1. #1

    Default Portraits - Composers

    I've been working on some composer portraits to be used as images on glass paperweights after being printed. I started them as complete busts so that I could use more than one picture (averaging them all out rather than directly copying) and because it's easier for me than working in relief. When I flattened them down for the final piece, I originally didn't pay enough attention to getting the depth to work right. I've just finished fixing the first one up.

    Here's my portrait of Giuseppe Verdi:


    Ben Miller - Digital Sculptor, 3D Artist
    Portfolio - www.ThisLandisDigital.com

  2. #2

    Default Franz Schubert and Guiseppe Verdi

    Here's the finished versions of my first two composer portraits. They've been through numerous iterations, the largest being my realization how reliefs actually work (I was reluctant to use distorted depth and kept scaling evenly). Anyway, you can see how the portraits improved quite a bit since they were full 3D busts even. Working from a single perspective makes it a bit easier to bias the proportions here and there to match the reference images better.

    Last edited by jaime; 04-09-13 at 09:53 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Igor Stravinsky

    I finally finished my third portrait, though I may need to go back and tweak it once I get word back on it. I found that using wrap deformers in maya was a much, much faster way to flatten the portrait, though I wouldn't have been able to figure that out until I messed it up good and proper first (trial and error always wins out). This portrait was especially fun because it wasn't limited to a single image quite as much as the other two. Unlike them, Stravinsky was a bit more modern and so I had photos from throughout his life to reference. I initially modeled him middle-aged, before the wrinkles but after his softer youth (google if you're interested) but added age later. His older pictures are less flattering and less recognizable so I tried to age him based on his facial structure and by drawing different details from different images rather than being exact. I liked the result and kind of wish I had an excuse to paint it and sculpt it in higher detail.

    Gustav Mahler is next!

    Ben Miller - Digital Sculptor, 3D Artist
    Portfolio - www.ThisLandisDigital.com

  4. #4

    Default Beethoven

    So after some serious work on the hair, I managed to get Beethoven up and running. I'm basing him on this picture mainly (by request of the guy I'm working for):
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-JdEsmUg313...27Art@+(2).jpg

    And the hair is taken from the statue in vienna:
    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/38/10...372c2c.jpg?v=0


    He still needs some work in the jaw area I think and generally some endless tweaking everywhere until my eyes bleed but I think he's going pretty well. Any quick suggestions on things to change would be immeasurably helpful. Thanks!

    Ben Miller - Digital Sculptor, 3D Artist
    Portfolio - www.ThisLandisDigital.com

  5. #5
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    Great work ^^ i like your Beethowen.

  6. #6
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    Nice clean work. I like them all a lot.

  7. #7

    Default More Beethoven!

    Every time I get close to finishing a flattened version of one of these guys I realize how funny the busts looked (I like to think my aesthetic and replication compasses are at odds with one another in the design process). Anyway, here's my latest on Beethoven, who I've flattened down to something close to what he needs to be and reapplied what I had to an existing picture chosen by my employer.

    First the flattened image:



    And this was the full 3d bust shortly before flattening:


    Any helpful critiques? I'm not aiming for a perfect likeness of just this image (because it's too soft to see most of the details) but it's certainly close.

    Also, is there any way to restrict a brush to sculpting in a single axis? I make the curves and details look right from the front but sometimes need to change just the depth.

  8. #8
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    wonderful portrait work. in your last image of beethoven, i think the transition from cheekbone to moutharea is not correct. in the referencefoto you see a shadow (on his left side, viewers right side) that describes the edge of the cheekbone and then going done further it extends vertically to show the side of the mounth mound. this is missing in your sculpt (in flattened completely and in 3d one is faintly there, but shape is wrong)... anyhow, the likeness is very good. i wish to become as good as you with portraits :-)
    my fun with zbrush thread, my homepage riolama, and my zbrush blog

  9. #9

    Default Updated Beethoven

    I spent a while cleaning up some of the depth in the image, largely trying to soften up the form a bit to get it under control. Before I scaled my bust specifically for this portrait his face was much more geometric and statuesque than the picture but it made it easier to compare curves on the face. Now those sharper details tend to look pinched when compressed so I got it looking nice without them (I hope).

    I think I spent a lot of time on the hair and and eyes, though I'm never content with things anyway (and I take waaaaay too long to do things).

    Thanks for the tip Kokoro, I'll take a look at it tomorrow. I always appreciate fresh eyes as I tend to start sculpting myself in circles for hours otherwise. Tiny details can make huge differences which is really frustrating sometimes.
    Ben Miller - Digital Sculptor, 3D Artist
    Portfolio - www.ThisLandisDigital.com

  10. #10
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    all very nice sculpts. good job.

