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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperArtWorkshopPainting unlit textured EBONY character
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Author Topic: Painting unlit textured EBONY character  (Read 10443 times)
gimymblert
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« on: August 28, 2014, 08:02:14 AM »

I tried but I seems to only have a heavy hand + I want to maintain a delicate balance to keep the skins as "silver" type of black skin, which does not looks like I succeed. And the manipulated nuance are so small now (yet have an impact) that the likelihood of things being mess up by uncalibrating screen is high, I already struggle with a luminescent random splocth pattern that fucks up colors and values, I don't see flat surface anymore, especially when I go toward the dark.

However if anyone is willing to do a paint over ... go fot it!


EDIT:


Here was the main skins references.

I wanted to go for the most difficult set up
- The darkest stylized black "silver" skin for an average "every women"
- With unlit texture
- 4C type of hair
- low poly (Gamecube era)
- Readable nuanced expressions on face to favor identification
- cute?

Silver refer to something I found on black skin make up expert books, basically it refer to the type of jewelry use to compliment a certain type of dark skin, aka silver or gold.

edit2:
Another solution was to found a strong visual metaphor to represent the idea of this type of skin instead of the skin directly. This I haven't found yet.





Rational of the design


Title: stylized ebony skins problematic


Representation of ebony skin is generally little more than a pallet swap (excluding phenotype). It's a problem because traditional style reduce readability and hinder emotional reading from the face therefore affecting the identification with the character.


Caribbean are a core target, particular care is needed to represent them in their diversity of type equitably.


It is therefore necessary to create a style to correct the visual inequality, ie creating a generic canon style that would be able to represent the spectrum of personality (character archetype) and emotional expressions.


Ideally it would be possible to obtain a style guide that range from simple abstraction to more realistic rendering (the latter already having some documentation available).


Stylization is the main problem as there is little on this subjects.


The main obstacle is in the absence of contrast between emotional receptors (eyes, eyelashes, facial fold, mouth) and the skin.


In real life the quantity of data available reduce this problem, even if pale skins beneficiate from better readability.


The problem is mainly targeting the darker shade of ebony skins.


I have a friend annoyed to not be able to represent herself in game's creation system because generic ebony representation is problematic.


We often have the choice of only light brown skins to denote all black skins or visually disastrous somber coloration.


It became a problem when the main target is hugely culturally conscious about skin nuances (caraibean effectively having many words to describe combinations of skin nuances and phenotype)


Dark skins, ebony skins in particular, are notoriously difficult to work with. The high specularity allow them to reflect any light colors and follow volume in complex way.


Fact is most tutorials on coloring, shadowing and representation of skins target pale skins, especially cartoon and stylized one.


Doesn't mean nothing exist: manga enjoys formal representation of dark skins using specific screen tone.


Black movement have created many styles to represent themselves but it is more about addressing the cultural problem and less the functional one.


Better functional representation of ebony skins would ameliorate readability.


Manga who have more functional design, specifically in flat color representation (the simpler after pen and ink drawing) use white or colors for hairs to increase contrast when skin is too dark, this ameliorate readability considerably as the main problem concentrate within hairs.


However white hairs tend to denote exceptional character and colors denote fashion personality, reducing expressive range of this code, specifically when representing the average ideal everymen.


Beyond manga, more artistic works played with colored skins, generally using dark red and dark blue.


It effectively avoid contrast problems but also make more difficult identification to character, specifically in the case of self representation in a character creator.


In the hip hop industry they avoid this problem by using emphasis on body silouhette, ebony women see their feminine attribute accentuated (breasts and asses) creating the "smooth" stereotype.


But this focus on the body is made to the detriment of the face, therefore personality and emotions. This reduce black women to an object.


We can contrast this with the counter example of kawai type of manga characters where the face is huge on a less emphasize body with emotions and personality quirk exaggerated.


Another solution is to exaggerate specular effect to idealized skins with a quasi metallic rendering. It's from the facts that ebony skins define volume mostly by lights rather than shadows, in contrast to pale skins where volume are mostly define by shadows.


It allows to quickly determine thoughtless representations where simple pallet swap fail to take this into account.


This style is very present within superheroes where metallic skins convey strength, maybe also why you see so many black in the colossus archetype.


Unfortunately this representation is overkill for average normal people.


The other problem is that specularity introduce a lot of high frequencies lines that are stealing focus from emotional receptors and lower their readability.


Emotional receptor is at the heart of the problem, they are key to decode emotions, regardless of skin color.


An average looks will typically have dark hairs on dark skins, the challenge is to make those receptors more visible to ameliorate readability of emotions and facilitate identification toward the character.


The mouth is the least problematic part, there is many type of contrast that works to make it pop.


The principal problems are in the eyes area, eyebrows are particularly delicate to handle. Stylized rendering is based on efficiency, the least amount of effort for a maximum expressive impacts, a simple line with variable thickness is enough to represent eyebrows.


