Friday, 24 April 2015

Week 30- Character Resubmision Post-mortem

Dichotomous Duo Fire Character Resubmission-Post Mortem Q&A

Q: Did my end result represent what I wanted for this project?
Definitely! Before I started this project I outlined a few goals. The first was the bare minimum requirement set with my feedback. The facial topology of my original mesh was screwed up, now it's all fixed.

Checking back to my own evaluations I made at the beginning of my re-submission process I found that I've completely fixed almost all of the issues I had with the original design.

Original Model Evaluation
Minimal Paint over
Re-submission Evaluation
Q: Strengths I found during this project
-I've improved a lot with my texturing and I'm slowly getting better with my 3D modelling.

Q: Weaknesses I found during this project
-At the beginning of the project I fell into the trap of trying to drastically redesign my character. This set me back a couple of days.
-Modeling the hair still gave me problems the second time round.

Q. What stressed me out the most during this project?
-I didn't  stress that much actually, I finished the project in good time. There was some stress since I had to neglect 3 other projects to get this done, without those I would have been fine.
- I did want to improve my model using Zbrush by sculpting the hair and sash but I couldn't figure out the program in time to use it effectively.

Q: What did you learn?
-I learnt a cool Texture trick with normal maps. rather than overall a fabric texture on the diffuse like I did originally I transferred this texture straight to the normal maps.
10 top 3D texturing tips-José Alves da Silva
- I dabbled a bit in Marmoset Tool bag to produce the renders for my character; so I now know the     basic interface, and how to set up 3 point lighting.
- Learnt how to produce a basic flip-book animation in unreal 4
- Dabbled in Fresnel materials

Q: Things I'd do differently if I were to do this project again
-I don't plan on doing this project again.
-To add to this however I'd create a small environment to house this character, since I played around with the idea of placing her above a lava pool.

Overall this project went extremely well, and I've come out with a character that I'm proud to put in my portfolio.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Week 29- Character Project Resubmision

I Started off this week by continuing with some Off the Map work. I wanted to start texturing some of my flower assets to get back into the swing of working on this project.  
Current flower models

However I figured out that I should commit this week to my character project and upcoming presentation, so these took a back seat.

On Thursday I gave a presentation as part of my course. This needed to be in the Pecha Kucha format (10 slides and 18 seconds per slide), resulting in a  3 minutes long presentation. I struggled a little with this trying, mainly with finding a topic to talk on, something that I was confident I could explore in 3 minutes, as most of my ideas would have ran over the time. I also didn't want to pick an artist or game to base it on, because I didn't just want to fan girl over someones work for 3 minutes.

I looked into TED Talks, specifically the talks that ran for around 3 minutes, to inspire myself and get an idea of how other people before me have handled limited time on presentations. I found that many of them presented in a narrative style, and that the speakers were telling a short story in one way or another. So I decided to base my presentation, rather than on information and facts, on a subject that I could present to the audience like a story. In the end I decided to present the life lesson that I've followed throughout my time at university, and the reason behind this blogs name.

The short version of this story, is that everyone has a rock in their life, the rock representing the part of yourself that doesn't want to put in the work to progress. Everyone needs to push their personal rock with them through life to progress anywhere.  The rock is pushed through our lives as we constantly push ourselves. For this presentation, since it's a personal story to me I made the choice to illustrate the slides, which definitely made this whole experience more rewarding for myself, and my audience.
My favorite slide about becoming strong enough to just pick up your rock and power through
Along with presentations this has been a character project week, I've finalized the model, textures and rigged my character to a pose.

Albedo Map
Normal Map

Character Rigged to the final pose
From here I brought my model into Unreal Engine 4 to test out materials. Something that I felt was missing was a glow to my character. Since her design is based around volcanoes I wanted parts of her to seem like she's radiating heat. So far I'd done this by adding emissive textures to the the hair and extremities of my model and by also painting orange glows where subsurface scattering would be on a human but that still wasn't enough.Whilst talking about this to my friend James Broderick (Link to his art blog)  he taught me how to add Fresnel to my character's materials in Ue4 to give it that glow. I then masked it so this glow was only present on the skin, and blocked by clothes.

Fresnel Effect in view port

As a final addition to my Ue4 file I painted  a small flip book sequence for the fire my character generates.

2x2 Sprite sheet

The last time I attempted my character I didn't have enough time to properly render it out, so this time round I dabbled in Marmoset Toolbag, set up a basic scene for my character and made a Character Sheet.
Final Renders
Comparison Shot
With this I finish my Character Project  re-submission. This project has gone so much better than previous and I'm super happy with how the final model has come out.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Week 28- Lots of little changes

Still working on my character project, which on one hand is looking really good, but on the other it's taking a lot longer than I anticipated. Something I wouldn't normally mind, but I have 3 other projects to complete in the next few weeks so I'm going to have a very packed month of work ahead of me. I've had to put Off the Map on hold this Easter to get my character project going and I have a presentation and essay to plan for.
The week started with making some final changes to my model, outlined in last weeks blog post, changes that I happy to say have all been made.
I  tried a few experiments with my character mainly in adding details and messing with the hair. I attempted creating space between the hair via alphas to make the hair look more flame like, but it needs refining if I'm going to use this idea in the final texturing, as right now it looks a little sloppy.

Alpha map Test 1
Aplha map test 2
Iv'e added fabric patterns to the trims of my model which worked fairly well. One of my main aims in the resubmission was to add patterns to the fabric as I found it was lacking in detail the first time round. I painted in some cracks on the skin of my model as well as repainting the legs and hands, to give more of a volcanic feel to the design.

Honestly have no idea whether I'm going to get any of my other 3 projects done in time at the quality that I want them to be. Regardless the work that I've done so far is shaping up to be really good, and I'm proud of how much I've improved my character, just through lots of small tweaks.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Week 27- Getting There

At the beginning of the week I had a few quick paint-overs of the redesign of my character. I was feeling stuck with these so I asked for feedback on them.

Surprisingly the feedback was to stick with my original design. Which admittedly is a frustrating thing to hear, it makes me feel like I've just been wasting time.  It's something I get quite a bit recently, after I've been working on several iterations to improve my designs I'll be told to go back to the first one I started with. After taking a break from the project I reflected on the feedback I got and saw where people were coming from. It wasn't that my new designs weren't good (always my first thought), just that I really didn't need to do them, since my original design seemed to be enough. I  guess I get ahead of myself and got caught up with the idea of doing extra That I can self sabotagewhen I just need stick with what I already have and bring that up a levelI can always improve and make more designs on a future project.

So I did a bare  minimum paint over, to get the most out of the least amount of changes to my original design. only changing the more important issues that bothered me when first evaluating this. 

paint over on the left, original on the right

The first thing was to in 3DS Max was to tweak the anatomy of my character I improved upon the hands and feet of my mesh, and remodelled the facial features of my character. Rather than push and pull my initial mesh I built the new and improved features outside of the model, then attached them onto my original model. The  resulting topology wasn't an issue as I ended up retopologizing the newly attached body parts in 3D coat.

Improved body parts
3D coat: My main focus of retopologizing was the face as this was a big issue highlighted in my feedback
Face Topology Reference
Current model with some final notes on tweaks to be made
My current to do list for the character project, I've decided to leave the ice character for another time. Green= Completed Yellow= In Progress
I should wrap up my model early next week and be well into texturing soon after.