Thursday, 29 April 2010

Creating something realistic!

Development of how I made a doorway:

Ok, before you laugh, I wanted to mess around/practice with a few things (Why now when I don't really have the time is beyond me, maybe I was procrastinating?)

Anyway, I made this door...

It's rather boring/ very simple, and not that good either. Though I suppose I need to keep doing things like this to eventually get better. I've decided that I'm going to model another one, but have the side of a house too. I'd like to see if I can make some progress in this short space of time to tell myself I can do it :)

The model is neat, but I got some crit and I realised I had quite a few unused polys.

Here is said crit ^_^

I made the changes, unwrapped and textured it again:

I have to say, it looks a lot better :)

Here's the wireframe, though it's exactly the same as the crit I got!

Right. Need to make something else, using from what I've learned from this.

And this is what I came up with:

It's still very simple, but I took the crit I got from the previous one I made. I saved polys by having separate elements.
However, I was working on it last night, saved it and then when I opened it up this morning it had apparently not saved (I even saved it twice, one as backup and that one didn't work either) So yeah, I was pretty frustrated and now the whole thing offends my eyes. I've only just recovered from a nasty cold too, so I'm super frustrated. I don't have time really to make it better, but I'm going to. Screw you Max, you will not get the better of me ;D

Blargh, I am not liking this one bit. I'm trying my hardest to get this not to offend my eyes at all.

Got rid of some geometry on the side. Changed the size a bit, the door was too fat.

Messed with the lighting a bit.

Made it better. Still lots to do.

Screeny of progress, geometry added to the arch, and extra wall detail.

Made the arch more rounded, but ended up getting rid of a lot of unecessary polys.

I can see progress, but I really don't like it.... Yet.

I could do more with this, but I just don't have the time. If I did have the time however, I'd add some sort of grime to the wall, and I'd make a step leading to the porch. I'm a little happier with it, I can see the progress I've made. (I also don't mean to sound like a grumpy face, but I can't help it, I'm so stressed I can actually see verts in real life.)



I'm aware that what I've managed to do this term hasn't really needed me to use Zbrush, something which I really want to learn. After all the research around environment artist jobs, I know that this is something that I should learn, Maya too.
Much of this term has been a learning curve for me, because I find 3D very hard, and I feel that I have learned a lot in the past few months, even if I didn't get to learn how to use other packages in this time. I just wanted to focus on the basics, one thing at a time.
However, during the summer, I will be learning how to use these, so that I can start learning to make things to industry standard, and so that I am fully prepared for my final year.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Doorway ideas/concept

Going back to when I said I would like to create something using the art style of Half-Life 2, I decided that my realistic piece should incorporate certain aspects of this.

I really like how even though everything looks clean cut, theres so much detail.

Looking at the demographics of the game, I would say that it appeals to people from late teens onwards. (even though I clearly remember playing the first one when I was 12 ;D)

I think I'll make a doorway, and concentrate on making it look pretty!

Obviously this first came out for the pc so this will be my platform.
Looking at poly counts (for pc) :
Alyx Vance – 8323 polygons
Barney – 5922 polygons
Combine Soldier – 4682 polygons
Buggy (without mounted gun) – 5824 polygons
Classic Headcrab – 1690 polygons
SMG – 2854 polygons (with arms)
Pistol – 2268 polygons (with arms)

I was unable to find information on buildings and other props, but I can make a judgement based on this. I only want to make a simple doorway, so I think I should keep it under 1000.

Taking a stab at realism

This should be fun :) I epically failed my realism scene from last term, so anything better than what I came up with will be awesome amounts of progress!

Some things I need to think about (in terms of where I went wrong last time)

My modelling was awful, it was as if I'd just ignored anything I'd ever learned, and just modelled away (How I got that thing unwrapped is beyond me) So.. No stupid modelling mistakes!

My normal maps were pretty harsh, and my lighting was off too, so I need to be careful with this too.

