John Sanderson (procyonlotor)

163 replies · posted

Polybook, procyonlotor

I've been inspired to start one of these.  I am attempting to do one sculpt everyday for 90 days.  I haven't participated in sculpt January before so I grabbed the calendars from the last 2 years and will be doing those this month and next and then participating come January.  I am hoping this will be a good place to post for feedback.  I won't post all of them probably, but the ones I really want feedback on I will. Here is the male portrait sculpt.  Feedback definitely appreciated.  Anatomy isn't my strong suit, and I am really trying to push my learning there especially:


  • silentheart00 Yes.  They are very simple games (right now we have about a solid minute or two of actual gameplay), and it doesn't look like it will get super polished in the next week, but I've been a little surprised in how much we have been able to get done.  And ssmurfmier1985 yes, it is a bunch of fun.  Not having had people to work with before has definitely been something of a disadvantage for me.  You learn so much more!! Even though most of them are just hobbyists and beginners, the contribution of ideas makes a big difference.  Like I said, I hope to get the game posted at the end of the month, so you guys can play it.


    nekronavt Thank you for the critique! I will make those fixes.  I did notice after posting that the conchal bowl on the male was absurdly far back. I really appreciate you taking the time and making the recommendation.  I have been learning from this anatomy course on Udemy.  I thought it was pretty good, though the instructor only really covers male anatomy, and really only the bodybuilder body type.  A little disappointing that it didn't have more range, but it was nevertheless enlightening and cleared up a lot of confusion for me about how the bones and muscles all connect.  Now I just have practice it a bunch!

    • pprocyonlotor 

      bodybuilder body type

      Everyone has the same bones and muscles (if not considering pathological anatomy), it's just the proportions that are different. You need anatomy knowledge just to know what and where is placed and what forms it make. For the rest there are references.

       I have been learning from this anatomy course on Udemy

      Intro looks pretty good!

      Though I can recommend not only videos but also the books. "Anatomy for Sculptors" by Zarins and Kondrats is a great way to start.

  • Some environment art for the game we are working on.  It's supposed to be finished in a week 0_o :

  • Results from today's stream:

  • Another quick render using some of yesterday's techniques and an old model from the BC1-1801 class. Feedback welcome!

    • pprocyonlotor someone got inspired 😬 good composition and great looking depth of field!! The water droplets in the air look a bit uniform and out of place, but other than that I really enjoy this picture 😊 Good one John!

  • Spiffed up my old Samus model with some new renders today. Kudos to theluthier for the gemstone tutorial.

  • Did another render today from a sculpt I made back in November.  It's based on Zacharias Reinhardt's hydra tutorial on Youtube. Tell me what you think:


    • pprocyonlotor The hydra blends in with the background a bit. Playing around with the saturation and/or the value of the hydra should suffice. The mouth and the tongue could use a bit more detailing too. Their flatness sticks out. Otherwise it looks good.


    • drgnclw Thanks man!  I had some surface details on the mouth material that looked good on the model, but I think between the SSS and the low resolution they got wiped out.  I agree they do look flat.  Can you explain more what you mean about the hydra blending in?  The one in the back was intended to blend in a bit.  I was trying pull the front face out with the sharpness contrast.  I actually thought it was too strong at first, so I dialed it back a bit.  Also I saw your most recent character. He's looking real good!!

    • pprocyonlotor Yeah I thought the back one was supposed to blend in but the color of the hydra seems like a warmer green (closer to yellow on the rgb color wheel) which doesn't provide much contrast. Maybe that's partly because of lighting. If the hydra were a cooler green (closer to blue) you'd have more color contrast between the background and the hydra. Bottom right of the screen is blue which partly does the job but if you consider the head there blends in to the background like the back one, it doesn't seem enough. Placing the blue light towards the front head and tweaking it's size/strength could also do the job. There might be some other way to think about this or an easier way to make it better but my understanding of color is rudimentary.

      Also, thanks! :D


    • drgnclw Update:

    • pprocyonlotor It seems like you're going in the right direction. The light source on the left side seems stronger and hydra seems dimmer. I don't know how would you make the hydra pop out other than just trying out lots of different lighting setups :D

      The details on the mouth and the tongue and the saliva certainly add character.

