On reaching my semicentennial (50th) blog post I am finally ready to post my modelled head.
Though not madnatory I really got into this assignment, it was the excuse I'd been long searching for to break out Mudbox, a high end sculpting peice of autodesk software. The process involves creating a basic model in Maya using the traditional polygonal stuff of translating, scaling and rotating stuff until it vaguely resembled the photographic reference Nigel had kindly shot for me:
Using the orthographic views I lined up the silhouettes of the models to the reference photos and slowly the face started to take shape. I was at this point only modelling one side of the face, which would later be mirrored.
To avoid an uncanny valley effect as much as possible I took this mirrored model and, using the reference photos, tried to match all the asymmetry in my face to create a more organic looking and authentic model. Apparently I have an innocent and evil side to my face, one side mirrored in Photoshop creates a maniacal sadist and the other a angel of purity.
Once this base model was made I imported it into Mudbox and began my first attempt at sculpting. I started with the ears as they required detail I wasn't willing to go into in Maya, then, due to the asymmetry, I did the other ear. Next I moved onto the hair, I detailed the fringe quite accurately and then did broad strokes for the tufts and strands on the head.
What Mudbox is really great for is texturing, It has the layering system of photoshop, but instead of painting over a UV snapshot after the unwrapping process you can paint textures straight onto the model using a projection brush which (ironically) projects an image or brush of your choice over the model and you paint away. You can even make separate bump or specular layers.
Not having reference photos for the back and top of the head I now have a pretty interesting hair style that involves pasting the sides of my hair all over the place.
Here is the final turn around. I struggled with displacement and sub surface scattering shaders til 2am and it still looks like latex but it doesn'et matter too much. No motion blur either, epic fail.