Verachantesse X to XIV

Verachantesse X - Presenting an All-Quad Verachantesse!

1 1 First I thought maybe I’ll just use someone else’s mesh. I watched Hippydrome’s video about facial animation spans. I downloaded his mesh. I mutzed it around for a while, trying to fit Verachantesse’s curves. In the end, I decided to just remove all the tris from Verachantesse’s suboptimal, but made-by-me mesh.

A few hours of cussing…

A crapload of loop cuts…

A bunch of edge rotations…

Revisiting every single vertex on her entire body, including oops… there’s a 5-gon underneath her lower eyelash, and a few more tris and n-gons in her throat and under her tongue. How’d those get there?!

Select by trait, faces by sides. Not equal to 4. Center selection. Fingertip. Inner ear. Palm of hand.

^ A whole lot of that.

Then, in the very end, a really annoying triangle on the bottom of her foot. The very last triangle! Loop cut one edge… it travels all over her body then comes back to… the other damn edge of the same triangle. Make a loud sigh if you know the pain of what I’m talking about here.

After spending 25 minutes redoing the topology of the bottom of her gosh-darned foot… then I finally was able to add an edge loop that went all over most of her body, but at least in places where I wanted a little more detail anyway.

Now time to slide some edges where there’s too much density into other areas where there isn’t enough density.

^ A whole lot more of that.

1

Looks at those quadseses!
Such quad.
So four.
Ngon gone.
Try finding tri.
No can do! QUAD ALONE!
(Poetry sponsored by the Philoviveric Poetry Society of America)

And since I don’t display the feet mask in edit mode, her toes are poking out through the boots. Silly Verachantesse. Put your toes back into your boots.

Doesn’t speed up the subdivision surface much. From about 4 seconds to about 2 seconds. 2 seconds still isn’t fast enough. Oh, well. The price you pay for doing Blender on a Mac.

I had to re-pose her metarig, re-generate her rig, re-parent a few bits here and there, tried to re-parent her body jewels to the rig…

OH NOES Failed to find a solution for one or more bones!

Okay, then. Manual weight painting it is.

After-Effects

After doing all that, uncertain if her deforms are all going to be good. Nope. Butt deform and shoulder deform bad. Separate out some vertex groups, re-do some corrective smooth weights and groups. Pose and pose again.

And Now, For a Little Fun and a Lot of Fun

1 1 I hadn’t had any fun for a couple days, so I goofed off.

A little bit on the left, then a lot on the right.

Unfortunately, the body jewels, like her body, are parented to the armature, and change proportion along with it.

