Monday, 21 October 2013

The Return Of Dean!

So I always said I wouldn't let it get this long between blog posts, but I guess I failed that one...

Work dropped off quite a bit since finishing uni, I took some nice well deserved breaks after finishing my showreel and applied for a few jobs. In the end nothing came back so I'm still searching while working an agency temp job on the side. Working 8+ hours a week 7 days a week for a while I wasn't in the mood to start any big projects but now I have a few days off I'm getting back into that working spirit.

But enough about my personal life, I don't have a whole lot to show but here area  few digital painting I did to practice new techniques.

The first image is my first real attempt at drawing anime, I've recently gotten into some Visual Novels (Katawa Shoujo and Fate/Stay Night) and absolutely loving them at the moment so it was only natural for me to want to give the art style a try.

The painting was a copy of a random image I found on google search:

The second image I have done was a more personal project, it is a copy of some of the official artwork for Final Fantasy X-2. I never really got into X-2 but FFX was one of my favourite games of all time and the character design for Rikku in X-2 is really nice, so I thought it would be a fun project.

I have done a few other small digital painting projects just to improve my technique but most of them are just quick sketches. My next project is a top secret game. I'm currently blocking it out and getting the practical side of it down, making sure the gameplay is reasonably solid so that I can tell how far I can take this. At the moment it is going much better than I expected and I may draft some other people on to the project if they're interested in joining, but I want to get the idea down more so I can give a proper pitch.

In short the game is a side scrolling shooter which uses 2D sprites generated from 3D models.

The ultimate goal of the game would be to get it released on the app store, just as a free downloadable thing that can be a laugh, it may not get that far, but that's the goal I'm currently aiming towards.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013


I have finally finished my showreel after quite a lot of stress and fixing problems. Who would have thought it would have been so much hassle.

The video will not upload on here for some reason, probably the file size, but you can view it on me website here.

Now it's time to find a job. Wish me luck.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Busy Busy Busy....

Wow... almost two months since my last blog post, I used to be so good at keeping these up to date. I've been so busy that it has been slightly neglected so I imagine this blog post is going to be a biggy.

My last blog posted showed the end of my major project work at university, despite numerous difficulties the grade eventually came out as a 68, a high 2:1, which is what I wanted to get as this left me with a 2:1 overall for the year.

The last week I graduated, woo hoo! It was a pretty surreal experience, it feels like only yesterday that I believed I was never going to get into uni and here I am graduating with an upper second class honours. When I first got into uni I obviously wanted a first, but knew it would be difficult, my ultimate goal was to get a 2:1, so overall I'm pretty happy, and a high 2:1, although it doesn't show up on the grade, gives me a confidence boost in my work.

The hats are still stupid though...

Between finishing my major project and graduating I had the amazing experinece of doing a two week Erasmus program called Inform.Animation in Sardinia where students from universities around Europe worked together to produce an informative animation for a client. I had the pleasure of working with students from The University of Liverpool, Universidade Do Algarve in Portugal, Facolta Di Architettura Di Alghero in Italy and The Technological Education Institute of Athens in Greece. I met some truly amazing and inspiring people while I was there and it was a once in a lifetime experience. We had to generate a short informative video about the positive aspects of natural cork and highlight why wine buyers should by bottles of wine with natural cork to support in industry and protect endangered animals. The brief was from Portugal and we had constant feedback throughout the project so we knew exactly what the client wanted. My role within the team was to use After Effects to animate the drawings given to me by other members of the team.

So... where does this leave me now?

I'm currently getting my CV and showreel sorted out so that I can start applying for jobs as soon as possible. I'm getting really excited seeing all the jobs I can apply for, I expect it will be a while before any show interest but I might as well stick with the motivation while it's still here. I've also got a summer project planned with some of the other graduates from The University of Glamorgan, or University of South Wales as it's now known. This project is going to be a short movie although it is still very early on in it's infancy.

