Thursday, 20 February 2014

Western Scene Project: Hotel Environment

This Project was set to test our ability to model to a set Poly-count limit of 7500 Tris. I loved the project and it really helped me in regard to modular asset development and how to correctly produce texture maps (the texture maps I produced for this project are poor and it was from this project that I was made aware of how my process of texturing was incorrect and how to improve them in future).

We were presented with a variety of options as to which theme we had to produce, I chose western as in simplest terms are EPIC !!!

After researching reference and general themes for a ghost town western, and collecting existing references to modular assets if a western theme I decided to jump right into it.

Basic Google reference searches

Just a small taste of the reference used.

Follow the Link for the Full PDF Breakdown, Warning SPOLIER ALERT  : Western PDF  

During my research trawl I came across one image of an actual wooden model that I thought yeah straight away that's what I want to try and replicate. The design was so simple yet had an outwardly western theme
and atmosphere so I went ahead and decided to concept and idea I had mind.

Inspiring wooden Model

A quick concept of how I would like to produce a full scene with multiple buildings

Concept For the Hotel Idea

The base mesh wasn't too complex to produce and with a limit of 7500 I had to be economic with my modelling. The following wire frame shows how I tried to reduce the poly count where applicable, but yet use the ploy count limit effectively.

The following texture maps are god awful but I learned so much from producing and why they are wrong. I have since changed my ways and learned the correct way to texture and how to go about texturing. I look back at this project as a learning curve and have taken what I learned and continued it during further work.

My awful texture maps 1024x 1024

 Diffuse 1024x1024

Diffuse 512

Normal 512

The maps were not as successful as they could have been and they wasted a lot of texture space. After guidance from the tutor I managed to understand and learn more about the texturing process.

I tried to replicate a midday setting for the environment, using a three point light system. Overall I am pleased with the outcome but I learned a lot more and feel that I can improve this tenfold especially the texturing and also making the piece feel more credible.

Further breakdowns can be viewed in my PDF link and a more in depth evaluation. Here's a quick turnaround video of the final rendered scene with the accompaniment of the glorious MUSE !!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Head Sculpt Project: Jamie Foxx as Django

I also have done other work I promise not just for the OUTMODE project. This head sculpt brief was in order for our class of  students to learn Z-brush. I never had any previous experience of using the programme but I had been watching tutorials in order to prepare for the brief.

Lets just say me and Z-brush share a special bond initially I hated the programme a struggled with the interface but like any good marriage after time and tantrums we sorted ourselves out and I can openly admit I am Addicted to the programme.

Before initially wanting to become a Games Artist I was adamant I wanted to become a stop motion animator, I loved sculpting and character design, but after researching the field and becoming interested in Games specific art and C.G. art I decided to pursue Games Art as degree instead, though I struggled with computers I found through perseverance I enjoyed the cg method of working. When I got to grips with Z-Brush it rekindled my love of sculpture but embraced it alongside my new found passion for cg.
The head sculpt project ran alongside a environment project and as I was producing a western scene we had to produce a sculpt of  famous person to fit in with our intended environment. Many people opted for the obvious Clint East wood and John Wayne western stars but I thought how could I push myself and also not produce something the same as anyone else. So I decided to Produce Django, from the Film Django Unchained, I loved the film and I loved Jamie Fox's performance.

Badass Cowboy and Should have won an Oscar Villain

Jamie Foxx Reference

There was one stand out image from the film that I wanted to replicate and aimed to try and successfully capture it as accurately as possible.

Loved this image and this was what I was aiming to replicate during the project

This project was a massive learning curve for me  but I learned so much and spent a lot of time getting used to Z-brush. My method of working was to produce a primary head sculpt in Autodesk Maya. 

This primary base model was then exported into Z-brush and that is where the fun began. A you can see the model wasn't as accurate as it needed to be and in hindsight I should have nailed the base mesh to better degree than what I did but I and in future I will ensure my base meshes are more accurate as this will save a a lot of time cleaning up within Z-brush. I unwrapped the mesh before taking it into z-brush and after learning the software I could have produced the model solely within in Z-brush and re-topologised it within another packages such and Topogun.  

A quick video of the stages of the project

After altering the Base mesh and working on the proportions and features I went back and produced sculpts of the clothes and accessories

Once I was satisfied with the basic proportions I tried to replicate the lighting off my reference image. The lighting was quite difficult to produce accurately and  had to hand paint the rim light effect in Photoshop.