The fact it is only just one color surface only give us access to its internal quality and the border of the shape to manipulate, which allow for unsatisfying range of elements to find a solution, just modifying color will mostly give impression of make up application.


Eyelashes are also very important and have two graphical interfaces, one with the skin and another with the eye's sclera.
Skin interface
Eye interface


White is a problem against the white sclera of the eyes and don't register as belonging to an average person, black is a problem against the darkness of the skin.


Yet eyelashes are very important to make the eyes pop and the external contour allows to express a wide range of diverse personality.It's a very valuable tool that is lost against the contrast problem and create a decrease in expressivity of black skin within existing styles.


Facial folds are easier to manage, light being for dark skins what shadow is to pale skins, it allows to stylize the fold using stylized fresnel lights to make them pop.


In conclusion, most of the problem come from the eyes area, mostly eyebrows and eyelashes, important vectors of expressiveness and emotions of a character.


Solving those problems (directly or indirectly by introducing new styles and codes) would greatly improve stylized representation of ebony skins.


ATTEMPTS AT FINDING SOLUTION IN 2D






Here is another experiment I did:
i took a black manga character and tweak the color until I was satisfied
the original is top left

Never read it, just found the character on google image Who, Me?

also corrected the darker version to something that actually works




Edit:
I added a 3rd version above by adding the image to itself twice (to simulate the shader effect in case of mario galaxy like fresnel to make contour pop). Not bad at all

edit2
added the "add"x1 on the right of the "add"x2 version
the "add" version are closer to a satisfying version of what I want to acheive.

The version I tweaked all feel more natural to me by a long mile. It's not blue despite what teh eyes tell you, except the bottom right of each image because of the sky blooming into it.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2016, 10:13:30 PM by gimymblert » Logged

gimymblert
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« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2014, 08:04:46 AM »

- snip -

Gimym JIMBERT: I tried to give it a go. I included the color palette/test I made. It looks way off on one of my monitors though. Maybe it's time I calibrate them.


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gimymblert
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« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2014, 11:19:25 AM »

The paintover mirrored

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« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2014, 11:29:35 AM »



Mirrored and added to itself to avoid crushed shadow (more closer to teh skin without light effects)
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« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2014, 07:14:55 PM »




 Huh?

edit:

Going nowhere TM

There is something I miss with color I don't know Sad
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s-spooky g-g-ghosts
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« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2014, 06:26:42 AM »

My take on your problem:


Round things reflect some light on the edges, even white skins have that. I also added more light on her forehead - I mean, unless her eyes are glowing, there should be just as much light. But anyway that's a quick edit to help you find your way, don't treat it as a case closed. The lips definitely could get some lights on the edges or somewhere.

and seriously, you couldn't make your post longer, could you :D
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gimymblert
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« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2014, 07:19:02 AM »

IT's 3D a fresnel would be shader, but unpractical in unlit texture, I show this idea in the 2D mock up above. HOwever I was unable for some reason to make the forehread highlight Sad lack of practice ... Note this is a paint over and not the final model.

Currently the "production" model (face) is locked at the version below, until I make something better.

I'll tweak the lips color and eyes (separated model) those are not yet locked.

However I keep this as an ongoing research in the long term.

Thanks for taking the time to contribute, I appreciate!
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« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2014, 10:53:22 AM »

So, did you figure anything out?
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« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2014, 08:44:40 AM »

This won't help your current problem but we tend to embrace the mysteriousness of hard to read dark faces. It is an aspect of the particular beauty of black people. Vive la différence!
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gimymblert
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« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2014, 09:01:25 AM »

So, did you figure anything out?

Nope, at least I can mitigate the effect, but no creative breakthrough that side step or rdefine the matter. I'll move on the project and revisit this in another context

This won't help your current problem but we tend to embrace the mysteriousness of hard to read dark faces. It is an aspect of the particular beauty of black people. Vive la différence!
Thanks for chime in Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2014, 10:23:24 AM »

I think I may have a solution for you...
To give the impression of the darkest African skin,  I always have seen it done best, and myself use a blue colored specular as shown blow.

you were correct when you said:
Quote
Another solution is to exaggerate specular effect to idealized skins with a quasi metallic rendering. It's from the facts that ebony skins define volume mostly by lights rather than shadows, in contrast to pale skins where volume are mostly define by shadows.
and therein lies the solution imo.  (Except don't lean towards a white/grey specular but instead a cool colored specular.)





hope this helps  Smiley
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gimymblert
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« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2014, 11:13:23 AM »

I'll will consider this for future test once I resume research after my current game task.
I want to point that I will try to deal with the biggest range of darker skin color when possible, not all dark skin are equal, they also vary in hue and saturation, pinpointing that in stylization is also important. Now I'm noticing a trend to make dark skin too red, which is different from some healthy real people skin around me, it's a subtle difference I have yet to grasp.
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« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2014, 08:07:08 AM »

I thought you might mention urbance? Have you seen some of their character design & aesthetics ? Very cool graphic design that embraces dark tones.
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« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2014, 08:33:16 AM »

Yeah thanks!
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« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2014, 12:44:06 AM »

 a good case study would be people from Senegal or Burkina Faso.

