Okay, after my post the other day you may think that I’m spending all my time considering feedback from the Bizarro World version of my editor. Not true!
Over the past few weeks I’ve been spending much more of my time on the sort of thing we see here. I’ve been adding to my collection of persons from Retropolis by modeling new characters; I’ve also worked out some tricks that extend the use of older characters. And I’ve done a bunch of them! I left out the imaginary editor you saw in my earlier post because you’ve seen him already, and all that exposure tends to make him more demanding; while another character that I like very, very much doesn’t appear here because he constitutes a spoiler, sort of, and as a result I’m keeping him under wraps.
The tricks I mentioned each have to do with the use of morph targets. I use those already for facial expressions, and for parts of expressions, but the first new thing I thought of was to use morphs to combine two existing character heads into a new character. I’ve mixed, say, 40% of Character A with 60% of Character B to get a new head that looks different from either of its parents.
This is possible because all of my recent male heads share the same topology, while all of my recent female heads also share a common topology. (No… sadly, it’s not the same topology as the male heads.)
So I mix the same amounts of two characters, the same way, in every one of their facial variations, and hey presto, new character. I should have thought of this years ago. I’m sure other people have.
This worked really well, sometimes… though not always. Some of these characters have so much personality that they just keep looking like themselves. Still: very neat!
The second trick is even more useful. I do a lot of work on UV mapping on these heads, and although it’s always very similar it’s a thing that’s frustratingly incompatible between models. In addition I calculate vertex colors to accent the creases and hollows in the faces, and that takes about two hours every time I do it.
But I don’t have to! I mean, this was the really clever idea that I ought to have thought of a long, long time back: because I can also morph an old head completely into a new head. My UV mapping and vertex colors remain the same as they were in the earlier character.
I can’t even imagine how much time I’ve wasted by doing those steps manually for every head. It’s a lot of time.
I decided many years ago that a truly lazy person should be willing to work very hard, one time, in order to prevent hard work that has to be done over and over again. I have aspired to be that person. But I see I’m not quite there yet.
Truly, the Way of Laziness is a long and difficult path to master.