Friday, November 5, 2010

Michael 4 gets new hair -- Akaste Hair ... very nice indeed!







I look at the work of other artists all the time, both for inspiration and to learn ... when you see something you can't do, or don't do, yourself, the usual thing is that you work out how to do it, with a kind of childlike joy at learning something.

So the other day I was at YouTube ... okay, confession: at YouTube looking at Jackie Chan videos. Why? The man fascinates me on more levels than could list. There's not a lot of human beings I actually envy, but he's any three of them. At 56 he's still bouncing like a rubber ball, with an athleticism that just ain't human.

So anyway, I'm at YouTube watching Jackie Chan videos, and you know how YouTube works. They list related videos ... which is how I wound up watching a music video cobbled together from both the video game and the movie of Final Fantasy 1o.

Now, I'm not a gamer. I don't have time to play games, and also ... when you've been in front of a computer for 8 - 10 hours of your working day, when it comes around to your downtime, you don't want to be looking at another screen ... well, not unless there's a major motion picture on it. Anyway -- long story short, YouTube posted a Final Fantasy music video on the Jackie Chan list because (duh) some inspired fan cut the video out of clips from the game and the movie, and backed it with the gorgeous end title song from The Myth, "Endless Love," which just happens to have been sung for the picture by Jackie. Uh huh. So, here's what I saw:



A lot of the video is made up of captures from the game -- anime style, which isn't to my taste, I'll be honest. But a lot of it is drawn from the movie, and -- sweat through the game footage till you get to the movie stuff. Believe me, you'll tell the difference.

The last generation of 3D character animation is a dimension beyond what they were doing back around the time of Final Fantasy II: The Spirit Within. It's not just about the technology, its about the level of expression they can put into the "digitoids" these days:

And seeing this the other day, I wanted to play with expression on a sculpted face that looked a bit more mature than the very-young characters featured in the movie and game.

I lucked out with a new hairstyle -- it's Akaste Hair, from the same designer who produced the Hermes Hair ... this one is much better than Hermes, and Hermes was already good. It's virtually as malleable as the Spartacos Hair I use so often lately, and it also has a "softer" look than Spartacos, which makes it look so real. The character I loaded up is the same M4 "actor" I designed a long, long time ago to play Achilles: Remember this guy? That's the one. And he also showed up with his clothes on, as a playboy with a sportscar...

Switch the hair for the Akaste Hair ... get the wind along it. Switch the eyes for the lovely hazel orbs from The Eyes Have It. Then get into the Base expression morphs, and put some emotion into that face.

The costume is the M4 Real Jeans and the M4 Morphing Coat -- but the latter ain't a leather jacket any longer. I made a denim texture (love making my own textures for the costumes) which worked very well -- I also did the texture for the shirt, but you can't really see that; and also the texture for the gateway.

The effect is really pleasing ... filled with emotion, from caution to startlement to sorrow. I'm rather pleased with these. Must work more with facial expressions, which can give the digital characters an eerie reality. And I guess I should also do a post about making your own textures. Food for thought.

Jade, 5 November (Guy Fawkes Night)
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