Making of Male Green Frog
Author: Massimo Righi
Software: Autodesk Maya
Author Website: http://www.massimorighi.com/
Hi, my name is Massimo Righi and I am a freelance CG artist from Italy.
What I'm going to do is try and show you the main steps of how I made my "Male Green Frog" image. I used Maya 8 for modelling, MentalRay for rendering and Photoshop for the textures.
The goal for me was to not only create a photo-realistic render, but also a 3d model for animation purposes, without the use of ZBrush (or similar software) and without adding any kind of post-work to the final render.
The first thing was to do some research to find some good references, having in mind the final result I wanted to achieve. I wasn't able to find all the views of the same frog that I wanted, so I mixed a lot of different frogs in order to model the main shape.
I started building the low-poly frog using a simple polygon plane and extruded the edges following the reference pics. I then modelled the main body leaving holes where the legs were to be connected.
After that, I created the legs and then joined them to the body.
As you can see from the WIP pic below, I've built only half of the frog so that I had only half of the UV map to deal with.
For the main (half) body and the leg, I made 2 cylindrical maps and for the feet I used 2 planar maps: 1 from the top view and one from bottom view. I used a simple checker applied to a lambert shader for checking the overall process while tweaking the UVs.
After that, I duplicated the half and combined everything together, ending up with 1.960 polygons, which is quite good for the low poly model (this then can be used as a cage for the rigging/animation process).
I than duplicated the frog keeping the low model in another layer, and then made the higher poly version (about 30.000 poly) doing a polysmooth. Finally, I added some details using the Maya sculpting tools, trying always to follow the main reference.
Using photos and freehand (I used a Wacom tablet), I made the textures in Photoshop each 2048x2048. Then I applied the texture to the frog, but I did notice (I was expecting that ) that some of the texture seams needed to be adjusted. So I used the built-in Maya 3d paint for that, using the clone tool.
When the color texture was made, I created the specular, bump and diffuse maps from it.
Now was the time for setting up the scene. I created a simple plane where I placed the frog and rotated it about 17° (I've done the same for the frog too). For the plane texture, I used a photo made by me and cropped it to about 1300x900... then I made the bump.
I created a camera and enabled the depth of field on it. As you can see from the grab, I made a distance tool placing one locator in the point of focus on the model and the other locator in the camera lens. I than parented that locator to the camera so that when I was moving the camera, the dimension value was also changing.
Before working on lighting, I made the shader networks; one for the main frog and one for the eyeballs. After some render tests, I decided to use a blinn shader with a Translucence value=1 for both.
For the lighting setup, I used an HDRI probe and 3 lights: 1 point-light (raytrace shadow) and 2 spotlights.
For the MentalRay render settings, I used a mitchell filter with a sample level min=1 max=3, Ray tracing and Final-Gather.
Here is the final render of the frog.
I want to thank all of you for reading, and hope that it will be helpful in some way.