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WIP : Elegant Seahorse Part VII

I finally found enough free-time to pick up this project again! For this part, I focused only on environment assets. I decided the base that the seahorse and coral sit on was a little boring so I worked on pulling it ouut and adding a bit of character to it. I also began to work on the coral and bring ot some detail in them. So far, I have only sculpted three corals. I wanted to define three unique tube styles that I could use to populate the the rest of the tube corals around the seahorse.
Here is the base, and environment without the seahorse.

Here are three of the corals that I worked on in this part.

<< WIP : Elegant Seahorse Part VI

Scales Generator Parameter Breakdown

I Recently finished my scales generator. This is a fairly flexible generator that allows you to do quite a lot of things. The generator is availalbe on substance share here : Scale Generator.
Check out the parameter list below.

Revisiting the Scales Generator in Substance

After a long hiatus, I've decided to revisit the scale generator that I started.While I liked the concept of it, I decided that a lot of it could be improved upon, so I have decided to rebuild it.  This time around I will be using an FX map to help me build this. I hope that I can learn and share some things along the way.  
So far, the new scale generator has a lot more parameters you can tweak . There are more scale profiles to choose from, there is more control over the ridges, and I have added a new height pass with parameters that  give the user some "sculpting" control to help build out some nice height maps from the generator. 
Its all pretty basic right now, but I have begun to dive into more complex functions and parameters using the FX map , like random variation, among others. I hope that as I learn more about the fx node and all of its capabilities, I'll be able to share with an in depth guide. 
For now, here's the current state of the generator. 

Ghosted by Substance


Recently, I upgraded my substance designer license on one of my older computers. Everything seemed to go smoothly, until I realized that nearly all of my old graphs were loading in with "Ghost Nodes" . " Ghost nodes are placeholders for whatever node that substance can't find. They don't seem like that big of a deal but when you have a ghost node in your graph, it can seriously screw up your output results.

For the most part, replacing Ghost nodes in Substance is a breeze, you open up your graph  and get a prompt from Substance telling you that it could not find "the" node and asking you if you'd like to pull it from a new location. When you have a realtively small graph and only a few Ghost nodes, this method works well enough. For larger graphs however, this task can become quite repetitive, because you have to load in the reference graph for every individual ghosted node, even if you fixed the reference to the same exact node earlier.…

Taking the Leap to Modo

A couple of months ago, I had to renew my license for Maya and had to face the disappointing realization that as a freelance Surfacing and Lighting artist, I'd have to fork over a whopping 185.00 a month simply so that I could render . As you could imagine, that didn't sit well with me and after re-evaluating my finances, I decided that I wasn't going to renew my maya license, until I was sure it was something that I absolutely needed,

The following month, I tried out Maya LT , a cheaper , stripped down version of maya that cost a much more agreeable fee of 35.00 a month, but only 10 days in to using it, I realized that Maya LT was useless for my needs. I learned that I couldn't render ( there was no render buffer), I couldn't use plug ins or scripts or 3rd party plugins like v-ray to make up for the lack of a render view port . I had access to the hyper-shade, but without a renderer or the ability to plug in my own rendering engine, I realized I couldn…

Exploring Scales With Substance Designer

Some of my first blog posts focused around how to create a "scale " material from texture to render in Maya with V-ray. The Series " Making A Seamless Scale Material " took a more "traditional" approach to creating a tile-able scale pattern. I think this method still has its strengths as it also covers valuable tips and tricks that can be used in Illustrator and Zbrush, but I wanted to share another method for creating scales by using a program dedicated to creating scale-able, flexible, and tillable procedural textures in a node based- lossless editing environment.

I have been using Substance Designer almost exclusively for texture generation for the last year now and the amount of flexibility and possibilities that can be created are virtually endless. In truth, Substance Designer is no walk in the park for traditional texture artists. Its node based editing system and use of procedurals require you to think in a different way- but in the e…

WIP: Elegant Seahorse Part VI

I think I have come close to finishing the details on the seahorse (yay! ) and now all I have left to do is the environment assets. I have already begun Uving Coral parts for texturing. Once I have finished UVing this little project, I plan on using exclusively Substance Painter 2 to generate my textures! I am really looking forward to getting to play with some textures and shaders! << WIP: Elegant Seahorse Part V || WIP : Elegant Seahorse Part VII

Creating Spiny Fins With Curves and Surfaces ( Maya)

This "little" tutorial will go through the process of creating fins and fin shapes using curves and surfaces in Maya. I found this method to be the most "accurate"while building out the spiny shapes of fins in my current project, and thought I'd share my process. The tutorial below is broken down into three parts and will cover the basics of working with Curves in Maya.
A. Building the Main ShapeB. Creating the SpinesC. Lofting Fin Shapes
I will be diving into detail about certain tools in Maya. In this tutorial, I will go over using Live surfaces, converting edges to curves, lofting surfaces, converting nurbs to polygons, extrusions and moving constraints like snap to curve and snap to vertex.

A. Building The Main Shape.
Create a base curve .The base curve should match the center line of your mesh. This will define where the fin shape will start. If you have a mesh that is already topologized with a clean center line, extracting a curve from a polygon ed…

WIP: Elegant Seahorse Part V

This week , I finished building out the fin shapes for the Seahorse, and I have begun blocking out "spines" along his jaw to give him more a a "rose with thorns" feel. I felt like the shape of the fins made him appear just a little too soft and figured he'd need a few defense mechanisms to ward off predators . While his fins are much larger than your average seahorse, the the general shape of his body and overall lack of a tail fin would still result in a pretty slow movement. I plan on adding spines along his snout and tail in my next update. I hope it will make him look just a tad bit more menacing!

<< WIP : Elegant Seahorse Part IV || WIP : Elegant Seahorse Part VI