Sunday, 23 November 2014

Week 8 - Dichotomy Duo

So last week I began the first character project of second year. I started a little later than some as the beginning of this project overlapped with the end of the sentry turret project, but that hasn't seemed to upset things much. The project brief is fairly open ended, with the only official requirements being that my pair of characters have to fit the theme of dichotomy.

"Design a pair of characters which work well together and clearly belong in the same world; whilst visually demonstrating their contrasts in as many ways as possible. Both characters must have a clear, recognisable connection with storytelling potential."
I decided to set a theme for myself of "Fire and Ice." This would give me a certain level of direction in this project to go along with all of this freedom. I started as always with some mind map notes and several mood boards, looking into fashion, art style, colour and interesting body types for my duo. After Mind mapping I decided that I wanted fire to either be a large aggressive character to fit the fierceness of fire, or in contrast a very calm and serine character, similar to a candle  flame. For ice I wanted a thin, character with a jagged silhouette resembling an icicle. Since I tend to be lacking when it comes to dressing my characters I also took out  a few fashion books for inspiration. with a good amount of reference and an idea of where I wanted to go with my duo I began thumbnailing.

I found in the sentry turret project that making a bash kit, or relying purely on block shape silhouettes isn't something that worked well for me, so instead this time round I went back to my regular method of thumb nailing. I also decided early in this project that the majority of my concepting would be done in my sketchbook, as I've found that I am a lot more fluid with my drawing and generally produce better work when I start off that way.

I picked the strongest thumbnails, paired them up, then began to put some faces to these thumbnails to build up my character a bit more.

From there I just kept going, matching bodies with faces, and by Thursday I had a line up that I was fairly happy with. On the Friday I had to present my current work for feedback, unfortunately there wasn't much I could take away from the session and I felt I did not get the same level of feedback that others who present before me may have gotten (damn being last on the register.)

Regardless I kept pushing my designs, Inspired by the "Art of Kung Fu Panda 2"book, specifically the art of Nicolas Marlet, I pushed the overall shapes of my characters and created a line up or varied characters to pick from. The goal for next week is to narrow down 2 designs to take into the orthographic drawings and later and 3d.
The Art of Kung Fu Panda 2, "Po"
As I'm pretty chuffed with how this turned out, I'm going to go ahead and make this my picture of the week =)

Monday, 17 November 2014

Week 7: The Wild Flower Sentry Turret- Post Mortem

So as the week ends so does the sentry turret project, and I'm very happy with the results. The week started out with me finishing the paint overs of my turret (in which I picked the first one to model) and from there I could fall into the familiar process of modelling, unwrapping and texturing.

Being able to move onto the texture side of my turret pretty much relax me as it's one of my favourite parts of creating assets, and gave me the opportunity to just sit and paint for the day, something I haven't really been able to do since I came back to university. It was nice to have a good finished painting, even if it is just parts of a texture.

From there it was a lot of tweaking in UE4 to get my turret to work the way that I wanted. I was also taught how to use emissive maps, which added a cool glow to my model and really helped to bring it together. Unfortunately the glow doesn't show in actual game-play (however it does show in simulation) so that's an issue to be addressed.
As an extra part of the project we were asked to make a little promotional poster for our turrets, Since my turret concept is kind of out there I found this really difficult. How cold I put a glowing blue plant with a creature inside of it in a real world setting? I first thought of doing a little shop of horrors type movie poster to showcase my turret, then a bio hazard waning sign. But then I thought it would be a good idea to segment my turret into a more day to day setting, so I settled on the idea of portraying it as a regular garden seed packet.

Overall my turret turned out well. There was a lot of frustration and issues in the concepting stage of this project and having to start again half way through the project obviously isn't ideal. I ended up with a turret I really like, but I can also see ways in which I can bring it up a level when we come back to it. I feel like my concept needs further developing at this moment as my turret sits in pretty much a vacuum in ue4, when I go back to the turret I'd like to make a simple environment to house it, so the concept does not seem so out of place. At the beginning of this project I was also trying a new process of working when it came to finding silhouettes and thumbnailing. Though I produced interesting results I detached quite a bit from my ideas and in the end could not bring them back to a concept that I liked, so I started again. Obviously the solution to that isn't to stop trying new ways of working so there's not much I can do to fix that issue within my project. When we come back to this project I'd like to mess around more in ue4 since I want to include sounds in my model, and improve the particle effects I currently have. I also did not get round to putting in an animated texture for the eyes on my turret, so I could get them to blink, another goal for next time.  As much as I love how my texture turned out  I think I would add a bit more colour variation to it so it isn't all just blue. Maybe add some reds or pinks into it.

