Monday, 22 October 2012

This one is pretty late, but...
I graduated, hurray! and so, it is time to move on with a new blog!

Sigh, so unemployed.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Textures and things

 Primarily I've been a texture artist on this project, although I've also been doing some prop and scene modelling. Here are a few turn arounds of props I've modelled and textured.




There are a few other gardening tools and plants that I've modelled, but these are the only ones I've rendered turn arounds for at the moment. Now lets talk about textures.

When I say I've been texturing, I don't mean I've been stealing 100kb jpegs from Google Images, making them 1024x1024 in photoshop and then saving them as a 6mb TARGA file. I've been going out with my camera and photographing things and what I can't find in real life I paint in photoshop using a graphics tablet. Before starting this animation course in 2009 I came from a fine art/illustration background, so painting and drawing aren't a problem for me and it feels pretty good to use some of my older skills along side the new ones I've learned. Time for an example!

 Here's a diffuse map from a grimey hexagonal window in the shed scene from Kernal, you may notice the hand drawn water droplets in the centre. Combined with a fancy bump map where inner glow is applied to each droplet, it makes this:

More texture talk later!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

November 2011 through to January 2012

It may have come to your attention that I'm super bad at keeping this blog up to date, so this is going to be one monster post.

Waaaay back at the start of November I pitched an idea to an audience and a panel of folks from the animation industry to go forward as a final major project, and that went pretty damn badly. Here's the idea.

Around July last year, my programmer friend Programmer Joe and I had a discussion about making computer games, we talked about how lots of people, including ourselves, use multiple monitor computer setups and how few games existed that could take advantage of this. and we decided to start a project of our own. I got researching on multi-screen GUIs, controls and other design related junk while he looked into choosing an engine and researched how to make it all work. (I don't know a great deal about programming, but I've been assured that his side of the job consists of 50% magic, 40% maths and 10% semi colons.)

Me, faffing around with robot cockpit designs.

We ended up using Microsoft XNA and some custom code to make it work fullscreen across two monitors (I'm told that this is not out-of-the-box behaviour for XNA and takes a lot of brainpower and swearing to accomplish.)

By September we had a couple of drawings, a sort-of-working game engine, and enough story and game play mechanics scripted to get started, Joe had managed to get some other programmers interested and I thought "Hey, why don't I pitch this as an FMP idea?", so I talked it over with Programmer Joe and I started looking for art-folk to recruit from my course.

And it would have all gone to plan, if it wasn't for those pesky kids. and by pesky kids I mean if it wasn't for myself spending too long making making game assets instead of rehearsing for the pitch.
On the day of the pitch I was ready to talk about system requirements and gameplay mechanics, but the panel didn't seem to want to know anything about other people's project proposals that wasn't to do with story, so I tried to tailor my pitch to their tastes and well... when you change the plan at the last minute, nothing goes right. If only I'd confused them with my fancy techno words!

And so that's the story of how Working Title: Walking Tanks never went into production!
But enough about that, here's some info on the actual project.

A shakey video depicting the current WT:WT prototype made by Programmer Joe.
Unfortunately Programmer Joe doesn't keep a blog currently, but if I did, I'd be linking to him right now.
A screenshot from the prototype

I also did some background painting for my friend Darrien's project Box Boy, which also unfortunately got cancelled.

Here are some WIPs of a background I was making for him.

SO now I'm working for Olly Skillman-Wilson's project, Kernal as a texturer and modeller.
We live in the same house, here he is eating a cake I made.
More on Kernal in my next post

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Getting my act together.

Too little, too late though?

also another model:


Wednesday, 20 April 2011

I've been making things!

This is a rotation of a space-guy I've been modelling for the last few days, I think its kinda neat, especially the rediculous jet pack... everyone likes jetpacks right?
(double click to watch on youtube for up to 720p resolution)

Sunday, 13 March 2011

oh yeah, blogging, I remember that...

Let's see if I can still remember how to blog...
I have a lot of stuff piling up to talk about because I've been all disorganised and stuff and forgot about blogging. I figure I'll pick just one thing to talk about in this post and then maybe I'll be able to tick it off my list.

The design sketches Jenny gave me to work from
 I've been character modelling for Jenny Stewart's 3rd year project, The Little Helper. When Jenny asked me to join her project before the christmas break I didn't actually know much of anything about character modelling, but I'd already modelled a few heads from photos and felt pretty confident that I could do a decent job so I set to work.

 An early model of Frankie's head
I was tasked with modelling Frankie, the old toy maker in the story. Everything started fine, modelling the head was pretty easy although maintaining good edge flow around the features was time consuming, this is the first model I've made for animation purposes, so I had to bear in mind what parts of the face would move and how the polys would deform as his expressions changed.
The eyes where a challange, it was a bit like putting a spherical peg into a square hole. It took a lot of effort to make them fit properly into the face without deforming it too much.

Something I'd never done before was model clothing, it wasn't terribly difficult but there were a few parts that put up a fight, like the collar of Frankie's shirt. There was a bit of confusion at this point of modelling the character due to a communication error, as you can see in the image to the right, I had modelled a collar onto what I thought was a sleeveless jacket, but it was explained to me that he was actually meant to be wearing a knitted cardigan and I had to remodell part of Frankie's torso. That set me back a bit but not a huge amount. Also in the screenshot you can see what look like seams in the clothing, this is where I'd welded the verts of two planes togother to attach the back and front sides of the torso together, but the face normals didn't match, this is easily fixed though by selecting the poly faces and just flipping the normals (In Maya under the Polygons menu in the main menu bar: Normals > Reverse, also Display>Polygons>Face Normals to view direction of normals)

Very early hand model
HANDS. Modelling hands was pretty upsetting at first, luckily there are video guides available which were immensely helpful.
In the screenshot to the left you can see an early hand model I made, it's pretty featureless and the proportions are more realistic than the exagerated hands in the final model, I had to make the hands much bigger than they are in the design drawing to get them to look right. I made them look bonier by increasing the size of the joints and exagerating the tendons on the back of the hand, also elongating the fingers helped in this model. There were a couple of other challanges in this project but I don't even want to talk about the teeth and as for hair, let's not even go there... 
Oh, and lets not forget UV unwrapping, everyone loves UVs! the RoadKill plugin made unwrapping a lot less horrible.

Here is a link to some of the most useful video guides I found in relation to modelling for this project

and now for some pretty pictures of the finished thing! I added some colour to the model just to make it a bit nicer, I don't actually know what colour scheme or textures Jenny is using on this project, I added my own, along with a sprinkle of Ambient Occlusion and Anti-Aliasing.


Why wont google let me blog in comic sans?