But this is just a farce, so there’s no point in trying to fix that. I suppose you can uncheck the “scale” transform from a parent armature or something?

~~~

Verachantesse XI - A Nice $1,000 Pair of PV Heels Later…

1 1 So much sophistication and class are added to a woman who’s wearing a nice pair of high heels. Those boots were steampunk… goth… sure, interesting on the right kind of girl, but all-around low-class.

These heels, which… no bragging… look like $1,000 heels, are pretty nice and make her look amazing. They didn’t take too long to model, either. It was about an hour of a false start, then another hour doing it right. Maybe 30-60 minutes poking at a procedural texture, and boom! Beautiful shoes.

Beautiful, simple, elegant shoes.

Now I’m wondering if I should add the frilly colourful tights. It might detract from the simple elegance.

Let’s stare together at the original artwork we’re trying to mimic…

1 Yeah. The more I look at that, the more I think maybe not only is it gonna be a pain in the ass to model and rig all those things, but it adds too much noise to the image.

The only problem is, with all that colour at the top, with the umbrellas, I do need some weight at the bottom to help offset it. Perhaps just a simple set of black fishnets?

I’ll put some more thought into this. But for now, it might be time to start creating her “sister.” Who I will name “Ann.” Ann isn’t really Verachantesse’s sister, just some reasonably similar-looking girl they sourced from the valley.

What the F- with the Pose Library?

1 1 1 I was starting to collect a pretty sizeable set of poses for feet, hands, face, whole body, etc, and it was getting unmanageable. Then I noticed I could create a new “pose library” inside the pose library already there. Awesome! So I did that and started sticking feet poses into it.

All my carefully-built poses were obliterated.

Then I needed to edit another file. So I opened that up, did whatever, then came back to Verachantesse and… all my carefully-built poses were obliterated.

Again.

I only had these two feet poses that I had put into this other library remaining.

What the F- Blender?

1 This might be a Rigify thing, I honestly don’t know. But it really sucks to start all over on all the poses again. For the tenth time.

That brittle pose library that seems determined to throw away all my hard work at the slightest provocation. Damn you, pose library.

I had multiple times tried to import a pose library from another .blend and never found it. But just now, Now I’m reading up this post: https://blenderartists.org/t/import-a-pose-library/511546 and seeing if it will help me through.

(Time Passes…)

1 I am able to pull up the poses from another .blend, and I’m laboriously merging them together. Crossing my fingers it doesn’t just lose them again.

About to save, quit blender, re-open, and cross my fingers the poses are all still there.

(Time Passes…)

Aha. So if you have >1 Pose library, then whichever is active when you save the .blend file is what gets saved. The other library goes bye-bye. I suppose the little O to the left of the other pose library is the hint you have that it’s going to be obliterated on save. So I guess you only get one Pose library.

You can’t separate out your poses into multiple libraries. Only one gets saved with the .blend file.

There is a search function though, so if you name your poses properly, you can search for things, like “hands” or “fists” or “static” or “dynamic” etc.

With any luck, this will be the last time I lose all my poses!

Please please please let it be the last time…

What the F-, Blender? Parenting Suuuxx

1 1 Every time I try to attach something to her rig, something goes wrong. When I parented her shoes to the rig, her eyes flew out of her head, and it was about 45 minutes of “apply all transforms, WTF they are huge and on the other side of the world, resize, place, parent to rig, WTF they just flew off, reset origin, put origin at center of mass, apply all transforms, parent to rig WTF they flew off again.”

I had only modeled the one eye and duplicated it, but that was causing problems during this particular episode, so I eventually had to make her right eye real. Yet still they would fly out of her head whenever I parented them to the armature.

Eventually I just forced her eyes back into her head after parenting and did all the manual work of carefully rotating them exactly the same, setting their X coordinates to opposite, making Y and Z coordinates be identical, etc.

I know as soon as something happens to the rig, they’ll fly out of her head again, but whatever. I ran out of patience.

Blender is Really Good

1

All the above complaining aside… Blender is really good. I’m achieving a really good look already, and I’m still in preproduction stages. Once I am able to give these renders DOF, work with the lighting to get a better contrast and colour, and throw the images into GIMP for post-processing, I think I’m going to have something really nice that I can be proud of.

Thanks, Blenderheads, for all you’re doing!

Zombie Verachantesse agrees. Don’t you agree, Zombie Verachantesse? Yeah. That’s what I thought.

Can you ask the developers of Blender to prioritise getting the hardware acceleration working on high-end Mac hardware with AMD video gear? Because I want to be hardware-accelerated.”

By the way, Zombie Verachantesse has asked that we “prioritise getting the hardware acceleration working on high-end Mac hardware with AMD video gear, because I want to be hardware-accelerated.”

No, I didn’t just tell her word-for-word what to say. That’s really what she wants.

~~~

Verachantesse XII - Panic in the Streets!

1 I’ve lost the Pose Library again! Gaah! Only three random poses remain in the library. Oh well. I can load up from previous save, right?

Gaah! Everytime I do, the same three random poses are the only ones that come up in the appended library! Gaahh!

Oh wait, what’s this? I have some letters in the search box? Delete those. Ah. All my poses are back.

The zombies have been fought off…

This time.

To the right, Verachantesse does her best troll face.

What’s New, Then?

1 Well. Take a look at her belt. Not much different is it? A little thicker, maybe a little more glittery. Let’s change up her pose then, shall we?

1 What’s that?! What’s that??? Is that belt now up higher on her waist, and hanging down from the weight of gravity? Why yes, yes it is. How did I achieve this feat? Utter genius? Physics system? Soft body simulations?

No. Like a dumbass, I spent hours re-modeling a bunch of links, parented them to an armature, then parented that armature to her rig. Honestly I think although I can do poses like this and the belt has the option to do the right thing, it’s so laborious, I will unlikely keep it.

I’ve already gone back to the old belt for most renders. It was a fun diversion, I suppose, but in the end, just a waist of time.

Waist. Of time. Because the belt was on her… anyway. Forget it.

Okay, But Seriously, What’s New?

My. You’re a needy crowd.

Go look at that first render of the post again. Look more carefully at her eyelashes. Do you notice anything different? Anything subtle, glorious, incredible, awesome?

No?

