alternative player model [wip]

alternative player model [wip]

Postby gruntunbur » 29 Jul 2013, 13:39

Eventually I want to add a rig to it. With max 32 vertex groups but more bones in total; Thats compatible yes?

However it isn't finished yet and I'm wondering about a few details:
  • toes? Not difficult to add, but are they preferred? for sandals or something. Or really not needed at all
  • the head: I thought the style guide was anime-ish. Is this alright or does it need a bigger more doll-like head.
    The head topology itself could be better, still working on that. But I don't know whether is it anime-ish enough which would influence the topology I think.
  • vertex count, currently its quite low. Is more detail preferred? If so I want to lower it some more on the legs and then subsurf the stuff with some editing. Which would get it around 5000+
  • And of course your opinion whether this is actually an improvement or not.

work to be done on the shoulder to neck topology, the head, potentially redo the legs ( 8 or 10 instead of 11 vertices loops ) and feat
the coloring is just for demonstration
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby amuzen » 29 Jul 2013, 18:29

gruntunbur {l Wrote}:Eventually I want to add a rig to it. With max 32 vertex groups but more bones in total; Thats compatible yes?


Yep, only the vertex group count matters.

gruntunbur {l Wrote}:However it isn't finished yet and I'm wondering about a few details:
  • toes? Not difficult to add, but are they preferred? for sandals or something. Or really not needed at all
  • the head: I thought the style guide was anime-ish. Is this alright or does it need a bigger more doll-like head.
    The head topology itself could be better, still working on that. But I don't know whether is it anime-ish enough which would influence the topology I think.
  • vertex count, currently its quite low. Is more detail preferred? If so I want to lower it some more on the legs and then subsurf the stuff with some editing. Which would get it around 5000+
  • And of course your opinion whether this is actually an improvement or not.


The quality test I have been using lately for the player and equipment models is to check how they look in-game with the camera zoomed as close as possible. If it looks blocky, it probably needs more vertices or better topology. Conversely, if the increase in detail doesn't make a significant difference, it probably isn't worth it. Toes aren't particularly noticeable in-game if the feet are small and carefully shaped, but adding them has no negative effects either, so it's mostly up to how much effort you want to put into details.

As for the head and the style in general, if I could decide, making it approximately this or this animeish would be most appropriate to me. Well, I'm not particularly hopeful of LoS ever looking anywhere as good, and I don't have the last say on the graphical style, so it's currently roughly 50% up to your discretion. :p If you want the easy way out with the head, a highly doll-like head would generally be easier to make and work better with the in-game cel-shading effect.

Whether the model is an improvement or not, I can't tell because I modeled the current player mesh. The body is probably pretty good, but it's hard to even tell what good means when the majority of people will dislike something about any body mesh, no matter how well modeled, due to the diversity of opinions. I think that, ultimately, the only way to make it good by most people's standards is to make it highly customizable by including a dozen or so shape keys for the character creator.
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby gruntunbur » 29 Jul 2013, 19:11

doll-head it is.
I meant by better the .. cleanlynes of the topology. I agree that "shape" is everybody's own preference
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby Julius » 29 Jul 2013, 19:26

amuzen {l Wrote}:
gruntunbur {l Wrote}:Eventually I want to add a rig to it. With max 32 vertex groups but more bones in total; Thats compatible yes?


Yep, only the vertex group count matters.


Well, there is one reason why you have to think about the use of additional non weighted helper bone: if you want to use the rig for rag-doll or other realtime physics animations, having at least the core rig not too complex will help.
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby amuzen » 29 Jul 2013, 19:52

gruntunbur {l Wrote}:doll-head it is.
I meant by better the .. cleanlynes of the topology. I agree that "shape" is everybody's own preference


Ah, topology-wise it certainly looks much cleaner than the old one.

Julius {l Wrote}:Well, there is one reason why you have to think about the use of additional non weighted helper bone: if you want to use the rig for rag-doll or other realtime physics animations, having at least the core rig not too complex will help.


Yeah, being too tricky with the extra bones can complicate things in those cases. I was assuming that they'd mostly be in places like ends of the FK chains or in separate branches where they'd be easy enough to remove from the simulation. Having lots of extra bones mid-chain could get problematic indeed.
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby Julius » 29 Jul 2013, 21:31

Umm, well another thing: I can understand that it is a nice exercise for any 3D artist to create those ermm... anatomically correct models, but IMHO both are not really top quality so to say. On the other hand there are some really top quality anime models on Blenderswap (freely licensed) that could probably adjusted to be game ready.

Have a look (most are rather high-poly, but their level 0 sub-d are usually close enough to be suitable with some adjustments):
http://www.blendswap.com/search?term=anime
http://www.blendswap.com/search?term=cartoon
Hmm... strangely enough some of the best ones aren't even tagged as anime, this one for example is really nicely modeled:
http://www.blendswap.com/blends/view/4829
or this one:
http://www.blendswap.com/blends/view/4770
or this:
http://www.blendswap.com/blends/view/50358 (that is actually game suitable already).

