Friday, 11 December 2015

Week 10- Polish Week

This week was dedicated mostly to writing an essay about my 3 previous projects, though I did manage to spend some time polishing the outcomes of my leyendecker Vikings and Nano Pirates:

Responding to feedback that I received on this project I focused on the render quality of my characters, looking into the lighting of Leyendecker and putting those into my finals.I was told that "particularly in the case of Hel, there are parts of the character where the edges feel flat rather than turning away, they lose their volume. The rule "Value change equals form change" should help you here. As a form turns away from a viewer, that face will be picking up either more light or shadow than before."

It was also noted that Hel was the only character with the leyndecker look With this in mind I produced some thumbnails in Leyendecker's style putting my other characters in that style. Unfortunately I only had the time to finish Hel's Promo Image:

For my Nano Pirates I improved my carpenter design, as it was the weakest design of my pirates. I also produced a Promotional image for my Captain character, then put some more development into my Sailing Master's Character sheet.

Promo Image Thumbnails

Friday, 4 December 2015

Week 9- Wilderness Warrior Hand in

Name: Sarah Wright
P Number: 1322992x
Project Title: GP- Highly Stylized Character Project

To create a miniature character based on the given concept for a mobile game. Use the concept as a guide and include all the key features. Textures are to be hand-painted and your model will be diffuse-only, through use of a sculpting program to accentuate the volume of diffuse shapes is completely acceptable.

The process for this included:
  • Evaluating and editing the existing concept.
  • Exploring colour pallets.
  • Sculpting a base model.
  • Retopologizing and modeling from the base sculpt.
  • unwrapping, texturing and rendering the model ready for presentation.
Concept Art:

Sculpting and Retopology:


final texture with alpha masks
Mount textures
Sketchfab Viewer:

Beauty Shots:

Evaluation Q&A

Q: How well did I manage my time?
Looking back on my time sheet I was pretty much spot on with my management. I finished a little bit earlier than expected so I had more time to put into setting up a scene.

Q: Did my end result represent what I wanted for this project?
This project went significantly better than I expected. Since this was my first time using sculpting for a project I was not entirely sure how this would turn out, and things weren't looking great at the retopology stage. It was only when I baked down my sculpt and put on the base textures that things started to come to life and I could visualize how this model would look in the end.

Q: Strengths I found during this project:
Hand painted texturing is a strength of mine and I feel like I showed it well in this project, as well as being able to quickly evaluate and edit a concept into something new. I think it would be fun to go all out with details on this model, but as it is supposed to be made for a mobile game I can get away with the details as they are. My presentation has improved to the point that I feel my beauty shots are portfolio ready.

Q: Weaknesses I found during this project:
Retopologizing my sculpt proved difficult when it came to areas like the hands and hair. and my unwrapping needs some work in a few places like the snail shell hair and slingshot, which made texturing difficult despite using a vertex painting programme.

Q. What stressed me out the most during this project?
Retopology and hitting the tri budget took a lot more time and energy that I originally anticipated.. Most auto retopology programmes that are used to quickly lay down topology on sculpts aren't effective on such a low poly model so everything needed to be connected manually with the exception of the hands, which were retopologized in zremesher and cut down in 3ds max.

Overall this project turned out great and i'm extremely happy with my results, to point where I can can see myself making a series of wilderness warriors in my spare time.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Week 8- Texturing!

At the end of last week I was given some feedback on the hair of my character, mainly the fact that the hair that she had would not fit under her the helmet in the concept. Since I had completely forgotten about the helmet I decided to sculpt that in as soon as possible, before I continued with my retopology. Luckily I could do this with a few adjustments, rather than having to completely redesign the hair. Here is the finished sculpt:

From here I continued with retopolgy, using 3D cioat for the body and face, then 3ds Max for the simpler accesories. Zremesher was also used for the hands and hair. The whole retoplgy proces took longer than I expected, mainly becasue of the low poly nature of this model. Auto retoplogy tools weren't an option for this model as they deal with much higher budgets than the one set for this project. I also ran into a glitch with 3d coat where I could not import objects I retoplogised in 3dsmax into 3D coat. so there was a lot of back and forth between programmes and time spent trying to fix this.

