Monday, January 30, 2012


As I'm getting more comfortable sculpting with mesh, I realized that compared to my newest creations my signature mask, (the Velodorno), was starting to look a bit dated. So, I set out to create a new one.

My signature mask is always something traditional, elegant, and with ornate and delicate curls. Making that in mesh was an interesting challenge and taught me many new things about efficient geometry and UV mapping a complex shape. But of course it resulted in something beautiful I'll be proud to put in my header.

I think you'll notice that along with this release I've changed up my vendor layout a bit. I was getting a bit dissatisfied with my other layout and wanted something crisper, cleaner and more modern. I also wanted to start showing off the mask! I won't be updating the vendors of older items, but I did go back and change my other mesh creations to this layout. It also helps add another visual cue to people who might still be unable to see mesh items that these are different.

The differences between these two masks are subtle, the most noticeable of them being that one has a nose piece and the other doesn't. I simply couldn't decide if I liked it better with or without so I compromised. The other difference is in shape: the Civetta is always more "owl" shaped (Civetta actually means owl) with a pronounced pinch in at the nose. The Columbina is a more feminine line that goes straight across the face and curls up to a taper by the temples.

Doing all of the little curls was a delight and a torture at the same time. Playing with high definition to add little flares and definition to each little taper was fun, but then facing the ordeal of UV mapping it wasn't. If you're not familiar, UV mapping is the process of trying to "unzip" a 3-dimensional object into a 2d one for texturing. Imagine a map of the world, and how it's a bit distorted because it's trying to describe shapes that are a part of a sphere. That sort of map is very simple... a map for all of these curls on the other hand, looks like this:
I wasn't even able to stack islands due to a glitch D:

That took me literally all day, but it was well worth it. I had another draft of a map that was more clumsily done, and saw a dramatic improvement in the invisibility of my seams as well as detail which is always nice to see!

I'm sure I'll get better at it as I continue, and look back at this with the facepalm of hindsight and wonder what I was thinking.

Out now at the store: 300L each
Buy the Civetta Curia on the Marketplace
Buy the Columbina Curia on the Marketplace

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Naso Turco

I've set a goal for myself to make as many masks as I can before Mardi Gras. It's a chance for me to really get more comfortable with mesh and to expand my collection of classic Venetian masks.

The first one that's been completed is one of the most instantly recognizable:

The Naso Turco is a traditional mask from Commedia Dell'Arte. There are a few different types of Naso masks (meaning "nose"), but this is one of the most iconic and popular. The Turco in the name might refer to the noble family of Verona, or perhaps to Cesare Turco, a renaissance artist. The Naso Turco has a very distinctive arching curve to the nose, as opposed to others which are perhaps shorter or more crooked.

I made a mistake in planning with this mask. I had a bit too much fun with drawing details directly onto the model and didn't think that I might want those aforementioned details to be a different color. I was playing around with it just being a solid color at first, but ended up preferring how it looked with contrasting trim.

(Still looks awesome though)

So, rather than my usual 3D trim, I decided to try an alpha overlay with this one. I think you can see in the vendor picture that it hardly suffers for it.

I went a little crazy with color options, which is another reason I had to resort to an alpha overlay for the trim. There are over thirty color options, including my usual 12 solid colors, and half and half "bicolors" of those in different combinations. They come paired with black, white, and a selection of twelve additional pairings I quite liked (such as purple and green for Mardi Gras!).

This mask is a mere 400 vertices! If you think of how sculpts are 1024 points each, it's just amazing how much detail can come out of having every point placed where it will do the most good.

I still have no affinity or skill for rigged meshes, so this is once again unweighted and freely modifiable. I certainly am getting the hang of it though and so far am just loving the freedom.

Expect more soon!

Out now at the store: 275L
Buy it on the Marketplace

Monday, January 9, 2012

I realize that I haven't released something in a while now. I had a mesh project in the works for all of December, I had hoped to complete it by Christmas and just ran into too many problems. That didn't stop me from sending out a holiday hat though!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, spent with family and friends. I decided at the 11th hour to just let it go, and enjoy the holiday without stressing over releasing it. Unfortunately, that mesh project is not the only one I've run into trouble with since then, and right now I have multiple projects in varying states of completion. That's usually how things are, but even then I usually release something in the meantime.

Since it's now creeping into January, my silent shame of incompletion has come to the point where I feel I have to address it. If you worried that I was sick or at all unwell, I'm alright! I'm just taking to mesh very slowly, and my progress was not at all helped by Skyrim or Assassin's Creed, or the holiday itself.

I have set a goal for myself to get a good selection of mesh masks released in time for Mardi Gras. I'm hoping you'll see a nice steady influx of new things as I get better and adjust to my new workflow. Expect to see some classical Venetian masks coming soon!