Sunday, 16 December 2012

The Post Before Christmas

Haven't updated in a while and I thought it'd be best to get in one before christmas. The last couple of weeks I've been working on getting the texturing done. Admittedly I've not been exactly working at full steam after hand in so it's not all at where it could have been. 

It's looking more complete right now, but obviously not near completion. I've been using a technique that I came across that offers a quick and easy method for just getting a quick first layer of scratches on the assets.

Obviously this is only for a quick first pass and wouldn't suffice to just leave it at that. So it'll require going over with more overlays with scratches and rust. I've also been adding in overlays over just the basic diffuse colours just to add slight variations in colour so that everything isn't just one big block colour as it doesn't look very realistic. This is only just the diffuses getting done as I've not been unto the specular maps yet and they are still just basic diffuses that would require a lot more work to get it to a complete standard.  

Overall I'm quite happy with the way that the project has been progressing and the feedback I got back. I know that I could get this project to a good quality with a bit more work into the textures and material definition as well as the other stuff that needs finishing like the vista and skydome. 

The above image is a space I don't like very much, it's probably the weakest part of the level. It's just a big empty space that I don't know what to fill it with. But I might end up just leaving it as is. 

There are many things that I really should do for this project, like using vertex painting on the floor and window tileables to break up the repetition. I should really improve the textuing a lot and focus especially on the material definition. As well as the above area should really be worked on to get the best possible result that I can. 

However I feel that my time over christmas would be better spent working on personal projects for my FX blog. I've had a real trouble this semester balancing my work. Every moment I work and uni projects a feel bad for not working on FX stuff to have a better chance to get a job after uni but every time I work on FX I feel guilty for not working on uni projects that go to my grade. This resulted in neither getting the focus or attention they deserved and both suffered. This added to more personal issues I feel like this semester has been a rather large failure. So I'm going to take this time over christmas to work on the things that I feel will be better for my future, so I'll get the uni projects finished, but not to a high grade standard but I'm okay with that if I can get a job out of the work that I do. So this blog might get a little quiet for a while but my others will pick up. 

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Final Renders

So I'm finally done with this project... for now. But I realised I never put up my final renders. Needs a lot of work probably but I kinda lost focus with this project towards the end. Not really happy with how it came out mainly due to Xoliul, so I'll probably come back to this and import it all into UDK and get a better final render. But for now here's where it's at.

And now back onto rooftop to get everything textured. Does it ever end :/

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Almost there, I hope

So I'm very almost there, well as much as I can take with this project. Everything's textured and baked out properly it's all a case of getting a good scene set up in max for the final render. Though I'm sure that'll take all the rest of the week with these horrible shaders. I've had to switch to XoliulShader 2.0 because 1.6 won't cast shadows or render alphas. Saying that 2.0 is still giving me trouble with the alphas.

Here's my current progress. It's alright, I'm currently working on the scene to just give it a slightly better render. Hopefully that'll be done tomorrow so that I can quickly take it into UDK to get a better beauty shot render but that shouldn't affect the work done in max. But I mostly just want it done now, these shaders are far too frustrating and unpredictable to work with much longer.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Updates? What Updates

I realise I've not updated my blog in a while, it's just been constant work to try and get this damned vehicle finished. Having not updated in almost two weeks there's been not all that much progress it would feel. 

It took me a few days to build the low poly as I found it a real challenge to get this under 10,000 tris whilst still holding the rough silhouette. I knew I should have just done something sci-fi with bold geometric shapes :/ Certainly not something with a lot of small details, but then what's life without a challenge? 

And then it took me another 3 days to get it unwrapped after that and another day for baking. I realise that the texel density is probably really awful for this unwrap but I'm just trying to get it done now.

That's the low poly ready for baking and my unwrap for you. 

And here's how it looks now in Max with the Xoliul Shader and a basic diffuse. So I guess it's coming along. It looks like I'll get it easily done for the hand in with the environment as well, though not sure how that will turn out. 

But in other news, I've just started on making this character, sorry can't remember who actually did this concept but I'm just making it for fun so it doesn't really matter I guess as long as people know it's not mine. But I just need a break and plus I've wanted to do something hand painted for a while but I think I'll take it into UDK and play around with getting a really nice shader on it once it's done.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Finally Got It Done

So I finally got my high poly finished today and started on my low poly. I've managed to get through about half of the low poly so far. 

This isn't quite the finished model as I forgot to screenshot it today and my computer at home isn't too great at handling the high poly scenes, but this is about 95-99% done version so it's not too bad. 

