Cross-Discipline Post-Mortem

Hey everyone! I’m back again today to finish off the last of my blog posts! First of which, is my cross-discipline post, and I am happy to say that my cross-discipline work went better than it did last trimester. While I still had some failures in trying to find projects to join, I managed to find something with help.

Wargantuan

This project by a group of Studio 1 games students needed 3D pixel models of their main races, the Celestiant, the Treehemoth, the Graviathan, and the Coalossus. I chose to make them their Treehemoth.

The description of the character that I recieved was basically a Treant, or a living tree, much like the treants from World of Warcraft or Tree-Rex from Skylanders Giants. So that’s what I looked at for reference.

I found all these treants to take inspiration from on Google (I could have grabbed them from the games they exist in, but I’d probably would have gotten distracted.) With these images I was able to make this:

Lots of vines. Vines were hard to do, I tried to remember about gravity while drawing them out. The program used to make this model is called MagicaVoxel. It’s a 3D pixel art program. I had a lot of fun with it while making the Treehemoth, experimenting with all the different tools, and whether it was better to use my drawing tablet or my mouse. Well, I never did work out how to use this program with a mouse, so everything was done using my Wacom tablet.

This was an interesting learning experience, and I’m glad I got to do it. The game ‘Wargantuan’ can be found here.

Other Attempts

A few of my other attempts at cross-discipine work were offers to make audio visualizers for audio students. At one point I asked if I could sit in on their recording session as well so that I might be able to revise for my Signal Flow test which I had coming up in my Audio elective subject. However I wasn’t able to do this before my test. One audio student who did reply to me did keep in contact for while before he stopped communicating. It was unfortunate, however I couldn’t keep trying with dwindling time left in the trimester.

I am happy to say that I was able to do cross-discipline work this trimester, despite the failed attempts at communication, and I am happy with my Treehemoth model. I look foward to next trimester, and I also hope I have the chance to experiment more with MagicaVoxel in future.

~Icetail~

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ANI210 – Aftermath Post-Mortem

For the whole trimester, my teammates and I have been working on our Aftermath project. The brief for this project asked us to create a game environment in Unreal Engine that showed the aftermath of some event. My team chose to create the aftermath of a bar brawl (come on guys! What’s wrong with the aftermath of an office Nerf war?) set in the Wild West.

Plans & Pitches

First; let me show you my concepts.

thumbnails

Wow, it has been so long since I looked at these images, it’s almost jarring to see. These images were born from much research into Wild Western saloons. As you can see, I was quite bad at perspective at certain angles, but I do like to believe that my perspective skills have improved.

The research process felt a little chaotic, as if we were just collecting images without actually knowing if they fit with the style and time period we were going for. But we managed to figure out the style we wanted for our saloon, and our group leader told us the year that we were looking for and we were able to start piecing together our style guide.

We wanted – note; wanted – to create and texture our assets in an Overwatch style so we got a whole lot of images of the Overwatch map ‘Hollywood’. (For those who don’t know; Overwatch is a game made by Blizzard Entertainment.) This map has wild western buildings that we could use as reference, and we grabbed images of other Overwatch maps to get a feel of the style.

With the rest of the images on our style guide/mood board, we collected images of the interior of saloons from the time period and other small props that lay around the saloon, such as bottles, barrels, spitoons, wanted posters etc. From these we could keep concepting and finish pre-production.

We typed up a project plan we continued to draw concepts and/or started modelling. However during our project, we never looked at the project plan, it just sat in our Google Drive, not being touched and we progressed. We should have followed this plan closely, perhaps then we would not have handed the environment in so late. Without the project plan, it is most likely safe to compare our progress during the project to a blocked up funnel. We needed better planning for this project and we needed to stick to it.