With the model complete I unwrapped it using 3ds Max and 3d Coat

From here I baked an AO and normal map (to use outside this project) from my sculpt to my low poly mesh in xNormal. As this was my first time using this programme there were a few mishaps, but I ended up with some good bakes that I could use for the basis of my texturing.

Baked maps

Starting texture

Following Feedback I smoothed out my model as well near the waist and under the chin, and then continued with my texturing. I wanted to add more character to the face so I added a few details. I also played around with having a slight expression on the face, (as well as a neutral look) since all of my current character models lack expression.

Here is my model at the end of the week:

At the end of this week I did complete my goals of:

  • Finish retopologizing my model
  • Unwrap model ready for texturing
  • Be well on my way with texturing.
Though I chose not to Sculpt in extra details to bake down into the base mesh as I felt that I could paint these in fine.

My goals for next week are:

  • Fully finish the texturing of my model.
  • Have the model rigged to a pose and rendered for presentation.
  • Stretch goal: Have an expression sheet for the character.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Week 7- Wilderness Warrior Project

At the end of the previous project I was stuck as to what to pick for my final 3 week project. Having chosen 2 character projects I wanted to produce at least one series of environments, so I looked into the isometric environment brief, and the epic cityscapes brief. I feel like i'd choose the epic cities if I did not need to house them in the 1700’s. So I started planning with the intent of completing the Isometric level brief. However I could not think of a clear direction to go with that project, I couldn’t visualize an end product, an issue that I had experienced in my Leyendecker Vikings project, which hindered me overall. So I went back to the drawing board. Both briefs are challenging, but with the quantity of work needed to complete the brief, I didn’t think it would be wise for me to do, as I’m not particularly confident with my environment work. As id already had a setback with my leyender vikings project I figured it would be best not to throw myself in the deep end too much for this project.

That being said I still want to develop my skills as, I’d felt like I stopped learning new things (at least at the rate that I feel like i'm supposed to learn new things) With that in mind I decided to tackle another skill that I’ve been putting off learning, 3D sculpting. I’d been avoiding 3D for these projects but felt like it was time to get back into it, as I’d finished previous 2D projects with the desire to model my characters up in 3D. After looking through the briefs I settled on the Wilderness Warrior brief. To give myself enough time to learn how to sculpt I decided to take an older character of mine and merge them into the concept provided for the project, this gave me a clear end product that I could visualize working well.

My goals for this project are to:
  • Learn have to sculpt in 3d coat and use this mesh as a base mesh 
  • Learn how to effectively bake down my sculpt to use in a diffuse texture 
  • Have a fully rigged, game ready, posed and presented character 
My Timetable:

For concepting I started by merging my existing character with the concepts provided, I then explored colour pallets, taking inspiration from the seasons and the buyu from The Princess and the Frog movie, for a swamp pallet. From there I picked my top 6 to develop further, then my top 3. I am currently working towards the Autumn design for my character. Though I still like the look of my winter character, so I may test them both out later down the line.

Then I went straight to sculpting. Learning to Sculpt a base mesh for my models is something I’ve wanted to learn how to do for a while, so I chose this project to experiment with, with going back to modeling in 3ds max as an option if things go badly. One of the reasons I did not want to sculpt before this is that I found Zbrush interface difficult to get around. Though I’m still working through that, in the meantime I'm using 3d coat. 3D Coat is a programme that I'm more familiar with, having retopologized and textured with it in previous projects.

Mid week I ended up with this base sculpt:

.From there I followed topology reference, painted some guides onto my mesh and began my retopolgy.