I'm also creating a mermaid designed by Jess to help me with female anatomy, as somehow I've managed to avoid female characters up until this point. I was a bit intimidated as I always find the more subtle forms of the female body harder to draw than the male body, but I'm pretty pleased with how this has turned out for only a few days work. This is still very much a WIP and the face and tail fins are still very undeveloped but it seems to be going fairly well so far.

After the mermaid is completed I intend to look further into scripting as it';s something I've touched on quite a bit but something I think could be worked on to help improve my work.

So, I have plenty to keep me busy, and fingers crossed I might get an interview or two sometime in the near future. Who knows what the future holds, but I have a feeling it's going to be good.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

And it's done...

I can't actually believe I'm saying this but I have completed all of my university assignments. With the hand in of my major project work for the game Echoes I say goodbye to uni work all together. It seems like only yesterday I was convinced I would never get into uni at all and now it's finished. Really surreal stuff.

Overall  during the final major project I think it went surprisingly well, although it wasn't without it's problems. A lot happened during the production period, which is to be expected over such a long time, that threw me off course and distracted me, but in the end I managed to keep focused and keep on top of it all. The work never overwhelmed me as it did in last year's major project as I worked hard right from the beginning rather than taking it easy and leaving too much until the last minute.

The order in which I did my work and how quickly I completed my work relied almost entirely upon what the team needed, I always tried to get everything out by when someone wanted it or when a director set a deadline, even if I had to have multiple projects on the go at once. The team members that needed my work seemed to be pleased with how quickly I completed it and I didn't get any negative feedback from the team.

The project started out with me having to quickly model, unwrap and create a high poly scuplt for two characters so they could be rigger, skinned and animated. This was quite a challenge as I would not consider myself a quick or strong character artist but I managed to get them done within 2-3 weeks and that allowed the rest of the team to get their parts done with plenty of time. The Centaur character which I made first turned out quite nicely, it had a pretty basic design which made it easy to make quickly but I also had a lot of fun making it as it took interesting aspects from humans and horses, allowing me some variety. My biggest problem with it was the high poly sculpt as I only had 1 day to complete the sculpt and I had never used zBrush prior to this character. This was a large task for me but I feel I did quite well considering the circumstances. Unfortunatly I was unable to do some of the finer work such as skin detail and some of the main forms looked a bit lacking and I would have liked to have been able to change that, but by the end of the project I ouldn't go back to change this. The textures worked quite nicely although I struggled getting the skin to look realistic again even though I think this is the closest I have gotten.

The next thing in the project I needed to complete was the Fae, the player character for the game. This was a big project as he was the central character to the entire game but I still had very little time to make him in, this was made even more difficult by the fact that I hadn't completely nailed down the design in pre-production and the team constantly suggested changes. This is good as the group feedback really helped to strengthen the character and we all got the character we wanted but at the time it was quite overwhelming and confusing. We got there eventually though. Similarly to the Centaur I only had a day to produce the high poly and although it was stronger this time round as I had more practice with zBrush it still could have been much better, high poly sculpts are certainly going to be quite a big focus of my work over the next few months The textures themselves could have been better, it seemed a bit bland simply having the bark texture and although the late addition of the moss helped make it more colourful and interesting I feel it still could have been more exciting. When I handed the mesh over to be skinned there didn't seem to be any major problems with the topology or scale of the model and it was nicely rigged and skinned by the end of it.

The props varied quite a lot in my opinion, things like the books, the church ruins and the staff I really enjoyed making and thought they turned out really well, but some like the Tholos ruins and the bow were not as strong. Most of the props took no longer than a day to model and I made sure I had lots of feedback from the team and the art director to make sure everything worked together within the environment and created a believable world. Although I had quite a few props to do this was the period in which I slacked off the most. After the initial rush of the characters and some personal issues I lost some of the motivation I had at the start, I still kept up the work but didn't work as much as before, sometimes as low as 6 hours a day, and the time I spent working didn't feel very productive. I consider texturing to be my weakest point and I think it shows on the props where textures are so important. They were acceptable but not very strong and I felt this was a shame as it was a bit of a weak spot in my work.

