How was the model created?This is not a step by step tutorial, because it's too complex to describe. Instead, this is a general overview of the tools and techniques used to make the model. You can find tutorials on various techiques by searching google.
3D Studio Max 5, Character Studio, Metareyes, Photoshop, and Unreal Editor.
First, let me say that I chose to do this project, because creating realistic humans is a very difficult and challenging process. In addition, I have been pumping iron since I was in high school, so naturally, I had an interest in creating a muscular human. Also, I started this project just before "The Hulk" came out, so there was a lot of hype about it. I really liked the CG muscles ILM created, and wanted to imitate it in UT 2003.
In order to reuse my work, I created the model with human proportions. I made it fit the UT rig, and Hulk proportions by modifying the low polygon model.
The first step was to create a high polygon model so I could use it as a texture reference. I used a plugin for 3DS Max called Metareyes, because it is able to create fairly realistic looking muscles. I have tried Clay Studio Pro, but it's not quite the same.
I used anatomy drawings, and Mr Olympia photos as a guide for creating individual muscles.
I decided to create half the model, because working with Metareyes is a slow and difficult process. Modeling using metaballs requires endless tweaking and changing, because the results vary widely. There are many unexpected results that occur with each metamuscle you create. In the end, there were over 100 metamuscles. The box on the right side of the body is a centerline reference.
After the metaball work was complete, I converted it to a high polygon mesh. With the mesh complete, I lit the model to bring out the muscle detail while trying to avoid dark shadows on large parts of the model. Finally, I created an orthographic camera, and animated it in a way that it revolved around the centerline. I set it to 720 frames, and rendered every 3rd frame.
In photoshop, I recorded an action that cropped a thin slice of the image, then stitch all the slices together. The end result was texture that could be wrapped around the low polygon mesh using a cylinder map.
New cameras were created for the arm and leg. The cameras were rotated around the center axis of the limbs.
I assembled the textures for the body into a single map. IF you have never used Photoshop before, I can only suggest that you save each component on separate layers. This is the real power of Photoshop. It really makes work easier.
As you can see in the image to the left, I used a cylindrical map around the torso. I also used the UVW unwrap modifier. The same was done for the limbs. I had to cut the torso at the waist, and map the leg separately, because I couldn't get the cylinder map to match up with the rendered texture image. If this sounds confusing, it was even more confusing when I tried to deal with this problem. In other words, I had to break the model into three pieces instead of two, so I could map the legs properly.
The low polygon model was created from the high polygon mesh. I used a combination of the optimize, and multires modifiers. It worked out pretty good, but I still had to fix a lot of individual faces by deleting them, and building new ones.
I added a hand an foot later, then mapped them using a more traditional technique.
In Photoshop, I had to try and match all the border areas of the model. There are always seams where two different maps meet, so this is just a matter of paint, render, repeat... After a day or two of this, the seams look less obvious.
After the mapping phase was complete, I mirrored the half body. As you can see, the model doesn't have an accurate human shape, so I had to tweak the vertices in order to correct the proportions, and symmetry.
Since gamers prefer models with outrageous proportions, I modified it even more. Based on my previous modeling experience, I anticipate big problems with the bones animation.
The end result is a model with ridiculously huge muscles. This made bones deformations a problem, because the normal UT models were much thinner except for the Juggernauts. From past experience, I knew I couldn't use the Juggernaut because it does some very strange things to your model. Parts of your model turn in to shoulder pad-like forms. I ended up using the human male animations, because it had the least problems. Still, I spent about a full day tweaking, and checking the biped envelopes.Things work better when you make your own customs animations, but that would be too time consuming for this project.
My only tips for dealing with the biped envelopes, is to keep the default bind, then import him into UED, and check the results. Work on the lower part of the body first, starting with the toes, then work your way up the body. Modifying the envelopes in the upper body is the most difficult, so save it for last. Ignore the problems in other parts of the body, and concetrate on the portion you are modifying. Another thing to keep in mind is that you should try and avoid increasing the radius of and envelope. Do it only as a last resort, because it will have a dramatic impact on other parts. For example, increasing the spine envelope will cause the upper arm to bend and distort like spaghetti. Conversely, increasing the arm envelope will cause the chest, and ribs to cave in. Instead, you should try and adjust the child/parent overlap. This usually improves the deformations. Once you have that dialed in, then you can experiment with changing the evelope radius. Finally, the last step is to alter the vertex assignment. The thighs, and head always need reassignment.
After importing it into the game, there were noticeable problems with the texture maps. I spent several days adjusting the maps by toning down the highlights, and shadow areas. The face, and body also had mismatch problems, because one was using alpha mask and the other didn't. This was very time consuming, and I hope it looks good on most monitors. I could only check it on my LCD, so I can't be sure how it would look on a CRT. Also, I made sure that the UT video was set to the default settings before I began tweaking the textures.
I didn't have time to to tone down all the dark shadow areas. The dark shadows on the inner surface of the arm really bugs me, so I'll have to revisit it on a later project.In conclusion, this model represents about 200 hours of work. Most of it was spent refining and reworking the details. I began the project in early 2003, and completed it in mid 2004. Near the end, I had to rely on shortcuts, and skipped some of the finest details that needed work, because I just didn't have the time. If I was paid for the effort, it would be a different story. Overall, it was a lot of work, but I accomplished what I set out to do. I hope people will enjoy playing this model.