as promised I'm here with my pack of dummy questions, after seeing vasilnatalie's Miss April model fav.me/dchg8ol
Questions are mostly addressed to Vasilnatalie himself and are targeted to use of Blender, but I want to share these questions with any other modeller/editor who can/would give me useful suggestions. In particular I'm also interested in asking help from Metasequoia modellers, as I expect they have valid suggestions to provide.
Sorry, I'm tagging some of you at the end of this journal entry: hope to have not disturbed you but I'd accept any useful suggestions from you all
Let me start from the beginning. I liked the idea of using the process of enhancing my C6 model ( fav.me/dc2knfc ) as a chance to learn more in using Blender; but having not a solid wide range base of skills, I expect I have to focus my attention on specific targets, also in learning what I need first.
My main worry is actually to not enter any kind of "dead end street", due to specific settings and features that a model for MMD should have.
I've found a lot of tutorials on youtube, about how to start modelling anime styled characters in Blender, with different approaches on modelling their shapes .
Thanks, thanks, and even thanks: I know yet there are dozens of tutorials about that, so please don't answer me anything like "read the fu**ing manual!"
What I really need are specific tips and suggestions about how to model characters which have to work well in MMD. Not about modeling generic "anime styled characters".
This is what I mean saying that I don't want to enter a dead end street.
I mean (sorry for my poor english) that I have to model keeping in mind the final predicted use of the model, and maybe this would limit the features and tools I could use in Blender if the model wasn't intended for use in MMD.
Second assumption: when I started to work on C6 model I first intended her just as a fork of Montecore's Luka ( fav.me/dbvce2s ), but along the time I've worked on the model I changed my ideas. And nowadays I'm just too tired of fighting with the original body mesh/rigging anytime I try to mess with its weird elbows/knees surfaces and their rigging, or to fall frustrated every time I try to optimize the mesh removing a lot of appearently useless duplicated vertices and surfaces and I got a lot of troubles with normals settings and unwanted shading issues.
Actually I'd like to plan a complete remodelling of the body. I'll just try to keep some of the general shapes, as I first loved most of Montecore's Luka body shapes and looking, but decisely I cannot do much more, at this time, if I continue the work being limited by the original mesh.
I have to leave it behind and try myself my first real modelling-from-scratch body shape, as Vasil did with Miss April. This could be also satisfying under a more personal point of view, of course What I'd like to get as a final result is a body with a similar general shapes and look (maybe with some proportions changes), but with a better working rig and a more defined mesh. And of course new textures settings, loosing any residual "legacy" inherited from Montecore's Luka.
The final result, in my plans, should be an adult female body, still "idealized" as in comics style, but more resembling the "western" comics/catoons style than the "eastern" manga/anime one.
Now, my list of dummy questions
1) Modelling techniques I surely will need to learn/improve. I'm not familiar with nurbs, and I'm actually using vertex-by-vertex modelling. This is my habit as this is the way I started as editor. Of course I've learnt using exrtusions, subdivisions, and so on, but ever working directly on the mesh's vertices, edges and surfaces. I bet that box-modelling and proportional editing are a must, isn't it? Other techniques you have to suggest me, considering I'm not a professional modeller and I have, for now, a specific work to do and specific need to focus on, instead of a wide range learning?
2.a) Normals: I'm often frustrated when modelling accessories. No matter how I've set edges or faces (I normally use "mark as sharp" edge features, in Blender), when I import the model in PMX Editor I loose those settings and get soft/rounded surfaces where I should have flat/sharp ones. Although this is useful when handing "organic" meshes, like body parts, to mask unwanted ugly raw or blocky shapes, this can be frustrating when you need to display a flat/sharp shape. This makes me think that PMX Editr and MMD do their own "interpolations" overriding the original normal settings, but I don't know how they work this way. For example how these overrides work when combined with toon and/or spa/sph settings or with reflection settings. Or worst with advanced environmental shading like raycast. And what I don't want to be involved in, is one of those "dead end streets" I was talking above, to not risk my model has weird shading issues once imported in PMX Editor and MMD and eventually used with ray cast or other advanced shaders.
So: is there any particular issue I have to keep in mind while modelling?
2.b) Any suggestion about the better way to model the parts, even considering the issue above? I was planning, for example, to model the legs starting with a cylinder and extruding/subdividing it, then ajusting its shape to match the leg's one. And the same when I'll have to remodel the arms. Do you see any trouble in this approach?
3) UV Mapping and texturing questions
3.a) How to use / where to draw seam lines?
This is a banal question maybe, but I'd like to know in advance where to put them, even if I'll mark the seams for unwrapping just at the end of the modelling process (?). I've seen a lot of models and seen different approaches. I was, for example, familiar with posed/daz models and the way they were UV mapped, with textures split into some main zones: face, torso, arms and legs (actually arms and legs were on the same uv template, as limbs, while torso, the back of the head and ears were on another one, ad face had its own uv template). But for example is there a "safest way" to mark seams in order to uv map the model? Examples:
- legs: where would you put the seam border? On a central backside line? Along the inner side of the leg? On the outer side?
- arms: I've seen many model having their seams on the lower side of the arm, i.e. the line ideally connecting the lower side of the wrist and the armpit. I presume this is a good choice to hide any eventual issue with mapping texturing, as the lower side of the arm is less frequently shown (?).
- Torso: here's a big point. Some models have a front-and-back side uv mapping, having their seams along the flanks; other ones, maybe due to specular modelling, seem to have their UV seams along the central line ideally passing through plexus and navel on the front side, and along the spinal chord on the back side. Would you see any advantage in choosing one of these settings instead of the other one?
3.b) WHEN to unwrap/uv-map
Okay maybe this question sounds weird. I'd like to keep the UV map setting as linear and simple as possible. I.e. I'd like to get, at the end of the work, a plain textures with a plain and possibly regular shaped grid, instead of an irregular one. This beacuse I'd like to work a lot on UV based sliders to simulate lingerie settings (the same way as some TDA edits work), instead of using fading sliders based on trasparency hacks (and needing parts being duplicated). Having this in mind, I expect that keeping the UV mapping as more linear as possible should help also editors in designing alternate textures. So my question is WHEN to unwrap and UV map the model. I'm not planning a very hi-poly model, but for sure I'm having much more subdivisions than in Montecore's mesh. Is it a good idea to unwrap the partes while I'm still in the early phases, for exaple when I'm first building the cylinders to model the legs/arms? Or is it better to finish the modelling phase, first, and then proceeding with the unwrapping once I have the final shape?
3.c) Textures painting in Blender: I'm completely noob with this, as I said. Any suggestion will be largely appreciated
4) At your will. Ask or suggest me anything you want or you consider important
This is not necessarily related to Blender only, but can be intended as a more general matter about "modelling for MMD".
Just, please, don't suggest me a full, intensive and deep Blender study course.
As said, I'm just using this chance to learn more, but my final goal is to get a working MMD model, not to become a Blender guru
Tagged MMDers and modellers:
vasilnatalie , Hogarth-MMD , Wampa842 , Trackdancer , EclipsedVisions , AnimeNebula003 , 2234083174 , HazardousArts
#mmd #blender #metasequoia #modelling #modeling #character