The Unity work is the most difficult to judge, I believe I got quite a bit done, some of it quite important to the overall feel of the game. I had to create the camera for the game which was essential and hard to get right. There were many bugs in the camera that I had to get ironed out before it was in a workable position. This took up the majority of my time in Unity and left only a small amount of time for the particle effects. I was not very pleased with what I had done but camera's are always a difficult one to get right, even big triple A games often fail to get the camera right. I believe if I had another week or so in there it would have been much better. The particles were much more successful than the camera in my opinion and they made a large impact on how the game worked especially the boss fights. The dust particles around the dragon helped sell the size of it quite a lot and my personal favourite was the Bark Basher snow particles as they worked really well with the animation to sell the weight of the Bark Basher and his shields.

All in all I think the project went quite well, it could certainly have gone better but at the same time nothing went particularly wrong. The game came out much better than I ever thought it could have been so that was a great surprise and really shows off how well the team worked together and the individual skill of everyone involved. I think this project has set me on the perfect path and I shall try my best to continue like this after uni. Getting more game projects under my belt and working on my weaker areas I feel I will eventually be good enough to get out there and get a job.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Final Renders

There are a few final renders coming out of my major project work now as I prefer the marking showreel for Friday. Not all of them are finish, some still need ambient occlusion and some have unfinished textures but this is where they are so far.

I have rendered them out as still frames to stop it from getting compressed twice and will not be putting them into a video until the showreel so I can only show still at the moment.

Here are the books:
The bow and arrow:

The Staff

Church ruins:

There are a few more props and the characters that still need to be finalised and rendered but it's coming along well so far, I've managed to pick up my work speed by spending as long in uni as possible so I should be all set to have my showreel rendered out by Friday, and then that's my 3rd year completed.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Inspirational Companies

As this project, and indeed my time at university, draws to a close I thought I would mention some of the companies that have inspired me to get in to game development and eventually to the point I am at now.


I was first inspired by Crytek when I first got a computer especially to play Crysis as I had heard amazing things about the graphics within the game. When I finally got around to experiencing this myself I was stunned by what they had achieved and I was inspired to one day be able to produce works out art that matched this game.

Since then they have continued to astound people with the level of detail they can squeeze out of current technology and their work with CryEngine has made so many game projects possible. Having a company that is so firmly grounded in amazing art work backed up by some of the best technology in the industry makes Crytek an amazing company that will continue to innovate for many years.

After first experiencing Crysis I have always been a fan of their games, both as a gamer and an artist so I am always eager to see what they are working on next.

Epic Games

Epic has always been a major influence on my work. Unreal was one of the first PC games I ever played and although I was young I knew it was something special. I also played a lot of Unreal Tournament games throughout my childhood and was also a big fan of Gears of War. The art produced by Epic had an amazing quality to them that always caught my eye and impressed me and some of the high poly sculpting work that was produced for their games remain at the top of my inspirational images which I aspire to be as good as.

Another major factor in my love for Epic is the Unreal Engine which has been used to create some of the best games out there. I first used this engine during college and finished my first collaborative university project 'Mongols vs Ogres' in Unreal. The use of the Unreal Engine got me into the more technical side of art and originally got me looking more into coding.

Lionhead Studios

The unique fantasy art style that Lionhead has used in it's previous games such as the Black and White and Fable series was originally what caught my attention during my earlier gaming days and I found the worlds they created fascinating. I always look forward to new games being produced to see what new style they might bring to their games.

The strong fantasy focus of the art team is quite similar to my own work which has so far been primarily focused on a similar setting in both the 'Mongols vs Ogres' and 'Echoes' projects in which I was a tech artist. Whilst I would like to improve my skill set and add more variety to my work, the opportunity to continue working on my current focus would help reinforce that area of expertise and I would be able to hit the ground running.

Valve Software

Over the years Valve has created some of my favourite and most played games ranging from Half-Life to Team Fortress 2. They also created the Source Engine, the first game engine I ever used to create level designs and learn some of the more technical aspects of game creation.

