Thursday, May 26, 2016

My 3D Rendition Of "Tactical Pod Glaug"

I finally finished my take on Glaug -- This was a project literally years in the making. I started to do this several years ago (2011) and reached a level of completion that was more annoying than satisfying. The reason why is because I chose to create the original model in SketchUp, which presented a few problems later in the process.

First problem: SketchUp creates Ngons (a polygon with more than 4 sides) like crazy, without telling you it is doing it -- AND gives you no control over how the resulting model is triangulated. Second: (and somewhat related), calling SketchUp's UV mapping capabilities primitive would be far too kind.

The SketchUp model from 2011.
Those two factors together made the model mostly useless outside of SketchUp, with a combination of triangle artifacts in rendered reflective surfaces and poor texturing possibilities. As such, I gave up on fully  finishing the project and comforted myself with the prospect of trying to do it "right" someday.

Fast forward to 2016 -- I've been interested in diving into a new feature of the latest version of ZBrush called "Zmodeler". Zmodeler is a really powerful and well integrated Box modeling toolset inside ZBrush -- with the entirety of its functionality residing within a single brush.

As I mulled over a project to work with to learn the new tools I remembered my long lost Glaug. So the marriage was made -- I decided to model Glaug entirely within ZBrush using nothing but the Zmodeler tools.

That being said, ZBrush does have some UV unwrapping capabilities -- but I would categorize them as being less than precise... fine for organic stuff, but I need a bit more control with hard surface models. So I started looking into an ideal UV mapping partner for ZBrush. What I decided on is a really excellent package called Unfold3D. If you are in need of a UV unwrapping program I highly recommend this one.

ZBrush also has some texturing, rigging and rendering capabilities, however I find them all less than ideal. So to cover those jobs I decided to use Substance Designer and Substance Painter for the texturing, and DAZ Studio for the rigging, shader setup and rendering.

Here is the finished product:

Officers Pod Glaug

So what is a Glaug anyway? In the early 80's, there was an animated TV show in Japan called Macross which was brought over to America and made into part of a series called Robotech. Glaug is the machine piloted by the officer class of the invading aliens (called Zentraedi). So this project was really me just reliving some childhood memories.

Of course, now I have it ready to pose and render anytime I want in DAZ Studio... now I just need to make some friends for it to play with.

If you care to see the progress as I was building the model, I have a WIP thread on the ZBrush forum.