Category: OUDF201 Game Art, Design and Animation


I really really enjoyed modeling in this module. I got so carried away an it didn’t feel like work at all. I looked at several reference images when modeling, saves time, keeps things proportionate and looking right. I just cant wait to put my skills in to my own personal projects now.

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There were a few models i had to cut from the prototype due to time. But i have gone into those in another post.

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For my fist humanoid character I think I did pretty good. I do need to work on the topology of the face but I am grasping the concept slowly. I think the colors work well even though I couldn’t get the textures working on the animated rig unfortunately. My geometry looks very cubic, but I think that’s down to topology again. I did smooth the mesh and she looked fantastic! Her legs especially! The texture on the shorts look really effective. When smoothed her face looks a lot better and looks slightly more human. I did spot that in smooth mode seams are much more visible. I couldn’t really leave her in smooth because it took the poly count to over 10000 and that was over the limit. Plus it would slow down the frame rate in unity.

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I had a slight problem with the mesh when i tested the import in unity. I spotted a hole in the shorts,  it wasn’t a physical hole but a back to front normal. I font understand much about normals yet but what i do know is that if they are back to front they are invisible.  It’s a quick fix, just means popping back into Maya, selecting the face and select reverse normal and re export the FBX. This was a handy thing to know because it happened a few times with some objects in my environment. It turns out that my whole speaker was inside out but we sorted it, i think i must have dragged the face into the negative past the opposite face, turning it all inside out.

Oh what great fun I had with weight painting, ahem. I can honestly say I do not enjoy weight painting. It took me two afternoons to do it. I kept accidentally painting vertex’s on the opposite foot and when the model would move I would get this giant spike protruding from say her ankle. I think that in order to enable successful weight painting i need to consider it while i am making the mesh and putting in the skeleton. for example her arms, i could have either made the mass under her arms smaller or put the shoulder joint further out to stop the geometry disappearing into each other. There was no major problems with deformations in the mesh, overall it bends quite well, I’d say the worst is the back of the knee but its not that bad.

Sony Pictures Image works is a visual effects and animation unit of sony pictures digital productions. They are mostly knowen for their live action visual effects and  character animation, all-CG animation, and stereoscopic 3D imagery.

They have worked on titles such as The Green Lantern, The Smurfs, Ather Chritsmas, Alice in wonderland  and watchmen. All these films are to me inspirational work and sum up my life ambition to produce imagry like this.

I have been finding it quite difficult researching what software industries actuall use. Reading some articles I think (don’t quote me) that Pictures Imageworks have used Houdini and side effects software. So lets take a look at what this software does.

Ah right, see this is why its good to do some research Houdini is a 3D animation tool  which is by side effects software? also there is a free version, something i am defiantly going to have a look at.

Below is the link to their showreel and website. Houdini has been used for movies like Tron, Toy Story 3, Scott Pilgrim and Troll Hunter.

Houdini

Intact while i’m at it I might as well take a look at mayas showreel and have a look at it’s capabilities.

Maya

Spider-Man, Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, TheLord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Gladiator, The Matrix and What Dreams May Come, The Matrix Reloaded, The Hulk and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

It’s really nice to know that while using Maya in college i am on my way to actually having a chance to participate in making movies like these!!!

Aftereffects

Something that put a smile on my face was that After effects was used in the pre productiom of Avatar!

“Throughout the filmmaking process, Adobe After Effects® was at the heart of the production.Initially, concept art for the film was brought into After Effects to create a pitch reel that ultimately sold the film to 20th Century Fox.”

When i was crating my prototype, i was thinking about how would you actually play the game. The main inspiration has come from Heavy rain, the mood the feel and the storyline. This would be a game of exploration, survival, sticky situations and dramatic encounters. Your fighting to protect your sister who has got her self in serious dept and trouble with the drug lords in stoney hills and you need to find away to stop these people from getting to her and stop them completely. They try to run from them but the people who are after chloe have too much influence over the city, Alex has to find another way to protect her sister.

 

 

During this module we have taken on several roles that in the industry would be separate positions undertaken by spesialist. We have been environment artist, character  designer, modeler, rigger, weight painter, animator, texture artist, light rigger, sound designer. I could have missed a few other roles that we have had a dabble in during this module.

When I went to BAF game 2011 one of the lecturers went through a few other roles  in the game industry so i have looked up what is involved in the role.

-Business owner - the owner of the company producing the game
-Game director/producer - is the person in charge of overseeing development of a video game.
-Marketing/press - determines what products or services may be of interest to customers, and the strategy to use in sales, communications and business development.
-Programmer - a programmer develops the code base for the game. To make the game playable, so you can interact with the environment, charaters, etc
-Fx artist - partical effects ( muzzle flashes/ fire )etc
-Sound artist - creating sounds for in the game.

Wow Ok so i just looked at the credits for final fantasy 13 to find the sound director and they are 9 minutes long! It would take me a long time to list all the roles so i have linked the clip.

The main area i am interested in is the cinematic sequences, the beautifully animated movies. So i eventually spotted them towards the end of the list. These animations were contracted out to 4 different companies.

i’m finding it quite hard to agin information about there companies as they are japanese. On the Animaroid website it just says they were responsible for part of the movie and from the bad translation i can work out that they are a CG production quality group. They use 3d’s max as their main tool to make animations for games, TV and movies. also i think it says they have a department for photorealisum and they also use mocap .