I like the way that Valve runs it's company with the freedom to work on any project that they want and they generally see all of the staff as equals allowing any of the team members to voice their ideas and concerns and giving them the freedom to choose the projects Valve carries forward. It is the ideal working environment and as Valve have managed to get it to works it allows them to keep producing games that gamers want, rather than the ones that will gross highest.

Creative Assembly

As a big strategy gamer I have always looked at big RTS companies like Creative Assembly to see what is possible in this field. I have owned every Total War game they have made and it has been interesting to see how the genre has developed over time. The art work produced in the later titles like Shogun 2 and Rome 2 have surpassed what I have thought was possible due to great work by the tech team in keeping the game playable.

Getting to work on some of my favourite titles would be a great experience and being at the forefront of strategy development in the country would be an amazing experience.

Monday, 6 May 2013

2 Weeks and Counting...

It's been a while since I last blog posted as I haven't had time to render or screen record any of the work recently. I will begin rendering turnarounds of some of the finished props tomorrow so it won't be left until the last moment. I cannot render them out on my laptop as it doesn't have the memory (cant wait to go home and use the new computer) so I have to wait until I'm in uni before I can do that, it is a similar case with texturing.

I can screen record the unity particles and how I have them linked up to the animation but it will have quite a low frame rate so I will be rendering them off also when I can get on a decent computer.

As for now I have a few renders:

I'll update with turnarounds over the next few days.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

More Particles...More Props

Tomorrow... tomorrow is the first submittal deadline for the game, it allows the tutors to see where we are and give us feedback on the what we need to do for the remaining few weeks. I'm feeling fairly good with what I have done, but I feel like I should have a lot more done by now, I can never quite estimate how long everything takes.

For the submittal I have been getting everything up to an acceptable standard so the tutors can see where I am going with it, but it does mean much of the detail has been pushed to the side for the time being.

I have done a quick diffuse, specular and opacity for the Ice Bow:

I have also been getting some of the particle effects done for the game now that I have a much clearer view of where the project is heading. I have already made the staff particles as well as the magic attack so I moved on to some more important areas.

I made a quick snow particle emitter to make it snow, I intend to have the emitter follow the player character without inheriting it's rotation so the snow is always coming from the same direction. If I have it emit in world simulation it should also stop each individual particle from following the player when he moves.

Here is the effect so far:

I also made a snow footsteps particle so that when the Fae is running he kicks up a bit of snow. I want to add some more opacity to it so it is more like the Bark Basher attack later on but here it is right now:

I also made some particles to go along with the Bark Basher's push attack where he uses his large shields in a lunge and pushes the player back. The idea is it kicks up a large amount of snow as they're shoved across the ground:

There are quite a few other props that I've done turnarounds for which I'll upload in a bulk post after the first submittal.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Playtesting and Props

We had our first playtest of Echoes on Friday, after plenty of hard work getting it into a playable state. I am impressed with how well everyone did and couldn't be much happier with how it went. We managed to get a working game out , with a few bugs, and had more people than I expected turn up to play it. So overall it was a great success and we got some good feedback in the end, and found a few things we'd missed while playing.

As well as the game looking promising I have managed to get a few more props done, time is getting tight now but if I pull my finger out I'm sure I can do it.

Here is an updated of the church ruins:

Only basic textured on at the moment, I need to sort out some of the finer detail and scuff them up a bit, but it's a nice start. It only has a diffuse at the moment, and a quick opacity for the windows.

Here is the staff which I've just started to texture:

There's not much to say about this, the texture is pretty basic, I want to add a few more details to it but it should be a surprisingly quick one to texture. I'm quite pleased with how all the maps have come together to make the crystal.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

End of Easter

The Easter holiday is over and it was great to see all my friends and family and have some time to chill out but it also feels good to be back in Cardiff and in the working mood again.

I have been working on some of the particle effects in Unity and although the particles systems in Unity are easy to use I think they can be quite limiting on what can be achieved, that said there are some really useful tools in there for achieving what you want.

