Monday, 25 February 2013

Pyro the Pachyderm is born!

Born from the ravages of WAR against their mortal enemy 'The Rodent Race' the Pachyderms needed a hero, that hero was Pyro!!!! :P

All joking aside I'm pretty happy with the outcome of my module, although not finished I've got more designs that I've taken from concept to reality.

I've done a quick render of the mechanical design, he's so SHINY! That's kind of the problem i have at the moment, he looks like he just stepped from the production line, where i want him to look like he's been through the wars. To do this I'd need to unwrap the UV's of the mesh and add the scratches and dents with normal maps but it's something i need to learn.

I'd previously worked on this mini-gun before starting college but felt that it fit perfectly with the design of my character. I'm going to modify it with a couple of gas cylinders to turn it into a flame mini-gun!

The organic mesh has come along nicely although i didn't have time to use ZBrush to do the clothing and detailing.

I love the quality of the renders that can be achieved using Keyshot, it's great for quickly testing materials and textures on a model and getting real time feedback.

I used the skills i picked up while animating my last character to learn more and use CAT (the character animation toolkit in 3DS Max) to animate the organic mesh of Pyro.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Weekly Targets

At present I'm working on two versions of my character an organic version and a mechanical version. I've used Silo to create the organic mesh of my design as i find Silo really intuitive when it comes to creating a base mesh. I've always used Max for mechanical modeling and designs but find it a little awkward for more organic forms, this week I've been experimenting with the graphite modeling tools in Max that were added in 2010 but I've not had much experience with them. I really love the PFlowconnect tool for quickly adding loops to your mesh and keeping the volume where you need it on your topology.

This week I've got to finish the mechanical model and begin animating the organic mesh. I'd love to be able to take the organic mesh into ZBrush and add the clothing and detailing with displacement and normal maps, but it's been a while since i used ZBrush and will probably need more time with it to incorporate it into my workflow.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

LA Noire Blooper Reel

It'll be alright on the night

Rockstar have just released a video showing the outtakes from LA Noire, i really wish they had kept these bloopers in as a bonus during the end credits of the game, similar to the way Pixar does with its films. Although the facial capture tech was impressive in the game, it was often quite jarring, descending into the 'uncanny valley' realm, somehow these gaffs make the animations more natural. Check out the video below.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Setting Personal Goals

Time Flies 

To organise my time more effectively I'll be setting weekly targets for myself and trying to stick to them. Time management in itself is one of my weaknesses at the moment, so planning how I'm going to use each week by setting myself goals seems to be a great way to improve the skills I feel I lack or that need work.

Tasks for this week: 


Complete my character design research, looking at designs from games like Bioshock, Starcraft II, Killzone 3, and Wolfenstein.

Finish the modeling phase of my work. What works as a 2D illustration often doesn't work in 3D, I've been experimenting with different forms and proportions of my character. Remember silhouette is key!
Work on my character sheet in Illustrator using the live paint tool.

In this months ImagineFX magazine there's a great article on 'The art of goal keeping' and i think this quote by William Stout sums up my trouble with time management at present:

'Goals are the beginning of one's motivation process, and it's essential to differentiate between goals and fantasies or desires'

Setting myself small, achievable goals will help with my motivation, as accomplishing goals is fun, gives you confidence and makes you feel more passionate for your dream.

KISS: Keep it simple stupid! I have the tendency to jump into modeling with both feet as that's what i'm used to, a more freeform style of modeling, starting with a basic idea and playing within Max, I tend to put too much detail into my models too early. I've done point by point modeling previously but working with a character sheet has restricted my natural workflow. I've over complicated my initial designs.

CryEngine SDK 3.4.4 Released

Oh, Shiny!

Crytek has just released the latest version of their software development kit, the engine/toolset used to create their upcoming title Crysis 3. The CryEngine is free to use for non-commercial use, and alongside the Unreal Development Kit and Unity, will more than likely be the engine of choice for next-gen games. You can play about with the toolkit and all its HDR, God-ray goodness by downloading  it here.

The Making of the ZombiU Trailer


Another video by the team at Unit Image (the studio behind the Cartier Wintertale ad) detailing the creation of the trailer for the Ubisoft game ZomiU. Not as in depth as the Cartier development video but still gives a great idea of the techniques and work involved in the production of CG videos. I really love the extreme amounts of detail that has gone into each asset to bring the scenes to life.

Global Game Jam

Earth, Wind, Water, Fire,....... Heart??

The fifth Global Game Jam has just finished with around 14000 jammers. Entrants have 48 hours to develop a game from scratch, based around a theme announced at the start of the jam, this year the theme was 'Heart'. It's something that i really want to enter next year if i can find people to work with collaboratively.  One of this years highlights has to be Surgeon Simulator 2013 developed by UK based Bossa Studios, it's been doing the rounds on Youtube with plenty of 'let's play' videos. I'm sure this will become the industry standard for training surgeons for years to come :)

Reflections of a Video Game Maker

OK Gabe, but where the hell is Half Life 3 hmmm?

Check out this in depth video of Gabe Newell's (founder of Valve, and video game legend!) recent talk at the University of Texas. In it he talks about a range of issues and particularly the future of Valves' digital delivery service Steam. Rather interesting that he wants to separate Valve from Steam as the service has become an unwieldy monster (the fourth largest bandwidth consumer in the world!) that Valve has to manage, and so less focus can be given to create video games, the very medium that made Valve so successful in the first place. Lets hope this frees them up to be able to release the third game in the Half Life universe.

The Making of Cartier Winter Tale

Hello Kitty

Here's a great video showing the production/development process for the 'Cartier Winter tale' advertisement from storyboard to modeling, animation, and compositing. I'm going to have to work extra hard on the areas of modeling i feel are weak to get anywhere near this standard, but it shows that the skills i have already are transferable and in demand to industries such as advertising. Rodia the modeler on the project will be giving a rundown of the process used to create the fur using a plugin for Max called Ornatrix next week, so keep checking here for more details.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Oculus Rift demo

 Oculus Rocks!

The latest footage of the Oculus Rift looks pretty amazing, with developer kits shipping soon i can't wait to see where this goes. I still think it needs the absolute positioning that John Carmack mentioned in his Quakecon keynote, but can you imagine playing Skyrim with this? Add the Leap motion controller and you could be shooting fireballs from your finger tips!