Under the Flesh- Making of the Fruit
One of the recent projects that have been working on for studies is to come up with a concept for a alien fruit.In my research I was drawn to strange fruits and plants that have furry or spiky outer shells. As i continued looking at other plants in the world I started to form an idea of a dual fruit. Something that either uses a symbiotic relationship or possible a fruit housed inside another fruit.
Some of my original concepts can be seen below.
For this project I planned on sending this model to mudbox to have practice at sculpting and painting in Mudbox.This is a image of the final fruit I made in MAYA before exporting it into mudbox for the sculpting of the details
Knowing that was going to create details later I created quite a simple base mesh. One of the things I did with this project was UV as i went so if i thought a mesh wasn't going to be modified further I would UV it then continue building other parts of the mesh. This helped break up the workflow so not stuck Uving for hours in one block. The downside to this approach after UV’ed I could not really change the topology of the mesh. There was a instance where I had to redo so Uvs after i decided to make changes.
Original design of the fruit had a dandelion on top of the stalk before being revised. With the Dandelion part of the mesh I was uncertain what sort of design or shape I was going for here are some of the early versions of the dandelion part of the fruit.
The spine root was created by using a spline to extrude alone, which is a handy feature to remember for later projects.
The roots were created from converting paint effects to mesh. I thought this would be a nice approach to create a more organic looking shape. This seemed like a nice idea at the time the creation of the mesh after converting from a paint effect results in a very unclean and hard to work with mesh that took a while to cleanup. Knowing this now i would probably refrain from using mesh created from paint effects unless i am willing to do mesh cleanup for a few hours.
For some reason possible from mesh combining a few times i lost the Uvs for the seeds on the top of the fruit. Originally I created one Uved it then duplicated the mesh so i would save me work later. But when it came to combining all the uvs onto one map I couldn't find the Uvs for the seeds at all so had to redo them.
Another problem I ran into was for some reason each new object i created or duplicated it created a separate UV set. Where i had to spend time consolidating into a single UV set not sure why this happened might have been a setting or preference changed somewhere along the line.
Taking the Mesh into Mudbox to create the details gave me the message of bad UVs some of my uvs on the original mesh were apparently outside the uv square. I proceeded to ignore this error message and decided to work on the model anyway. This lead to problems down the track where i couldn't paint on parts of the model as Mudbox relies on the uvs to be in the default Uv space.
Mudbox can work with overlapping UV’s but can get some funky results. So I ended up using the rebuild UV tool in mudbox to allow me to paint parts of the surface. Using this i was bit worried about reimporting the mesh into maya then doing a transfer maps, since remapping the uvs in mudbox may interfere with that. I decided there was no real need to take the model back into maya.
A problem I encountered in mudbox was I had not properly masked or isolated objects there were times when sculpting or painting the mesh when in isolated view where i thought it meant I was only modify that part but would paint or modify meshes that were in close proximity.
This will be a thing i have to investigate and try and sort out in future.
When painting the mesh in mudbox my workflow was not efficient or consistent. At times I forgot to separate layers when painting on different parts of the mesh. This became a problem later when exporting the texture maps since some of the diffuse was on the spec maps or some of the transparency was not on separate maps.
Mudbox has a very basic renderer to have images out of the program. You can export a simple turntable but can't change many of the settings such as quality. I was able to export a basic turntable out of mudbox but then decided to use maya to render to try and get a pulsing glowing effect for the internal fruit.
Importing from mudbox into maya took a lot longer then it should have of going back and forth mostly due to not deciding on the which workflow approach I would take such as exporting a lowpoly with high poly normal map or just have straight high poly.
This indecisiveness chewed a lot of time into the project when it wasn't necessary.
Having the model back into maya I had some small trouble trying to get the transparency to display properly. In mudbox had a small window of the fruit transparent, but importing the texture into maya it would be inverted and only a small part of the fruit was visible. Inverting the transparency map did not appear to help.
Ended up opting for a more transparent model as opposed to a just a see through window or membrane. Had to play around with the settings to make it display right in arnold.
There is a attribute in the shape node can check on or off which determines if a mesh renders opaque or not, checking this seemed to helped get the look I was after for my fruit.
it has been a fun project, despite the problems in Mudbox. i do enjoy the sculpting and the painting straight onto 3D surface.
Overall i am quite happy with the final design