Jul 24, 2007

Something I've been working on :)

Hey, just another day here at VR5 Online... drink so
me Coca Cola, watch some TV, play some video games, and make some custom photo realistic heads for use in the AW browser.

Oh wait.. that last one isn't so normal. Well, anyway - that is something that has been occupying my time along with the Prometheus project. I was set out on the task of figuring out how to make realistic avatar heads. So my inspiration to start were the heads used in Active Worlds and Second Life shown below (respectively).

The first is obviously the best example of a Second Life avatar face I could find off hand (though there are undoubtedly others). The next in line is the latest incarnation of avatar style from Active Worlds Inc (though there are working on avs that at least look as good as Second Life). And last but not least is my entry into this forum of 3D Modeling, as taken from the Active Worlds environment (all snapshots of my head are taken live from the AW environment).

Here are a few more pictures at different angles so you can get a better look, click each for the full size image:

The head itself is using a 512x512 texture map custom made by me, and the actual 3D model of the head is also custom made using specialized software which I will leave unnamed for the time being. The total number of polygons for the head itself is about 3,000 - although I am sure it could be optimized a bit more if needed.

The obvious lack of hair on the head (other than the texture map) is due to a lack of a separate layer added over top the head for hair to blend into the underlying texture map on the skull. Remember, this is a base head and not the finished deal.

Ambient is set to 0.5 on the head in order to give it a nice self shadowing effect in the light. Also, turned the culling on in the model itself so the inside would not display (which prolly ups the frame rate a bit in light of the 3,000 polygons). All in all, I believe that the face of an avatar is what people are paying attention to most of the time, so why not focus most of the detail there and skimp on the rest of the body if you need to?

There are two ways I'm thinking I could go for the hair, but I believe I will be testing out the usage of Shader 2.0 effects for dynamic and flowing hair on these heads (yes I made more than one, I'm just showing you this one) and yes I am really enjoying these HDR Lighting and Shaders lately... too bad neither AW nor Second Life have HDRI or Shaders... oh well.

Well, thats about it for now -

In Other News

Will be starting a project with Digitell Incorporated in New York State in the next few weeks. Working on a new Galaxy server with them for Expos and Conferences. I think I am the BASF guy involved (meaning I don't make a lot of the things you use, I make them better). Or in other words, I'm technical consultant, designer and all around creative solutions guy.

Hence the Photo heads, by the way. Clients of Digitell Inc will more than likely want the ability to have their avatars look exactly like them in real life - so I figured I would start with a test using my own face. The head was made using 2 photos and roughly 3 hours of modeling (which is why it's not *exactly* right).

Anyway, aside from Prometheus (which is coming along nice, by the way), this is what will be occupying most of my time here at VR5 Online. So busy, busy, busy....

Well, back to work :)

Looking for LOLCats - William Burns


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