1 That’s because I tried making them actual hairs using the particle system. And it looks terrible. It seems like only three people on the planet know how to make particle system hair look good.

I spent a couple hours combing 100 little child eyelashes, and they would always grow out weird, never looked right, and were clumpy in all the wrong ways.

So I deleted them and put back in my individually-modelled eyelashes again.

Sad, sad.

<—— Here. Look at her old eyelashes again. Not the best eyelashes, but they’re the best we’ve got.

Also, this pose was one where her belt would do weird things, melting into her skin and going into her leg, so it was another pose where I could test the more poseable, riggable belt. It looks nice. Sure.

Still not gonna use it much.

And? We See Something Different…

1 Alright, alright. Since you asked.

When I put her in the bendover pose to test the belt, it had been a while (remember Verachantesse Post V? As a quick reminder, it’s what OMG I discovered how to rig her legs and butt properly for the first time evar).

In all the intervening modifications to her mesh, including that all-quads odyssey from last week, her butt vertexes were all different, and they deformed weird.

It wasn’t terrible, she still looked human, but it was uncharacteristic of a skinny girl like Verachantesse. So I stared at the metarig and the two butt bones and her bent-over pose for about five hours thinking about how butts work and how legs work.

Don’t tell me you wouldn’t do the same. I know what you’re thinking.

Then it occurred to me that the real problem was the top of her butt was too bubbly. So I smoothed that out, reduced its size, and now it deforms better. Let’s take a look from the side.

That’s it over there to the right. The view from the side. Wait. Did you already look at it without reading this intervening text? Stop that. Read the text, then look at the renders. There’s a proper order to these things.

I don’t have any renders of when it was bad, but basically it just kinda stood up about an extra inch tall and looked really odd. Pretty glad I finally solved that problem.

We Don’t Care About Butts. Stop Talking About Butts. What Else?

1 Oh ho! You knew I was holding out on you, didn’t you?

Verachantesse is all vertex painting and procedural textures. The tattoo on her back is a “import texture as plane” PNG that I hacked up in GIMP, but that doesn’t count. Because if it counted, this story wouldn’t make any sense.

So anyway, she’s all procedural textures and vertex painting.

Up until a few days ago, if you zoomed up on her, you would see insanely-smooth perfect skin. Like a porcelain doll. And no-one likes porcelain anymore. It’s passé at best, and probably doesn’t sit well in the polite crowd.

These days, we prefer marble. Marble is nice. So let’s zoom in on her now.

That’s right. Her skin looks like marble now, with all its beautiful marbelline imperfections. That’s why she has that crazy happy look on her face, because now she’s up on the current skin texture fad.

She’ll be the life of the party, no doubt about it.

If you’ve been following this series for long, you’ve probably figured out that if you want to see the images larger, you have to click on them and choose “view image” on your phone or computer or whatever. Then it’ll show you the image full-size.

If not? Well, now you know. You can go back and look at all the pictures from previous posts in their full 1600x1600 glorious high-resolution.

Thanks For the Post!

1 1 1 Sure. No problem.

All procedural and texture painting.

I just keep telling myself that.

Oh. There is one more thing. She has a ring on her left thumb now. It’s pretty subtle, and I don’t really focus on it in any of the renders. But I like it, and there it is.

It hadn’t been added until after the eyelash hair particles test, so that first topmost render doesn’t have the thumb-ring, but all the others do.

