In which Camestros discovers an ability to do caricature.
The story so far. As an off-the-cuff joke I made an avatar of myself as a Lego-like mini-figure. Then, having noticed the similarity between ‘Hugo’ and ‘Lego’ I tried to do a Hugo Award set of figures. While George R.R. Martin looked OK (beard, fisherman’s cap – easy!) my Vox Day figure was a bit nondescript (guy in shades with stubble) and John Scalzi was a generic guy with beard.
A lurker-in-email (my lurkers support me with helpful pictures) suggested this approach:
🙂 Generic heads will solve many issues and asterisk heads are semiotically flexible.
Still I did want to finish a slightly better John Scalzi and give the figure a mallet. However to do that I really needed to get to grips with how textures map onto shapes. This is geometrically fascinating as it deals with how two-dimensional coordinates projects onto a 2D surface that curves through a third dimension. The most encountered instance of this problem is how you get a map of the world to work as a 2D rectangle when the Earth’s surface lie on a sphere (OK, OK an a oblate spheroid).
The solid I’m using for the heads are called capsules in Cheetah3D and are cylinders with curved ends. I haven’t tried to directly replicate the canonical Lego-head as I don’t want exact mini-fig relpicas, just the general idea of them.
To put a texture on the surface of a capsule I need the UV map. U and V in this context are the coordinates of points on the surface. Each point has a UV coordinate and those coordinates can then be rendered as a 2D rectangle in a graphics program. Here is the capsule UV map (with a lego-yellow background).
The triangles at the top and bottom show how the polygons meet up at the north and south pole of the capsule.
I then added some guidelines to help me place the bits of a face.
And then spent a longish time working out hair, specs, beard etc on a separate layer. Which also involved looking at many pictures of his head – yup, trying to make a simple visual pun involving ‘Hugo’ and ‘Lego’ led me into a strange world of trying to find the quintessential picture of John Scalzi’s head. There are a LOT of pictures of John Scalzi I should note – and that really doesn’t help.
But obviously then export the image without all the guidelines.
Hmm still doesn’t look like Mr Scalzi! His head has some eldritch geometry that I cannot master! I have failed caricature. I’m still going to add a mallet and a cat though.