    -r
    rasmus warming
    rasmusw.dk


  11. #11
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    These are very cool. When flattening them, are you just scaling down along one axis, or is it more involved then that?

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Meloncov View Post
    These are very cool. When flattening them, are you just scaling down along one axis, or is it more involved then that?
    The first time I tried to flatten one I did just scale it because I was (and am) still pretty new to Zbrush and was impressed by how quickly you could scale it down. The problem with scaling like that is that it gives even depth to everything which, while accurate to reality in some sense, looks really bad afterwards (like a face smeared across the plate). I was too focused on making it look right from all angles even when flattened that I didn't realize how strange it really looked.

    The thing to keep in mind is that it only needs to look right from a single angle. When you look at it from the side, you should still be considering how the depth relates to that front view, not whether you can still see the face right. More importantly, I realized that the depth does need to be distorted in order to read right. Given the limited depth I have to work with, I can't give equivalent space to the cheeks and sides of the head. The ear alone is about as deep as most of the front of the face. Instead, I minimize the depth of the sides of the head while retaining as closely as possible that of the face itself. If you look at my Beethoven, you'll hopefully see that the profile is still intact even though the back of the head has been flattened into oblivion.

    In the end, it is really important to maintain the angle between the front and side planes of the head. The nose needs to point the right direction and the brow needs to be straight, not curved. This change of planes is what separates the flattened portrait from a more two dimensional etching. Deal with everything else on a local scale, using as much of the available depth as you can without breaking the impression. I personally prefer flattening using a wrap deformer in Maya.

    Some of the hardest sections on the mesh will be areas that wrap around and out of view. When you flatten these areas, they flatten against the geometry in front of them and cause some weird overlapping (the hair around the ears, for example, pulls into the back of the head). This time around I took the time to delete and retopologize the back and these problem areas so that I could manipulate them into place better. I don't know exactly how to fix the problem other than to be aware of where it will occur.

    It may be better to tweak a 3d model without perspective since flattening it removes perspective anyway (widening out the face for example).

    Finally, hair is annoying. There is no easy answer as far as I know. I try to copy mine from existing sculptures if I can. I can't seem to both practice sculpting hair and come up with decent hair patterns at the same time. For this last portrait I made it as a separate subtool by duplicating and smoothing the face beneath the surface so the hair could emerge at the right angles more or less. I merged it when I retopologized though.


    Anyway, yeah. That's some advice I've been collecting. Eventually I'll have a quick tutorial with a few pictures for reference. Hope that helps and let me know if you ever try it (I still haven't seen anyone else's examples to help me too much)!

    rasmusW - Those deer studies are amazing.
    Ben Miller - Digital Sculptor, 3D Artist
    Portfolio - www.ThisLandisDigital.com

  13. #13

    Default Bach.

    Next in my lineup is Bach. Right now I'm only a few hours of tweaking in so his likeness is constantly bouncing between the single painting of him, the more defined statues (which I think look best), and the facial reconstruction that was done of him (which unfortunately looks rather less interesting). The jaw and eyes are different in all of them and will probably continue changing until my brain decides to choose a look for him.
    The clothes are still temporary and the wig is yet to come.
    Ben Miller - Digital Sculptor, 3D Artist
    Portfolio - www.ThisLandisDigital.com

  14. #14

    Default Bach again

    Here's a quick update on Bach, who I'm working on this afternoon. Most of my portraits go through a phase near the end of the initial detailing wherein they cycle between each of the various reference images I'm using before I eventually realize it and more systematically choose the best (debatable) features.

    Ben Miller - Digital Sculptor, 3D Artist
    Portfolio - www.ThisLandisDigital.com

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    your thoughts on relief are interesting to read... i do carve relief portraits in wood, and were faced with exact the same decisions. as i saw these in your relief sculpts i was drawn to them... to me, relief is much harder than doing a true 3d portrait (and that is difficult enough ... lol) ... and, yes, i agree too, trying to capture likeness with a limited amount of references as in your topic, really is a question of choice... afterall we need to consider that none of the references is a photo, but in best a painting or drawing by a skilled artist, which means there are interpretations (or mistakes) in there... long saying, i meant to express my admiration for the work you do. your composer portraits feel very believable to me, as they capture a lot of how i understood they were as persons...
    my fun with zbrush thread, my homepage riolama, and my zbrush blog

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