Well, it is time to bring to an end the three dimensional work over the appearance of our main character. Everything is almost ready: there is a pattern, a structure and even animation. Left are only the last strokes: shades, visualization and composition. We have decided to gather the description of these three stages in one article because they are really tight one to the other.
A shader is a way of depicting the proprieties of the surface, such as reflection, refraction, darkening, displacement of a surface, absorption or reflection of light, etc. Accordingly shading is a process of drawing up the shades.
Visualization or rendering is a process of receiving scenes from 3D stages of flat images by means of the special algorithms that processes the three-dimensional objects by taking into account the proprieties choose by the shader.
Composing is a process of processing images in 2D editor, such as Photoshop or Digital Fusion.
Preparation of the scene for visualization begins with arrangements of light sources in 3D scene and adjustment of its proprieties. It is necessary to work it in such a way that the light lies on our protagonist as realistically as possible. Even if we are working on a cartoon movie we shall not forget about the laws of physics. For example, our character is shined at its left, consequently, the shadow shell fall also from left to right. If the character is in a white room, then he should be lighted from all around and the shades should not be completely dark but much lighter and washed-out. Illumination is one of the basic ways of giving depth to the image. The lightening helps also emphasize or hide the basic or secondary objects or character features in various scenes.
After appropriate light settings starts the shading process. It is very important for the spectator to easily recognize the material that was used: if the hat or boots are from leather they should sparkle, and their texture should be exactly as the leather is. But the trousers, sewed from a simple fabric, should not sparkle at all.
None of the surfaces are homogeneous by nature, be it fabric or porcelain, and on merely each object exists minuscule and hardly seen scratches, pimples and dents. This feature should be considered in the shading process. For a natural effect we use the so called ‘displacement’ cards. To be more explicit, that is a black-and-white picture displaced in a special way on the model: the brighter parts of the picture squeeze out and the darker ones remain where they were. Such cards can come out by using specialized software such as ‘Z-brush’ or ‘Mudbox’.
Consequently, the 3D artist gives life to the three-dimensional character by exposing various schemes of illumination and selecting the most appropriate and realistic shades.
Working on the Gojo character, we had the opportunity to extensively test the light and texture effects of the leather and clothes. As a result, the hat from felt turned into leather hat, and the shirt almost become one of silk.
As we got the visualization process, we can move to the next and final stage: working with ready images, namely – composing. At this given stage, the composing process consists in reducing the layers that are the result of rendering. After the rendering process, from the 3D package comes out not only the final scene but also the whole set of pictures that forms it. As a result, the outcome looks similar to an application: separate shadow, patches of light, darkening, absent-minded and reflected light, etc.
Having in stock these components, so-called “passes”, the artist can adjust the saturation and brightness of sparkles, colors and depth of over-surface dispersion, the way he needs it, without using additional time on recounting pictures from 3D package. But more on this you’ll find out in a separate article. Be patient