Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Let the free time commence!

so yeah...I'm posting a lot less now that university is done for the year, I've been out enjoying myself with friends a lot and generally having a great time

In between the fun I've been trying to get a bit of work done, I've mostly been working with Mudbox as it is an amazing program that can produce some amazing pieces of work...but I'm not very good at it. It may be my lack of traditional art skills or maybe I just need to get used to all of the tools and tricks of Mudbox... but at the end of the day a bit of practice will help.

So first I took the basic human male mesh that comes with Mudbox and then tried sculpting onto that adding muscle definition using the Classic Human Anatomy by Valerie Winslow. I had some problems with getting the general form right, starting with the base mesh I found it more difficult to move the mesh around to get the shape right, for example I struggled with the shoulders and arms as I wanted to add a bit more muscle to them areas.

Never the less this took about an evening to do, I was quite pleased with some bits, others not so much, but it was still fun to make...

Another thing I decided to work on was a gun, something common in games which I still haven't gotten round to making since I moved over to art this year. I started making it in 3DS Max using a side on view of a M4 Commando and then took it into Mudbox to sculpt on to. The modelling took about an evening and the sculpting took around 3 hours. I set myself a poly limit of 1000 and it ended up being 1044 polys, so close enough...

I'm quite pleased with how it turned out in the end and proved to be very useful for improving my hard surface sculpting which I didn't really know how to do. After playing around with different techniques for about an hour I managed to find a way which worked for me so I stuck with that for the remainder of the project.

I intend to keep working on fast projects like this so that I can improve my work speed as well as practice lots of different techniques while I have the free time. Very soon I'll be beginning work on the 3rd year major project to get a good head start on that, so I will have some more complete works then.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

and rest...

Finally... major project has been handed in. It's been fun and a brilliant learning experience that has set me up for next years project and I'm kinda sad it's over. But now I have this thing called free time, I don't know if you've heard of it or not, its quite enjoyable.

For now all I have to do is make an industry standard showreel by tomorrow evening in preparation for this years Glammies in case we get a nomination, not going to happen but making the show reel should be a decent experience so I'm not complaining.

During this free time I'm going to start working on my 3rd year project to get a nice big head start so there is less stress and more time for polish. We've already gathered our group together and we are having a meeting tomorrow after the showreel hand in to get everything sorted out and come up with our initial idea so we can dish out the work and get going. Also over summer I'll be working on a few of my personal projects just to improve my work and keep me busy. For one I would like to take someone's concept images and model a character based on them, this is a test as I feel many of my models and textures are lacking and this is probably due to my pre production, so I will test this theory and see what happens...

But enough about theoretical futures... here is the course showreel I handed in for my major project.

Credit also goes to Matt Watson and Hollie Sheppard who provided some of the Ogre animations and to Joe Hornsby who created Ogre animations as well as setting up all of the UDK stuff for characters and animations and helped to set up the weapons and game.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

FMX and Stuttgart

Hey everyone, it's been a week or so since my last post and that is because I have been in Germany for the FMX festival in Stuttgart. It was an amazing trip, a great laugh and really interesting, hopefully I will be able to make it again next year, money permitting, and I will be able to show my work off to industry professionals.

There was some really interesting talks I went to see, and many that I didn't get to make, the highlights included Building Creatures at Weta, the many John Carter talks about creatures and environments, Animating Reptiles presented by Stuart Sumida and the Mass Effect 3 Tech Art.

Manning the University of Glamorgan stall was also fun, I got to meet some really interesting people from many backgrounds and had a good few conversations with people, and while I wasn't talking to people I was either talking to other people manning the stall with me or spending it looking up information on unity for next years project.

But back to major project...I didn't get any work done over the FMX week as I didn't take it with me, I thought it would be too much hassle taking it there and back and I wasn't going to get much work done anyway, but that obviously adds much more stress on this final week, and I have plenty to do for the Friday submittal.

Since the last post I fixed the problem with the club mesh flashing, I only had to make a physics asset for some unknown reason but trying to find a solution to this took quite a while, but I made it and then wrote some script to reference the physics asset so that works now.

I have also been working on the textures for lots of the models after the 1st submittal feedback, I have pretty much started the club and crossbow textures from scratch, in some cases I think this worked but in other cases it has made it quite awkward to work such as changing the firing mechanism of the crossbow from wood to metal.

No pretty pictures this time I'm afraid, no time to work on that, but will be posting some of my turnarounds and screencaps on here as I create them for submittal

Saturday, 5 May 2012

2 weeks to go....