  • Here is the game that our team made in the month of January: Itadaki Master

    You can play it by clicking on the link on the top right of the page.  The basic narrative is you play as Yamada Sensei who has stolen the food of the gods and returned to your moutain cottage to enjoy your divine feast, but the gods have sent their furious tengu to thwart your lunch and prevent you from ascending to the divine realm.  You have to eat the mochi on your plate while managing to fend off the tengu.  

    I was the sole artist on the game, so everything visual was up to me, though it looks like a couple of bugs showed up in the final project that weren't there when I test played it (the lighting isn't displaying properly and something weird is happening with the tengu's hand in the punch animation... oh well).  It was a lot of fun to make, so please take a minute or two to go play it.  Feedback is welcome,  though keep in mind it was made in a month, so it's pretty bare bones and I'm well aware of many of it's flaws, but I'd still love to hear what you think :)

    jgonzalez One of the problems I never came up with a satisfactory solution to was how to set up a first person character model so that the arms and torso work in concert with the camera. If you have any input on that I would love to hear it.

    • crew

      pprocyonlotor When it comes to first person, most games use two different models. I like to refer to how Destiny approached this: https://www.gdcvault.com/play/1022298/The-Art-of-First-Person as it gives you a good idea of how it's usually done and they do a great job of this. Essentially the arms and head are separate in the first person view, and the third person view is the entire body. 

      I've also see a hybrid of this in the UFPS where the the full body is used, but the upper body is "masked" out with a transparent shader and the first person arms are placed on top of the body to match. This allows them to have the fully body animated with the first person upper body and the third person legs. It looks a bit weird in movement, but it's a solution. 


    • pprocyonlotor 

      Hey there! I just played the game and I must say I like the idea behind it! Fighting off Tengu while eating mochi is hilarious. I also liked the music very much! It adds a good tension to the game. 

      Did you mean the yellowish glitter mainly around the tengus wings when you talked about lightning issues? The rest looked fine to me. 

      The only thing I would suggest: Make the "Game Over" and "Player wins!" bigger. They were really hard to see and maybe make the game stop when you win or loose


    • fide Thanks! Are you getting the yellow glitter? That's so interesting because I wasn't getting that when I played the webGL last night, but it did appear in the VR build.  It's another thing that didn't show up in the Unity project, though.  It's caused by the dissolve effect on the shader overlapping transparency in the UVs, and I don't know enough about shaders to know where to begin to fix it.  Thanks for playing and thanks for feedback!

      jgonzalez Thanks for the video.  It's good to know how the pros do it.  I don't really know how to implement the masking and multiple cameras/overlays in Unity, but that at least lets me know what questions to be asking.  For our next project, I am supposed to be making a beach scene, and I am puzzling over how to render the surf/waves.  I should have access to shader forge this time around so that will help I think, but if you have any suggestions there also, I'm all ears.

    • pprocyonlotor I'll definitely will play it this weekend! I'll let you know what I think 😄

      I don't know what kind of style your going for, but googling "sea shader unity" or "ocean shader unity" gave a couple of good results (YouTube videos as well as written tutorials), maybe there's something useful for you there 😊

    • crew

      pprocyonlotor You don't really need to mask anything. Honestly unless the game is multiplayer you probably don't need the full body unless you'd like to see your feet. If you wanted to mask anything you'd have to add different materials to different parts of the body in something like Blender. Then in Unity, change the shader for those materials to be transparent. If you were using it in multiplayer, you'd have the full body character on a different layer than the upper body, then your first person camera should be set to only render the upper body by changing the culling mask. Nonetheless you probably don't need all that if you're going for a single player game. 

      Water simulation in Unity would be done with shaders, but water shaders tend to be pretty complex. Depending on how realistic you want your water to look you can either get a water system from the asset store, or you could use some of the premade water prefabs Unity has. Adding foam and small waves can be done relatively easy with some vertex shaders. Here is a link to some good water tutorials with Shader Forge: https://nordeus.com/blog/art/50-shaders-of-forge-prototyping-with-shader-forge/

  • Get ready for some animations!!  I've jumped into school at iAnimate, so I will be posting some assignments and other projects to get some extra eyes and feedback from the community here.  


  • The tots animation again with a little more polish and a better camera: 


  • This is great man! I'm excited to see how you progress through this. 

  • Here is the polish pass on the tots exercise.  Comments and criticism please.

    • This is looking great John. The cartoony style of it is really fun. The way he kind of swivels on his base to look at the rock at the end is well done as well.