So far I have a trail added to the Fae's weapon:

This has a trail component on it causing the main trail, this was originally intended to just be active during attacks to add a swiping effect to emphasise the attacks but thought it worked when it's always on. I'll bring this up at the next group meeting and see what people think. The other part of it is a particle effect attached to the top of the staff which simulates in world space, hence the fact the particles trail behind, which I think has a nice added effect.

I also made some particles for the magic attack. At the moment the idea is energy is sucked in as he jumps into the air, then as he hits the ground with the staff the energy is expelled and some rocks fly up in the air from the impact. Again this hasn't been checked over by the ground and needs work but it's a start.

I have also been working on the church ruins which are used as the level transition and a possible boss fight. So far I have modelled them and I am in the process of unwrapping them although I am running into quite a few problems.

Either way here it is:

We have a play-testing session this Friday to see how we're doing so far so that's exciting, hopefully it will go well without too many hiccups.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Easter Holiday Fun Time

So I'm back home for Easter and while I will still be working plenty, as I have plenty to do, I have had some time off to spend some time with the family and friends, so it's been a less than productive few days.

First off I did a few books, nice and quick, quite nice and relaxing. They were actually quite fun and I think they've turned out quite well so far, they still need a normal map and the specular map has only just been started but it seems to be working so far.

I begun texturing the instruments although they are in super early stages. It was more a test to see if I could get something that looked close to right, I probably shouldn't be showing this at all, it's embarrassing really.

Other than that I've started a few props but they're too early to be worth showing, I've also made a few minor tweaks to the centaur texture, but barely enough to be worth noting.

I've also been reading up on my anatomy some more and doing some pencil sketches, I'll probably upload them some time when I have time.

My graphics tablet has broken over the last week or so, and as such it's slowed my work down considerably, especially as it's mostly texturing and high poly sculpting I need to do. But it's not really an excuse for how little work I have gotten done, I guess it was lucky I took a week out over Easter in my schedule, so I should be fine still.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

First Echoes Sweatbox

The first sweatbox,where we show our work off to the tutors and the rest of the course, is happening tomorrow so I've been getting some quick renders out so people can see my work.  So I thought I might as well post them on here.

I've been continuing to texture the characters, although this has been going slower than I would like as I'm having to work on it in university rather than at home as my poor computer cant handle the stress these days. But in terms of the actual texturing it seems to be going quite well.

The Centaur has a Diffuse and Specular map:

The Fae has a Diffuse and a Normal map:

Other than the characters I have the weapons, although these are not textured yet. 

And I have the instruments from the previous posts although I wont bother posting them all here again as they haven't changed.

I feel like I don't have much to show for saying how much work I have been doing, I am a week or two behind schedule due to personal matters but I think I need to step up my game a bit, especially as the final deadline draws ever closer.

Still the work I have so far exceeds my expectations so there's a bonus there, I just need to work on getting work done faster by improving my workflow.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Texturing Time

Texturing has begun! I always like to switch between texturing and modelling a lot within a project so I don't get too overwhelmed by one or the other. This is particularly true about texturing as I consider it one of my weaker areas. Unfortunately due to the urgency of much of my work I have had to get all of the modelling, unwrapping and high poly sculpting done early, leaving the mountain of texturing to climb.

I began by going to the Centaur. It had been a while since I had worked on him so it was nice to be reunited with him again. I began by blocking out the base colours, then adding some texture detail. I then went on to render the normal maps and ambient occlusion maps to help give it some of that high poly detail. This was a bigger problem than I had hoped and eventually took me around 3 days to get to work...shame on me...I have always had trouble rendering these maps out and always waste too much time on them. In the end I used xNormal, I program I had used a bit before but this was the first real use of it.

Anyway, here is the current centaur texture so far. It only has the diffuse map on at the moment and it isn't finished, I want to work on the colours so they compliment each other more as well as adding detail to areas I haven't had a chance to yet like the quiver.

