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You are here: Homepage /  inHouse /  Behind the Screenz / Wang Xiaoyu: CGarfish
Wang Xiaoyu: CGarfish
 
 
Posted: Dec 01, 2008
Published by: the area
Homepage: Visit the page
Software: Autodesk Maya, Autodesk Mudbox
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The Area:
Hello Wang Xiaoyu - a warm welcome to the AREA. Can you please give us a bit of background on yourself...such as where are you located and what you currently do?
Xiaoyu:
Thank you, I’ll do that! I'm a Game Artist, currently developing a large-scale online game in Beijing, China. Last November, I relocated to Beijing from Shanghai and started the development of a game. After a year's worth of effort, we expect to release this game within the first half of 2009. Because the environment production task of this development was of high priority at the beginning, I spent months working on multiple scenes that included palaces, shops, and noted landmarks. On a side note: when comparing futuristic and mechanical scenes, I much prefer architecture in the classical Chinese style. Afterwards I was responsible for creating the characters in the game, for example: olden-day Chinese merchants, officials, warriors, civilians, and then the main characters of the game. They are all within the classical Chinese style which I find very interesting. I like the style of this game a lot and I hope everyone will enjoy the game after its release.
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The Area:
How and when did you start doing 3D?
Xiaoyu:
I started dabbling in 3D around 2003, back then the 3D work we saw were all pretty ugly, but like many 3D enthusiasts, I believed "3D is really beautiful". Afterwards, I furthered my exploration into the 3D world. I was still in university and was very busy with schoolwork, but all I could think about everyday was 3D and couldn't care much about anything else.
The Area:
What are you most passionate about in the field of 3D and why?
Xiaoyu:
Currently, I'm most interested in modeling and rendering, because these two areas can directly improve the quality of games or videos. Animation is also very important; my next step will be devoting all my energy in improving my animation quality. There is no end to improvements in modeling, rendering, or animation; there's no "the best", only "better". I hope I can do better in all these areas.
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The Area:
Prior to the studio you are at now, where did you work?
Xiaoyu:
I was working at EA Shanghai. Since EA started a studio in Shanghai in 2006, I started working at EA. Before that, I was going to school and working freelance on animation and game projects.
The Area:
While working at EA Shanghai, which game titles did you work on? How long did you stay at EA?
Xiaoyu:
I join EA in June 2006, and left in November 2007. The projects I participated in were NCAA '08, Tiger Woods '08, Need for Speed 11, Skate, and Godfather 2.
The Area:
Can you describe to us what an average day was like for you at EA?
Xiaoyu:
EA is a very efficient company, especially EA Shanghai. The amount of work assigned to each person is very precise. I always strived to finish my daily assignment an hour or two before deadline, so I could give myself time to learn some of the more interesting things in other projects, such as Warhammer Online or project planning. At EA, every day is very efficient and fulfilling. Colleagues also like to discuss new technologies or techniques in game production. I really enjoyed the atmosphere there.
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The Area:
What area of study did you take in the Shanghai Jiao Tong University - does it help with what you do now?
Xiaoyu:
I studied Art Design at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. On the surface it didn't seem to help me much, but I believe I was able to improve and excel through studying at the University. Jiao Tong is a top tier university in China, with a strong academic atmosphere. I think it's exactly that kind of academic atmosphere that helped me grow the most.
The Area:
You are currently working at Perfect World, specializing in character development. What is the primary focus of your studio and what are your responsibilities as character artist?
Xiaoyu:
Our number one goal right now is to complete the game in the designated timeline and garner market recognition. Even though I'm a character artist, I shouldn't be limited to only characters or any one single aspect of the game. We are a complete team, when a problem arises in one area, we all help each other out. The character team can help with scenes, and the environment team can also help with characters and provide some suggestions. Making the game outstanding is the responsibility of all of us.
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The Area:
Which application is used at your workplace?
Xiaoyu:
We're using 3ds Max for the project because it's very convenient -- everyone is familiar with it, and there are several plug-ins that increase our productivity.
The Area:
How long have you been using Maya - what was your first 3D package?
Xiaoyu:
My first 3D application was 3ds Max. Afterwards I started learning Maya, and I've since been using Maya for over four years. Although the texture system in Maya is a little troublesome, it is interesting and always attempts to help me with realizing everything I want to make.
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The Area:
You have developed a very interesting selection of characters in your portfolio work - I especially like "Man in Black". Can you tell us about some of your work?
Xiaoyu:
Thank you. I've already forgotten how much time these images took to create, but I remember the longest time I spent was over 2 months on "Dark Phoenix", and the shortest time was a week on "Fa Hai". Every piece was done using Maya + mental ray because I was most familiar with this process. If I needed some special effects, I would create it in another software package and composite it in Maya's rendering.
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"Beanpod Blooming" and "Police Beauty" were the first ones to be completed in this series; at that time I really enjoyed creating sunny girls.

