Sunday, 12 September 2010

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

set blasters to stun

So with the group project out of the way ive been starting to work on my own personal art, again with the question what to do, and i thought modelling a gun would be a god start for this, afterall the vast majority of games involve guns so getting good at guns wouldnt be a bad start.

As i was researching into what kind of gun i could model i came across some leaked artwork from the new star wars battlefront game. With the recession still holding a firm grip on game companies wallets the company Free Radical, who have been working on star wars battlefront 3 made a load of redundancies lately. One of them being the game artist Richard Smith, who uploaded some of what he had been working on before he was cut loose. Obviously Lucasarts was quick to remove the images but not before they made their way all over the internet.

So i was looking at all this artwork and i was thinking well im into all this stuff like star wars, ive watched all the films and played all the games, and with artwork like this being released its obvious things like this are worked on as games. So why cant i use the 3d skills ive learnt so far and put it towards something im passionate about. I mean it not too stupid of a thought since this sort of thing DOES make it onto consoles. So without further question i had it, im making a gun from star wars.

After a while chipping away at it im almost there. yes it would be a lasser gun from star wars but to be honest its just pretty much a lee enfield rifle sawn up with a grenade launcher cup attached o the end. Im at 900 tris currently but since i havent got much left to do i reckon i could keep it at 1,000 tris by the end (hopefully ill get more detail into it with the never ending quest to learn mesh baking) anyhoo ill leave it at that

Whats Left

With the year almost over i thought id kind of look back and catalogue what ive learnt over the year and what needs to be learned still in order to be a good game artist. This is more of a list of what needs to be done to help me more than anything.

Most of what ive been doin over this year hasnt really involved fine tuning my skill in max and photoshop etc etc. But more in some shape or form learning new programs that are used within the industry. As people know there are shit loads of them from z brush to mudbox to mesh baking programs to shaders. And i thought if you want to get good you need more than one tool at your disposal, because even if your amazing at max if thats all you know how to do your still gonna have a lot of gaps in your ability to work.

So firstly the program ive been learning an using the most is Headus UV, a UV unwrapping program, and ill tell you now, that thing is a dream. For me there is 3 things to modelling any asset, the modelling, the unwrapping and the texturing. Modelling comes first, extruding, welding, combining objects to create the silluoette and shape of the object you want to make, seeing you have nothing and have it turn into someting on the screen. Texturing, taking the dull grey model and putting colour onto it, bringing it to life, seeing it become something that looks alive, completing it to see it become a complete finished model. But unwrapping is teadious, its the boring bridge between the 2 fun things about modelling, matching UV's, making them fit, organizing them, its just so dull, And the problem is it always has to be done. This is where Headus UV has been helping, firstly its by no means a program that 'does it for you' its a program that helps you and reduces the time it takes to unwrap something dramatically, less time on the boring stuf, more time on the fun stuff, and tweaks the issues that any game artist can make. I bloody love how much that program has helped and i shall be continuing to use it for quite some time now.

Xnormal is next on the list, Mesh baking, well....this has been one fuck up to the next for me, but in the end i think i got there, i must admit i havent learnt how to do it as well as i had hoped but the principle is there, i can do besic bakes so with practice over the summer i should get there.

As for overall work this year i do feel i fell into the infamous second year stoop. i havent produced as much work or learnt as much as i had hoped, and i only have myself to blame for that. But one good thing has came out of this, and that would be quite a difference in 2d work. Last year i will completely admit i was totally scared of 2s work, id never drawn anything properlly before so the thoughbt of picking up a pencil or using a graphics tablet bewildered me, and as a result i avoided it like the plague. But this year i decided that no matter how crap my work would be i would stick through it and get some 2d digital painting done, and im glad i did. After all the crap i finally started producing some hald decent digital painting, my only regret is that i did all this sooner.
So with this ill leave you with a comparison of how my 2d has improved over the past year

group project

So with the group project almost over with i thought it would be the best time for some reflection on it and how i think it went for me and what i learned.

So for starters throughout this whole thing my job within the group was one of the 'asset guys'. My job was to produce asset after asset needed for the scene and pass them up the pipeline to be textured and put into unreal. This consisted of things from major assets like stairways to trinkets like buckets and bins. I think this was a good experience for me as it gave me insight into how its done in the industry because of the fact the working envirionment i was under wasnt too far off the industry, small groups of assets with short deadlines. a toilet to be modelled, 1 day, 2 urinals, 2 days, the main stairs, 5 days, more realistic, very short deadlines unlike others like a bin, 4 weeks.

It was also insight into how the industry pipeline probably works. With my job being to make assets the majority of what i modelled wasnt textured by me. It was mearly modelled, UV unwrapped and then passed up to the pipeline to people whose job it was to texture the assets passed onto them. So in order for the pipeline to work correctly i had to make sure my assets were efficiently modelled so that anyone who took them wouldnt have to worry about importing or exporting issues, and the unwrapping had to be done properly so that the other person wouldn't get confused or have to unwrap the whole thing again themself. This sort of workflow and dependancy on each other to get their job done right and on time so it wouldnt give other people a hard time was the key to keeping our ship afloat so to speak, and was quite a difficult task sometimes.