I'm quite pleased with certain aspects of it so far, such as the skin, which I normally have trouble emulating on my models. The ice has come out reasonably well so far as well considering the small amount of time put into them so far. The AO map has also massively helped to sell this texturing and I'm looking forward to doing more high poly sculpts and adding ambient occlusion and normal maps to my future models.

There are areas I'm not so pleased with as well, such as the leather straps. I always seem to have some kind of leather on my models and have never been able to get it to look quite right, I may got back and redo the leather completely. The rune like marking on his skin are also more like place holders at the moment rather than final ones.

I have also begun the Fae's textures, although these are in a much earlier form than the Centaur. As it stands the Fae only has blocked out colours and and AO map applied, this is because I get the centaur one working and I decided to get the Fae's AO done quickly while it was fresh in my mind.

Absolutely nothing about the Fae is final, and there is some AO cleaning I have done which isn't in the screen capture but it gives a nice first feeling of what the Fae will be like. The AO worked surprisingly well on the areas that varied a lot from the low poly to the high poly, such as the forearm detail and the roots on the feet, and could almost pass without a normal map, at least as a static, unlit mesh anyway. 

The textures are looking promising so far and it's certainly boosted my texturing confidence. I seem to have started this project with quite a bit more knowledge and expertise than I had before, which is strange as I'm not sure where it has come from, most of the work produced between last years game and this one was quite poor, but I seem to have pulled it all together for this final project and it is going much better than I could have expected.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Instruments of War!

So, it's been a while since I last posted and boy oh boy has a lot happened. But work is back on now and I'll need to work quickly to make up for my time away from the project.

Firstly I finished the staff, I wasn't completely pleased with how it turner out. I liked the idea behind it but I'm not convinced it worked out. Either way what's done is done.

Here it is, at 636 tris:

Other than that I made 3 instruments quickly in a day, which have been unwrapped, but not textured yet.

There's a recorder (272 tris):

Some pipes (280 tris):

A Violin (878 tris):

And finally a French Horn (1,004 tris)

Lots of work to do but it seems to be coming along, so I'll continue working away.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Bows, Arrows, Staves and Dissertations

The characters have been handed over and the rigging and skinning has begun  so work has become less hectic. While it was great fun making them two characters for our game it would have been too stressful to keep going at that rate for much longer.

So I took a few days off over reading week, lazy? yes. Worth it? totally.

I feel much more refreshed and ready to crack on with the game now, and seeing the characters come to live as they are nearly rigged is making me very excited, I cant wait to see them animated and shoved into unity.

But there is a minor halt in the major project, as the dissertation deadline looms ever closer. My essay 'Aesthetics as Metaphor: A Study of Environmental Storytelling' had to be put on hold while I churned the characters out so I have less time to cram it in now, but it seems to have all worked out well as the models are completed and the dissertation is coming along reasonably well. So fingers crossed.

So I completed the low poly of the bow and arrow which I had blocked out in the last post:

Now I'm working on the Staff for the player character to use:

This is only a pretty early block out and has been through quite a few designs already, but I like the curling tendrils running up around a crystal. The shaft of the staff will be much more gnarled and branch like, quite similar to Gandalf the Grey's staff. This kind of staff has nature in mind as well as the new ability the player will have in the game which is the ability to cast magic, hence the crystal on the staff, but it can still be used as a melee weapon. The crystal also mimics the crystals present on the Bark Basher (the final boss character of the demo) so a theme is present throughout.

Once the staff is completed and the dissertation handed in I can begin working on some of the environment props and start playing around in unity with the particle effects and shaders. Oh, and start texturing the characters and weapons. The next few weeks will be when (hopefully) something resembling a game begins to form and that's when it really gets interesting.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Fae Handed Over

Last you saw of the Fae was the completely low poly model. Since then I have unwrapped it and created a high poly mesh in ZBrush.

As this is only the second time I have used ZBrush I was pretty pleased with the results, the high poly looks nice and I got across pretty much everything I wanted to in the model. I have yet to project the normal map on to my low poly model, but I cant foresee any problems as I have done pretty much everything the same as I did for the Centaur.

