This post should have happened in July, but life happened.
Took almost four more months to finish it, there are still a lot of room for improvement, but I should let this project go and mark it as concluded. Anyhow, I´m very happy with the result and with the amount of learning I got from the project.
7.1 Grooming final
From the last project I did start the grooming again (for the 4th or 5th time). My initial approach of many guides combined with multiple regions in region map, almost one area for each big clump, was not giving me the control and results I wanted for clump interpolation. So I started again using the clump by guide approach. For it to work, I had to restart my guide process. This was the major thing I did regarding to grooming.
the other major thing done was the hair shader using a combination of maps gotten from big clumps, small clumps and hair Id, and ramp, combined procedurally to drive a few parameters of aiStandartHair (roughness, specular, melanine etc).
the rest was applying modifiers coupled with some procedural script masks written by me.
7.2 Final pose and camera tests
After grooming and shading the hair, I reworked the zbrush mesh to get the desired pose and armor for the final model, exported it as a posed geo and referenced this file on the render scene. All the adjustment got transferred with no extra work due to the strict name convention and geometries not changing.
The next step was a lot of rendering work to test camera positions and lighting scenarios, so I could choose the ones I thought were best.
Finally I did the final renders, that took quite a while and demand a lot of tweaks to get better render times, because my initial ones were atrocious.
the images were then processed at 32 bit in affinity painter and exported for final showing
[image tests after render]
7.3 Closing thoughts
This was a extremely fun project to work on with lots of learning during the development process, its not “perfect” and many things could be improved, but one thing I learned during its development is that some done work works best than beautiful dreams never shown. So, I´m calling this one done to be able to move onto another fulfilling projects (this one took me more than 400 hours total).
Other things that I had to learn the hard way is not to embrace everything in a single learning project as this one (initially it was supposed to be it – not a portifolio piece), because it will take much more time than it would if you took smaller test projects and the learning will not be smooth.
Thank you guys that have followed this series about my learning process with this project and hope to see you soon with another one.