The issue that you are having is the fact that black people from different region absorb light at different amounts which can in some case give two people who are the same shade of black different colors.

You need to start with a lighter shade of brown and build on-top of it. Since you are using blender make use of the ramp shadier. Add 3 colors onto the shader, three different shades of brown and for the highlight use this shade of brown #BC8F8F and step the brightness up or down until you have the color that you like.

It is possible to achieve a better skin by using the SSS milk shader (make sure to disable color override) or the ketchup shader. Using one of the skin ones will require you to set up a IPO curve to tweak the value and that is just a pain in the ass.

If you want to add sweat or sheen there are different ways to get that, however i recommend making sure you base colors are correct first.

TL:DR form, Layer colors using ramp shader (don't forget to flip normals)
When choosing your color Aim for a color two shades lighter than you think you need and add one darker, one lighter and brown #BC8F8F to use as a highlight.

You are going to have to tweak with the lighting but i find that lambert is great for toon shading with relatively low specularity (start with none and increase it until you have the right lighting) and you can use the toon lighting for the specular map.

When you get a color close to what you want, you can either decompose the texture and save it as a texture for later use so the only thing you have to worry about is correct lighting in your game.

The lips are not pink. They appear pink but they are typically a rose brown. Both the top and bottom lip are the same color with the middle third of the lips (both of them both horizontally across the lips and horizontally between the lips are the same rose-brown color.


I contacted a few of my african friends and i made a general texture using ramp shaders to generate a case study. Note that all of the paces in this image used the same 3 colors and 2 specular colors for composition.



It should be noted that you are having problems with lighting around the eyes and the sides of the fact because most black people face do not reflect specular light that dramatically without the aid of special lights or if they are sweaty.

I have not used blender in about 5 years. The model was provided by blender-swap.
I hope this helps.
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gimymblert
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« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2014, 10:40:30 AM »

Academic reference for (mostly realistic) skin rendering
http://graphics.ucsd.edu/~henrik/papers/skin_bssrdf/
http://graphics.ucsd.edu/~henrik/papers/skin-analysis/
http://gl.ict.usc.edu/Research/LFR/
http://gl.ict.usc.edu/Research/DigitalEmily/
http://gvi.seas.harvard.edu/ext/facescanning/index.html



https://www.google.com/search?q=capturing+skin&safe=off&espv=2&biw=1836&bih=1019&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=c2FBVNqBJsKRPOq8gLgC&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ#safe=off&tbm=isch&q=skin+reflectance+model
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« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2014, 08:02:56 PM »

Those are really awesome links. Here's an artist who really thinks about skin tone and made an awesome piece. It's huge so not img linking it from their site. Just click to see. http://payload127.cargocollective.com/1/7/249631/4853406/integral_andpets_1200.jpg
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gimymblert
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« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2014, 03:33:45 PM »

I tried but I seems to only have a heavy hand + I want to maintain a delicate balance to keep the skins as "silver" type of black skin, which does not looks like I succeed. And the manipulated nuance are so small now (yet have an impact) that the likelihood of things being mess up by uncalibrating screen is high, I already struggle with a luminescent random splocth pattern that fucks up colors and values, I don't see flat surface anymore, especially when I go toward the dark.

However if anyone is willing to do a paint over ... go fot it!


EDIT:


Here was the main skins references.

I wanted to go for the most difficult set up
- The darkest stylized black "silver" skin for an average "every women"
- With unlit texture
- 4C type of hair
- low poly (Gamecube era)
- Readable nuanced expressions on face to favor identification
- cute?

Silver refer to something I found on black skin make up expert books, basically it refer to the type of jewelry use to compliment a certain type of dark skin, aka silver or gold.

edit2:
Another solution was to found a strong visual metaphor to represent the idea of this type of skin instead of the skin directly. This I haven't found yet.


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gimymblert
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« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2014, 03:35:36 PM »

Ican't shake my feeling that red is wrong, it does not work well with my everyday experience.
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« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2014, 04:39:09 PM »

Felix von Luschan Skin Color chart:

Though this chart doesn't seem quite right, either.

It might be best to go with direct observation, because it is going to be really hard to find photos that aren't color-adjusted on the internet unfortunately. When observing, bear in mind ambient and direct light will have a significant effect on what you are seeing color-wise. There is the added problem that skin is really not one color, it is many colors in various patches and layering over the whole body.

From what I have observed, especially outside of photography, the bluish tones that people with really dark skin sometimes have might be a complimentary color effect. A low saturation yellow put next to a high saturation yellow will appear blue. If I had to take a wild guess I'd say the skin color is going on a yellow(lights)-red(mids)-yellow(darks) gradient with it desaturating progressively as it gets lighter or darker.

I will have to play around with idea a bit more and see if I can't come up with a few gradients that work closer to what you have observed.
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