Updated: Nov 11, 2022
About Refining and Designing a Character (Part 3)
Let's get back where we head off last time. We had the base colors down to a decent level and I've decided to finish the process and show the "final" result. So here we go, this is how it looked like at the end of the last blog entry.
And let's see what we got now:
As you can see, it's not just some shadings which I have done, there's a lot more here, There are many new elements, which have been added ever since.
The details added made sure that the mix of detail density and layering are at a good balance. Additionally, some props which will be rigged along the model have also been added to the model, we should be good to go from here on out.
In order to avoid this blog entry to end here, I think it's a good idea to just continue and have me attempt describing how I go through the next step, which is merging layers to make this model rig-ready. Currently the file is a mess, it has roughly 500 layers and the parts are still split into multiple clipped layers. The task now is to reduce them down to a single layer each, give them some proper naming and make sure for one last time, that the layers are in a correct order.
PREPPING THE RIG
First things first, no matter on which art program you've created your illustration on, make sure to save it as a .PSD file, since this is what Cubism Live2D requires.
Now I have no idea what the best approach is to show my workflow, so I will just try to do this by going from asset to asset, the most top to the most bottom.
The props this first iteration will have is:
Apart from the hat (and maybe boots), the rest will not really warp a lot, hence I will just save these as single layers. I will share my thoughts on the hat in a bit.
Regarding the boots, I do not expect to do a lot with them but for safety measure, I will divide it by:
Metal protector top
Metal protector bottom
This is the ideal moment to talk about naming convention one more time, for your own sanity and for convenience later on in Cubism Live2D, get used to name the parts with the following logic:
"Side of the part" L or R (from the model's point of view so left is right and right is left)
"Part of which group" (example Boot)
"Name of the part" (example Bolt)
So for example: LBootBolt - make sure to not leave a space in between, cause Cubism Live2D doesn't understand spaces.
Speaking of the left boot, let's see what I did here:
Let's take it apart to visualize it one more time but separated:
Now here we can see certain things that I can reconsider before proceeding... you can see that the boot base (4) currently is drawn that way, that the top part is more or less resembling the shape of (2)'s bottom half of its silhouette. Naturally, depending on how much the boot will warp, this may cause problems later on. Likewise the back side of the boot protector (5), which is really just the original layer of (3), where I did not erase the part which is suppose to end up behind (4). I am going to assign these to the same deformer later on, which will make this properly work without much trouble, but if that was not the case, I'd probably have to fix (5) up a bit. Other than that, no additional currently apparent problematic pieces.
Oh boy, where to start.... this is probably one of the most complex parts of the whole model... let's start with a screenshot:
The reason for it being so complicated is because this one's going to be one of those parts, which will warp the most. Frankly I am not even sure if it makes a lot of sense to even attempt breaking this apart in form of a blog post.
Well, here goes nothing, I will give it a shot...
(Apologies for the bad naming, I did that in the snipping too without using my brain...)
Let's start from the base, which is probably the easiest part... the hat base is going to be morphed only a little, since I made sure that it only has one color and I can limit myself to only focus on the shape.
The stripes of the hat are on a separate layer and it will be clipped to the white hat base along with the hat bolt and G-key parts. these parts will be warped a lot and will go off the edges of the hat base, as a result I've opted for this approach.
Then there are the metallic parts such as the "top line", "protector" and the "circle" parts... They will warp, but are independent of the border of the hat base. The "protector" part has an additional layer of complexity, that being the carved in writing. That writing is again, a separate layer and is clipped to the "protector".
Almost done, the final missing 2 parts would be the 'sun guard' and the 'hat bottom line'. These are both made of one part each and will be tucked the the rest of the hat. All in all, the hat at this point in time has 13 parts, this may change depending on how well this separation works on the rig.
Let's tackle the front hair next, this one is luckily not as complex as the hat and a lot more straight forward, the only complex part was the coloring, which, as you can see is kept very simple to avoid annoying mismatching gradient effects.
First the front bangs, as you can see it is divided into 5 separate parts (while (1) has been turned off all this time). Almost forgot about the brows, obviously also just 2 separate parts which are above the front bangs.
There are also these... one of them goes here (the left one), and the other one will be on the back of the head... at the very bottom. Figured I'd mentioned them before I forget it.
And then there's also the left side bang. The other one, naturally is behind the face layer and since we are going from top to bottom, we will mention it a bit later on.
A large chunk of the hair which is now sitting on top of the "bald head" is actually directly painted onto the scalp.
To save up time, I will just show one of the eyes, since the other one is pretty much exactly the same.
MOUTH, NOSE AND EYES
Let's start with the simple one first, the nose. I will try to make into 2 objects. since this model may or may not have a bigger head turn where one eye is going behind the nose, I will draw that part so that I can cover the eye up when it goes behind the nose. Here's how it looks like (in green, will change the color after I have showed it here).
As for the eyes, I will do it the usual way I do them. As you can see, the eyes are not that complex compared to some other riggers out there, I am lazy in my own way I guess.
So, from top to bottom, eyelash (2), lower eyelid (3), eye reflection (4), iris (5), eye white shadow (6), eye white (7) (which also dubs as the shape of the eye), upper eyelid (1).
Let's go to the mouth, here's what it looks like:
Again, we work with clipping, and as you can see, I am considering adding teeth, but I am not quiet sure at this point. So, we have the mouth outline (1), the fang (2), the top row teeth (3), bottom row teeth (4), tongue (5), and the mouth back (6), which dubs as the shape. There's also a closed mouth, which is pretty much just a line.
Okay, this is getting a bit lengthy, I will make a stop here and will continue from where I've left off here. This is probably for the best.