      In the first shot, his first few jumps have some spots where he's slowing down and speeding up, causing a bit of a stutter.  If you frame by frame you'll notice there are a few frames while he is in the air on both the ball and the base where he barely moves, then continues to regular spacing. This could be YouTube and its compression, I'm not sure. The jumps in you're next shot are awesome.

      I'm sure you had some time constraint and how many frames you could go to on this project. But at the end it would have been kinda cool if he had some kind of reaction or if he had a moment to notice he was floating just before he fell.

      Overall great stuff man. Keep at it, I hope you share more.

    • Thanks phoenix4690 !  I do see the part you are talking about.  The first jump does look better in maya than it ended up on youtube.  The second jump could use some work.  He doesn't travel forward very much so mid jump he feels a little too floaty. I could maybe reduce a frame or two. And I agree about the having a better take at the end. Thanks for the feedback.  I intend to keep posting here at least once a week or so.  Hopefully that will be enough to grab a few eyes for critique.

  • Does "procyonlotor" mean "raccoon laundry man"?

  • Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  

    I took a second pass at the Zelda walk cycle.  I sped it up a bit, and reduced some of the curves (head bobble, arm swing, cape).  I think increasing the speed was a good move, but it may have showcased some of the other problems.  I feel like the cycle doesn't feel balanced (like she has a little limp), but I can't seem to find the source of the problem.  I feel it most in the left arm, but I can't see any problem in the curves.  Any comments would be appreciated.  I'll keep practicing.


    • Hey, I dont have experience with animation, I just walked a couple of times across my room and tried to compare it :D It dont know what you mean that it doesnt feel balanced, to me it feels like its kinda stiff and I cant "feel" the weight of her when shes walking.

      To me it seems that the step is kinda ending prematurely and that the leg should get more straight and reach a bit further before it touches the ground. Even when I walk really slowly, my leg gets almost straight before I put it down. And when I put my weight on it, it becomes completely straight as the knee gets locked. She looks like shes putting it down while its still bent and keeps it a bit bent even when her weight is on it, and it only becomes straight as she lifts it off the ground in the back. If your knee is bent with your weight on it, the muscles have to be tensed so the leg doesnt collapse. But when the knee is locked straight, most of the weight is supported by the bone. The arms also feel a bit stiff, but I dont know why.

      Also when I walk "casually" like this, my leg is pretty relaxed when its in the air, and when I put my weight on it, I can feel the femur kinda get deeper into the socket at the pelvis. Its doesnt happen as much when I walk faster, because the muscles around are more tensed. But even so, when the leg is in the air, I can still feel it beight pulled by its own weight and then get pushed when I step on it. I am not sure how much of that is visible from the outside though.

      Im not sure if this is any help :D Anyway, good luck.

    • Thanks for the feedback. I think the knees not quite straightening is fine, and can be chalked up to different folks having different gaits (my knees are usually still bent a little on contact).  I agree that the arms feel stiff.  I could probably find better arm poses, but I am wrestling with the rig a bit there, as some of the defaults seem a little weird to me (the forearm only has a single axis of rotation).  Not wrong, necessarily, I just feel like I have to set more keys to get the right pose, and I may have not gone through enough effort.

      I was going for stately (she is a princess after all), but not for "stiff." But I think I may have found some of the problem.  I thought I had shortened it to a 32 frame cycle, making 17 the exact middle, but in fact I made it 34, so the exact middle falls on a half-frame, and I think that is producing the limping sensation I am getting.  I was trying to clean it up just now and Maya crashed.  I will give it another go here in a bit, and see if that fixes things.

    • I love this rig. I want to make rigs like this for Blender so bad. (so uh....character artists, lets talk eh?)

      My initial reaction was the walk still feels a little slower than a typical walk cadence. But then I saw you were going for a bit of a "stately" walk and maybe that means they walk slow to show off how magnificent they are. 

      I agree with what tomasplasil said. The knees stay bent quite a bit. The back leg could probably translate back just a little bit more during the walks down position. This is the point in the walk where you start placing weight behind that leg for the push off. Then again you can straighten the knee out some in the leading foot as it comes down to the contact. Knee pops tend to occupy this area in the walk but I think that change in shape of the leg is going to sell the walk better.