So that's the Sentry turret project, though there were a lot of mess ups during the beginning of this project, which slashed my development time in half, it doesn't really bother me that much, I made decisions, and after a couple of days found out that they were the wrongs ones, can't be helped, live and learn.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Week 6- When in Doubt Sketch it Out.

So this week was a fairly hectic one for my sentry turret project despite not having any official lessons. Throughout this week my turret  has gone through so many iterations it's not even funny, in fact it was downright frustrating, I just could not find a design that worked.  I tried to speed up the process a bit by bringing some contenders into 3DS max, and I found that it was possible to make all of them without much difficulty, so that didn't really help in narrowing things down. So I just went screw it and skipped a couple of my steps and brought colour into my iterations, and that made a tonne of difference. From that I had more of a solid idea to work on I also tried to incorporate some features of Tesla coils into my final design thinking back to one of my 3 main ideas I had during the beginning of this project.
For there I started thinking of how this turret would work on a mechanical level, mainly focusing on the pivots as they're the things that did not make sense to me. As my turret sits on a rock I would need something that would bite or latch onto the surface easily, so I though a drill would be the best thing to start with. I remembered doing woodwork years ago at school and not being aloud to use regular power drills, instead we had these old hand powered drills, a quick search for these, lead to me finding the right shape for the pivots and stand of my turret. from there I tried to move into getting a solid line work of my turret, but I really could find something that worked. My previous iterations lacked something to me and I just could not get that nagging feeling that this turret was not the right idea to go with. A this point I have no enthusiasm about my ideas because none of them were that strong to me. So in the end I scraped my turret and started again.

So I spent an afternoon just with my mood board in front of me sketching out whatever I could, which actually really helped things. I think I do work best when I just sit down and sketch, though kit bashing thumbnail images produced a lot of iterations for me I think I detached a little from my work because of it. It was a good way to work, but I guess I'll need to tweak it a little. After sketching I found some things that I could work with and refine. So in 2 days found my new turret design that I took forward into 3D.

I choose idea 1 as a basis for my turret.
My current 3D model

With a quick test in engine I find that my model works and I am back on track with this project. Right now I have started some paintovers to figure out my textures for this sentry turret and everything's going well (knock on wood). So this is where I'm at, I'm going to continue with my paintovers, pick a design, then make any changes to my model. From there I can hopefully speed through the unwrap and texturing stages of this and get everything out on time!

Work in progress

Monday, 3 November 2014

Music Video Madness!

This week was a great week for animated music videos as 2 amazing videos were released this week. The first is the official music video of "Freak of the Week" designed and spearheaded by Juanjo Guarnido, a former Disney animator and the artist behind BLACKSAD.  So think traditional Disney style animation mixed with heavy metal. This is a project I remember following from the kickstarter stage and the end product is amazing.

The second is a 2D anthropomorphic fan animated video by the talented Vivienne Medrano who has quite a few lovely animations so check her out as well.

I love both  of these animations immensely just because of the level of skill and pure energy coming off both of them. Anyway Enjoy!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Week 5: Sentry Turrets!

With the film Room Project now completed and behind me, it's time to move on to the Sentry Turret Project! This is the first solo project of the year and we've pretty much been given free rein to design our own turret. I came into this project with a lot of ambition, but over the course of the week I've had to dial things down a little. My initial thoughts were to do a poisonous/carnivorous plant type turret along with ideas for a Tesla coil type turret. While Gathering images and research on my main inspirations for this project I was shown some images of perfume bottles, which in many cases looked like gun barrels in themselves. so I incorporated that into my research as well. At the end of this I produced a stupidly large board.

Having completed my mood board I began  the frankly tedious process extracting silhouettes from parts of the images to later use in thumb nailing.  I had a few issues with this as a lot of the initial interesting shapes and patterns were lost in extraction. And looking back at this now I really should have honed in on a few strong images as I took way too many on for this initial stage. But I did manage to get some cool looking turrets from the silhouettes I took.

From here I took a few that I liked and iterated them slightly, but at this point I'm loosing a lot of the drive I had going into this project, so for next week I need to go into some colour and 3D. Renew myself a little.