Verachantesse in NYC

NOTE - I have discovered the NYC apartment .blend was copied from elsewhere. I do not know if it was legally copied, so I have discontinued use of this .blend file

And with that, here are the renders.

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Verachantesse is in NYC

1 1 In NYC, somewhere unspecified in Manhattan, or maybe Brooklyn. Probably actually Brooklyn. How did she get there? It’s a mystery. I have a solid idea, but I will reveal all that later.

Let’s talk out-world concerns.

Because she is not meant to be human, she looks pretty out-of-place in a human-textured and lit place like this apartment.

I am pondering what to do for that. Should I give her more textures? Should I make her more realistic?

I don’t think so.

The more realistic she becomes, the more she becomes like a real human, and I don’t want her to be a human. I want her to be a sort of quasi-human character. She’s too tall and petite at the same time. She’s too skinny and chubby at the same time. She’s too old and young at the same time. She’s a complete contradition, not a creature that can appear in the real world.

So it is completely natural that when she appears in the real world, like this, that it looks wrong.

I’m still wondering if that’s a bad thing. I like incongruity. Non-sequitur; and she’s definitely a non-sequitur.

Where Did this Apartment Model/Geometry Come From?

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More out-world topics. I got this NYC apartment scene from Smutbase. It’s really well-done.

So far as I can tell, the dude who put the most creative effort into it was mark2580. Mustard is the one who put it on Smutbase.

I had to do a lot of work to make this work in Eevee.

I removed all the spotlights and made them point lights. I re-did the brightness and size of many of them. I completely re-did many of the stools and other things that somehow were joined together or otherwise wrong. I fixed the lamp materials. I extended the apartment and made it bigger so I could fit the camera inside to take pictures. I re-did the NYC..Paris materials so it wouldn’t be a blurry black blob on the wall. I re-arranged the entire apartment. I made the main throw rug more square. I added another and put it under the bed. I added a bathroom area (which right now is just a concrete block, but I could finish it out as a bathroom later).

Honestly, there were about another 50 things I did, but I forget what they were. So this is it.

At some point, I think I need to add kitchenette. All in due time.

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Wherein Verachantesse Does Shouldery Things

1 1 It was time for me to do a shoulder rig. This will be a bit more of a technical post than some of the previous ones, since I feel like this is an area where now I have something to contribute.

I can’t find any good Blender shoulder rig tutorials out there. Every shoulder rig is some super simple toy setup with a few shape keys to get good deforms in a few poses. There’s nothing to give good deforms in most/all poses.

This is my first foray into fixing that for Blender.

First, I found a Maya tutorial that had four muscles and a corrective bone for the top of the shoulder. That was pretty legit, so I watched it a few times.

Then I spent a few days making a shoulder rig in Blender. It doesn’t really work the same as that Maya rig, but it does use some of the concepts (like keeping scapula and pectorial rotations roughly constant).

Now I’ve got my own shoulder rig, so I need to document how I did it, both for my own future self, and for anyone else who wants to make good shoulders with armatures.

The Video Tutorial

1 First, here’s a video tutorial. Give it a watch. Notes:

  1. When talking about the Lat, I mistakenly point out the Pec deform instead. Just use your imagination to understand what I mean.
  2. When talking about the breast bone constraints, I mix up the limit-distance and copy-location constraints for a moment, but I figure it out shortly after.
  3. The sternum and trap-stretch bones I say are non-deforming, but I mean they are non-moving bones. The sternum for sure is a deforming bone and needs to be. I am uncertain if the trap-stretch bone should be deforming or not. Probably not.
  4. As mentioned a couple times, there are no weight paints or corrective shape keys, so there is some nasty twisting and problems at the upper-arm, but that is for another video/tutorial.

The General Idea

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Here’s a quick summary for those with short attention span.

First, generate a Rigify rig.

Get the arms, fingers, face, feet, knees, elbows, etc all set up as nearly perfectly as you can.

