Sunday, 15 May 2011

Crazy golf- building the scene (part 4)

From my little break to look at rendering, I have returned to finish the modelling of my crazy golf course. My aim is to have finished this stage by tomorrow latest, leaving me a week or so to animate and render the final animation. Anyway, in this post, I will be documenting the creation of my golfer (or rather, what you will see of my golfer), the wooden mallet and the two rocky obstacles which have actually yielded very satisfying results.

The first step for my golfer was to apply reference images to two planes, added to a separate layer. The images of an existing golf shoe were to be used to base my model on. When working from reference images such as these, the fastest way to model effectively is to view the shape from different sides, making sure that the shape is correct. You can see above that I began with a cube, added divisions and used the move tool to create the shoe shape side on.

The geometry was actually very complex for the shoe, and it took me some time to get my head round it. After a few attempts at creating a basic shape correct from the angles matching my reference planes, I moved on to manipulating the vertices in a 3D space with perspective view. This lengthy process required me to constantly review the shape and make minor adjustments until the model was accurate. I began with the tip of the shoe and worked my way towards the heel, since this enabled me to keep a neat and tidy geometry throughout.

With the shape finalised, I created further details using the extrude tool. By selecting the requisite faces and extruding them downwards, I was able to create the lace section as well as hollow out the inside.

The model as you will have noticed is low poly at this stage, since it was always my intention to make use of the smooth feature. I applied a white colour combined with one of my bump maps to create a leather effect for the shoe surface, and applied a separate black rubber texture to the faces constituting the shoe sole. I ran into an unexpected problem here however- when smoothed, I ended up with a strange white square on the sole which was not there before (above image). The solution I devised was to separate the shoe from it's sole, effectively splitting it into two sections. This was achieved simply by duplicating the existing object, then deleting the opposite sections and combining the two shapes afterwards.

With that small problem out of the way, I moved on to creating the laces. These began as torus shapes (doughnuts, basically) which were flattened and angled appropriately. I then duplicated the shape, and offset each one slightly to make them overlap. Lastly, a material texture was added. As the second image above demonstrates, I created a series of grip spikes to line the bottom of the shoe. Very simply, these were duplicated cylinders positioned in place.

Basing my shoe on the reference images, I decided to add some basic stripes down either side. These were textures assigned to selected faces, in the same manner as I had done previously with the shoe sole.

Of course, the lower legs will be visible too, and so I created a trouser leg with a cylinder. The faces at the ends were deleted to give the impression the material is thin, and a series of edge loops were added just above the shoe, enabling me to move and resize vertices and edges to create a small crease where the trouser falls onto the top of the shoe.

With the textures applied, all that was left was to duplicate the leg and invert it horizontally to create the second leg. The 'golfer' was now ready to be placed into my scene! I should note that I have also created a new golf club to match the bright aesthetic of my animation, but since it was created in exactly the same way as my last one, I did not feel the need to write about it. You can see it in the following images nonetheless.

And finally, a render of what this will all look like in my animation:

With that key element done, I moved on to making the rock obstacles. One is a simple feature to deflect the ball, whereas the second is a rather complex structure involving a curved ramp. As usual, it was best to work with a low poly model first to get the right shape, before adding details. I began with a cube, adding subdivisions and moving these into place.

From the beginning I knew exactly how I was going to create rocky geometry. To have done so manually would have taken a very long time, and no doubt would have looked pretty bad! Instead, I used the 'sculpt geometry' tool, a great feature that enables you to deform the surface of an object to varying degrees. This naturally relies on there being vertices to move, therefore my next step was to add divisions several times to the basic shape, such that I could create a fine level of detail with the sculpt tool.

The sculpt tool is probably the only tool I ever have the tool window open for, simply because you need to constantly switch between the softer and harsher settings. As you can see above, by what is effectively 'pulling' the vertices, I created a rough and uneven surface. There was no need to smooth this shape since the rocks needed to be a little jagged.

The sandstone rock texture I had collected previously was applied, and I rendered the image to check the effect. I was surprised as to how realistic the rock actually looks! Moving on, the second rock obstacle was far more complicated due to the contrast between the smooth ramp and the rough stone.

Akin to the golf shoe, I was unsure at first how to best create a basic shape. A few attempts later and I settled on a 'pipe' object, modified to look as such. Since the slope needed to be smooth, I decided to make this obstacle from two separate shapes.

The spiralling ramp was created with a helix, flattened and set to have the correct number of rotations (in this case, 0.75). A bit more modifying with the move tool and the slope was the correct shape. 

The rocky surface was created in exactly the same way as before, so there is no need to talk about it here! As you can see above, the ramp would connect with the astroturf matting, hence the need to remove a few bricks from the edging wall.

It was far from easy, but the shape was eventually finished. In addition, those of you who have seen my initial designs will know that there should be a small flag and a ball in this section. These were created with basic shapes a little later. Once again, here are a few renders of this part of the course!

And finally, the last part of this post- the wooden mallet. This was a fairly easy construction requiring very little other than changing the dimensions of polygon primitive shapes. The triangular blue panels were created with flattened cubes, the top point rounded via a smoothing of the mesh. To prevent the other edges from becoming rounded, I 'creased' them with the aptly named 'crease tool'.

The various other sections were made from cylinders...

...and were textured appropriately taking into account the direction of the wood grain. I was able to apply some tree rings to the ends of the poles and mallet head, to give the impression they were cut from solid wood.

Lastly, a quick render was enough to tell me this obstacle was finished!

You can see below the second stage of my crazy golf course is complete! All that remains now is the gorilla and the loop near the end of the course. I am busy working on these now, and will conclude my 'building the scene' series with part five in a few days.

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