Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Done and done!

Soo, finished the character project yesterday, got my work in on time (phew). I was pretty pleased with how it turned out in the end and as always I learnt a lot from this project, especially about character workflow. Anyway, here's my final video and I'll be back soon with more pre-production for my major projects. For some reason this video looks a bit crap so I recommend watching it on youtube instead. Although for some reason youtube didnt want to include the theme song that I had added, hmm....

Saturday, 3 December 2011


So, I've started the painting of my sculpt, and so far it's going quite well. I find polypainting in zbrush really fun although a bit confusing at times. I tried working it up in layers and blocking stuff in first which has worked out pretty well for me, I'll hopefully follow up with a detail pass and then a specular pass. It hasn't really come out as close to my initial reference images as I would like but this was pretty hard to achieve the same effect without first having a similar light source as there is in the reference. I want to try and get at least most of the painting done tonight so then tomorrow I can work on finishing off the project as a whole.

Character update

Okay, I would have liked to have posted some things a bit sooner but I've been having various setbacks so I've been busy trying to sort them out. So I'll post a bit of progress.

This screenshots are from an earlier version of the model which I have since updated. This was mostly a stage of blocking out all of the forms and making sure I was happy with the anatomy and where it was heading.

This is where my model is at now, I've included images of my low poly version that I'll be baking the information from my high poly sculpt on to. I obviously adjusted the forms a bit (especially in the face) to try and suit my reference images a bit closer. The low poly comes in at just over 9000 polys and the sculpt is something like 9.5 million haha. Overall I think it has come out pretty well for my first zbrush character. The next step will be to polypaint the model and pose it. Then I will work on baking it all to the low poly version. :)

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Character Project!!

  Right then, so today we received our new brief, which is to create a high poly model in Mudbox of a pre-designed character. The character should ideally not have been made in 3D before but this is negotiable (it's more for our own sake than anything). I thought of countless characters that I would love to do as this is generally something that anybody would want to do, recreate a character of their choice, so the possibilities were as good as endless. A really good one I thought of doing was Colonel Commissar Ibram Gaunt from the Gaunt's Ghosts novels (If you haven't read them you should check them out) or generally any character from the Warhammer 40,000 universe as there are countless really cool characters with beautiful supporting artwork. I thought however that doing a human, although obviously great practice, wouldn't do wonders for my showreel, seeing as I already have one and have more on the way with the major project. With the major project these characters will obviously be of a fantasy/medieval style so that also ruled that theme out for this project.

  And then, I recalled some awesome artwork I saw on CGhub a few month's back. Dave Rapoza has been going through a stage of re-imagining various characters from a load of 90's kids tv shows. I decided to go for one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that he did. Seeing as how this would be from a re-imagining of the turtles I'm guessing it would be okay due to the fact that there has been a few cg incarnations of the turtles before but they were obvioulsy based straight off of one of the tv series'. It's the gritty realism that Rapoza has captured with his concepts that drew me towards them and generally the fact that they all look badass.

Anyway, here's where I'm at so far in terms of research, there obviously isnt the need for too much seein as the character has already been designed. I have made a start on the model but I'll wait until I've worked on it a bit longer before sticking it up here. Oh and by the way, I think I'll be doing Michelangelo buuut I guess it's really just a matter of a quick colour change at the end between them, so we'll see.

This is not a post ...

Well, maybe it is but only a really quick one. Just remembered that I did some sub-surface scattering tests last week, so I thought I may as well upload them now before I forget. They're not amazing and not really what we want for the final product but they're on the way. I managed to incorporate my own texture maps for things like back-scatter, epidermal and subdermal but then I kind of messed up because I had made the head not to scale so the effect wasn't really what I wanted, but hey, it's a learning process.

This next one is obviously the one where I incorporated the maps I made. (they were really quick, as was the unwrap so they don't line up brilliantly) but there's definitely some variation and as I said, it's a work in progress. :)

One last post about the major before I get stuck into this new project. Here are a few rough sketches I did for general outfits and styles for our barbarians and soldiers. I numbered them just so the other guys in the group could hopefully provide a bit of feedback. On the off-chance that somebody other than myself is reading any of this tripe, then any criticism (towards the designs, not me personally) would be appreciated. Hopefully they're not so bad that I need to say which designs are for which faction.


