Thursday, 18 December 2014

Dichotomous Duos Post Mortem

Q: Did my end result represent what I wanted for this project?

For the most part yes. Though I didn't get to explore  my original idea of having particle effects for the hair portion of my model, I like how it all turned out. I managed two of my stretch goals, rigging my character and trying out the 3D coat software. Things  really came together near the end of my project when I started my paint-overs. I would have liked to have come to my end idea sooner, but with the concept stage being rushed through on this project it was difficult to do.  I had to stop concepting at the orthographic stage and begin modelling so I did not know how this was going to turn out exactly. Rough ideas were enough to progress, but not having something concrete and finished to work from is stressful.

Q: Strengths I found during this project

I'm still happy with how I texture, going into 3D coat has definitely sped up my process and improved my painting.  I'm fairly proud of the whole 2D aspect of this project as well, especially my ambient occlusion paint-over and initial sketch line up. Those were also the parts f this project that I enjoyed the most, so I guess it shows.

Q: Weaknesses I found during this project

Well I'm still not confident in my modelling especially when it comes to faces so I need to work on that. Also as much work as I did with the visual design aspect of this project I still feel like I could have done more exploration with my characters. I iterated my characters, but I stopped to move onto orthographic drawings I think a little bit too soon, or at least I didn't explore what I wanted to. I focused on the clothing and shapes of my characters, but I don't think I got enough personality into them. I would have liked to just sketch out a page or two of my duo to really feel for who they were as characters, so I could show some personality and charm between them. I'd like people to be able to tell what my characters are about when they look at them, and I don't think I can really convey that through value iterations and T- poses.

Q: What did you learn?

I learnt some basics of the 3D coat software.

Q: Things I'd do differently if I were to do this project again

Honestly I'm not sure, improvements on my characters and models would  just come about from more design experience/knowledge, my decisions could have been different, and produced better results but I don't feel like the decisions that I made were "wrong".  For instance I played with the idea of making the hair of my model out of fire particle effects, but I have no idea if that would actually make my model better, and the hand painted hair still looks good.

Finding a style to emulate/study from would have helped my when it came to my 3D modelling. I had a tonne of style guides and inspiration in the 2D aspect of this project, but none for the 3D aspect so I felt lost throughout that process.

Q: Was this project successful?

Definitely! I like my end characters and bar the few hiccups at the end, did everything I set out to do. It was a pretty fun project in the end and I now can't look at any game or cartoon without seeing the dichotomous  duos in them.

With that all wrapped up I can now begin the holidays! Have a good one, see everyone in January!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Week11- Dichotomous Duo submission

The final week of this term, and the deadline for the Character Project has just passed, and I'm feeling alright with how things turned out. Texturing and final rendering/polishing were the last stages of my character creation. Painting the diffuse texture, as always was my favourite part of the modelling, and with my previous paint over to work from it went by a lot faster than normal. I also dipped into the 3D coat software which really helped me paint out the seams of my texture. Though I did struggle with texturing the hair of my character, but I honestly had problems with that hair from the beginning so it wasn't much of a surprise.

Diffuse Texture
Unfortunately I caught a stomach bug that week, which completely wrecked any chance of productivity for a few days. This meant I did not get to do more than a diffuse and normal map from my texturing. I also could not polish up my model and do proper renderings, which sucks but I'm glad the bulk of my texturing was finished before I became ill.

Finished Model

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Week 10- Almost Done

More on the character project progress! Last week I ended the blog with the finished orthographic of my characters and over the weekend I began to model my fire character in 3D. I found that diving straight into 3d without at least some plan as to how I was going to build this character was a big mistake. especially considering how long it had been since I modelled a human. Se my initial 3d model was bad, to the point of it being terrifying. So I scrapped it and started again taking my time with the topology and overall form of the character.

With my second attempt there weren't as many hiccups though the face took forever to make, this is something I should practise more as its a recurring problem for me. In the middle of the I went in for review of my progress which went very well. By this time I had a finished 3d model and ideas for the colour pallet of my character.

The feedback from this session was very helpful, all I really needed to do was to go back and make my model look more like my 2d orthographic, as I'd slipped slightly in the torso proportions, I also remade the hair which I found was annoyingly difficult to model and unwrap, as cool as it looked. By the end of the week I had a 3d model that I was happy with.

After I finished my 3D model I rigged it into a pose and turbo smoothed it temporarily.This allowed me to bake out some ambient occlusion shadows. With a render of my characters ambient shadows I could quickly test out my colour pallets on my model, and decide which one I wanted to develop,

Colour pallets with AO overlay

True colours
I ended up going with the second colour pallet shown as it had some of the traditional colours of fire, with a slight purple tint that made it a little more appealing than the other pallets. This tint was something I noticed when looking at volcanoes. The gas and light produced by lava would react with the rest of the environment and mix into a lovely purple/pink smoke.
From there I started painting over my render, finishing off the week with a complete concept that I can take into texturing next week.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Week 9- Picking a Pair

Continuing from my character line up from last week I picked two "final" designs. This was a difficult process as I liked nearly all of my line-up characters, each for different reasons. With my Ice character I went with my gut feeling and just picked my favourite. Fire was a lot more tricky for me as those characters showed the most variation and personality. In the end I asked others what they thought of my characters and let that help me with my decision. From here I had a good base to develop my characters further.
Left- Ice, Right- Fire
I produced a few value iterations trying to develop  my characters clothing and overall look. I wanted to give Ice an angular and jagged look all around so I focused on sharp, geometric shapes and patterns to decorate her dress. Again Fire proved to be a problem for me as I could not get a definite look down for her dress. After asking for feedback I combined elements from the iterations that worked, and discarding those that didn't.

After that I began my orthographic drawings for my Ice character, during this time I found that I no longer liked how this character looked, so I changes a few things and iterated further. The main changes being:
Hair- I switched out the big hair to a neat short cut, to further contrast my Fire character.
Proportions- I elongated Ice's proportions to make her significantly taller than Fire as opposed to being the same height.
Accessories- I found that my original design did not give out a sense of cold, so I added some fur garments to Ice. I also played around with the idea of giving her a real fox scarf, to further emphasise her cruel personality (to contrast Fire's warmer personality.)

Further Iteration  
Final orthographic
At this point I was putting off the orthographic drawing of my fire character as I felt that she was no longer as strong of a character as Ice was. Fortunately I got some good advice from my tutor Heather, who showed me the designs Sandra Backland whose designs beautifully knitted outfits. Something that stood out to me the most were the bulky, slitted sleeves of these garments. looking at this knit work reminded me of the shapes that lava makes when it flows, linking it back to my character nicely. 

I also briefly looked at chiffon cloth whilst iterating my Fire character and in the end came up with a final orthographic that I'm going to take to 3D in the coming week. 

Fire Orthographic
To close here is my picture of the week:

As I've been feeling super rushed in my past few life drawing sessions, and also with this  character project, I decided to take the time to just do some one hour studies of the figure, to wind down a bit.

Reference list:    
Sandra Backlund 1, viewed 30 November 2014, <>
Sandra Backlund 2, viewed 30 November 2014  <>.
Lava Flow, viewed 30 November 2014