Mind, I am not saying to use them 1:1, but as a basemesh some of those are really a lot nicer than what is currently in LoS (or proposed as a WIP in this thread, no offense).
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby amuzen » 29 Jul 2013, 22:45

Well, I don't really care how the player model is redone as long as I don't have to do it myself. :p The mesh itself is comparatively little work, but only because the comparison is to all the other things that need to be redone or fixed with it: roughly 30 animations, 10 equipment models, 10 textures, 10 shape keys and 3 haircuts. Certainly, the model could use a major face lift, but completely replacing it is going to be about a month of work for a moderately skilled artist, regardless of whether you lift the base mesh. Because of that, my main concern is not the ease of creating the mesh itself, but the fact that it should meet the future character customization, equipment creation and animation requirements so that all the stuff doesn't need to be replaced again a bit later.
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby gruntunbur » 30 Jul 2013, 16:38

That last one is looking pretty professional.
But this is just an itch I needed to scratch. See if I can make a better player model including a better rig and eventually better animations. Making it work ingame.
I don't take offense in your critique but I don't think its really helpful posting even more alternatives inside this thread. For me that is. I don't find it very motivating because there is the suggestion I could spend my time otherwise. Maybe "my player model" would be a better title.

I'm not a developer btw, just randomly contributing/testing stuff. All according to the model of ignoring the ideal contribution structure.

anyways more "anatomical correct" pictures :P cleaned up the shoulders to neck area and got the head more doll like. Which I found a bit odd/difficult to make. An improvement or a sad attempt?
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby Julius » 30 Jul 2013, 17:09

Ok, sure I can totally understand, just consider the links reference material then ;)
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby amuzen » 30 Jul 2013, 20:04

The new head is an improvement at least, but it's somewhat hard to assess since the texture will do most of the work in practice. The other changes were a bit harder to spot, but I'd say that it's improving in general. The new shoulder topology will probably be more noticeable once the model is rigged and animated.

gruntunbur {l Wrote}:That last one is looking pretty professional.
But this is just an itch I needed to scratch. See if I can make a better player model including a better rig and eventually better animations. Making it work ingame.
I don't take offense in your critique but I don't think its really helpful posting even more alternatives inside this thread. For me that is. I don't find it very motivating because there is the suggestion I could spend my time otherwise. Maybe "my player model" would be a better title.


Ultimately, from the point of view of the project, nothing is waste of time as long as it gets finished enough to be usable in-game. In some superhuman sense, it might be efficient to pick the most useful task and complete it the way that takes the least time. However, I think that, in practice, it's more efficient to pick tasks that you enjoy and work the way you enjoy because you're more likely to actually finish that way. This is pretty much why LoS has such a weird contribution model and why I try to not bug people too much about priorities.

I think that the wide majority of contributors would give up with the character model before finishing it, so do stuff and somehow finish the model too. :p
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby gruntunbur » 05 Aug 2013, 13:06

rigged, 31 vertex groups, 48 bones.
There might be some rigify (Bone properties) stuff I've missed though.

I'm not that happy with the current shoulders weight painting. Can't yet figure out how to do it better. For example the deformation fails when you stretch the arms upright above the head. Move the shoulders a bit and you can get it right. But the arms lose too much volume in "extreme" positions. It does work for the majority of movements though.
The other bones and weight painting work good. Pretty happy with the hips and legs.
No shape keys yet. Just giant boobs for now.

I'm wondering about UV mapping. I can't see it being needed for the skin. The subtle skin details will just get lost in the toon shader used ingame. As far as I can tell every skin shader needs a texture. But the only place the textures are noticeable is the face.
Any thoughts advice on that?. Does everything need a texture for it to work? Solid1 gives a very different not so toony result. And lots of dark/black.

Next I'll need to try animating a walk cycle. See if all this stuff really can result in a better animation.
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby Julius » 05 Aug 2013, 13:45

Shoulders are pretty much impossible to get working in extreme upward positions, so don't worry about it too much.

I guess you will need to make the UVs as texel coordinates are pretty much mandatory for any kind or surface shader AFAIK.
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby amuzen » 05 Aug 2013, 16:48

UV mapping is needed because clothes and other such things can be made by overlaying other textures over the base skin texture. A number of the newer equipment (dress, socks, underwear, pants, skirt) make use of the feature and it's quite handy since it reduces modeling work significantly. The skin texture itself would also make a bigger difference if it didn't lack contrast and be somewhat broken due to past UV layout changes.

Because creating equipment involves a lot of texture painting, the quality of the UV layout is quite critical too. Both distortion (more important) and the number of seams (less important) should be minimized to make painting easy, and the layout should be mirrored over the X axis since it typically halves the painting work. The UV layout should also try to balance the needs of the shape keys so that none of them cause too much stretch. Furthermore, there should be a little (~10%) empty space allocated for extra polygons that underwear or various small attachments will need.