Okay, so we received the brief for our new project today but before I get on to that I first wanted to just upload a few more things to do with the major, mostly research but a few concepts as well.

First off is the research I've gathered for the barbarians. Now, most of this research (the stuff for the soldiers and dragon as well) is more a gathering of inspiration and general styles that I had in mind. When it comes to diving in a bit more depth into the specifics I might grab some more reference for that as well, things like swords and armour etc. For the barbarians I have been heavily influenced by the various concept work for Warhammer Online and also Kekai Kotaki's brilliant work on the Guild Wars franchise. We weren't too sure how much armour we wanted these guys to be sporting, especially seeing as that would be more in keeping with the soldier's visual style instead. A bit more of an armoured style will probably be reserved for the chieftain concept.

Now the soldiers, these guys were pretty awkward surprisingly. We obviously wanted them to be armoured but too much armour would require some pretty technical rigging and as none of us are experts in this area we thought it probably be best if everybody wasn't clad in a full suit of plate mail for example. For these guys I'm kinda drawn between the 16th century European style of the Warhammer concepts again and those that perhaps sport more heavily armoured figures. Another problem other than the rigging side of things though is that a lot of these guys feature pretty elaborate armour in some places, and although visually this would be pretty nice it would then fall to us to have to work these intricacies into our models and again the rigs.

That's right, we may have put a dragon in there as well, not sure whether you noticed in the animatic hehe. So yeah, basically we were kind of struggling for a way to end our little sequence in a way that wasn't anti-climatic but was also manageable. I may have just thrown the idea of a dragon out there and obviously we got excited and it's now stuck. Whether we manage to pull it off or whether we bit off more than we can chew will remain to be seen however. Anyway, here's a bunch of reference I gathered for the big lizard. We are pretty sure we want to go with the two legged variety of dragon, mostly for design reasons I guess but it will also mean less limbs to rig so that will help. I've obviously looked up a bunch of different reptile features as well but we won't really know much more about this guy until one of us starts knocking out some concepts for him.

Last but not least (well, kinda) I've put up some research for the environment. This is an area we haven't put too much time into yet, but it's on the to do list. I've looked up military camps in general but also various tents and props that would really help sell this world we are aiming to create. I initially imagined it being set in a bit of a clearing as well so that's why there's a bit of research for that, but this also means that the camp obviously would not be as big as some of the camps in these images.

Monday, 14 November 2011

(Last Ever) Major Project

  Well it's about time I posted something about our major project. We've had a couple of weeks on it so far but we've now started pre-production on our final major projects. The brief is essentially the same as last years, four projects, two of which have to be collaborative. My housemates and myself have decided to get a team together and create a short film (emphasis on the short). This film would take up most of our Major projects for each of us. First we needed an idea to base it around. We had already agreed that we wanted to place it in a historical setting and we wanted the emphasis to be on quality as opposed to focusing on a narrative or length. Over the summer I had the idea of depicting a military camp under attack by a horde of barabarian-esque guys. The emphasis would be on the fight sequences and some nice cinematography. After discussing it with the guys and a bit of tweaking we settled on this as our idea.

  We're going to be looking in to some advanced techniques such as various effects in both Maya and After Effects and things such as sub-surface scattering for the characters. I put together a really rough animatic that could be used for the mean time to pitch to other people to try and get across the idea in general and so they can get a feel for what it is that we want to accomplish. Obviously it doesnt reflect the quality we want for the final thing and it will have a LOT of revisions and also slightly less russell crowe :P

Monday, 7 November 2011

 I've also got some 'making of' screenshots so I'll put them up here as well. They're not brilliant but they kind of show the environment as it comes along in UDK. There will also be some screenshots of various shaders and setups that I handed in with the rest of my work.

 This shader above that I used for the skydome, turned out really nice. I followed a really good tutorial from http://3dbrushwork.com/ It has the ability to change to a starry, night sky a nice dawn haze and a whole bunch of other attributes such as cloud movement speed and direction.