Stupid mistakes, such as, floating stuff, random verts, etc. None of that. I just generally need to keep it tidy.

(Now that I have said this, I'm sure I have jinxed it, and therefore there will be something thats wrong. Hopefully just a filename ;D)

Saturday, 24 April 2010


Development of how I made my tree:

I went looking on the internet for a tutorial as I knew they weren't exactly the easiest thing to make.
The internet is actually void of decent tutorials, seriously. I want to moan about one in particular, cause it was so crap I wondered why it was even a tutorial at all (granted that it is probably really old, but still, it was crap)

Ok, maybe it isn't that bad, but still, I know if I made that exact tree I'd get a big fat fail. Also, is that a great big texture seam by the roots? Ugh.. What tree actually looks like that anyway? It looks like it's supposed to be a realistic looking tree, but the texture offends my eyes a little. When skimming through it I remembered reading; "You can use the texture I created" which just made me laugh a bit. Surely if you want to make something you'd like to put a little of your own effort in?
I think the leaves look awful, but I think if he had positioned them properly it might look a lot better. But once again, this is probably a very old tutorial.

I ended up asking for help, and had a tutorial made for me (lawl) But I would like to say that it was awesome. The process of making the tree is actually easy, it's just making it look like one that's harder.

Using these I came up with this:

Using the first tutorial on how to make branches I came up with this, but needed to sort out the branches. I actually messed it up and decided to start again, but the process was easy enough and I guess it's practice.

Using the second tutorial I was able to make the trunk, after that I tried making the branches look better.

Having made the basic shape of the tree I tried to make the branches flare out more becuase they were very bunched up and it didn't look right.
It needs some work, I'm working on the leaves right now. Anything to take my mind off the fact I'm supposed to be writing my dissertation...

Anyway, unwrapping the tree took forever, not that it was hard, I guess I'm just slow at it. I think this is an ok unwrap, (for a such a beginner like me :P)

I started to test different colours on the trunk next.

I liked what I had come up with so I added an ambient occlusion, and came up with this. I'm happy with the way it looks. Although it is a tad too dark.

I did make a few mistakes, which is expected of me really. I accidentally saved the unwrap as a 32bit targa, (I seem to have such trouble with file names and extensions >__<) which had some weird effect on the texture, it looked like a wireframe render. It took me a while to figure that out, and it was annoying. Here is said epic fail: (with one of my various leaf alpha tests lawl)

Making the leaves/alpha was easy enough, but I've been having trouble with them. I don't want my tree to have a 348975374 poly count. I've made a fair few alpha tests, and the one I'm currently using isn't just a flat plane so I'm using a far too many polys, and looking at the poly count I have right now, it's nearing 2000 which isnt good, I need half of that! However, I'm just testing this out:

As you can see that looks pretty awful, I was mainly testing out the planes that I had made, as this is one technique of doing it. However, as I said before I was just using too many polys, and I was really unhappy with the actual texture too (Even though I had made about 3 others >_<) I got a lot lof help with this. I experimented more with the layout of the leaves, using this tutorial that Warwick gave me:

I chose the tree on the far right:

I also got help with the texture, (it was too dark)

The shape was warped, and the dark bits made a little lighter.

This is what the tree looks like now but I need to change bits so that it fits, there's too much detail on the trunk, and I need to edit the leaf texture still. It's too dark, I want the whole thing to look more simple, it doesn't fit to the style I have in mind.
I also had to remove bits of geometry from the trunk so that there were no branches sticking out. (LOL WASTED TEXTURE SPACE ;D lesson learned :P)
But I have to say, this is the first time I've tried to make a tree so I can only learn from it, and not make the same mistakes in the future.