Creative Work & Processes Used

From there we went onto modelling. One of the main problems faced was backwards compatibility between 3dsMax 2017 and 3dsMax 2016, for when we were modelling at home and at uni. I, personally, kept forgetting to save my files in a format that could be opened in 2016 version of Max, which really impacted how quickly I could finish assets. I also discovered that an asset you create in 2016 doesn’t stay in the 2016 format once you save a new version of the asset in 2017, that caught me up a few times while I was working.

There’s a few of my assets. It was interesting trying to work out how to make the round tables (I made a small and large one), and chairs. It was also interesting trying to work out how to break the crate. I didn’t have many problems with the modelling part of this project, and my favourite asset that I made was this one:

Saloon_model

For some reason, I just really love this model, it’s so amazing! *hem hem* Enough self praise. From modelling come texturing, and well… you’ve seen a few on my models, so I’ll show you some of my texture maps.

I enjoy texturing a lot, and the floor, dartboard and the texture for the saloon sign were some of my best this time around. The yellow texture in the corner there is for some gold bars that were in the environment. The floor was the hardest out of all my textures to make, the dartboard being the second hardest, as I had to determine the length of the floor plank, however, once I had worked that out it was a simple matter of copy and past to get the rest of the planks there.

When everything was textured we then began to place it all together in Unreal Engine, though in all honesty, we should have started this step sooner, while we were modelling and texturing. I had a problem with my broken crate pointed out to me, in which the inside of the crate was invisible due to the way I rendered out the image. Unfortunately I did not know how to fix this until yesterday, when our lecturer showed me the settings that were incorrect, as such, it was not fixed in the environment.

We discussed what triggered events we would add to the environment, and at the beginning of the project we had a lot of triggers, unfortunately, due to us running out of time, and a lack of assets, the only trigger we ended up adding was a proximity trigger on the piano that would begin playing “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin when the player moved near the piano.

From the screenshots above, you can see that we didn’t end up sticking to our planned style of Overwatch. This is because when we began texturing, some of us tried to stick to the style, whereas others went with a more realistic style, so our textures ended up being mixed matched. However I think our environment turned out alright anyway.

Project Management & Teamwork

Our project was handed in well past its due date. This happened, first, because we overestimated how much work we needed to do to create the environment, and then later, because we all decided to focus more on the next project; our obstacle courses, over finishing our environment.

While working on this, we never realized how close the due date was or how long it would take to put the environment together in Unreal. All the weeks up to the due date were filled with modelling and texturing, and a week to import it into Unreal, then export and upload. Our project was almost too ambitious. We should have noticed the amount of backlog in assets that was happening and cut less important assets from our list.

Another problem was communication and misunderstanding. Using Slack to communicate is both harder and easier than talking face to face. While, yes, it was easier than waiting till we could meet up to discuss the project; over the internet, you lack everything you use to communicate except your words. The group would discuss details in the group chat on Slack, trying to explain their ideas, but since we were unable to gesture to images effectively, these discussions grew more heated. We should have organised to meet up at uni more often to have group meetings so that these details could have been sorted out properly.

Near the time when we were meant to hand in our environment three of us were discussing the possibility of asking out team leader to step down as it was felt that she wasn’t doing her job to the best of her abilities. I had noted that it was far to late to be considering a change in leadership, and while my teammates conceded to my point, it was easy to see that they still wanted to press the point further. Any problems with leadership should have been dealt with in the first weeks of of the project, not talking about it towards the end of it.

But aside from this, I enjoyed working with them, and I am happy with the end result of the project. I hope I have more chance in the future to work with an amazing team.

~Icetail~

Updated: 9th of May, 2017, 11.45am. 1.15pm. 4.12pm

Animation: Asset Production

Hello to everyone reading my blog! For the past couple of weeks I have been working on a polearm/spear asset that is suitable for use in a game engine, as stated by my assessment brief. The brief stated that the asset had to be a hard surface model, not organic.

Model 4In total my polearm is measured around 400cm high with a  total of 204 polygons. The average character/weapon model in games has a poly count between 10k and 30k. While my polearm might not have as much detail as a weapon from a game like World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy, I still like the way it turned out, and my weapon will run in online games, since it only has one texture that it has to render.

