Thursday, 9 January 2014

"Dying Light"

Hi folks and welcome to my new blog!

My name is Boris Fomin and I'm a Digital Artist.
Here I would like to show my work in progress of the projects I'm currently working on. 

This personal project that I've started in Nov 2013 is called "Dying Light". It's a 3D animated "Erotic Thriller" film teaser :)
It will run for about a minute and will only have one character in it but hopefully I'll be able to deliver that noir/thriller/mystery mood so it won't get too boring. As for my inspiration I used many films and video games, some of them you can see below:

"Cyberpunk 2077" - Video game Teaser Trailer

"Basic Instinct" - 1992 Film

"Hitman  Absolution" -  2011 Video Game

I've started with a rough 3D Previz and used a simple character rig called "Ultimate Bony" by Ugur Ulvi Yetiskin, you can find it here -
One of the main reasons why I picked this rig is because I was able to scale it and fit it inside my scene, surprisingly not every rig out there has the same luxury. 

6 Nov 2013

22 Nov 2013

As I'm trying to work out camera shots I add more objects to the scene and every object should be there for a good reason, to tell a better story since there is no dialog and for the same reason I'm taking extra time to work on camera shots, cuts and animation however it is very tempting to drop everything and start modeling all the details like a crazy person. I know for a fact that it would've been a waste of time and absolutely unnecessary.

20 Dec 2013

Stepped animation really helps to see if things are working together or not.

03 Jan 2014

If you go to my YouTube channel you can find more versions of that previz and see my progress.

Software used : Maya, Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, After Effects.

Right now I moved on to the character creation and building a "female character" reference library
really helps. Here is the link:
So far I've got some terrible results, but hey ! it's only a start. Working in Zbrush can be a little annoying at first but once you get used to it, it's quiet awesome.

19 January 2014

Trying to get that Disney princess look.

25 January 2014

 Here are couple of props I've been working on lately.

Now that I'm back from my honeymoon I can continue my work on the project :)
I've created the YouTube playlist called "Zbrush Pot Sculpting" where I'm uploading all of my head sculpting videos and I only spend 20 minutes on each sculpt.
Here is the first one but you can find the rest of it if you follow this link:

  05 April 2014

My first attempt to light the scene.

I continue to experiment with the lighting and decided to do it B&W so I can focus on the lighting itself and not the colours. For the first time I've used Gobos lighting to lit the character's face in the specific way.

Ok and here is another sculpt (12). Right now I only focus on female characters.

18 April 2014

I've discovered a few cool tricks in Zbrush while reading "3D Artist" magazine.

Tried to sculpt Vanellope from the "Wreck it Ralph" movie.

21 April 2014

It's time for some more lighting tests.

My first attempt to sculpt a female body.

8 May 2014

Below you can see how I struggled with the character's head. Still in progress.

Here is the latest sculpt

28 May 2014

Great book called "Facial Expression" by Gary Faigin is a must to have.

Another day, another sculpt.

3 June 2014

Trying to work on the body.

4 June 2014

Finally I moved on to the body.

 7 June 2014

Right now I'm working on her proportions and I find it a little hard to keep it believable but not too realistic.
Anyway here is a little progress.

11 June 2014 

Being inspired is really important to me, so here is another game trailer I really enjoyed.

Can't decide on her hairstyle yet.

Having some difficulties with arms but  it's getting better.

Just got my package, can't wait to read it all.

Retopology in progress.

Not quite happy with ear/jaw mesh flow but I'll just leave it for now and move on to the body. At this stage I'm working in Maya only however after I am finished with the rest of the character I will switch back to Zbrush for more tweaking.

24 June 2014

I'm still trying to work out the topology. Her hands are still awful and some areas like ear and jaw needs more tweaking.

27 July 2014

I've decided to push the design of her face and see if it's going to work. Also I've been working on her hairstyle. Here is the progress:

 12 August 2014
14 August 2014

Making small changes like - moving the eyes a little lower, can make a lot of difference.

19 August 2014

Plus I've fixed some of the face topology. (Ear, mouth area) However I might need more work on the jaw line to define it better.

Finally the book has arrived, great source of references and in my opinion a must have.

Another update.

20 August 2014

Made more changes, edge flow of the jaw line and soften up her face. Plus new hair.

23 August 2014

I was really curious to see Nika in the scene, so I've made a quick render, plus I was afraid that the environment's style wouldn't match character's and I think I'm somewhere on the edge with this issue.

Lighting doesn't quite work here but since I switched to V-Ray I'm gonna have to start over anyway

27 August 2014

You can never have too much reference in your library. Here are some very useful apps by Michael Defeo.

Got the shoes down and now back to her face. Her dress needs to change as well so it doesn't look too trashy.

04 September 2014

Still tweaking her face. 

09 September 2014

Updated the previz as well.

6 hours of tweaking.