 The image in scene without Lighting

 The image with enhanced lighting and test smoke

I tried but couldn't quite successfully replicate the lighting but I feel it still manages to replicate the desired effect. Once I was happy enough I tried to get the same sort of shot as the reference image. The first shot wasn't as successful as the second image i had to go and download some smoke effect brushes to try and replicate the cigar smoke.



I am  overall pleased with the final piece but I must admit after having learned some new techniques and tricks in z-brush I can go back and revisit this project and really try and push the the realism of it. I am happy that I managed to grasp z-brush and look forward to future projects in the programme, though when I look at this piece I know there are areas to improve on, for my first project I am proud of the outcome, yet I know where I can improve on.

 I would like to complete this project as a full body sculpt and revisit and refine the problem areas.

OUTMODE Asset Production: Car Piles

The car Piles will mark the boundaries to the playable area of the game, and the cars will be stacked and repeated. To break up repetition I decided to model 5 separate car meshes and then aim to produce multiple texture maps as to once again break the repetition but allow the same meshes use over again.

I gave myself a day to produce each car chassis. I made a start on Monday and had the five cars done by Friday, so I was on track and it pushed me to focus getting them done to a set time. I produced vehicles for my second year projects and it took me about a week each  on each vehicle and they were super high density models.

 The focus for these was for each of the meshes to be made as economically as possible and I can still go back and clean them up a bit more.  I still need to add seating and under axles, but these can be repeated in a few of the designs, so its case of going back and adding them a bit later.

I approached the models via planar extrusion a I found form trial and error in previous years I preferred this method, but for the pick up truck I decided to experiment with box modelling and got to grips with that workflow.

I tried to achieve a credible silhouette and refrained form going super high poly as to save memory 

The models will not be able to viewed close up and lay just outside the playable boundaries, so I focussed more on getting the shape and silhouettes looking correct to suggest a specific type of car. 

 Once satisfied I decided to try and stack each car and used soft selection to create areas where the cars would be deformed. These examples are just test as I will have to unwrap ad texture the cars and go back and deform them for the final model.

Quick stack test and manipulation to collapse roof and areas to replicate damage

From this quick stack I went ahead and tested creating something that may be seen in the game.

I like the way this worked and after discussing with the director he was pleased with the idea. The only thing left to do is the NIGHTMARE task of uv unwrapping....... Fun, Fun, Fun.

The poly count is quite high once stacked but I will go back and optimise the base meshes as best as possible to help lower the poly count.  

Saturday, 15 February 2014

OUTMODE Asset Production: Cranes

The director asked me to produce some crane assets for the game. The theme was for a scrapyard so tower and harbour cranes were off the books so I took inspiration form the Bristol Dock side cranes, I changed the regular crane hooks to magnet and a claw as these would be most likely used in a scrap yard.

The Bristol Dockside Cranes found on Google

The Bristol cranes were a little different and I liked the contrast of materials on them. I intend to replicate the materials used during my texturing stages as I feel these would look quite nice in the contrast to the rest of rusted materials. I will make them look weathered and include decals to replicate ageing effects.

Claw crane is 16352 Tris

I decided to use planes to save excess poly counts rather than each individual support structure. I will once again use Alpha maps to convey these. I have added pivot point to the model so each crane can rotate and pivot each arm, also the claw has been modelled so it is capable of opening and closing.

Will repost finished Textured models once finished.

Friday, 14 February 2014

OUTMODE Asset Production: Transport Trams and Kart

The playable map is designed around a recycling facility and a scrapyard. The old robots will be taken to the facility to be updated in to the "Nouveau" models. In order for them to be transported we discussed the use of old coal trams and pull karts.

I looked into traditional and current transport karts and trams

I developed a traditional styled coal tram as I thought that it would be a good contrast to the game to have some older equipment still in use by the scrappers team. The karts and trams will be used as cover and also to lead players to specific areas such as the Facility during the game.

 Coal Tram 7932 Tris

Rail Tram 3140 Tris

Pull Kart 2932 Tris

The Trams and kart are able to pivot to allow for animation if necessary, They can be linked along a rail track in a chain and by allowing some pivot areas it can be used to break up repetition.

The above images show how they are capable of being chained together. Once again they have been produced in a modular fashion but I can produce multiple diffuse textures to break up repetition. I still need once again to go back and unwrap the models, and I will take certain meshes to be sculpted further in Z-Brush to create dents cracks and crevasses in the meshes