14 replies · posted

Halloween Challenge 2021 WIP - Who's there?

A young woman retreats from an unseen presence, backing up a set of stairs; something else lurks in the shadows above... A chandelier in the foreground teeters, about to collapse.

Excuse the rough sketch. I'm trying to make concept art a part of my workflow, but results have been a little... sketchy so far. The shot of the room will be more zoomed out, showing more vertical space, and a better view of the chandelier, and window. There will also be several additional "shadow people" lurking in the corners, and a few directly in front of the woman.

I've been practicing my sculpting, so I'm going to give sculpting the main character a shot.

  • crew

    Great concept jjammingammon ,

    These challenges are an opportunity to practise.

    Capturing the expression in the face will be key, but I'm sure your up to the challenge.

    Or as in your sketch the body can express the scared emotion.

    The use of lighting and shadows will also play a role in your scene.

    Can't wait to see more.

    Good luck!

  • Starting to block out the major elements of the scene. I'm hoping to have the major non-character elements all blocked out by the end of the week. I'll have to tweak things a bit as I go, but so far so good.

  • Some success and some issues as I finish blocking out the major non-character elements of the scene... I find I'm encountering the odd topological issue as I move items to shade smooth, and add some initial lighting and materials... a hidden face here, a backwards normal there....

  • An early render, with just a couple lights and materials in place... Do the dark spots on the lampshade seem odd here?  I have a principled bsdf set up with 0.5 transmission, and the mesh is fairly thin, with a blackbody node setup for the lightbulb at 2700 kelvin.  

    So far, I just have a simple  sun lamp shining in the window, with a low kelvin value, to simulate nighttime. Not sure if that'll make it to the final render, though I'll probably have to enclose the rest of the building if I decide to switch to an hdri.  Also still getting a fair amount of noise here, despite turning on denoising and cranking samples up to 128.

  • So I went down a bit of a rabbit hole with the character sculpt... wanted to go for something pseudo realistic / comic book style (if that even makes sense), but most of the courses I found were either too stylized, or aiming for a somewhat advanced level of realism. I eventually decided to go a bit more realistic than originally intended. Results were... pretty decent, though it took 3-4 evenings sculpting a couple hours every night... she looks almost pseudo human.

  • Next I tried out the cloth simulation to do a dress. Again, not too bad. I'll probably try to fine tune the outfit a bit, if I have any time remaining at the end of the challenge. But this seems okay for now.


  • After reading a few things about posing sculpted characters and retopology, I was a bit panicked that I wouldn't be able to get posing to work without going through a lengthy, tedious retopo process. I managed, however, to simplify the topology enough with just the decimate modifier, and rigify seemed to work well enough with automatic weights. Tried to move her into a pose roughly resembling what she might look like posed on the stairs, just to make sure it will be possible when I do it for real.

    Rendered here in Evee,  with just some placeholder materials. I will of course still have to make some sculpting changes to the face (to express fear) and hair, but I will try to pose her in scene tomorrow, as a rough blocked out element.

  • Just filling out the scene a bit more. Got caught up with a few details and had to change course on a few things, like the design of the chair, to keep the ball rolling. The room is now completely enclosed, with the exception of the window and an open door. A few more light sources have been added, with the wall lamps.

    I'm having to decide what to prioritize, so that time doesn't slip away. Planning to finish character placement, hair, and most details with the remainder of the week, and focus mostly on textures after that. I might try to add a picture or a final piece of decor, if there's time at the end, because the room is looking a tad sparse.

  • Added some textures to the scene (finally). The textures for the carpet, rug, and chair aren't coming out great, so I'll have to swap those out with something else, but I'm happy with the rest. I had my character posed, but I moved her to a separate file, as working on everything in a single file slows my computer to a crawl... I'm hoping to have the character done by midweek, if that goes well I should be in good shape to finish things.

  • This is my final image. Didn't quite get there with a few aspects, as you can see... Didn't end up adding the shadow people as I had planned, as I had a hard time getting a shadow catcher to work in the scene, and I didn't bother doing anything with the chandelier. It's really just a lady with a knife, fearful of some sort of approaching intruder... 

    In general it was a bit hard to test things out in cycles, as the scene began to grow, as I'm working on pretty limited hardware (5 year old laptop). It was taking about 30 mins to render a small region on the screen. Still, excuses aside, I had fun putting together a character model, and trying out a few new things I hadn't tried before. Eager to get back to taking courses, and filling in some of the gaps in my learning.