Hollyleaf-WeapWhat gave me the idea for this polearm was my character’s weapon in World of Warcraft. I really liked the exotic look of the polearm, namely; the shape of the spearhead and the detail along the staff and on the blade. I also looked up images of other spears on Google, to try to inspire my design.

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From these images I sketched my design for my polearm. DrawingScanned

Model 5As I was modelling my polearm in 3ds Max I decided that I really wanted to give it a glow or a dust cloud effect like the Death Knight weapons in World of Warcraft after Runeforging. It was a cool idea, but I don’t have the time to work out how to add it, so, unfortunately, I do not have the glow around the blade of the weapon. If you do know how to, or you can direct me to a tutorial that can show me how to add it, then please comment below, I would really like to know how to add the glow to my polearm.

Polearm-UV-Difuse M2Due to lack of time, I also didn’t get to make a high-poly model of my asset, but my texture makes up for what I couldn’t do with normal maps and etc, although my texture could still be better, where the runes are on the blade and the way the green design is spread.

Modelling the polearm didn’t bring many problems, although some edges and faces didn’t shape the way I wanted them to, potentially due to the fact that my computer mouse sometimes fails to move or moves unexpectedly. Several times the modelling would annoy me too much and I would have to force myself away from the computer, causing me to lose time.

These issues aside, I am still pleased with the way my polearm turned out. It looks amazing and I hope you think so too. If you have any suggestions please comment and, again, if you can direct me towards tutorials for particle/cloud/glow effects in either 3ds Max, Adobe After Affects or Adobe Premiere Pro, I would gladly welcome advice.

polearm-final-render.jpg

 

Reference List

Animation: Pirates Gold Advertisement

Hello to my readers. Yeah the title of this post is stupid, sorry about that. Also I’m sorry that I’m not posting as often. Maybe I’ll post some of my drawings that I have to fill my visual art journal for my drawing module if I have time.

So as the title of this post suggests, I am posting about an animation. The second assessment for my 3D animation module. The task was to produce a finished animated advertisement for a Pirates Gold game. Most of the assets were already finished for the assessment. The chest for the scene had to be modelled from scratch, textured and then complied with the rest of the scene. Then lights had to be added to the scene, as well as the animation, which then got rendered into a sequence of images. These images then got thrown into Adobe Premiere Pro, added title screens and music, and exported into MPEG4 format in HD quality.

Modelling the Chest

Chest Base 1Chest Base 2

Modelling the chest was easy, but there were some problems with my mouse, where it stopped moving while I was moving vertices, edges and faces.

Chest Lid 1Chest Lid 2Chest Lid 3Model Fin

UV Mapping

Unwrapping the model was hard, and the unwrap didn’t seem to work until I followed tutorials that showed me where I needed to the model to get the planes to flatten onto the UV map.

UV Mapping 2UV Mapping 3UV Mapping 4

Texturing

Texturing

The texturing of the chest was fun. I noticed in Adobe Photoshop where some of the UVs were almost too close, forcing me to be more careful while using my brush and eraser tools when drawing textures. When I placed the stars on the chest lid, I inspired by the DLC episode in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, where pink stars are a part of two character’s designs.

Chest_Diffuse

Animating the Scene

After the texture gets added to the Chest, it and the rest of the assets were added to a new scene and then animated. Unfortunately I forgot to screenshot this while I was doing it, so when I loaded it on a different device my textures were missing. I kept the animation simple, since it is my first 3D animation.

Animation

Rendering

The rendering of this project took three days approximately, with the project being rendered using two computers. The render farm got the project rendered in half the time it would have taken on a single computer. I forgot to take a screenshot of this part of the project.

Compiling the Video

In the compiling of all the video aspects, I had trouble with Adobe Premiere Pro, in which when I imported the image sequence the images were out of order. My lecturer managed to help me fix that problem. The music used in the video is from The Secret of Monkey Island, by LucasArts.