Now this weekend I've got to finish the low poly and start unwrapping so that I can get onto the baking quickly.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Progress Feels Slow

So I know what I want to be when I'm older.... anything but a vehicle artist. This project feels like one big ball of *kill me now*. But even so, some progress has to be made. My original plan of have the high and low polys finished and baked by the end of the week is starting to look like a fantasy. But I should be easily unto texturing start of next week and no matter what the vehicle will be finished by the time James comes back, I will not have nothing to show him again.

But enough of the ranting (it's never enough...) So I finally finished the chassis today. I never want to see tracks again. But it's come out a fair bit better than I had anticipated. So now that's finished I've got the chassis, main body (which requires some tweaking and refining) and about 70-80% of the arm done. 

Once I get this damned arm finished, which will probably be done tomorrow if I actually sit down and focus. After that is just tweaking the main body and then building the inside. Then I should be finished with the high poly. I wish it wouldn't have taken me so long but what can you do other than go back in time and tell past me never to do an excavator.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Vehicular Fun Times.....

So I realised I hadn't actually updated my blog since getting the vehicle project from codies. Basically for this project I am planning on doing a small excavator. If you really wanted to know the make and model, it's a Kubota KX161-3. But that's probably way too specific. So once I've got this modelled and textured I was thinking about putting it in a construction site type environment or turntable.

So this is as far as I've gotten with my highpoly since getting the project. It's taking me a smigden bit longer than I had anticipated but I'm still confident that I'll have the high and low poly done, unwrapped and baked by the end of next week so I'll still be on schedule. Oh and I'm aware of the flaws that need to be fixed later, but I'll get round to those.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Progress (or lack thereof)

So works been a bit slow as of late, I've been working constantly for the last couple of weeks but it seems like I've got nothing done. I suppose it's coming together alright and for the final hand in it'll lovely, I'll make sure of it >:( But as of now, it's like so.

It's alright, I guess. There's so much needs done to it though to get it there. The textures are all it various stages of completion, but I imagine that'll take me under a week to get those all finish to a standard I'm happy with. And that'll be done before assessments for sure. I'd only say I'm about a week behind with my work, and I'm be no means contented with it, let alone happy.

I'm just holding on to the idea of the christmas break so that I can add all the little tweaks and especially the visual effects so that I can really sell it properly.

But for now I'm going to just get hand in over and done with and dive head first into the next project :) 

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Layout Revisions

So everythings now in level and unwrapped and just working on the texturing. But I just don't like the composition. It's too small and cramped and there's no real focus to it, it's just bland and ill thought out. So I decided to take a day just to revise it a little and hopefully come out with something a lot better. To save on time I decided that I'd just reuse assets and anything I needed to model would use existing textures so not to waste any unnecessary time.

This is what I had before and it is so blargh. Admittedly I have a lot of trouble with visualising interesting compositions in 3D and I'm starting to lack concentration on this project so I tried to find some inspiration for it. I came across some of the levels from Mirrors Edge and it's pretty undeniable that it'd be useful for interesting rooftop designs, considering the whole game is basically designed around them. But I really liked how they created interesting layouts with few assets and varying heights. 

So taking inspiration heavily from Mirrors Edge I tried to quickly block out a few rough variations on my rooftop for to work into. And these are what I came out with.

This is the one I ended up with. It's all using instanced versions of assets already in engine and very few that needed to be made. It's a definite improvement, it's far more visually appealing than my previous design. It's a wonder what a few extra levels make :)

And here's everything in engine. Now I just need to get on and texture everything. But I've been looking into nDO2 and it's seems like a really fast and powerful tool so hopefully I'll at least have something to show for this presentation. But all in all, not bad for just taking a day out.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

UDK Times

So I've finally managed to get it all into UDK now, it's taken me long enough. But it's all in level now and completely unwrapped. I've still not done lightmaps, but I figured that to be more of a tweak thing than a production thing. 

There's still plenty to do, when is there not :) But I'm glad that everything's modelled and unwrapped and now I have only to face a mass of texturing. I know I'm a bit (a lot) behind where I should be but I've been finding motivation to be lacking at the moment. Whether or not it's because I've done this project before or that it's not what I truly want to be working on or that it's other things going on in my life but I'm quite apathetic towards this project at the moment. 

