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...

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Low Poly Centaur

I believe the low poly of the centaur is finished, tomorrow I will hand it over to the riggers and animators to give it a once over to look for any final changes that might need making such as edge loops.

There will not be any more major changes to the design and the topology will remain largely the same, after this I will be unwrapping it and creating a high poly model.

The model currently sits at 7,413 polys which is within the 7500 limit set.

Here some pictures of it:

I've rework some of the topology and redid the hair to make it tidier. There are still some tris that need cleaning up where I have meshed some of the pieces together but other than that it should be complete.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Enter the Centaur

Ok, so it's only been a few days since my last blog post, but I feel like I've done so much between then and now that it was worth another blog post.

I've still only been working on the Centaur due to the schedule and I have until Monday to get the low poly done, unwrap it and hopefully finish the high poly model for the normal map.

For now I am close to finishing the low poly, there are some changes left to do such as making the ice feet and the ice hand fade out from ice to skin in a more natural way and I need to get the hair working, which I will probably start again as it is getting quite messy...

But anyway, enjoy...

I have tried to keep the topology tidy and useful as well as keeping the polygon count fairly low as I have a limit of 7500 polys for the character 

The hair has been an interesting challenge for me as I have never done hair before, except on the Mongolian warrior I did last year which was just a block of hair, so it has been a great learning experience for me. Saying that I am going to redo the hair as I could make it a lot tidier and reduce the poly count by a considerable amount now that I know what I am going for.

The alpha maps for the hair was done using a technique in which I used the hair and fur modifier to render out an alpha channel of the hair. I was recently shown this technique and found it extremely useful so I will hopefully get round to writing a tutorial on how to do that over on my tutorial page.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Final Year Project Is A Go!

So, the time has finally come, the final year major project production has begun. I'm so glad to be out of pre-prod and into production, I thought pre-prod turned out okay but I much prefer production as that's where my passions lies.

So the beginning of the production is pretty hectic for me as I have to get two characters and some props in to riggers and animators so they can begin their work. We've timetabled it all in around each other and if things go to plan it should work out perfectly but it does mean I have less time to tweak if anything doesn't go to plan. Still I'm hopeful for this and I'll be working pretty hard on getting these done in time.

The first two things I need to make are the characters, the Fae and the Centaur, as they need to be rigged and sent to the animators as quickly as possible so we can get the animations in game. As the Fae's rigger will be rigging the dragon first I am making the Centaur to begin with so that can be rigged straight away. Then I can hand the Fae over as the dragon has finished being rigged.

So there's the plan. I have until the 28th January to get the centaur modelled and hopefully unwrapped before I pass is on to get rigged, if it is not unwrapped within that time I can quickly unwrap it before it gets skinned.

Here is where the Centaur is so far:

It's far from finished, the head especially needs work, but I have been trying out a new workflow where I switch between 3Ds Max and Mudbox constantly throughout the modelling. I used 3Ds Max to get the shape right as well as smaller details and topology work and then switch to Mudbox to get the forms right and sculpt in details. This method has proved very useful so far so I'll keep using it for now.

I'm going to be working with the riggers and animators closely and taking all their feedback on board especially when it comes up topology but I have spent quite a bit of time so far in trying to get nice flowing edge loops and making sure it will deform correctly.

Things seem to be doing well so far, any luck and we might have a half decent game by the end of it.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Turnarounds, turnarounds, turnarounds!

So pre-production is in full swing for next weeks deadline, I don't feel like I'm going to be able to get enough done for a great mark, but I can definitely produce enough to make production run smoothly. As well as this deadline I have a business studies deadline on Friday so I have to work on that too, so there's no shortage of work that's for sure. The business studies project doesn't have much to show yet, when my business card is finished I can put that up here, but I need to do some renders before then.

So for pre-production I have been working on the turnarounds for most of the characters and props as well as designing some of the props, it may seem late to be designing, but a lot of the props are very minor and don't require too much design, unlike the characters.

So I'm just going to post a load of turnarounds for you to look at, drawing is not my strong point but they seem accurate enough to be useful in production.

The Centaur's Ice Bow:

The 'Tholos Arch' building:

The Player Character's Staff

Ruin No 1:

Recorder Prop:

Violin Prop:

And the Centaur himself:

Quite a few things will be changed before the end, and some things will be changed when it gets to production as there won't be enough time to change them in pre-production now. But some things like making the instruments more unique and less like ordinary instruments, but for now I have something.

The ruins will also be split up into smaller parts, such as separate pieces of broken wall, rubble and floors, so they can be adjusted if gameplay requires it and also so they can be mixed and matched into different designs. This gives us some more freedom and also works as a safety net.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Christmas Pre-Production

Hope everyone has had a good Christmas and you're having a great new year.

So, with just over a week left of pre-production things should be a rush, and I do have plenty to do, but I think being at home means it hasn't quite hit me yet. Especially as the first hand in the business studies is in this week as well. I should be on top of everything though, I'm sure it will come together.

As the beginning of production is almost here my excitement is rising about the project and seeing everything come together from different members of the group is giving me a great sense of scale and seeing everyone putting so much effort into the project is making me feel like we could do what we've set out to do, maybe even more.

But on to some of the work I've been producing, some of it I'm quite pleased with, it's not great, but it's a weakness of mine so average works for me.

I began by doing a digital paining of the player character's head. It's a new style of painting for me, using a low opacity brush and building it up to darken it, creating lighter and darker spots. Nothing special, I quite liked it.

I did a quick Mudbox sculpt as I've met with some success using the different basic meshes to get my idea across. I'm still no expert at sculpting and I generally like to start with a 3DS Max model and sculpt in the form and detail, but to save time I just try to manipulate the mesh as best I can in Mudbox which is quick but I sometimes struggle to get across what I want.

I have a WIP of the Fae's turnaround, it has the proportion there so that other group members to can use it for their work, but this is top of my priority list atm, along with the centaur turnaround. I want to add a three quarter view to the turnaround if possible but it's not essential for it to be a working turnaround.

Finally for the Fae I have begun my maquette which acts as a final art piece for my character, this is still reasonably early in development with the shape and forms still being worked on, but it shouldn't take too long to finalise.

I also did a sculpt of the centaur by taking the basic human mesh from Mudbox and a downloaded horse model from the Mudbox store into 3DS Max, cutting them up a bit and then meshing them together before bringing them back into Mudbox to sculpt. I quite like this as I sculpted the muscles from memory as I have been doing a fair amount of anatomy research but having the basic proportions there from the initial basic models certainly helped no end.

I can use these sculpts to get a good feel for how the model will work in a 3D space as well as help me to get the proportions right when it comes to producing the turnaround and producing the final 3D model. As character proportion are what usually let me down (just look at my Thor character from earlier this year) these will be invaluable in ensuring that I produce a high quality work that will do the game proud. Well I hope that's the case anyway...

There's also the beginnings of a turnaround from the centaur here:

I have also begun the centaur maquette but as of now it is still only half covered in sculpting clay and the forms are far from complete, so watch out for the centaur maquette coming up soon.

Considering how much time I've taken off from Christmas and New Year to see family and friends I was concerned I hadn't done anywhere near enough work, but it seems that the time I was working was actually productive so I don't think I've fallen behind too much, I should have it under control and some hard work over this last week should secure it. So lets bring on production, I can't wait!