December 19, 2007

The Gnomon Workshop Releases Two-disc Series

Hollywood, Calif. - The Gnomon Workshop is releasing a two-disc series from Gnomon founder and director, Alex Alvarez: Character Modeling in Maya and Zbrush: The Making of Jester, Volume One and Character Texturing and Rendering: The Making of Jester, Volume Two.  
This making-of demonstration and lecture began with the decision to take a personal sketch, develop it in 3D and produce a life-size print. This would require the development of high-resolution detail and textures that could hold up to a 4000x6000 pixel render, effectively making Jester a film-res character.
In the series, Alex shares his workflow, thought process, and techniques. This set takes the viewer through the complete creation process, from Base Mesh Creation through to Environment Creation. Alex will work through such topics as UV Layout, Composition and Lighting, Maya Shader Setup, Rendering with Mental Ray, and Maya workflow, to name a few.  
Character Modeling in Maya and ZBrush: The Making of Jester, Volume One 
Volume One covers the character modeling process using Maya and ZBrush, as well as some lighting, composition, and texture exploration. Alex begins by creating an organized base mesh in Maya that accurately follows the 2D design. Using Vlayout, he flattens the UVs of the multiple base mesh components. Jester is then imported into ZBrush for sculpting and detailing. We give some thought as to the resolution for each subtool that should be sent to Maya and export them with normal maps generated in Zmapper. Once in Maya, the shader networks are blocked-out so that Jester renders in Maya with the same level of detail that he had in ZBrush. The final step prior to texturing is to then create a Photoshop color study that will guide our further progress on the character. This comprehensive disc has 9 hours of lecture.  
Topics Covered:
Base Mesh Creation
UV Layout
Maya Shader Setup
Photoshop Color Study
Character Texturing and Rendering: The Making of Jester, Volume Two
Volume Two covers character texturing and shading using Photoshop, ZBrush, Bodypaint, and Maya, as well as environment creation, lighting, and the final composite of the print-res image in Photoshop. Jester's 2D line-drawing design does not specify material properties, therefore Alex explores different looks for the various components, settling on weathered leather, metal, cloth, and skin. By layering, color correcting, and painting over photographic textures, Alex arrives at a photoreal result where each component has its own custom color, bump, and specular map. With the character complete, the environment is then designed and created on the fly using Maya and Photoshop for some quick paint-overs to guide the direction. Throughout the making of Jester, Alex shares and explains every step of the process, both technical and aesthetic, making this an invaluable resource for both students and professionals. This comprehensive disc has over 10 hours of lecture.
Topics Covered:Texturing in Photoshop
Maya shaders
Character Lighting
Rendering with Mental Ray
Bodypaint/Maya Workflow
Environment Creation
Alex Alvarez is founder and director of The Gnomon Workshop and of the Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Hollywood. Having dedicated the last decade to educating students and professional artists around the world, Alex has helped change the face of computer graphics and design education. He has been published in industry magazines, Web sites, and books -- plus he has taught courses at several major trade conferences. Alex is president of the Los Angeles Maya Users Group and sits on the Advisory Boards for and CGSociety. He continues to work on personal and professional projects, recently as a creature development artist on the James Cameron film Avatar. Prior to Gnomon, Alex worked for Alias|Wavefront as a consultant and trainer for studios in the Los Angeles area. Alex is an alumnus of the Art Center College of Design and the University of Pennsylvania.