" We are proud to feature Jeremy Olanda, an alumni of our CG Protege Animation School in today's interview. Jeremy has been an outstanding student and continues tirelessly to brush up and improve in his modelling skills even after completion of his WSQ Diploma in Animation (Modelling & Texturing). He is often seen on modelling forums helping out and learning from the CG community. We are proud to see that he has further improved his skills by winning a peer reviewed modelling competition - the highly competitive CGFeedback.com Mini Challenge.
CGFeedback is an online forum for CG artists and enthusiasts who want to improve their skills will get professional feedback on their artworks.The idea of this forum is to focus on tutorials, sharing tips and tricks more than showing off finished pieces (even though there is a finished section)"
COULD YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR BACKGROUND IN 3D MODELING?
I'm Jeremy Olanda from Philippines and currently residing in Singapore. As a kid my hobby is drawing superheroes and mostly fantasy arts using scratch papers and newsprint. During my teenage years, I've done portraits of some of my friends mostly charcoal painting and earned from it and added to pay for my daily expenses.
I received my basic 3D training course - A Maya certification course for beginners in animation. The class is every Saturday that lasted for less than 3 months. From there I learned basic skills in Maya 6 like familiarizing on UI,modeling, a bit of texturing, rigging and animation. I knew I can improve my skills, so I continue to search from the web and found CG Protégé. That was the start of my 3D modeling in CG Protege Animation School. I have completed my formal 3D training after 8 months. It’s a course on Advanced Certification on 3D Modeling for Visual Effects and Animation. From there, I learnt figure drawing, 3DS Max modeling, proper topology, shading, a bit of rigging and rendering, Mudbox for sculpting (during that time Texturing is not yet supported) and Photoshop for texturing.
WHAT SOFTWARE PROGRAM(S) DO YOU USE FOR YOUR CG AND WHY?
Software used are the following:
1) I used 3DS Max Mental Ray for rendering the character as it is easier and straight forward to setup the skin subsurface scattering shader. I used Tony Reynolds modified version from Master Zap's skin shader as Maya doesn't have this kind of plugin. I also used 3DS Max default hair and fur using MR prim.
2) Mudbox for sculpting and texturing. I used Mudbox for this Mini CG challenge on Jack Nicholson because of its better perspective alignment and paint projection tool. I can align my sculpted model for the reference image. Texturing is way far superior than Zbrush although Zbrush's sculpting tools are way better than Mudbox. But still I used Mudbox for sculpting because most of the features I'm using for sculpting brushes are already supported unless I want more advance features like the sculpting brushes from Zbrush. Another thing is the creation of Displacement & Normal Map, it is easier to extract and setup in 3DS Max as compared with Zbrush.
3) Photoshop for compositing. I used this for adjusting the saturation and color balance.
WHICH AREA OF 3D DO YOU REALLY ENJOY DOING AND WHAT'S THE MOST USEFUL THING YOU HAVE LEARNT IN 3D?
Modeling, Texturing and Rendering are the areas I enjoyed. Proper 3D workflow, use of consistent FOV for perspective view while sculpting are the 2 most useful things I learned so far in 3D.
PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOUR LATEST WORK "JACK NICHOLSON MODEL", WHAT PROBLEMS YOU ENCOUNTERED AND HOW YOU OVERCOME THOSE?
CGFeedBack forum provided us the base mesh (already has UV Mapped) for sculpting and texturing Jack Nicholson.
Gathered Photo References
I gathered references from google or his movies. I look for his front, side, quarter view, bottom and back view if available. The more pictures you have with different angle the more likeness you'll get of him. Then I aligned front and side views. I choose a certain FOV based from the reference.
Usually, I do first the silhouette of the model and carefully do shapes and form of the face, eyes, nose, mouth and ears. Make it as close as the original reference as possible. I used Image plane to load the reference picture and aligned the base mesh. I then proceed to define and refine the sculpted model (adding wrinkles, pores etc.)
The model was textured using stencils and painting projection. The textures are done in combination of hand painting and photo references.
Setting Up the Model for Final Rendering, I setup the model in 3DS Max based from the following:
Materials and Shaders - I used Tony Reynolds Skin shader (a revised version based from Master Zap's skin shader. It’s a free plugin (But others mentioned VRaySSS2 shader is better. I want to try it next time.)
Eyes - I follow the photo reference of Jack with a cat's eyes due to the reflector or the position of the lights used in the photo.
Hair - I used 3DS Max default Hair and Fur with MuHair plugin and set to MR_prim. ( I tried the HairFarm trial version, it's definitely good and it's fast but you'll need the released version because you can't save the trial version =) This is the area that I need to work on. Hair is not easy to setup. I used spline for the guides but it needs detailed attention to get it right. Luckily I've done the close up so the image needs a depth of field to blur the out of focus area to look convincing like a photo shoot. This method hides the hair texture that I don't have time due to limited time as the challenge is closing.
Camera - I follow the FOV used in Mudbox to matched with 3DS Max. This is a bit tricky as it's not directly translated. I tried the manual method of eyeballing it. Another way to do is to save the model as an FBX file to save the camera setting from Mudbox so that it will match with the camera in 3DS Max. I encountered a problem using the "send to 3DS Max" option in Mudbox, it can't save camera settings. It's possible that I need to update the FBX plugin/importer/exporter. But due to limited time i didn't do it as I already have an alternative way to do it as I mentioned earlier.
Lighting - I used HDR image for Environment and eye reflection and 2 photometric lighting to highlight more the HDR image. I setup 2 lights in front of the model.
Rendering - I used mental ray with depth of field based on camera shutter speed and ISO.
HOW DID CG PROTEGE HELP YOU IN YOUR 3D MODELING JOURNEY?
CG Protege strengthen my awareness in CG. I considered CG Protege as my stepping stone and foundation of knowledge and skills. The people there are supportive and helpful. They'll really push you in a positive way and inspired you. Special thanks to my instructors, David as my critics and adviser who gave his time for helping me to enhance my work. I would also like to thank Adrian for his valuable teachings (tips and tricks) on 3DS Max and Mudbox, and also Dominic for his cool teachings on Figure Drawing.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO FUTURE WANNA BE MODELERS OUT THERE?
I think you need to use a M.A.P to guide and locate your path. This is not only applicable to modelers but as to any other career in general. M::Motivation, stay motivated to learn new things or process. Be resourceful and help yourself to grow as an artist. A::Application, you need to apply the learned process. Reading and watching demo of a professional artist, drawing/painting or sculpting/modeling or even a demo of a new software without application will not fully increase your knowledge to learn without trying. Chances are you'll forget that new knowledge because you haven't experience the mentioned process. And to complete the M.A.P, P::Passion, without this you'll not grow as an artist. Passion is the driving force that makes you stay motivated and always have a feel of hunger to learn new things. As this career needs a constant continuous learning on improving skills for better workflow and sometimes testing and learning new software.
I think that's all for now. Hoping that you guys learned something from it. Use M.A.P.
- jeremy -