My current ZBrush technique is to stay with the standard red wax shader (which I know many pros don't like) and make the details more defined than I would intend for them to be on the final model. I then add the standard material to it as it will hopefully give me a better idea for how strong the final normal map will be.

So here is the ZBrush sculpt in red wax and standard materials:

Now that has been handed over to one of the riggers I can slow my work pace ever so slightly as the two characters which I needed to produce quickly have been made. Now I need to produce the weapons and any other props that are needed for animations quickly so the animators don't have to wait for me. After that I have a bit more freedom with what I can do, I will probably work on some more props, do any unity stuff that needs doing and then texture the characters while the designs are still fresh in my mind and the animators that want to work with textured characters can.

So now I have begun my longbow. It has only been blocked so far but here is a screenshot anyway:

The bow will be made mostly out of ice as the Centaur's that inhabit the ice areas of the game will be using them (hence the Centaur being used for a size guide). It's a longbow which means it is very big, and I was surprised during research as to just have large they are.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Completed Fae Low Poly

So the last time I posted I had just started the fae model. Now it's finished!

It's been a bit of a rush, especially as the design has changed a few times throughout the development, but with help from the team I think we got a much more interesting design than we initially planned. Which is great!

Here is the low poly as it stands:

The planes around his head and shoulders as well as the legs will be vines or leaves coming off the body. I think the design is much more interesting to look at now than the original design, which is great as the player will be staring at this character quite a lot.

If I had more time and some more polys to play with I would have liked to have emphasised the vines and bark detail more, but this will hopefully come across much better in the high poly sculpt.

I have now passed this model on to the rigger, Joe Hornsby who will begin to rig it as I unwrap this model and make the high poly mesh. I will then hand him the new low poly which will be unwrapped once I have completed the high poly so he can skin that to the rig.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Fae Time

With the success of the Centaur model I have immediately moved on to the Fae, the player character.

I don't think the design I have for the Fae is as strong as the Centaur was, so that starts me off at a disadvantage, and I have only 8 days to model the low poly, unwrap and then produce a high poly model so time is of the essence.

As of now I have 5 days left, a very scary thought, but it should be achievable.

Here is the low poly as of now...

Some major changes have been made since pre-production, the legs for example have been made into a much more animal like leg as opposed to the very sharp angles I originally had in mind. This was because when I started modelling it I found the design didn't work at all in 3D, so I had a discussion with the team and decided these legs would be best.

Another thing that's changed is the head, which I'm quite pleased with, the original horns we're a nice idea but I think this design works much better and should look good when it's all finished

That's all for now I'm afraid, I'll keep you posted on changes to the Fae and I will get round to writing some more tutorials and reviews on my other blogs once I get past this rushing stage of completing the characters, I already have some in mind I want to do.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Centaur Model Completed

I have finished the low poly model and the high poly sculpt, yay!

I made a few changes to the low poly which included reworking the feet which I was never happy with, after some ideas from other members of the team we came up with a better way of doing it which involved more crystallised ice.

This pushed the poly count to 8000 which the art director said was good amount as the original poly count was 7500 but with some leeway as the centaur is more like two characters rolled into one.

I then took the centaur into zBrush, sculpted the high poly model, then turned it back to subdivision level 1 and imported it back into 3Ds Max to save some of the sculpted detail then with some small tweaks I had a finished low poly.

I just want to use this opportunity to say how much I love zBrush, I used to mock it for having such an unintuitive interface and horrible controls, but after spending a day getting into it then it begins to make sense, I cant wait until I can use it again.

Anyway, some images, here is the low poly:

Here is the high poly zBrush sculpt which I completed within a day, the same day I began learning zBrush (time is short people):

This is what the character looks like currently in Unity with the normal map applied from the high poly.

Some tweaks need to be made, I believe the normal map needs turning up a considerable amount in unity for instance, but this is what the model looks like when just imported and had the normal map slapped straight on it. The projects gone pretty well so far, lets hope I can keep it this way as I begin working on the player character model...