Minimates After Dark
January 11, 2012

Time for another Minimate video. Like all the others, when the idea for this popped into my head I figured it wouldn't take too long. And like all the others, I was wrong.

When I started it was an excerise in deforming a model with shape keys. I just wanted to see what it could do. How it got from "Can I hinge the torso?" to the final video, I'll never know.

I had to recreate all the Spider-Man image maps because they didn't have a high enough resolution for the closeups. Now they're all up to 4096x4096. The table texture took some work as well. It's the most realistic wood texture I've made.

I love that keyboard and surprisingly it wasn't difficult to model. Once you create one key the rest are either simple duplicates or duplicates with a bit of stretching. The front row did need some rework, but it was quick. Look for this model to reappear in later projects.

The pen is what ate up most of the time. The modeling was simple, but the rendering and material tweaking just about broke me. I had a problem where I couldn't get the transparency clear enough, yet still visible. After a long back-and-forth series of tweaking and test rendering I discovered the problem wasn't the transparency but the reflections. I gave it a slight mirror finish to catch reflections of the desk and Minimate. Foolishly, I also applied it to the interior surface of the tube. All of the inner-reflections clouded the tube and caused much frustration. It also added to large render times.

Please don't go cutting open your Minimates looking for the eyeballs. I still hear the screams.