was happy from almost the first render test.

    Also I used a few planes as reflectors for GI to warm up the overall atmosphere a bit.

    I split rendering into two pieces. One was the hair only and the other was for everything else.

    I also had to render a Zdepth pass for each of those two parts too, then compose them together.

    About the artist
    My name is Andrius Balciunas. I was born and raised in Lithuania. I got interested in CG at age 16 mainly because of strong influence of video games especially Japanese games and anime. I’m very open-minded to all sorts of art and styles. The desire to make something beautiful is always my strongest motivation for my works.

    Related links:
    Andrius' site
    Autodesk 3ds Max
    Pixologic ZBrush

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