And only one week of work time left...

Scary thought...

So the deadline is now 13 days away, and about 6 of them days are taken up with my FMX trip to Germany, so realistically I have 7 days left of work left on the project that I feel like I've been working on for years

The project is nearing an end (both in terms of the deadline and the production process) and I feel we've come quite far in the last 13 weeks, but I don't want to mess it up at the end so working hats on for double crunch time

Since the last post I had my feedback for the 1st submittal and while most of my work was not viewable due to an error with the video (most likely my fault during the rendering) I was able to get some really good, in depth feedback on my work, a lot of which was done over Easter which none of the tutors have seen yet. So it was nice to get a fresh view from them and it has opened my eyes to the errors of my work.

The feedback mostly consisted of my models being modelled too perfectly, with too many straight lines and everything looking like it was made in a factory, which is a very good point now I look at it as these are items made by Mongolian warriors and Ogres...

To remedy this I have gone back and edited a few of the models by only shifting around points so that I dont destroy the UV unwraps. This limits me a bit to the changes I can make but it also saves a lot of time, and time is something we don't have much of at this stage.

Here is the reworked campfire and weapon pickup points:

I also edited the UV unwraps and re-textured and viewport canvased it to get rid of the huge horrible seams it had on it.

And I have made the post on which the banner stands less straight, although I could not do too much with this as there were only a few edge loops on that part of the model:

It's a small change but I think it helps.

Another recurring theme in my feedback was that the colours were very flat, they sometimes had lighter and darker areas but they were all the same hue. This is another thing that I never noticed until it was pointed out to me, then it became obvious. So that is the other major change I am going to make over the next couple of weeks.

I have also added some more war paint to the Ogre. I was going to leave the paint as it was so it was more subtle than overpowering but because we can no longer make the teams into Mongolians and Ogres (due to me and Joe not fully understanding how to achieve this while also getting it to load my scripts) we are using the war paint as a team signifier. So Ogres on the red team have red war paint, and Ogres on the blue team have blue war paint.

On the same note the green cloth of the male Mongolian I modelled has now be changed to red and blue respectively. It is not the ideal scenario but as a quick and easy solution at the end of the assignment I think it works quite well.

Overall thought the feedback was good, I was told I had everything finished more or less, so I had nothing too big to worry about from now on, I just need to edit textures and models to make them look better and score extra marks, so that was encouraging to hear. And in terms of scripting and the like, I think I only need to find a way to remove the link gun on spawn and I will have finished messing with it and will leave it so I don't monumentally break everything in the last few days

On a side note, I just compiled my digital sketchbook for my Visual Forms hand it which is not until the 8th (or something near there) but I have had to complete it early as I will be in Germany then. I would have handed it in but the tutors still haven't put up a digital dropbox for them so I have handed them to Jess and she has agreed to submit them for me :)

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Deadline No.1 Complete

So the first submittal has been handed in, and we get feedback on that on Friday... Hopefully it will be positive. Feedback from tutors since I have got back seemed to have gone well, but when the submittal is mostly concentrated on individual models rather than the game as a whole I fear it may fall short...

Most of my models have been quick and not particularly detailed, with many textures still needing to be completed so they may look unimpressive on their own, I also paid more attention to how the models and textures look in UDK rather than 3DS Max so they look slightly different, shouldn't be a problem though

I haven't got much more in the way of major project done since the last post, mostly been working on Visual Studies which needs to be submitted before I head of to Germany on Monday

We managed to get the Ogres and Mongolians I made and the female Mongolian Joe made and set up into the game on my level and with my script for weapons and everything working, so we had a semi-completed game running in time for the first submittal and we managed to get some screen recordings done to be submitted so the tutors can see everything is working fine rather than just having a load of assets

I have also managed to locate the code that was overriding the material for the flag base. So that's all sorted. Nothing major but a nice little find for me to get the ball rolling on sorting out the flag base.

On a side note, I'm heading of to Germany on Monday to go to the FMX animation festival in Stuttgart. I cannot wait for this, it's going to be awesome! My first time in Germany and my first animation festival, and there is so much there to see. Glamorgan University also has a stall set up there advertising the course and the work of it's students, and I will have to man the stand from time to time. Although it means I may miss out of seeing a thing or two I don't mind as I think it will be interesting to meet new people and talk about the course.

This does mean I lose a week of major project...which is a pain...but I feel I'm in a comfortable position with it as I've gotten loads of work done in the past few weeks so I hopefully wont get hit to hard taking a week off.