This i think showed how important teamwork and keeping to the pipeline is, because like every person trying to do a group project for the first time it had cock ups. Like i was assigned the task of modelling the stairs and handing it up the pipeline, which was done a day late by me. So when it came to passing it on the person i was supposed to give it to they were supposed to do it the day before so they had moved onto other assets, meaning me putting the stairs on their list messed up their workflow. This meant in order to not mess up their workflow i took the stairs off their hands by taking it back to unwrap myself, which then meant my lateness had both disrupted someone elses workflow and given me more work to do. This was a but of a bummer but it showed how important it is to keep with the teams program.

so all of this has helped me even if just a little see into how it will probably have to be done when were all not at uni and all have proper jobs. As for the unreal stuff, i admit i havent learnt that much of unreal and im finding it dissappointing because it is definately something you need to leanr to get good at the inudstry. I mean all games use engines, evey one of them, so to know how to us an engine is as impornt as it can get i think. So over summer i reckon ill be fiddling about with unreal in my own time to get my skills up on that one. But apart from that i think it went well, ive sort of went bak to basics and learnt how o quickly and effectively model all the small assets that are needed to complete a room and make it look whole. So with that ill leave it......

Tuesday, 23 February 2010


So to start this off i thought id go on about my futile attempt to do my first ever mesh bake with a pair of binoculars.

My first ever attempt to mesh bake pretty much went tits up due to the fact my models ended up being a bit dodgy, but it has had its benefits. Ive learnt to mesh bake in the process but in future can only do it successfully if i have good efficient models to do it with. So with that my binocular mesh baking project reached its limit.

the past few days ive been entertaining myself with the BMW brief, and I feel this has really helped me get work done.

This is because apart from the obvious work of the group project where ive been given specific tasks to do when im trying to do my own work in my own time ive ended up sitting down infront of the computer and going right lets model something, but then drawing a blank. Unless you actually sit down with an idea of what you want to specifically model already drilled into your head i find it quite difficult to just model something. I mean in terms of modeling assets for games there literally isnt anything that you cant model, so i end up not knowing what the hell to do. So BMW brief has helped me a lot because it means BMW has put the idea in my head for me, im going to model a car.

Plus this brief is for an opportunity to go to munich and work for BMW themselves for a while, which could be a great experience, and has kind of motivated me into getting it done. im pretty skeptical about doing anything like actually sending my model to them, im just really using their brief as a reason to get a car modelled, but you never know

My WIP in goin half decent at the moment, ive got the car in at 3,00ish tris currently, but the wheels are at 1,000 each at the moment due to me goin and putting a bit extra detail into making the alloys, so thats where most the polys are. Hopefully ill get it done in the not too distant future to have finished models to post up here

Sunday, 7 February 2010


Again with the tutorials, and this time i got one that helped me show how to render and present my 3d work a bit more professionally for the sakes of portfolios and what not. With it being internet tutorials im learning all this from and some of my work getting better from it and some just failing im starting to believe tutorials arent the law of the land and that some out there are genuinely good and help you and others are just shit in all honesty. But for the most part this one was actually good. So i used it to present my bin, and im happy with the result, so more where this came from i guess.

Mesh Baking Failure

OK so as part of second year stuff ive started learning a few extra things in max, one of them being mesh baking. Mesh baking is where u can 'bake' the detail of a high poly object onto a low poly object so it creates the illusion of that low poly object having better detail and a higher tri count than it actually does have. So i got my hands on a rather useful tutorial on how to do this, and first off to do this you need a low poly model of what you want the detail baked onto and the high poly model containing all the detail. This in fact i learned is the longest part, mesh baking itself takes next to no time, modelling the to things is what takes all the time in this. So after all this i had my 2 models, and you can see the diference between the high and the loe quite clearly.

So from here i started following the tutorial up to rendering the normal map which is where it all went wrong, and this pissed me off cus i dont know where ive went wrong. All the normals where either bearly visible or extremely pixelated and in the wrong place. I guess experience at this is defenitely what is needed to make this work and look good

So after all this yeah im back to the drawing board, hopefully Ill be back on here soon with a (finally) successfully done and working baked pair of binoculars

Monday, 11 January 2010

2D & 3D

Again even more stuff up for better quality images. But ive got some 2D up this time. See unlike last year ive started to enjoy/ get half decent (i think) at digital painting. Last year i was completely useless at it to the point where i just didnt even try to do it. But this year ive decided to stick to it no matter what and ive ended up getting some half decent things out of it finally. My 3D is still slowly improving althought im still not happy with what im getting with characters, my head really doesnt look like me, and with me having thoughts about goin into chareacter modelling i need to improve. Time to get some more character and head modelling done me thinks.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Just 3D

Before the presentation just some renders of my finished environment and vehicle, finally finished texturing them so here they are. My character and some 2D are still to come.