19 September 2014

Working on the ear. The easiest way I found is to block it out in maya, bring it to Zbrush and apply Dynamesh and Zremesher and bring it back to Maya.

23 September 2014

Spent a lot of time fixing her lips so I hope I am close to finish. However nose bridge area still looks odd to me.

23 September 2014

After tweaking Nika's head some more I moved on to the body. Also I've added new ears.

25 September 2014

Shaping her body some more.

26 September 2014

A simple lighting in viewport 2.0 makes Nika look a bit different when compared to default lighting.

27 September 2014

Started working on hands.

30 September 2014

Back to the head. Plus a different hairstyle.

04 October 2014

I'm still making some minor changes to Nika's face and haircut.

08 October 2014

Another update with some minor changes plus I've started working on the dress.

10 October 2014

At this point I'm quite happy with the face maybe need to define the ear a little better and work with the haircut but for now I will be focusing on her body and dress.

16 October 2014

I've started working on the rig, not the final one but it'll help me to pose the character and get a new previz done.

01 December 2014

Fresh start on lighting using V-Ray.

09 December 2014

Skin weights test.

09 December 2014

Here you can see me, analysing "Camera_02".

15 December 2014

More progress on lighting.

21 December 2014

I thought it would be a good idea to experiment with the scene some more.

10 January 2015

Didn't get a very good feedback for my last image and didn't like it personally. So I've decided to continue to experiment with the lighting, set design and camera angle.

13 January 2015 

Running some clothes simulations using Marvelous Designer 4.

05 February 2015

A little update.

07 February 2015

Facial rig + blendshapes in progress.

09 February 2015

It's been a while since I did my "pot sculpting" exercise, but here it is again. I've spent about 2 hours on this character's face. I know that there is a lot to fix but I want to move on to the next sculpt and keep them coming real fast, also spend no more than an hour on each sculpt. Also I've got the video where you can see me sculpting it.

16 February 2015

Sculpt #16 (2hrs)

16 February 2015

Coming back to character's hands. I'd say it's more complicated than it looks but not too bad. I still need to work some more on it. Also I'm having issues with the topology (too many triangles), show a lot of artefacts.

18 February 2015

Never thought I'd be coming back to modeling Nika, but it feels right to keep improving some parts of the model.

27 February 2015

Found a very useful source of references.

Something interesting to listen to when you feel unmotivated or stressed while trying to finish your project.

Right now it is very clear that the post production process will be a huge help in the future. I've only spent about 10 min in photoshop and here you can see the results, before and after post production. 

no post production
after post production
04 March 2015

I've changed a few things in topology (hands, feet, arms), just added a few details and removed triangles. I still need to change pivot point for the wrist joint but having issues rebuilding the rig.

Facial hair would snap to the grid. Removing constrains fixes that issue.

When switching to wireframe mode and moving controls this is what happens, however when I get back to shading mode and move a control everything jumps to normal. I'm guessing it's some sort of a visual bug, no real problem so far.

Here is the error I get when deleting my rig in order to re-build it. Not quite sure what happened, yet.

12 March 2015

Updated my previz. I've only rendered every 10th frame but it's enough to see what works and what doesn't. While still working on Nika's rig, I'll be focusing on animation.

18 March 2015 

Painting skin weights on her face.

20 March 2015

Now I'm having issues with follicles. When I change topology and re-import skin back to the new mesh, all the follicles are still connected to the old shape node, meaning I can't delete the old_mesh, I can keep it hidden but this isn't a way out.

I was able to work out the follicle issue. It is possible to reconnect follicles to the new mesh "shape" node. However it's important for UVs to stay exactly the same as per previous mesh.
To reconnect follicles you just need to look up to what channels it was connected previously. In this case OutMesh and WorldMatrix.

23 March 2015

Done some more work on textures, materials and lighting. Also moved a few things around.

14 April 2015

Working on colour pallet and lighting. Trying to make it more subtle. 

26 April 2015

Still working on skin weights. Here is a quick pose I did to test it out. Hands need more love.

03 May 2015

Finally got some time to work on my own stuff.
Right now I'm trying to come up with 1 min show reel. I'll try not to spend too much time on it.

Version 1

08 June 2015

Version 2

09 June 2015

Trying to come back to pot sculpting. It's been a while since I opened Zbrush and you can tell.(18)

15 June 2015

Used RenderMan here.

A few more speed sculpts. (19,20)

30 June 2015

More light testing. (it never ends)

06 July 2015

After a lot of render tests and research on lighting, textures and composition, came up with this result. (top:before, bot:after)

08 July 2015

Maybe another 100 render tests later I got this result (see below). Added some cloth using Marvelous Designer 4 and introduced some atmosphere using Zdepth instead of vray environment fog. P.S. There are 4 things I want to improve: Phone, Wine bottle with glass, window and books.