      The other thing about the feet I notice is the leading foot is slowing down before it makes contact with the floor again. Walks are just controlled falls and the feet are their to catch us. Remember the spacing of your bouncing ball exercises. Make it so we can feel the impact of those feet a little bit. I know there can be gliding walks and slower walks but its very hard to slow you're heal down when there is a full body falling behind it. Get that heal down and ease the toe down if that's what your going for. 

      The arms you already know need to soften up a bit. The forearm is locked to one axis in a lot of rigs. In lots of cartoony styles you can break that elbow at times but it would be done sparingly. Twist the upper arm to get the elbow the way you need it and block in your keys and breakdowns like you would with any other part of the rig and the number of keys you need to place will be minimal. 

      And now about your limp issue you see. I think it might be in the hips and where you have them swing over to transfer weight.  Hold the hips a few more frames on the posted foot before swinging them over to the new passing/leading foot.  The hip swing is not a perfect parabola in you're graph the arc usually weights a little heavy to the right side of the key. ( I don't know if that makes sense ummmm..........look at my doodle below)

      I hope that makes sense. If you have any questions let me know. You can always hit me up on the Discord channel as well.  

      Keep at it, happy animating!

    • Thanks phoenix4690  ! I always appreciate sensible doodles.  And I may come find you in the discord as I'm going through class projects.  And I second more blender rigs.  I've discovered so many great (and free) rigs since I started using Maya for class. Pretty much the only ones I have for blender I got here.  There are a few on blendswap and sketchfab, but the quality varies and good ones can be hard to track down.  I am going to get P2Design's rigging course as I've heard good things, so maybe we can find a good character artist to collab with.  Did you take any of the iAnimate rigging classes?

    • There are a ton of great rigs in Maya; check this resource out when you get a chance. It a compiled list of great resources.
      https://animatorsresourcekit.blog/ 


      I went through P2Design's rigging course and it does a fantastic job. If you want to get into rigging it takes a lot of the confusion out of it when you're starting out. I haven't taken any of the iAnimate rigging classes but kind of want to. It would be cool to know the process for both programs. I'm having a lot of fun rigging a character I had commissioned. Its getting REALLY close to time for animation tests.

    • Awesome! Thanks for the resource. That looks fantastic!  And glad to hear another good review of Pierrick's course.  I purchased it today and am excited to get started. I enjoyed his Dragon Knight course a lot.

  • Here is the polish pass with the correct number of frames in the cycle: 

  • tomasplasil  phoenix4690  Thank you guys so much for the critiques!  I have taken one last stab at it based on your feedback and I think it was a significant improvement.  I am calling this final for now and moving on to other things, but would still love to hear any feedback you have.


  • We are spending 3 weeks on walk cycles for class, so this week (week 2) I am going to work back in blender.  Here is a quick block out, but I would love to hear feedback and ideas to improve. 

  • crew

    I'm seeing a lot of progress here! Nice work John :) 

    I don't have an eye for walk cycles like waylow , but I like how your Melvin shuffles along. The head nod seems a bit sharp when he plants his left foot, but beyond that I think it works well. 

  • crew

    Hey pprocyonlotor - class?  You're at animation school?!  I hope so, that's exciting to hear.


    Anyway here's a couple notes on your Melvin walk.

    -you can delay the timing of the leaning forward on the upper body.  This is happening at the same time as the down position on the walk.  But you want it to be offset so the hips are moving down and the chest is still going up, then when the hips change direction and start moving up again, the chest is still overlapping forward (going down)

    -compare the spacing of the arms when they get to the front.  His left follows through nicely but his right pauses when it gets to the front. (that is where the cycle loops right? I think you can figure out why this is happening then)

    -And there's a spacing pop on the left arm as it reaches the extreme behind his body (I can't see the other side but this might be the same issue with the handles not being the same at the start and end of the cycles as above)

    -Get some twist on the hip control and twist towards the foot that is landing.  (but don't go too crazy with that)


    Good stuff.

  • Polished up the Melvin walk cycle based on feedback:

  • crew

    Good work Sando.

    Now just smooth out the spacing of the top half of the character, it is leaning left and right a little weirdly.  Try tracking the top lip but turning on the motion paths.

    This will show you where the spacing could be more in arc, but just remember that the kinks in the curves will be in the spine, chest or head (not the lip).  So start at the cog  (Centre of Gravity) and work outwards.