A Tachikoma is a light tank on four legs, equipped with a highly sophisticated Artificial Intelligence. They occur in the Animemovie / series "Ghost in the Shell" and are portrayed throughout the series as very curious beings, even childish sometimes. Each of the units, used by a police special force called "Section 9", develops a distinct personality, even though they share all of the accumulated knowledge gained during their missions and start to make decisions autonomously, without human input or orders.This image shows one of these units after a tough battle (against whom, that is up to your imagination). But even after such a rough time, the Tachikoma seems to be "friendly" and "happy", but that leads to the question if a "Machine" can actually develop feelings similar to our own...if they can aquire a "Ghost", as it is called in the series...
I'd think: one day it might be possible.
This image was done for a 3D Contest at a local Anime Convention in Austria, the Maconvention. I have to say, I like the idea of such a contest and I do hope it will be held again next year. To show a bit of the background of the image, I have made a .pdf file in which I talk in more detail about the "Making of" and also have made some (gorgeous
) other images to look at. I will probably upload some of them later on (and others, too, featuring the cellshaded version of my model).Click here: [link] if you're interested in the "Making of". Sadly it's only in german...but you can still look at the images and Blender-screenshots, if you don't understand the text
To summarize it: I started this thing in January this year. My intention was to make much more than only a stillimage but in the end I was too inexperienced to actually produce a cool animation during that time. There are many reasons why I failed to do it: too little time, too little motivation due to some errors in the rigging of the tachikoma (which made it impossible to make animation quick and easy). Nevertheless, I'm glad the contest entry was finished soon enough, though. On the technical details.Modeling
Modeling done in Blender, as usual. This was the easy part, I used quite a lot of reference images (64 images and of course the series) and the funny thing is: on each of them the Tachikomas look a bit different. Therefore I decided to make my own design...still, it's pretty much the model of the first series (Stand Alone Complex: 1st Gig), maybe not 100% but close.
On a side note, as mentioned before, the model is completely rigged and ready for animation. If you take a look at the additional zip file (available if you follow the link above), you can see the rig in the Image "screens2".Materials, Textures & Rendering
One of the main aspects in this image was, of course, the texturing. I really tried my best this time to paint good ones in Photoshop. Most of the Tachikoma Model is UV-Unwrapped (making good maps is quite easy in Blender, thanks to its excellent UV tools!) and I made about 15 distinct UV Maps for the different parts of the image, with a Color/Normal/Specular map for each of them. Phew, that was quite some work and definitely the most tedious part. Most maps are 1500x1500 to 2000x2000 to get some good quality out of them. However, that brought my computer to its limits since I have only 1 GB of RAM (this will change soon!). Luckily, I have some tricks up my sleeve...
Rendering was done in Blender as well. That's where I had the most control over materials and rendersettings. I used Materialnodes for the more complex materials (like the basic, blue shader - that was the most complex setup - you can see it in the screenshots I have packed into the zip file with the .pdf).
Lighting used the new and extremely cool Approximate Ambient Occlusion (amazingly fast! I doubt I'll use real AO often anymore) and a simple setup of three lamps, one simulating the moonlight, two the strong light sources at the top of that building.
In the end the final image rendered in about 8 hours.Post Processing
Actually there was not much left to do in Photoshop. Only the composition of the Background (a photo by Tomo Yun, see below) and the foreground (my 3D scene), adding a title and a little color correction. Done.Resources used
The Background Image is copyright by Tomo Yun, free for use and to be found at [link]
. Thanks for the highquality shot, by the way
Photos for the textures come from the well known site cgtextures.com
, also free for everyone to use and another excellent resource for any 3D artist.
Design of the Tachikoma is based on the Series "Ghost in the Shell"
, written and directed by Kenji Kamiyama, produced by Production I.G.Phew...
That's it for now. I'll upload more of my Tachikomas in the next few weeks, I guess, since they are soooo cute and adoreable. I really wish they were real Anyway, hope you like it, make sure to let me know what you think!