First, Happy New Year to everyone. We’re chugging along at the start of 2012 and making a lot of progress on our character models.
CGI artists know that building a character model is the hardest thing we have to do for our project. It’s a Herculean task, to put it mildly, especially when you’re copying the face of an actor. You’ve got to get every detail correct, the shape of the nose, how far apart the eyes are, how wide the lips are, all of it, because viewers will notice if something is a little off.
And that means a lot of polygons go into a character model, even a model’s head. Just to give you an idea of the amount of work needed, I’ll show the progress Speed87, who’s crafting Kyle Reese, has made on the Jonathan Jackson model. This is the basic head outline he started with in Blender:
Doesn’t look like the actor, but every one of those squares, rectangles, etc. are polygons he used just to make an outline of the head. I stopped counting after I got over 100. Any model you’ve seen in a 3D animated film, even the circular ones, all started off like this on some level. Obviously the next step is filling in the rest of the face:
So the head is getting there, but it’s still a bit rough. And the model isn’t textured at all, so there’s no “skin” or facial images added. Speed87′s adding that after he finishes the base model. And before that, he has to actually create a mesh, which he’s finished and now sculpting in a separate program called Zbrush. Here’s what it looks like so far:
That’s just the head. We’re going to attach this to a full body, which Speed87 also has to craft and modify so it looks like the actor. And the body doesn’t include any clothing or accessories we’ll have to add for the series. It’s also not rigged, meaning, it’s not programmed for an animator to manipulate. So we have to bring in a separate artist just for that.
Fortunately, once the model is completed, that’s it. Done. We’ll be using it for the entire series. We’ve already completed our Summer Glau model, in fact we have 2 versions of it (one of which you can now view in the Media section).
On to the News!
First, I know I promised you something big this month. We planned to announce our attendance at the No Fate Convention in Pasadena CA this year. Unfortunately, the convention was cancelled. Major bummer for us, as we were going to present a lot of our work and include a short video, to say nothing of rubbing elbows with fellows fans or even (gasp) meeting those who made the TV show. That was the big news item I was mentioning.
But there are some rays of sunshine to report. We’re currently filing paperwork to open a non-profit organization in the USA. This will allow anyone to donate money to help us complete our project. Any funds will be used for purchasing models, textures, or services such as animating a video for us. We anticipate having the paperwork completed at the end of February, so we’ll have everything set up for a donations then. Yes, it’s a delay of about a month, apologies, but this will be finished soon.
Secondly, of course, are our new hires. PFElton is joining us as a writer/reviewer who will edit our scripts. OpalEyes-Angel has joined us as a character modeler and is crafting our John Connor. She’s made a lot of progress with the model already and it looks great.
We’re still looking for a few voice actor roles, head on over to the Characters page to see what’s available. Mainly we need someone for the roles of Tarissa Dyson and Agent Ellison. We also have a few specific CGI needs. We need a rigger experienced with Blender for our completed T-800 and Summer Glau models. We also need another texture mapper.
If you think you can help out, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.