Intermission - Thoughts and Prayers

After a 15-Year Hiatus -

1 1 I was annoyed at her elbows, knees, and a few other bits. I knew the topology wasn’t great, and I was running into the limitations. I’d looked at a lot of other topologies, such as Hippydrome, and wasn’t that happy with them.

I did yet another search and this time found Manuel Bastioni Labs links. I dowloaded a copy, generated a girl, and looked at the resulting mesh. Although suboptimal in a lot of ways, it was better than a lot of the meshes I’d seen.

So I adapted it to her form.

It looked better in the default pose, and in various slight changes to the default pose. The extra work I did on her butt really paid off - it looks amazing. Fingers? Nice. Toes? Not bad. Knees and calves? Not bad. Face? Too many polys, and the face rig is pretty crap now.

But worst of all were her shoulders which were way worse in any slightly-deformed pose. So bad that I ended up deleting all the other couple dozen renders I did, because they were so ugly.

Her elbows and knees seemed destined to be just as lame in many of the poses I want her in.

But Subdiv Bug?

One weird thing. This mesh is probably about 30-40% more dense than my original mesh, and like my original mesh, is all-quads, but for some reason the subdivision surface modifier is about 10-20x faster on it than on my mesh. Unsure what to make of that. I can leave the modifer enabled while posing, as long as I’m not on a rendered 3D view.

So maybe I can figure out what the difference is and do that on my original mesh. But then…

I’m kind of hitting the limits of what I want to do with this mesh and rig. I want to start getting into extreme poses where also her body interacts with other parts of her body, with her costume/clothes, with Annya-Leona, give her long hair, etc, and all that is looking like a huge timesuck.

As hinted early in this series, I’m not a professional artist. I can’t devote 80-120 hours every week to this endeavour. I just used up my entire Thanksgiving weekend to vertex painting, modifying, reworking topology and morphology of the MB-Labs mesh, and what do I have to show for it? Two lousy renders. Lousy in every sense of the word. They’re not that great.

What to Do Then?

So do I pull up the Blenrig deform mesh cage, and use it? That’s a lot of time involved.

Do I try to reduce the polycount of the MB-Labs mesh so I can pose it with Rigify? Probably more time.

Do I do one or the other of the above and do driven shape keys? I really don’t like this idea, since it’s just a lot of slogging through vertex twiddling in various extreme poses, and I still don’t know if I just model (say her shoulder) it in an extreme up, down, back, forward set of poses, and then linearly interpolate between them, if Blender does that, or if I’ll have to spend six weeks with a Python script to do it.

Time for another 15-year hiatus?

Honestly the latter feels like the right answer. I can get back to music, poetry, 2D vector art, and whatever else I might fancy.

This is turning into more frustration than enjoyment.

Okay. Here’s the original mesh again, for one last dark studio render.


If I come up with any great ideas the old mesh would be suited for, I’ll give it a go. The Hearts Girls 2D vector art does need being re-created.


She Gained some Weight…

1 1 Why did she gain weight? Do you want the in-world or out-world reason? Today, you get the out-world explanation.

This new mesh I fitted to the old one, just by placing them both in the same place in the scene, then doing proportional editing on the new mesh, fitting it JUST OVER the old mesh. Which then means she’s a couple millimetres or centimetres larger over her whole body.

She’ll take a little weight off over the coming days. Should be easy. It’s just a little water-gain because of the time of month.

I really should give in and do the driven shape keys, but I still just want to setup a shoulder rig properly using only (mainly?) armature.

So in the meantime, here are some half-baked renders that I think look pretty nice.

Shoulder rig still bad, though.

Just Laugh it Off

1 1 I keep thinking… and thinking… there must be a way.

Stretch to constraints are horrible. Can’t find any doc or tutorial that explains why when I add a stretch to constraint to a bone, that it deforms the mesh before I go to pose mode. It ends up being really ugly.

But that seems conceptually the best way to rig the shoulder cape muscle. That muscle must have a real name. Shoulder cape is what I call it because my anatomy knowledge is poor.

Verachantesse Goofing Around in the Studio

1 1 1 1 1 1 Just a bunch of pictures of her goofing around.

Because we can.

And because she did.

And because you know you want it.


Images and Words

1 Here she’s just playing around with her wings again. But she left the shoes and body stocking in the back somewhere. She doesn’t really get into clothing much anyway. She’s just like that.

Whatever she had that caused her to retain all that water has passed, and now she’s back to her normal size.

Too bad. She was kinda cute with those extra few pounds.

1 I redid her toes. And shoulders. And a bit of her face… and ears, fingers, knees, hips, breasts, arms.


Back, butt, nose, knees… did I already say knees? Hair, jewelry, toenails…

I’m actually not sure any vertexes or vertex colours remained untouched.

Redid some lighting. Re-parented some things to some other things.

Reworked her chair. Unwrapped its UVs again.

And this is the result.

This one to the left I’m not sure is actually anatomically possible, but it looks alright, so I kept it.

Workspace - For Those Who Like Workspace

1 A workspace shot. Look at that mighty workspace.

Because who wouldn’t want to see how the girl is made?

Also, gives you an idea my annoying levels of obsession over perfection. I have to get the pose to look right from every angle before I can render the composition angle.

And no, those are not the only three angles I checked before grabbing a render.

1 So then, of course, I take screenshots of all those other angles, too, even though their only purpose in life was to be sure she didn’t look wonky in another angle. They aren’t strong compositions or anything.

I have a lot of renders.

More Words - For Those Who Like Words

1 Somehow after importing the Manuel Bastoni Labs mesh and making it fit her, subdivision surface is about 10x faster.

I mentioned this in a previous post.

1 But it means that I am able to pose her while subdiv is on, and my workflow is way faster. Now I’m able to tweak the poses with much more precision.

1 For example, I might notice her shoulder is whack, so I’ll go tweaking the bones while still looking at the “final render” workspace, so I can see the tweaks real-time and in the pose I’m looking for.

1 Leads to some more attractive images.

1 Here I am testing out her newest toe rig. Everything tweaked out.

1 Need to bend her toes around and get them ready for heels and ballet again.

1 1 Okay, back to the chair again.


1 She gets this way sometimes.

1 Silly girl.

1 1


Not Much Progress, But I am Alive…

1 I have been trying out some different light setups.

1 Often playing with the Tinker outfit, but for no good reason. I just don’t have any other outfits handy.

1 Putting her in random poses, then tweaking some vertexes.

1 Did a brief foray into corrective shape keys. Need to go there again some day.

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How She Prefers It

1 Sometimes we let her decide how she wants to go, and she usually goes for full nude, because she is most comfortable when she is most natural. 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

Thanks for Coming Along

See you next time.