I opted to manually re-topologize this mesh due to its low poly nature. I felt that I’d need as much control as possible over the topology especially when it came to modeling in deformation points. Everything is going well so far, I have a clear concept and an almost finished model based on a sculpt that I can bake down later on.

My goals for the end of next week are:

  • Finish retopologizing my model
  • Unwrap model ready for texturing
  • Sculpt in extra details to bake down into the base mesh
  • Be well on my way with texturing.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Week 6-Nano Pirates hand in

Name: Sarah Wright
P Number: 1322992x
Project Title: VS- Highly Stylised Character Project

Overview: To produce 12 stylised Nano-Pirate characters taking design cues for characters from ‘The Borrowers". A vehicle for these pirates also needed to be produced

The process for this included:
  • Choosing a design style to work towards 
  • Sketching out initial characters for development 
  • Refining designs and making sure they all work together 
  • Rendering all of my characters to an intermediate level 
  • Producing promotional images 
For this project I knew what kind of style I wanted to work in so the initial moodboarding went by fairly quickly. It also helped to have a “key image” moodboard after my initial image gathering to refine my reference.

Ideation for each character:

Looking at this now some characters went through a lot more ideation than others, whereas others I had a clear idea of how they would turn out from the thumbnail stage. Most of my characters designs just needed some tweaking as opposed to a complete overhaul. After the initial thumbnail stages I also checked and evaluated my characters against each other to make sure they worked as a crew in terms of their colour pallets, body shapes and overall demeanor, something I carried over from my last project. Though I could not evaluate as extensively as I did then as time did not allow it it was still a good practise to view them all in a line up. Certain characters also needed to work as small groups within the overall crew. The twin chefs with the cabin girl, and the swabbies needed to be identifiable as family.

Final Character Sheets:

Final Line up and Promotional images:

Evaluation Q&A

Q: How well did I manage my time

Besides losing the days I had planned to do promotional context images, to fix the designs of my captain ,carpenter and chefs Everything when according to plan time wise.

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

Definitely. I love how my characters turned out in the end, and they work together well in the lineup. I've enjoyed this project enough to want to continue it in my own time and really develop them in the context of a game.
I met my main goal is to render all of my characters to a polished state so I can have a final character line-up. Though I did not have time to produce any promo images to put them into context. Condensing my design process down worked well for this project and was a good decision to make to adapt to the time constraints.
I enjoyed designing in this style and could see myself taking it further into my FMP, though I would need to further test to see if it works in terms of environments (something that would have been tested in promo images.

Q: Strengths I found during this project

The majority of my design decisions worked out for this project.I picked out a style that allowed me to produce characters quickly, but allowed me to skip some of my regular design processes (in response to the quantity of characters and time frame). Putting some of my characters in pairs and family groups really strengthen their overall designs and allowed me to hint at a story between them. The decision to have my characters are defined by a small selection of items ie the chefs being made of food worked in my favour as well.

Q: Weaknesses I found during this project

I again left promotion context images to the last week and had to cut them out. I think producing these could take my project to the next level, so I should really try to reach for those.
I struggled with the Captain and Carpenter characters in this project. The carpenter because his anatomy is so different to the characters I normally produce. I should have set aside time to study his body type for before drawing him. The Captain’s design took awhile because I was set on having him made out of fake gems and monopoly type money, which hindered the design for awhile.

Q. What stressed me out the most during this project?

The vehicle aspect of this project was a worry from day one. As i've never drawn vehicles I saw it taking a lot of time to complete, time that I could better be spending on my character design. luckily I managed to complete the vehicle in a way that made it another potential character as opposed to a static object.


I really enjoyed this project and I’m proud of the way my characters turned out. I could work more on the character rending as I could only do basic shadows for my intermediate outcomes. the flat style works for these but i'd like to get some light and form in there

Action plan:

The continuation of this project would be all about putting my characters in the context of a game. and developing their character sheets to fit that, with expressions and move set images. my Carpenter and Duck characters need another design pass. I’d also like to design some branding for this game to tie everything together.