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After that, I also attempted making men and monsters. I wanted the characters in my work to have some subtle emotion; when the audience view them, there could be an exchange, and perhaps even an uplifting of the spirit. When I was making "Man in Black", I wanted to create a series of pig elves; thinking that some of them would be cool, some cute, cruel, or honest. "Man in Black" belongs to the cool group in the bunch – I’ll be making other pig elves in the future. "Fa Hai" was made for a video tutorial, so it was created in a very short time. "Fa Hai" was a monk in the ancient times in China -- a pretentious, cruel, and jealous character. He appears in the book White Snake. I wanted to create his personality according to the book's description.

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The Area:
For example, Man in Black - where did you find the inspiration for the features of his face? What is the word on Fa Hai's forehead mean?
Xiaoyu:
The inspiration for Man in Black came from a combination of pigs and elves. The colour of his eyes is to represent his character: cool, calm, and very professional. His job is a detective; usually people would think pigs are stupid. I had hoped he would appear as a very cool hero.
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The word on Fa Hai's head is "極", in Chinese it means "ultimate" or "superior". In the book's description Fa Hai was like an evil demigod; he had tremendous powers, but was pretentious and cruel. This word "極" represents his prowess.

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The Area:
Having used Mudbox 1.0 for the first time on "Man in Black", what are your impressions of the software?
Xiaoyu:
Since the time I tried Mudbox, I liked it very much. When I first heard about the software, I knew Mudbox was going to be a simple software, but I was also worried that its functions wouldn't be powerful enough. I didn’t expect I would like this software very much. But after trying it, I was more satisfied with the work I created with it than others, and it was a breeze to use. Maybe it was because I wasn't that good with Zbrush. In terms of Mudbox 2009, I've never tried, but I have seen it, its functions are powerful, and it runs very fast. I will definitely try it when I have a chance.
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The Area:
What do you use for creating hair?
Xiaoyu:
I used Maya Hair system for the hair. The body hair was done with Maya Fur.
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The Area:
All of your models have really nice skin render, can you tell us about the shader network that is used for your characters?
Xiaoyu:
About skin rendering, I am continuously learning more about it. Initially, I believed that textures were the most important thing. I would spend a lot of energy on drawing realistic textures, and put very little thought into the shader itself. But afterwards, I discovered that I could not create realistic skin this way and that's when I started to focus on shader networks.
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Even still, I found that the improvements through shader networks wasn't enough. In the end, I realized the importance of lighting when rendering skin. Smooth skin or rough skin colour are all dependent on good lighting. The relationship between indirect lighting and direct lighting is also important. Indirect light is more important than direct light, because indirect lights are very smooth/soft and can make the characters more realistic. In addition, through the application of a shader network, you can also refine or enhance the details on a model (ie. sharp edges or bumps). In light-facing places I would increase the SSS strength, and in areas not facing the light I would slightly dampen it. Furthermore, rendering indoor-space lighting and outdoor-space is different, so the SSS on a character's skin in outdoor-space can be weaker, whereas the skin's SSS in indoor-space would be stronger. Applying these appropriate settings can help with the final results. I think there is still a way to go between my work and realism, but I hope that in my next work, I can convey a feeling of "existence" to my characters.

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The Area:
Is all of this work personal or commercial?
Xiaoyu:
Yes, these are all my personal work.
The Area:
Overall, where do you find the inspiration for visual direction when designing the look of your characters?
Xiaoyu:
Essentially I aim for realism, but I always try to incorporate some interesting details that give each character their own story. This goes back to my 'feeling of existence' theme.
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The Area:
What is the meaning of your alias "CGarfish"?
Xiaoyu:
It really doesn't have a meaning, it just has the pronunciations to the parts of my name :)
The Area:
When can we expect to see the next installment of work :)?
Xiaoyu:
Currently I want to make a teen version of a hero in Warcraft 3. Perhaps when our game is completed in a few months, I will move onto that.
The Area:
Thanks for sharing your work and time with us here on the AREA, we look forward to seeing your next cool character!
Xiaoyu:
Thank you AREA for giving me this opportunity. I will work harder and I hope I can create even better characters :)
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Newest users comments View All 17 Comments
Posted by sumanprabhat on Mar 26, 2011 at 11:34 PM
grate job.
Posted by Umbra on May 27, 2010 at 12:09 AM
Xiaoyu, will you be my CG Godfather ? Dannng you're good!!! I sent you a mail recently, i know you're busy, but i need a reply asap. Thanks
Posted by kaz_azzzam on Mar 12, 2010 at 08:10 AM
nice job
Posted by Wang Xiaoyu on May 02, 2009 at 05:12 AM
Hi sksakoo thank you,My email is cigar_fish@hotmail.com
Posted by sksahoo on May 01, 2009 at 06:03 PM
Wahooo,
Nice great job done.
what's ur mail id?
sksakoo
india