This month I’ve been doing all sorts of things; from work related to my sisters website, www.dreamieinabottle.com, to more model work, and getting started on The Maxwell Report book and continuing with Heart of the Feles. Let’s start with the models, as usual, shall we?
3D Model Progress
As per usual I’ve been working hard crafting my book characters and creatures into 3D models using Blender, for use in animated shorts, top trump cards, or video game projects. The first model on the agenda was the main character from Specimen G-13, Gakidou.
The left model is based on how he looks in the first book; a bit skinnier, less plump mane, and of course his iconic red eyes. The right one is more like how he appears in Wrath of the Lancer, including clothes for him that are similar to how he dresses in the book too, only he is missing his sandals right now as I still need to make them.
I sculpted Gakidou using the base Jinimaru model I made last month, and during the process of rigging the armature, I learnt about Inverse Kinetics and Forward Kinetics, and how they can drastically improve a models movements in animations and posing to look more natural. The animation to the left is the first attempt using IK on an armature, and whilst it looks a bit stiff, the motion in the arms and legs is far more stable than the FK I was using before.
You can see examples of some of the older models that have been reworked below; they all now use IK, have improved fur/hair, lighting, and even soft-body physics!
Most of this month I dedicated myself to upgrading my older models to IK, and reworking the hair and fur on those that have any, plus doing additional tweaks to lighting for use in Blender Cycles rendering. However, I have been pushing myself hard this month and didn’t stop at creating Gakidou! I made the base model for Humans and crafted the trio from the Subject 218 books in both their teen and young adult stages.
These guys are all fully rigged with Ik too, and a combination of soft-body physics and cloth physics. Their hair is also dynamic and moves. However, I have learnt that the likes of Unity will not render hair generated using Blender, so the hair is likely to change sometime in the future.
As my first render using the trio, I decided to recreate the old 2018 cover for Subject 218! It looks a lot more like how I originally envisioned the cover being.
I did another render using the same assets, but with the young adult models, and I also spent more time on the background, plus played around with lighting a bit more to make it look like they were out in the city in the late evening or early night. Also, yes, their eyes glow; it’s a side-effect of the formula they took to get their powers and is not a mistake.
I still have a lot to learn about doing the soft-body and cloth physics, as parts of the body may jiggle too much or bits of the clothing may still clip through the body itself, but all-in-all the amount of work and progress done this month on models alone has been huge for me, and I am starting to make my models much faster than before with all the additional practice. I do think, however, that I am long overdue a break from working on the models, as even this month I only took a week away from them to work on something else.
For those unfamiliar with my model work, you can see a video of me creating one from start to finish, with brief explanations for how I do certain things and why, by clicking HERE. If you want to see more pictures, like work-in-progress stuff, I advise you to follow me on Twitter where I post them more often.
Wrath of the Lancer officially launched on Sunday! It’s now available on Kindle Unlimited worldwide, and you can grab paperback, hardback, or e-book copies from Amazon and various other online stores. I will be having a 60-75% off discount sale on all my major book titles prior to July 22nd in the UK and USA Amazon stores, which will include the Specimen G-13 series. Keep an eye on my books for when they go into discount mode!
Writing up the final entry in Specimen G-13, Heart of the Feles, has been (you guessed it) slow. I am at a point that I am struggling with writing it because I’d rather be doing the models right now, but that’s the ADHD in me kicking up a fuss again. I guarantee that within a month or two it’ll be the other way around, and I’ll blast through writing and neglect the models for a while.
The other writing project, “The Maxwell Report” for Subject 218, has been planned out and the first chapter was written, but otherwise, nothing much else has been done for it; no cover art, no final synopsis or back cover, absolutely nothing else. This book is going to be a challenge since it’s technically retelling the Subject 218 story multiple times, but with different scenarios leading into different endings, all based on the comic version of the story (which is the canonical truth).
I hope to work more on this in July, but I am not holding my breath; the model work is still strong with me right now and I intend to exploit my focus to get as many of them done as possible, before the muse goes away again.
Dreamie in a Bottle
I’ve been doing 3D printing for my sister and helping her polish up her site a bit more over at Dreamie in a Bottle this month, but it’s still early days for her business and the results of the 3D work I’ve been doing for her have yet to be seen outside of our little crafting corner of the house.
I have, however, 3D printed the Na’an dragon model as an example of what the machine is capable of doing, though I doubt we will use it to print such detailed models like this; there are just too many undercuts to make a decent mould with, plus I’m not entirely satisfied with the pose I made. It’s just there to serve as an example for now.
Claire has opened her Etsy store and is already selling some of her work, which presently doesn’t use the assets I have made for her (but will soon, I am told). Pop over to her site HERE, or her shop HERE and have a look at the wonderful trinkets she’s conjuring up.
Been working hard this month, and my body is punishing me for it something fierce. I need to take a break, but I’m also on a roll right now with the model work and don’t want to stop, but I really should do for a while. So, whilst I will likely still have models to show off next month, I am going to make more effort to take time off to recover, so there shouldn’t be as many as there was this time around.
I want to thank people for their support in my work, and hope you enjoy reading Wrath of the Lancer!