But last night, it was different. As he cradled me in his bony, wet arms, picking away at my scalp with a particularly sharp tooth, I glumly gazed off in the distance. He paused for a moment as the rhythmic combing of his fingers across my scalp dulled to an abrupt silence. He was hesitant, I could tell, and the silence was a dead giveaway that he was about to confront me and my deep, sporadic thoughts. I had to refrain from suddenly bursting out with an exaggerated "Awkwaaaard..." "Whatz wrong?" he finally muttered, clearing a clump of curly hair from his teeth. "Mr. Zombie, you know I love you, right?" He grinned, then nodded so fiercely his eyeballs popped out of their sockets and began clacking around. I readjusted myself and sat up, trying to build up the courage to stare Mr. Zombie in his rotting, cold eyes. "Well" I paused for a moment and cleared my throat, "There's someone else."
He smirked slightly and replied: "Well thatz fine. I luv to share brainz with other zombiez. Zombiez love threesome brain eatinz" Oh boy, how am I gonna say this? How am I gonna say this? I lunged towards Mr. Zombie, my face now wet with salty tears, and gently whispered in his ear, "It's not another zombie. It's a human. His name is Dave... Crazy Dave..."
And then it happened. He stood up. He shuffled towards the door. He tripped over the ottoman a couple times as I held my breath to kill the urge to laugh, and then in a moment, he was gone. Well, more than a moment, 'cus, you know, the whole walking-like-molasses deal --- but he was gone. All because of my confession. Of Crazy Dave.
Crazy Dave took great care of me. In fact, he posed for me daily. Which brings me to today's 4 AM blog.
I usually don't post WIP photos that aren't rendered in mental ray, as MR gives a much better suggestion of the surface when interacting with shadows and lights, but 4 AM setting up a lighting rig and rendering a bunch of frames sounds a bit discouraging. Sleep is important too, kids! So here we have just screengrabs directly from Maya. As you can notice, this isn't quite yet Dave - or, at least the Crazy Dave that we've all come to know and love. I mean, sure, there's the frying pan on his head, and that goofy grin with the two teeth, but he's also missing one of his key visual elements - hair! He's lacking the beard and the hair, and without that, it's just merely a suggestion of Crazy Dave.
But I'd like to point out a few things, some liberties I took when designing Crazy Dave. There's practically just one image of him, used over and over again, slightly modified to suit the context of the situation, but I've yet to come across multiple angles of Dave. Know what that means? We have to intelligently guess the proportions that aren't explicitly suggested in single-angle image that's floating around the web. I added some fat rolls to the back of his neck - I thought it'd be appropriate, since he's a slightly heavier character. His nose is like a wide baked potato, but he's lacking nostrils, which I think enhances the cartoon element even further (think Cloudy With a Chance). I used a deep shader on eyebrows, despite the correct color design for any hairy parts of Dave to be brown. The shader enhances the contrast so I can pick up on a general idea of what sort of color balance we'll be looking at later down the road when it's time to texture.
Some things I'd like to point out: Right now Dave is pretty soft and curvey, but the character illustrations suggest that many of his facial features are a bit more tight and angular. It's a style that I absolutely cannot get enough of, over exaggerating the angles and applying a beautiful SSS shader to replicate straight skin. So really pushing those angles and enhancing the edges, particularly around the brown region, is something I'll jump on next time I work on this model. There's also a recessed area that should be located in the orbital region, sort of giving the illusion that his eyeballs are actually just two spheres glued onto the surface of his skin rather than sitting tightly between the eyelids. The mouth should come down to more of an angular slant, mimicking a 'V' shape, and we have to tighten up the edges around the corners of the lips so it feels more restricted, more closed. There are also some essential key angles in the illustration for the brow to the forehead back to the top of the head. Straight edges.
See, ^^^ these are some of the things you should be focused on when modeling a 3D character based off of 2D reference images. You need to see the character in 3D, carefully analyzing all of the 2D photo reference images and picking out defined angles, spacial relationship, and curves. It's not difficult really, but you just have to be aware of what to look for. Sometimes a certain set of angles will really define the character and give him his personality, and if you skimp on those details, you might begin to portray a completely offset 3D representation.
Anyway, it's time for bed now! Up in a few hours for sleep! Do zombies need sleep?
I love you all,