Unfortunately i can’t access the other sites because the are japanese.

A friend forwarded me the link to a web site with a long list of  some roles in the game industry.

http://www.skillset.org/games/careers/article_2768_1.asp

On Friday we had our final crit for our game prototypes. It gave us a chance to see what everyone else has been busy doing, test the levels and give constructive feed back. I think were all slightly behind so a lot of the comments were expected. I got some good feed back, that put a smile on my face, things got pointed out that i hadn’t noticed and i got a mixed response about the music, but each to their own.

I have taken on board all the comments and gone through the list of comments and sorted any problems.

I came across this image when looking for boxing poses for my character and this was a pretty perfect image to take reference from for my jump animation. It’s a very sporting jump and I think I will defiantly use this as inspiration to create the animation jump for Alex.

Since i decided that I wanted a sporty character i was trying to get permission from a few boxing gyms to gain visual reference. Unfortunately after a number of e-mails i never received any response… so…  Jeff and i recorded our own reference. I knew how I wanted my character to move, and i have had experience in boxing myself so although i am disappointed I still was able to get the footage I need. Something i will consider in gaining reference footage next time is rather than E-mails i should either speak face to face or on the phone. This way i can get a quicker and definite response.

We recorded several poses, walks , idles etc, at different angles that i could then import in to Maya through after effects as a image sequence, apply the to a plain, and key frame my character in time with the video sequence.  With the image sequence i could pick out key poses as a still image for ref, which i found very handy for the idle pose’s.


I’m really please that i use referance material because i think the overall finished animations look really good. I was very excited to see her moving, giving her character, weight and life! I have really got the hang of keyframing this year. Its not perfect, some frames feel very robotic but i am slowly, ironing out the kinks. My favorite section is the idle, seeing her shift her weight and cross her arms is a great feeling of achievement and I can only improve from here.

I’ve been thinking, maybe I have taken on too much again. I have been looking at my environment and i might have to axe the changing room idea. Mainly because the deadline is coming up pretty fast and i have been i’ll for the past week which has made it very hard to get anything done. I have been pushing myself again but that is the only way i know how to get things done to a standard. So my plan now is to focus on the gym area only and finish that and IF I have time I will do the shower rooms. I just don’t think I will have time for it as I still need to source textures and sounds for the gym area, I would rather polish that to a high standard than botch it because I wanted to do too much.

So… i have cut

– changing room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had already started to model items for the changing room. I’m most disappointed that i cant include my toilet! i am really proud of it but i wont disregard this objects, as after the dead line i would like to continue working on my environment and add the shower room. My loo was a defining moment for me! Suddenly all i had learnt in Maya had just clicked! and i just got better at modeling quickly and efficiently and was thoroughly enjoying it.

Initially i wanted a drinking fountain in the gym but instead of using time , which i was short of, to model it i decided to use the sink, as it is not an object that is unlikely to be in the room. I wanted the showers and shower doors interactive, to open and close and to use some particle effects for water turning on.

– Managers office

Every gym has a managers office or staff room and to take away from the square symmetry of the space I wanted a little managers booth that you could look into but not access and have a phone randomly ringing to add to sound. Again i plan to put this in at a later date.

– Chloe

If you have read the short background story, Chloe is Alexis’s ( pain in the bum) sister, of which the storyline revolves around. I was never going to model her but imply the presents of another person. By having one of the shower cubicles inaccessible and by adding the sound of running water and some particle effects for steam, i could create this illusion that Chloe is in the shower. I also recorded a script with Mary as voice actor, of a few short sentences that would give the player a clue about the storyline, triggered randomly when entering the shower section. The idea that Chloe thinks its Alex that has entered the room.

– little animations

To make the space more interactive i had plans to have a few very short object animations these included

  • loo flush
  • swinging punch bag ( to take away the static from everything in the gym) also a triggered animation when bumped into.
  • speed ball to move like being hit when clicked
  • speed bags to move when clicked

With little animations sound follows so i would have need to record sounds on top of animating, and the list of things to do was getting longer and longer.

I did achieve movement in my speed bags with the help of Annabeth using a hinge joint in unity. Something i need more practice at.

– Alexis extra animation

I knew i was pushing it when i said i would like to experiment a little with motion capturing a little 2 action punch for Alexis to execute in the middle of the ring, like she was practicing her boxing moves. I only wanted to do it so i could play with mocap a bit.

Potentially i got get really carried away and work on the for several more months. although i would have loved to include all of there i am still more than happy with the way the cropped version of my idea is coming on. if i had included all of the above i don’t feel i would have achieved a quality i would have been happy with.

 

Another session in the sound booth. Siobhan in the first year was really good with the script. I have two takes to choose from, that I can divide up and use. I asked Mary to try for Chloe’s script but it did quite sound right so I might have to source someone else. I’m not worried too much because I will only take me about 1/2 hour to record it, its just sourcing another actor that will take the time. Since i booked the room for 2 hours, Mary and Jade recorded a few