Sorry about all the demands :eew: . The rig and the model are looking really good so far so I really want this to be finished and put into good use. I'm just being naggy because I want the model to avoid the mistakes I made with the old model so that it'll be easy to mod and last as long as possible.
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby gruntunbur » 07 Aug 2013, 13:19

made a run animation to try out the rig.
This is my very first running animation but I think it turned out alright. There is some getting used to the rig. But I think you can do some decent animations without fiddling to much with the bones. Do turn auto IK off btw.
The running animation itself might not be a good candidate, the stride could be a little too big or something.

Thanks for the info on Uv mapping. Gonna work on that next.
And the demands sound reasonable, will take some trying out of course.
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby amuzen » 07 Aug 2013, 16:26

The animation looks cool in Blender at least, and I'd expect it to not have major issues in-game either. I'm thinking of getting it exported and tested once I'm done with the release hassle.
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby gruntunbur » 08 Aug 2013, 11:49

first try with the UV, I think its looking pretty good.
In the screenshot the left represents the angle stretch and the right the area, for example the face island is bigger
The scale: blue --> green --> orange --> red. Blue means no stretch(good) red means maximum stretch(bad).
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby amuzen » 10 Aug 2013, 17:11

That'd probably work reasonably well if the U texture coordinate were mirrored.

I tried to make an alternative, easy to understand layout with few seams, but I'm not sure if it's actually that good in the end. The breast area is pretty much impossible to do so I just split it apart and gave it more pixels. The rest is more or less like yours but with some seams removed from the body and some added to the limbs. Use the changes whichever way you please: as is, as a reference or not at all.
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby Julius » 11 Aug 2013, 17:41

Having a strech-free UV is actually overrated, and some stretching is barely noticeable with higher-resolution textures used today.
It is IMHO more beneficial to have fewer cuts and strait lines in your UV to avoid baking and rendering errors with normal normal-maps and the like. In addition this makes it easier to fix wobbly normal-map errors etc. by hand.
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby amuzen » 11 Aug 2013, 18:48

Normally, perhaps, but normal-mapping is pretty much pointless with cel-shading, and baking textures in general is rather pointless with a cartoonish style. That leaves manual texture painting as the only major use case for the texture layout in LoS, and both seams and distortion matter in that case.

In my experience, it was easier to connect seams in Inkscape/Gimp than to fix distortion, but seams certainly mean some extra work too. Hence, I think that the optimal case for LoS would be a layout will some minor, evenly distributed stretch and as few seams as you can achieve with that constraint.
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby gruntunbur » 16 Aug 2013, 20:40

Yours is definitely better for hand painting. I guess I forgot about that, where my version is really hard to align stuff at the seams when painting. I've been playing around a bit today again with the uv but no major improvements.
I'll probably use a slightly modified of the version you made. Although I'm still wondering if there is a better option with the mirror modifier applied on the mesh. Then separating front and back instead of one big body wrap for front and back. So there will be 2 big islands for easy painting.
A bit slow on the reply but I was busy as hell!... ( No not really )
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby amuzen » 16 Aug 2013, 23:45

You shouldn't apply the mirror modifier because the mesh becomes hard to edit and the symmetric UV layout is more beneficial for painting than any layout simplifications you could achieve by applying it. You can already create two big islands even with the U coordinate mirroring enabled if you let the other island wrap across the image border (see the attached file for details). However, that'd be mostly cosmetic since it's always pretty easy to paint over the middle seam thanks to symmetry.

Anyway, the layout only needs to be good enough so don't waste too much time perfecting it. Getting the mesh part finalized sometime in the nearish future would be nice since I'd like to start converting equipment models and textures for it and perhaps also try out some shape key editing. I'm pretty much locked out of improving character graphics until your mesh is ready since working on the old model is pure waste of time now. :p
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby gruntunbur » 17 Aug 2013, 14:07

a few slight changes to altuv2, and a skin texture.
The skin texture is kinda... well I'm not really confident about my painting skills. But it does the job I guess.

About the mesh itself, dunno if there is any area that might be done better.
Any suggestions? if none then its done. The base mesh that is.
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby amuzen » 17 Aug 2013, 14:48

Great! I'm really pleased with it at least. I'll try to get it exported today or tomorrow and then start converting stuff for it.
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby Julius » 17 Aug 2013, 15:01

That seems to have turned out rather nicely, although I really don't get where you want to go at with those size adjustable breasts in the mesh (also: the very flat version makes still for a bad male model, so I hope you are not planning to use it as a uni-sex mesh).

A suggestion: Instead of painting the facial features in like this, how about making them an texture overlay like some of the cloth and thus allow for some easy variations in face style and maybe even for some simple facial expressions or at least some idle animations like eye blinking?
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Re: alternative player model [wip]

Postby gruntunbur » 17 Aug 2013, 15:18

"size adjustable breasts": for fun!
shape key and distortion testing? There is a problem with completely flat and animating the breast, it sort of fails. Could of course adjust the weight with the shape key in code or something. Flat==no breast bone effect.

There are some nice looking separate facial features already for the aer1 model. I think those should be used. Dunno how its applied to the aer1 model though
So the face on the skin1 texture is just a template as far as I am concerned.
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