Compiling 1Compiling 2Compiling 3

All in all, the creation of this video was fun. It makes me eager to learn more. In a side note; I wish to post the video into this post, or maybe a different post, but I don’t know how. Is it like adding images? If you know the answer to this question could you please comment on this post?

Thanks!

Blog Task – Highlights of 3D Graphics

Computer graphics is the process of generating, storing and manipulating geometric objects, and subsequently rendering or generating a scene into an image.

oscilloscopeComputer graphics has its foundations buried deep in the 1950’s when Ben Laposky manipulated the analogue beam of an oscilloscope to create an image  and record it onto highspeed film.  Ivan Sutherland formulated ideas for the basic shapes and processes now used in computer graphics and he is considered the founder of computer graphics.

As computer technology has developed, the computer hardware became more and more capable of performing the basic processes at greater and greater rates, eventually enabling people to create 3D graphics.

For years, 3D graphics has been confined within the computer and only able to be viewed via 2D screens. This limitation has restricted the virtual 3D world to something that looks tangible but can never be touched until the invention of the 3D printer.

153D printing is an extension of 3D graphics which allows a 3D model to be printed out into something that can be touched, held and moved around.  This can help film makers and animators to see set layouts and character designs, and in some circumstances create stop motion animation that can simulate the likeness of CGI.

_88282173_13Recent advances in 3D printing have enabled doctors to print living body parts opening new opportunities for the medical practice.  This is, to date, one of the best uses of 3D graphics, and will continue to develop and improve as techniques are refined, and could one day save lives.

Reference List

Blog Task – More About 3D Animation

uvmp030g_big

UV Mapping in a nutshell is creating the net shape of a 3D object to place a texture or skin on the mesh to give the object a more realistic appearance. The UV Map takes all the planes on your 3D object and lays them out on a flat 2D plane, creating the unwrap which will allow for seamless texturing if made correctly.

textures-uv-fsmTextures and Shaders give a 3D model their form and colour and shadows and highlights. Utilising the UV Map, texturing adds detailed graphics to a net shape that folds around the 3D object. A Shader applies a set off instructions that tell the computer how to display the 3D model, dictating how the model reacts to light, affecting the opacity, glossiness and more.

rig01_03_smRigging a 3D model creates a digital skeleton that allow animators to mould the model into the different poses for an animation. The rig is bound to the 3D mesh, and is made up of many “bones” and joints, like a real skeleton. The character rig is usually compiled by the character technical director.

 

MikuHatsune-481x327Animation uses frames with successive pictures or puppet positions to create the illusion of movement. Animation has a series of keyframes, which mark the important poses in the animation loop, and transitional frames, that fill the gaps between keyframes, making the animation run smoothly. There are three main types of animation, traditional, stop-motion and computer generated (CGI), which can either be 2D or 3D animation.

 

Reference List

Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the images, they came from sites in my reference list.

Blog Task – Pre-Production & 3D Modeling

Pre-Production is the term used to describe the steps taken to prepare everything for a film’s production. This includes scouting for shoot locations, wardrobe preparations (including props), identifying special effects, drawing a production schedule, constructing sets, and finalising and looking over the script.

story_board 9272077422_428a72b862_b

It gives a look into where the directors want the project to go, giving them clear goals and letting them plan to fit their budget and timeframe.

3D Modeling is just making a figure in a three-dimentional form, but the term is used only when refering to computer generated models. 3D Modeling is the process that turns a primitive object, for example – a box, into a more complex object, such as a castle fortress. It relies on wireframes and polygon faces to create and hold the object’s shape.

3d-model.jpg

Programs, such as 3DsMax by AutoDesk, are built for 3D modeling and rendering, with simple, easy-to-learn interfaces, letting animators create their models, rigs and animation loops with ease.

Reference List

Disclaimer: All images are from Google Images, I don’t own any of them. All rights go to their respective owners.