It's not all over yet, not by a long ways so I'm not terribly worried about it, it'll get done. It always does. 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Week Two Stuffs

This week's update looks like a little less but it's mostly unwrapping :( Though the start of the week was just finishing off the last of my assets. 

But now that everything is finally modelled I can get on with unwrapping everything. I could unwrap everything so that each asset has it's own 512 but the way that I've been modelling, so that everything is quite modular and gets assembled later on, means that there are several assets that share either the same or similar components. So I've decided to unwrap things that are of similar design or material. 

Each of these different colours refers to the texture sheet that they share. I've tried to keep everything to roughly the same scale but certain things required more space and others less and sometimes I just had a shoddy time of it... So some are a little more efficient than others, but hey it's all a learning process, right? I divided the texture budget up into 512's so that I should be able to have 16 diffuse/normal/specular sheets at 24 bit. So far I've used up 11 sheets and only one has an alpha. So this leaves me with adequate texture space to be able to quickly add in any assets or decals that I may have forgotten about and need to do later on in the project. But hopefully I've got most of it covered.

Now on to texturing...

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Week One Update

Been a bit laxed with the documentation side of the rooftop project recently so this might be a bit full on as it's basically what I did in the first week. 

So to start off I did the usual, gathering visual reference of my ideas and create moodboards. My original idea was to have the rooftop completely overgrown with a lot of foliage across it and that everything would be run down and dilapidated. Then the big focal point would be a large tree that had punched through the rooftop and intersect with the water tower.

And here is my initial blockout just using primitives. It's really simple, far too simple to be honest. I really struggle with having both a functional rooftop that could be believable and one that wasn't just boring old vents. On my second blockout I was experimenting with trying to have a more compact environment, one that wouldn't look so sparse and empty.  

After doing these quick blockouts I took some time to research a bit more into trying to find a more interesting layout. After a while I find, what I thought was, an interesting rooftop design that I then adapted into my third blockout. As you can see it has a bit more coherency to it, it feels like a more interesting layout. 

At this point not much of the layout has really changed, but after my previous blockout I brought it into UDK to test the scale of it and found that a lot of my assets I had used in the blockout weren't sized properly. After resizing them I found that they didn't all fit in the right places properly and that the rooftop itself needed resizing as well. This unfortunately leaves a bit of a void at the far end of the rooftop that needs filling. 

It was also at this point that I abandoned my overgrown idea. I found it to be too grandiose with the time that I have for this project. So instead I decided to just go with an ordinary rooftop for now and if I have any time left I can tweak it and alter it to make it more interesting for portfolio shots. What I think is most important now is that I focus on the technical side of things, I want to hone my texturing skills with this project and that's what I'm going to focus on. 

For my final blockout I just filled in that gap at the far end with a raised section to add a bit more height variation, as it was suggested during a critique. But other than that I just fixed some minor scale issues. From this I then took the assets I had been using for the blockouts and used them as a base to build the final in game assets.

These are the final versions of all the assets I produced in the first week, as I didn't think you'd really enjoy seeing production shots as there isn't anything particularly troublesome or interesting to make. As you can see I've built a lot of the assets using a modular method so that with a lot of the assets I'm only building parts so that I can assemble them later to minimize the tri count but also have a lot more assets sharing texture space so that way they have more space on the texture sheets and more detail.

That's all I got done in the first week, it's not all the assets. There are still a couple more to complete and then it's on to the unwrapping and texturing periods.

Summer Stuffs

 So I thought I'd start off this blog with some of the work I did over the summer. It's not tremendously much, I know. But what I was predominantly doing was learning a lot of new programs and stuff so I've not been working too much on the 3D side. But I did learn a lot about good texturing methods and high poly modelling pipelines.

The first thing I did for practice was this container from a concept from Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It was a really good practice to do work from a concept and I found it a good chance to improve my texturing. 

The second thing that I was working on was just practice high poly modelling and baking normals done. I learnt a lot doing this, working with high poly pipelines, but I did find it rather time consuming and having watched through some nDo tutorials I think that I will probably start trying to work in nDo from now on. I didn't manage to get round to texturing it yet though.

I know that one and a half assets is hardly a good representation of a summer's worth of work but unfortunately I can't physically show what I'm learned through hours and hours of tutorials and learning programs and plugins like FumeFX and Krakatoa. I also I'm trying to learn how to use RealFlow at the moment. 

I have been a bit bad with my time management these past couple of weeks but when I do get some free time I'll actually get around to starting my other blog dedicated to my adventure in learning how to be an FX artist. There's never enough time in the day :/