Sunday, 28 October 2012

Layout Revisions

So everythings now in level and unwrapped and just working on the texturing. But I just don't like the composition. It's too small and cramped and there's no real focus to it, it's just bland and ill thought out. So I decided to take a day just to revise it a little and hopefully come out with something a lot better. To save on time I decided that I'd just reuse assets and anything I needed to model would use existing textures so not to waste any unnecessary time.

This is what I had before and it is so blargh. Admittedly I have a lot of trouble with visualising interesting compositions in 3D and I'm starting to lack concentration on this project so I tried to find some inspiration for it. I came across some of the levels from Mirrors Edge and it's pretty undeniable that it'd be useful for interesting rooftop designs, considering the whole game is basically designed around them. But I really liked how they created interesting layouts with few assets and varying heights. 

So taking inspiration heavily from Mirrors Edge I tried to quickly block out a few rough variations on my rooftop for to work into. And these are what I came out with.

This is the one I ended up with. It's all using instanced versions of assets already in engine and very few that needed to be made. It's a definite improvement, it's far more visually appealing than my previous design. It's a wonder what a few extra levels make :)

And here's everything in engine. Now I just need to get on and texture everything. But I've been looking into nDO2 and it's seems like a really fast and powerful tool so hopefully I'll at least have something to show for this presentation. But all in all, not bad for just taking a day out.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

UDK Times

So I've finally managed to get it all into UDK now, it's taken me long enough. But it's all in level now and completely unwrapped. I've still not done lightmaps, but I figured that to be more of a tweak thing than a production thing. 

There's still plenty to do, when is there not :) But I'm glad that everything's modelled and unwrapped and now I have only to face a mass of texturing. I know I'm a bit (a lot) behind where I should be but I've been finding motivation to be lacking at the moment. Whether or not it's because I've done this project before or that it's not what I truly want to be working on or that it's other things going on in my life but I'm quite apathetic towards this project at the moment. 

It's not all over yet, not by a long ways so I'm not terribly worried about it, it'll get done. It always does. 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Week Two Stuffs

This week's update looks like a little less but it's mostly unwrapping :( Though the start of the week was just finishing off the last of my assets. 

But now that everything is finally modelled I can get on with unwrapping everything. I could unwrap everything so that each asset has it's own 512 but the way that I've been modelling, so that everything is quite modular and gets assembled later on, means that there are several assets that share either the same or similar components. So I've decided to unwrap things that are of similar design or material. 

Each of these different colours refers to the texture sheet that they share. I've tried to keep everything to roughly the same scale but certain things required more space and others less and sometimes I just had a shoddy time of it... So some are a little more efficient than others, but hey it's all a learning process, right? I divided the texture budget up into 512's so that I should be able to have 16 diffuse/normal/specular sheets at 24 bit. So far I've used up 11 sheets and only one has an alpha. So this leaves me with adequate texture space to be able to quickly add in any assets or decals that I may have forgotten about and need to do later on in the project. But hopefully I've got most of it covered.

Now on to texturing...

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Week One Update

Been a bit laxed with the documentation side of the rooftop project recently so this might be a bit full on as it's basically what I did in the first week. 

So to start off I did the usual, gathering visual reference of my ideas and create moodboards. My original idea was to have the rooftop completely overgrown with a lot of foliage across it and that everything would be run down and dilapidated. Then the big focal point would be a large tree that had punched through the rooftop and intersect with the water tower.

And here is my initial blockout just using primitives. It's really simple, far too simple to be honest. I really struggle with having both a functional rooftop that could be believable and one that wasn't just boring old vents. On my second blockout I was experimenting with trying to have a more compact environment, one that wouldn't look so sparse and empty.  

After doing these quick blockouts I took some time to research a bit more into trying to find a more interesting layout. After a while I find, what I thought was, an interesting rooftop design that I then adapted into my third blockout. As you can see it has a bit more coherency to it, it feels like a more interesting layout. 

At this point not much of the layout has really changed, but after my previous blockout I brought it into UDK to test the scale of it and found that a lot of my assets I had used in the blockout weren't sized properly. After resizing them I found that they didn't all fit in the right places properly and that the rooftop itself needed resizing as well. This unfortunately leaves a bit of a void at the far end of the rooftop that needs filling. 

It was also at this point that I abandoned my overgrown idea. I found it to be too grandiose with the time that I have for this project. So instead I decided to just go with an ordinary rooftop for now and if I have any time left I can tweak it and alter it to make it more interesting for portfolio shots. What I think is most important now is that I focus on the technical side of things, I want to hone my texturing skills with this project and that's what I'm going to focus on. 

For my final blockout I just filled in that gap at the far end with a raised section to add a bit more height variation, as it was suggested during a critique. But other than that I just fixed some minor scale issues. From this I then took the assets I had been using for the blockouts and used them as a base to build the final in game assets.

These are the final versions of all the assets I produced in the first week, as I didn't think you'd really enjoy seeing production shots as there isn't anything particularly troublesome or interesting to make. As you can see I've built a lot of the assets using a modular method so that with a lot of the assets I'm only building parts so that I can assemble them later to minimize the tri count but also have a lot more assets sharing texture space so that way they have more space on the texture sheets and more detail.

That's all I got done in the first week, it's not all the assets. There are still a couple more to complete and then it's on to the unwrapping and texturing periods.

Summer Stuffs

 So I thought I'd start off this blog with some of the work I did over the summer. It's not tremendously much, I know. But what I was predominantly doing was learning a lot of new programs and stuff so I've not been working too much on the 3D side. But I did learn a lot about good texturing methods and high poly modelling pipelines.

The first thing I did for practice was this container from a concept from Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It was a really good practice to do work from a concept and I found it a good chance to improve my texturing. 

The second thing that I was working on was just practice high poly modelling and baking normals done. I learnt a lot doing this, working with high poly pipelines, but I did find it rather time consuming and having watched through some nDo tutorials I think that I will probably start trying to work in nDo from now on. I didn't manage to get round to texturing it yet though.

I know that one and a half assets is hardly a good representation of a summer's worth of work but unfortunately I can't physically show what I'm learned through hours and hours of tutorials and learning programs and plugins like FumeFX and Krakatoa. I also I'm trying to learn how to use RealFlow at the moment. 

I have been a bit bad with my time management these past couple of weeks but when I do get some free time I'll actually get around to starting my other blog dedicated to my adventure in learning how to be an FX artist. There's never enough time in the day :/