I made it look more presentable. The lighting is a bit harsh in this actually, I'll get another one. I added the grass alpha just so it makes the scene look a little more interesting. (That's why there's half a border around it, wasn't being lazy here)

Overall, I am happy with it, but I know I am now able to do better. I'm n0t going to stop here, I plan on doing so much over the summer to get better at this!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Tree idea/concept

I've decided that I want to make a tree, yay :D

I researched into various different platforms and I decided that I'd like to use the Wii, because the style I have in mind I think would suit well.
I was hoping to find some average specifications, but it seems no one wants to document this sort of information. I could only find random posts on forums or just a few specs from one game. The annoying thing is I need this info because I need to have a triangle limit.
So, from what information I could gather I came up with this:

Wii game characters have an average triangle count of 6000 - 8000

With that in mind I've decided that my tree should be less than 1000.

Then I thought about the style of the tree. I want it to be cartoony/cel shaded, something along the lines of these:

I've never played Okami, but it looks like such a beautiful game!

I've decided on a sort of mixture between the two, incorporating the shapes and colours.

I've thought about what audience it should appeal to. Even though both of these games are cel shaded, which generally appeals to the younger generation, I would argue that Okami is aimed at people older than 13.
The shapes in Animal crossing are very simple, and the colours are brighter, this would appeal more to younger people. With this in mind I want to make my tree appeal to any age. (I know that sounds incredibly boring, but it's what I want, okay? :P) I want it to be able to fit into younger children's games as much as any other game, fitting with this particular art style. (Making it harder for myself? Who knows?)

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Getting quench buildings into the engine.

Here is a quick guide to getting things working properly in the Quench engine.

Once you have made the building, there are several things which need to be done.
There are 6 things in total which are needed to make the whole building work.
First of all you need to make a base surrounding the building.
Then you need make a Collision wall round the building, so that the paper bag men can't walk through it.
Then you need to make a Fire box so that the building will burn
Then you need to make a wreck so that if the building burns down the wreck will be left.
After you have done this you need to make a dummy called Houses (this can be put anywhere)
Then you need to make 2 more dummies outside the main entrance of your building, one named Exit and one named Door. This is so that the paperbag men can enter and exit your building.

Firstly, the hierarchy.

Make sure that the main building is connected to Houses, and then everything else connected to your building. Also make sure that you dont have anything named with the same letter as the other things, for example, you have someting named window. When you put it into the engine the code would recognise it as 'Wreck' and therefore it would not work properly.

Export as a B3D file and save it to the Town folder, save as level.b3d.

Make sure your textures are in this folder too.

Run main.exe

Provided that you have followed these steps correctly, you should see your building with the correct textures fully working in the engine. (This process works in the old version, as it got updated as levels were being created. The methodology is sound for the old version of Quench but the newer version has a dummy called FireGame which Line is a child of. Line is what is animated to start houses burning.)

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

It's about time I posted some of my work, yeah? ^-^

A few things I've been working on over this term:

First of all I decided that I'd help out with a little game project called Quench. After realising that I epically fail at 3D I wanted to get to grips with it, my confidence over the year hadn't been very good but I felt I was getting it back with the work I managed to produce. I needed something relatively easy to do, so I could get some practice and stop making the little mistakes that I always do.

The game consists of putting fires out on buildings that look like they're made out of paper, and also saving little paper bag men (who also catch on fire)

Anyway, one of the first things I made was a quirky little house, (which unfortunately, I lost because my harddrive hates me) But I made it again, and also made a town hall and a statue. The process of getting everything into the engine was pretty easy, just a case of naming everything correctly and making sure the right textures are in the right folder.

Here are the three buildings I made working in game.

This is the house that got corrupted on my hard drive that I made again.

After making the house I looked at what other things needed to be made so I made a townhall.

Seeing as you rescue the paper bag men I thought it would be awesome if there was a monumental statue of one.

And here is a screenshot of a level I made, although I think I made it a bit too hard because I ran out of water a few times. A few paper bag men died :(

Renders of my buildings.

I've realised that those unwraps are terrible, but I remember why. Just before the deadline I changed a few things, and didn't have the time to make a perfect unwrap.