Maria Panfilova on adding precision to your écorché models
character artist Maria panfilova explains how she lights and renders her projects in Maya
It is important to maintain proportion accuracy for an anatomy model, so I used Image Planes for all views
1 USING IMAGE PLANES
It is important to maintain proportion accuracy for an anatomy model, so I used Image Planes in Maya for all views – side, top, front, back. The references were from the book An Atlas of Animal Anatomy for Artists. First I made sure that bone proportions were right and then made muscles.
2 AUTOMATIC TOPOLOGY AND UVS
Clean and perfect topology isn’t always necessary. I make topology using Zremesher and UVS with UV Master in Zbrush; it saves a lot of time. But I also edit them by hand in Maya to make it cleaner. I split UVS into UDIMS so I can set up all texture sets as single materials.
3 MULTIPASS RENDERING AND IN 32-BIT
I set up AOV passes in Redshift Render for compositing in Photoshop. For example, I can add or remove reflections, add more shadows and so on. I make RGB masks for objects to be able to work with them separately. 32-bit EXR format has a large range of colours which allows for making bigger adjustments.
4 USING ANIMATION FOR RENDER SET UP
Because my work had plenty of still frames, each view needs to be easy to switch and it needs its own lighting position. So I set keys to the camera and lights and any other parameter I needed to be different. It also helps to render all frames in one session.
5 USING A DECIMATED MODEL FOR RENDERING
Sometimes, I don’t use a displacement map but I want to keep all details. For texturing, I used a first subdivision middle poly mesh. For rendering, I used a decimated mesh, but the UVS are the same. If the mesh is heavy for a viewport, then turn on bounding box in Drawing Overrides.
6 THREE-POINT LIGHTING
Three-point lighting is a common scheme and works great for me. For fill light, I use dome light with an HDR image at very low intensity. I set a key light more from the top-side and the backlight from another side. I try not to put the light near the camera because it becomes too flat.