17 July 2015

Doing more tweaks on the character. I do feel more confident at this point. Something that used to take me few days if not weeks, only takes an hour or two. It's not perfect, I still gotta fix a few things here and there but I'm quite happy with the result.

17 July 2015

Trying out different hairstyles and tweaking head some more.

23 July 2015

Rendering out "camera 03". Feels great to see some movement :D
Render time per frame came out to be about 1hr 10min however after baking irradiance map and light cache, render time came down to about 22-25 min per frame.

irradiance map

31 July 2015

Hands and body tweaks.

08 September 2015

Had to retopo her hands, it just wasn't working before. Also made minor tweaks all around. Now to the hair...

11 September 2015

Another failed attempt. (hair)

01 October 2015

Finally came up with something that looks like hair. Thanks to curves. Also doing test renders with "Renderman".

02 October 2015

Worked on Nika's body some more, subtle changes make the difference.

05 October 2015

Now it's time to rig...:S (again) Using different set of tools this time. (ZooTools)  I've built a low res version of the character, thanks to that, skinning will become much easier.

07 October 2015

Still working on the rig. A quick pose test+render.

29 October 2015

Trying out different dresses and hair in photoshop.

30 October 2015

More rigging and posing. (low res mesh)

03 November 2015

Did a quick walk cycle to test Nika's skinning, still a few trouble areas.

04 November 2015

Latest render test + post production. I had to split it into several layers. (glass tables, jack bottle)

05 November 2015

Right now I'm rendering Camera01 and Camera03. Also fixing materials/shaders where possible. For example, I've made a new material for the knife using VrayBlendMat.

20 November 2015

I recommend using Pdplayer to quickly check your renders. Found it very useful.

25 November 2015

Here is a great article on V-Ray, if you really want to understand how it works. It can be quite confusing and some things still don't make sense to me but with a bit of practice, I'm sure I'll get there. Knowing what each option and slider does gives you so much more control and confidence when working on the project. (Before, it was more of a guess game when I did renders)

27 November 2015

Modeled a simple dress, will add some stitches in zbrush or SP. Also made a new eye shader, plus switched to Vray instead of Renderman.

02 December 2015

Testing out render layers. There are 8 different layers here.

03 December 2015

Wasn't happy with the blood and the way knife was blended in. Since this knife is a hero object in the scene, I've tried to bring more attention to it.
I've messed it up quite a lot, but I think it works.

09 December 2015

Working on colours and depth of field some more.

10 December 2015

A must have bookmark - This page will help you create physically accurate shaders.

15 December 2015

Finally got time to work on my project again :) Started to block out character animation.

02 March 2016

More progress on the camera01 block out. Timing is a bit off.

03 march 2016

Nearly done with the facial rig. Here is a quick video of me working on the skin weights for the jaw/mouth.

17 March 2016

Also doing some test renders.

17 March 2016

Another pose

06 May 2016

Blocked out animation.
Actually went back to fundamental tutorials on animation (bouncing ball, pose to pose etc.) and it helped a lot. However, I've got a lot of work ahead of me.

12 May 2016

I keep experimenting with animation. Using curves this time.

19 May 2016

More inspiration

Still working on animation.

23 May 2016

Experimenting with animation. Camera_01 seems a little too busy with animation.

26 May 2016

Still going with animation.

30 May 2016

Here is the final Animation Block Out. Now it's time to actually do some real animation.

07 June 2016

Render test of the first 175 frames.

20 July 2016

So I was trying to make Nika look like she is thinking about the guy she just killed and she finds it amusing that he thought he had a chance against her.

29 August 2016

Finally back on the project after a long "break". Making final changes to animation before i start polishing everything. Here camera_03

20 October 2016

I've been working on camera 01 for the past fortnight. Also did test renders.

04 November 2016

Polishing camera_01. Still, needs quite a bit of work after frame 320 but it's getting there.

17 November 2016

More progress on camera_01

21 November 2016

I'm calling it done for now (camera_01). There are a lot of things to be fixed with correctives later but now I need to move on to camera_02.

22 November 2016

Exported a quick comp of everything I've got so far. Cuts don't work very well yet, so will pay extra attention to that. But it's getting there.

23 November 2016

More progress on camera_02 and cuts.

25 November 2016

Finally back to my project :D
Fixed up animation for camera_01

16 March 2017

This time with correctives, using SHAPES 4.3 by brave rabbit. You can purchase this plug-in here -

16 March 2017

Minor lighting fixes.

30 March 2017

Working with Marvelous Designer to simulate Nika's dress.

03 April 2017

Trying to find that look. (test render in photoshop)

04 April 2017

Final cloth sim, using MD to model the dress and skin weights in Maya for the main simulation with wrinkle maker (nCloth).

10 April 2017

Failed wine sim

05 October 2017

Final sim, using realflow.

12 October 2017

Comp test

25 October 2017