Let's get Right to it
Areas of focus for shapes are everything, I have to be careful every time I do a new sculpt to not overwork the surface at the beginning. Why? It's simple - the best way to do art and design is to use base shapes to establish the form, and the additional details to reinforce structure. This rule works for any kind of art you might be doing.
Concepting and Sculpting key areas is critical. 3 steps of concern now are the planes for lighting, structure and overall theme. Remember in developing games it's not about just the looks, it's about "who the characters are" - even if it's not a story-driven game characters aren't believable if you can't see a soul in their eyes. Its why we need to start where people look first.
Step One: Planes for Lighting
The eye and brow is by far one of the most complex parts of the body. Be sure to understand how the change in direction influences light. These are to be rendered with great detail, but be sure to not focus solely on the eyelids and pupils. Make sure the shapes that pull the eye of its cavity aren't overlooked.
General planes of the face are dependant on eyes area being properly aligned, and having the correct depth.
Step Two: Structure Matters
Base LOD Detail WIP
Here the focus is adding details to the eyes, purely to support initial shapes. Right now I'm not worried about micro details, because if the forms are accurate and the shapes are interesting then I know it will work later when the engine lighting conditions you'll see later come into play.
Remember when modeling for games, it's different than the illustration or even sculpting for marketing purposes. It's about the final game, it's lighting and what parts of the face should draw attention to the gaming audience.
High Poly Detail WIP
Once the general shape and forms are present, it's time to move to making sure the rest of the face and the eyes work well with scale of my eyes, and the overall age and body weight of "who" I'm sculpting.
High Poly Lighting Check for Micro Sculpting WIP
Even this early it's key - and be careful to understand - in games the details change over time. Nothing is written in stone. Game art evolves, don't fall in love too early with anything once this stuff hits the game environment you will notice I start to tweak the crap out of it and details change, some even go away completely. Right now it should all be considered a sketch until we have the science and tech hit later.
Step Three: Reference
Be sure to have great reference for your character, this is your hero and the person your audience will be looking at for months and even years. Look to famous celebrities, historical figures, and even athletes to piece together your hero. There are commons measurements and shapes to faces that unify what people hate, and others determine who people are willing to follow and even fall in love with.
Remember you are only as good as your reference, so DON'T cheat doing your research after we get the base shapes in place all the final details are going to come from our reference.
I'm not going to hit every question with these updates, but that's because I want to get questions from you directly and follow up accordingly.
Sign up for the newsletter and and join our growing army on Facebook and Twitter I'm going to using your questions to drive content in each update and even use some feedback in the final game!
See you next Monday!
We go in depth on the planes of the face I promise.