First Game Environment

Let it be said that I am a 2D animator and have no joy for 3D modeling or animating. However, messing around inside Unreal Engine is fun, especially when I can test whatever I piece together by shooting it with the default gun supplied by the program. For the past week and a bit I have been working on a game environment at the prompting of my lecturer as a “Bootcamp” to teach us the basics of Unreal Engine so we can use the skills in later projects this trimester (and in our following trimesters).

To start off with we modeled a wall section, a roof section and a floor section. We were also supplied with boring, but somewhat interesting textures that showed how big each asset was in square metres.

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These textures graced the models that were made for a while and we moved onto building the environment in Unreal. This was interesting, dragging all the assets around to create a game level of sorts, no matter how weird and incomplete it looked. It was also fun discovering how high the default player character could jump and experimenting with my different assets to create platforms and stairs.

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As can be noted in the images above… I might or might not have messed with the light colour and made it a blood coloured tint.

After we finished blocking out the environment we were told to create our own textures for the blocks we used. I was unable to work out how to attach the different maps to materials in the material editor in Unreal, that will require some extra research in the future. These are two of the texture maps I created, however they are not present in the final itteration of this environment.

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They are meant to be wall panels, however I preferred the supplied textures in Unreal, and because of due dates, I didn’t have the time to mess around in Photoshop to create my own. So instead – this is what my final environment looked like:

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EDIT: I forgot to add this when I first typed this, so I shall add it now. Continuing on about textures, the most common texture properties used in material shaders in Unreal Engine are the diffuse, roughness, normal and metallic maps. The diffuse map controls the colours of the asset and this works alongside the normal map, which governs how light reacts when it hits the object. The roughness and metallic maps control how shiny an asset is and whether or not the asset is meant to be made of metal or not. Roughness and metallic maps are either black, white or a shade of grey. Normal maps are usually a blue, with darker blue and purple patches that show depth.

This modular approach to building game environments is interesting, I’d love to see what my group and I manage to create with Unreal for our Wild West themed “Aftermath” project. This Bootcamp to making game environments is useful, and I’m glad to say that I learnt much.

See you all in my next post!

~Icetail~

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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.

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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 – More About 3D Animation

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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.