There is not much to update this week. This term we learnt about mental ray rendering & I wanted to be able to render out my demo reel for Winona in it. Love the realism one can achieve with mental ray rendering if done right. However, I must add here that I find it a little too technical for my artistic sensibilities & hence my mental block for anything technical seems to kick in just at the thought of doing it. I seem to find it a little difficult to tweak & play around with so many parameters to get just the right look. The effort required seems massive at this point.

I am aware that displaying my work well in an aesthetically pleasing manner is an integral part of being a good artist. Knowing & acknowledging this fact, makes me even more aware of how much I need to get this right. Thus, when I started encountering errors while rendering the frustration levels were high. The models when imported into 3Ds Max, gave me plenty of errors in terms of normals not being aligned, the polygons being flipped, some polygons intersecting each other & of course the density of the mesh making things an issue. Certain things that I was not even consciously aware of & taking care of in ZBrush, became painful realities that I had to face. Making sure textures translate well from what was imagined & textured in zbrush polypaint into 3Ds Max etc has taken up most of my time this week. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I am towards the tail end of this process but one can never say until it is done.

However, I have had some very valuable learnings from this experience. Maybe in future I should consider making a basic base mesh in 3Ds Max & then taking it into Zbrush, if I plan to get the model back into Max. This way a lot of these issues can be avoided. Also, if the basic low poly mesh of the silhouette is made in max, using Dynamesh can be avoided to a large extent, hence keeping the mesh clean & low poly for a majority portion of the process. I am not sure if the normals, polygon faces etc still get messed up while moving them between the 2 softwares if I follow this workflow, but only trying it out can let me know.

I need to work a lot more with mental ray lights & materials to get a good grip on it, but maybe I should overcome my fears & mental block & do a deeper dive into it in future.

For now keeping my head low, whispering a small prayer that this works & carrying on so I can move to the actual physical painting of the model which is now desperately needing focus & attention.