<—— Also, here’s a funny render where her white hairs are being blown. I want to try to work that into some renders at some point. Blowing hair is always interesting.

~~~

Verachantesse XIII - Let’s Try Fishnet Stockings Tests!

Textured Object With Shrinkwrap and Projected Texture

1 At first, I couldn’t figure out texturing, so I created a copy of her mesh from the legs down, shrunk it, UV unwrapped it, applied the fishnet texture to it, shrink-wrapped it to her body, projected it back onto the outside of her.

But the fishnet texture would disappear into her body sometimes. Subdivided it quite a lot, but still had to set it 2-3mm above her skin.

1 That is far enough that you can see it floating there above her body, which I have to be honest with myself: looks bad.

You can already see it in this render, to the left, which isn’t terribly high-resolution. If you get closer, it gets way more obvious and terrible.

It has other disadvantages as well. When other parts of her mesh get too close to the fishnets, they fly off her legs and onto that part of her. Most of the time it’s not super-obvious, but manifests itself in renders like this one, to the right, where there’s a missing chunk of fishnets where they should be.

They’re not missing, they just flew off onto the other leg.


1 1 Here are a couple more images where I had fun with this, and happened to look relatively good.

Same old poses and props from earlier renders, but new lighting setup and fishnets should add enough variance to keep you entertained.

Unfortunately, although I could understand this method, it was just not working, so I started playing with texturing.

Fishnets with Textures

1 1 This seems to work better (for now…)

I UV-unwwrapped her, made a special “fishnet” UV unwrapping where I sized her legs, butt, and genitals, and rotated them specially so that they would have fishnet pattern that’s roughly the right size. This has some disadvantages as well.

First, I have to make an entire copy of her skin texture just to add one node grouping for the fishnets on top of it, so that I can then apply that texture to a vertex group on her body.

This probably only takes up 30-40k in the .blend, but it also means if I decide to change her freckles or basic skin shader, I have to do it in two places if I want the under-fishnets skin to match the rest of her body1.

1 I can’t figure out if I can either have a single vertex group have two different materials applied to it (seems unlikely) or if I can have a particular set of nodes in the material itself only apply to one vertex group, while other nodes apply to other vertex groups (or all vertexes - either way, I can’t find out how to do this, if it’s even possible).

This works well enough as long as you don’t zoom in on her genitals and notice the jewels are on top of the fishnets, and that the fishnets go right into her butt instead of spanning her butt cheeks. See my earlier post where I pondered making her belt a texture, but eventually settled on an actual mesh object.

So long-term, I think the fishnets need to be a separate mesh with a transparency and texture applied, but I need some way to enforce that no part of that mesh can ever be inside her body mesh, including faces far from vertexes. I suppose enough subdivision, and I can ensure that, but my CPU screams for mercy.

For the purposes of the Umbrella Girl photo shoot, textured fishnets will work; the story will be the fishnets were bodypainted onto her, rather than something she is wearing.

Next up, I need to model something at the seams of the texture. Unsure what to put there. Ideas?

Also, I might just leave the fishnets alone for a while to play with hair. The hair is really bothering me lately. It needs help. Much help.

Silly Diversions

1 1 While trying to make the fishnets, I tried various things which were funny enough I decided to capture pictures.

Here. Take my creative detritus, and laugh amongst yourselves!

1 1 It reminds me a bit of those girls that paint up for soccer events. Black and red are…

Germany?


Why does this remind me a little bit of Germany?

Let’s go internet-search this.

Ah, yes. Germany. 1 No hate! I like Germany. I just laughed aloud when I saw this, so I figured I needed to share it with y’all.

~~~

Verachantesse XIV - What Is That We See?!

1 Is it transparency on the hair? Is it an improved skin shader? Is it UV unwrapping? Maybe… just maybe… it’s all of the above.

Not much to say. Mostly just to show.

Forgive the fishnet stockings that don’t appear to be held up by anything. If you have been following the plot thus far, you’ll know they’re bodypainted onto her.

I’ll add a lace panty belt or garter or something soon so that it looks like actual fishnets. For now, just know that actually they’re painted on.

Hair

1 Still not full Pancake Manicure node setup. Just doing transparency at the ends. This also required me to double the vertex count of her hair. Now my workstation can barely handle what’s happening. It constantly re-renders her that silvery statue while it recompiles the shaders.

Still not full Pancake Manicure…

Not sure the hair is responsible. Maybe it’s…

Skin

1

I added a couple extra procedurals with scale 12,000 and 1,400. That seems to make Blender a bit angry, too.

…seems to make Blender a bit angry

Is it memory contention? Is 4GB on my GPU not enough? Or 16GB main RAM?

Is it something else entirely?

We’ll never know.

Doe’s Eyes Doe

1 1 This is something I’ve been wondering a while.

I wanted them to look green

I made the reflections on her eyes white (that is, same colour as the light they were reflecting).

But then when viewing her from a distance, and there was a lot of specular, her eyes looked white. I wanted them to look green.

So now her cornea is a green-coloured glass, and all the specular has a greenish tinge. I don’t think this is physically correct or even visually correct, but at least her eyes always look green.

Thoughts?

~~~


  1. This appears to be not the case. The nodes are somehow shared between the two shaders. Two complex material setups are 90% identical, but with the “fishnet portion” added to one of them. All those other nodes? When I change them in one, they change in the other, too. This is unexpected behaviour. Super useful in this case, but potentially confusing. Hopefully I’ll remember this is how it works for the future. [return]