That will take you several days to weeks, depending on how much time you can spend per day on it. Take your time. Let this shoulder thing simmer in the back of your mind while you do that.

Got it done? Great!

Now, kiss that beautiful metarig good-bye. It won’t be useful anymore.

Quick Bones Overview

1 Add some bones with constraints:

  1. Sternum. Deform. No constraints.
  2. MCH-TrapStretch from base of neck. Non-deform.
  3. DEF-trap bone, child of scapula, stretch to MCH-TrapStretch.
  4. DEF-lat, child of spine, stretch to ORG-upperarm, about 10% down.
  5. DEF-pec, child of breast, stretch to ORG-upperarm, about 10% down.
  6. DEF-breast, near the existing breast bone, child of clavicle.
  7. ORG-scapula, where you want your scapula, child of spine.
  8. DEF-scapula, near the ORG-scapula bone, child of clavicle.

Setup everything so it looks great!

Done.

Okay, I’m being facetious. Let’s get a little detail.

Two Views of the Bones You’ll be Adding

1 1 Here are a couple of angles showing the bones you’ll be adding highlighted in cyan/light-blue.

You basically want the breast to translate up, down, forward, back, but not much right/left. You also want it to rotate mostly left/right (on Z axis) but not so much on the X or Y axes. Use copy-rotation and copy-location constraints to do that. Also use a limit-distance constraint to keep it from traveling too far in any direction.

The scapula you don’t want rotating much, or to travel too far from its original location, so you have a limit-distance and copy-rotation constraint on it to achieve all that.

The video has the exact details if you want to copy the rig precisely, but your character will probably need different values for the constraints, so the general idea is what’s important.

You Go, Girl

1 Here’s what she looks like when she’s happy with her shoulders.

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What’s the Latest News, Then?

We have a few things to cover.

Now that her shoulders are not-terrible (she still can’t put her arms much above her head), it was time to move on to her hips, eyelids, and skin textures.

Her hips still leave a bit to be desired, but they’re close enough that I can move on to other more-pressing things, I think.

Let’s take a look.

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Since your attention is being pointed at her hips, that’s probably what you’re looking at, and you probably see the problem. But if not? Well, maybe you could forgive the oddness and enjoy other parts of the picture.

But you might find her wrists a little scary. Yes, those need work.

Or her elbows. The elbow shape keys start to fall apart when she rotates her wrists on the local Y axes.

Oh yeah, or her knees, which it seems everytime I tweak them, the corrective shape keys break, and somehow, fixing one knee no longer mirrors correctly to the other knee.

Sleepy Girl with Fixed Freckles and Moles

1 1 I am also playing with her eyelids and skin textures again.

I have the cute molefreckle next to her right nipple back where it belongs, after losing it on a previous UV unwrap. I regained it on the latest UV unwrap.

Also, I had been ignoring her “eye look” target bone while modeling her with eyes closed. But Rigify modifies her eyelids rather dramatically depending on if she is looking down or up.

If she looks down, that’s about 50% of closing her eyes. So if I have her look down, then close her eyes, I can reduce a lot of the corrective shape keys or counter-animation that’s necessary to prevent her eyelashes from doing crazy things.

Better-Unwrapped Girl

1 Let’s look at her eyelashes and freckles on her face. Before, there were some pretty obvious seams on her face, which I removed on my latest UV unwrap.

If you don’t immediately see anything, look at the line from under the outside of her eye to just the right side of her nose. Also, her nose itself had a seam around it, so you can see a strong delta between freckle size on either side of the seam.


1 And then, take a look here.

There is some stretching next to her nose, but at least to my eye, that’s more pleasant than the abrupt scale changes on either side of a seam.

This is repeated in several other places on her body, where I removed seams, then UV unwrapped again “better.”

UV unwrapping is very much an art, and tutorials seem to gloss over any useful advice, so really, you just need to plug away at it for a few months.

I doubt I’m anywhere near the ideal world in UV unwrapping… But whatever. I’m not an artist.

More Random Renders

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