Saturday, 12 December 2009

Mission Complete

That's right folks, we're done! Take me out of the oven and poke me, I'm ready. It's been 48 hours since I last closed my eyes and participated in an activity often called sleep. Except I won't be sleeping, what I'll be doing is far beyond sleep, other dimensions and parallel universes, you know the drill. So as I write this with what little strength I have left (said like a true martyr, on both knees and fist raised to the sky), I considered why I was actually doing what I was doing. Often the hardest question is the simplest.

At the core of the question, the easiest answer is that I simply want to get better at character design and modelling, what better way to go about it than actually design and model? Though after a short time, through what I consider natural research or plagarism I found out there's most to every character than meets the eye. I don't have the mental capacity to go deeper than that (I lied, I never had the mental capacity to go deeper than that) but suffice to say I learned a good bit this term. An exercise in seeing how a protagonist and antagonist can exist in the same place while having totally different goals and affecting the outcome of the game ever so much.

Enough talk, I'm finished with Haruka for now... well in terms of deadlines. I might try some more stuff out with her later on. In general, all I wanted to do was show some emtion, maybe tell a story and show a relationship between different characters. We'll see how it goes, though the only part about this semester that bothers me is the contextual stuff. I'm terrible at that.

I had intended to finish this post yesterday (the 11th) but I fell asleep. So much for willpower huh?

A couple of pages from my final hand in. Overall I was pleased with this project, but I'm sure I can do better. I can't wait for next term to try and prove that right. So it's Christmas time finally! Gonna play games, sleep, eat food, clean stuff, make sprites and 3D models of random stuff if I can. Next updates will probably be sprite based...maybe.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Diligence, Diligence!

So, there are 2 weeks left until the ultimate deadline of ultimate destiny is upon us. Oddly enough, I'm feeling rather calm about it, just a couple of days ago I was freaking out like I usually do thinking about what I have to do and when I have to do it by. But I've been underestimating myself since I got things done really quickly.

The test now was to take a mesh I was happy with and turn it into a real time model. A lot can be lost when going from a 10, 000, 000 poly sculpt to 10, 000. Zbrush often gives a false sense of security in how solid your model is - it'll look nice in Zbrush, everything does. Well, except the crap stuff. So when you take it out of Zbrush and put it back in Maya, you're often left in the dark for the longest time, UV'ing and baking until you finally look at the model, often with dissatisfaction. But some clean up, texture work and nice rendering will slowly build confidence back up. But there's still a lot that can go wrong, if your UVs (basically flattening out the model so you can paint on it as a 2D texture) aren't right the bake and textures will look funny. If your baking settings are wrong or the mesh is unclean then you won't get good results. The list goes on and on and I've encountered every problem at least twice. A lot of people said that Haruka was creepy, and I reckon even now they don't know what to think of her, so I did a quite paint-over of my sculpt to preview what she would look like with textures.

And I really liked that, she was looking freaky because... well, how else is someone with a big head and no eyes supposed to look? I really wanted to try and get that pastel look, but that's mostly about materials, shader set ups, lighting and render more than anything I've learned. Yet, after all my trials to get a low poly Haruka the previews of my model weren't looking...great.

Well... it's a start. Haruka is supposed to be innocent looking and all those descriptive words (I'm saving the good stuff for contextuals...), so the face and eyes were the first things I worked on. It didn't take long to complete the textures, it was rather simple which often worries me cause I imagine it should be harder. Yet I suppose that's the trade off with all the headaches the steps before it cause. So after a while I finished her textures and specular map and decided to render them out in Marmoset. And I have to say, they're looking nice! I was pleased about it, so the last thing I do when I render her out for final images will be to separate the mesh into different chunks to better control specularity (this has to be a word). Yet I may be screwed with the other Haruka, since I can't render Alphas in there... time to learn UDK right?