Saturday, June 26, 2010

2D land: the sequel:

Well, apparently Blogger doesn't like uploading more than 6 images per post, so here are the rest of the paintings:

Self Portrait with puffy, smirking lips:

Self portrait with suspicious purple:

Garth as a badass with cancer stick:

Pit Stop in 2D Land:

Well, now that college is all said and done, I decided to take a little detour down to memory lane and revisit some of my old 2D roots. I haven't been doing anything too terribly risky at this point, mostly just some quick portraits of myself and friends that I'm basing off of photos I can pilfer from Facebook. Here is my short collection of these little creations. I'm mostly just trying to learn a bit more about form and lighting, as well as push the envelope of color theory and speed up my process. While I'm not really sure I've achieved any of these things, I certainly have had fun making them with CS5's new mixer brush! Anyway, enough jibba-jabba, here's the scoop:

Seister with living hair:

An old picture of my Grandma:

Chris contemplating what it means to be a badass:

Loverly Denise:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sorceress 'Reducks'

So, as the title states (sort of), I've managed to unearth the old sorceress concept that I was working on back in Christmas '09. After this much time, the design has fermented in my brain a bit, as these things are wont to. This 'mental digestion' of sorts, was actually far more pronounced than I would have expected. In fact, so much of my original idea has changed that I thought it would be prudent to take some time to explain. For starters, here are the old and new concepts respectively:

Old Concept:

New Concept:

I know, it doesn't make much sense, right? Well, I decided to try something a little different this time around with my character designs. Taking some excellent advise from the senior character designer of EA games, I tried to give this character some backstory. As a result, the concept has shifted considerably since my last attempt. Basically, the idea for this new concept is this character is actually from our world, but has found herself in the fantasy realm. In as much, I tried to visualize what traces of 'humanity' she would have kept after several months of living in a different world with different styles and customs. The fact that she happens to be a mage in this new world has also shaped her attire as well. In as much, I thought boots, pants and backpack would probably be the last to go since they're pretty practical and could potentially have sentimental ties (the bag in particular has little dangly bits that are meaningful to the character).

Anyway, enough rambling, here's some pictures to look at now!

Old roughs:

New Roughs:

WIP 1:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

It's over. . .sort of

Long time no post. The finals were really getting to the team as we pushed ourselves harder and harder in an attempt to have a project we were actually proud to show. Titles and tasks got mixed into a frenzy and I found myself performing a myriad of jobs that I initially had never thought I'd be doing. Never the less, the final presentation has come and gone and we got through without any substantial glitches or hiccups (other than the one's we knew of anyway). It's not a perfect game, but for 8 weeks of work, I think we all did something we can show in our portfolios. That being said, I realized that I never posted any finished renders of the scientist, so here are some high quality renders, posed using donnie's rig. I'll probably throw up another version of this when I get around to it, as well as a turntable animation. Hopefully, one of our more Unreal-savvy team members will also get around to throwing together some matinee's of our level. If and when that happens, I'll post those up here as well.

If there's anyone out there reading this, thank you for your time and have a good week (spring break over here!) Great job, team!


Forgot I had this screen shot lying around (it's the load menu for the game that Joe and I threw together):

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Light Maps and Normals:

Well, I got a bit side-tracked today because when I was doing some research on foliage volumes, I found some interesting stuff about light maps. It turns out, the problem with overlapping UV's has to do with how the object receives light. If the object doesn't have second UV channel for a light map and has overlapping UVs, the object will look like crap. However, with a second UV channel and light map, it looks just fine.

Furthermore, I discovered that UDK really washes out normal maps due to light mass. I did some research online and found that it really improves the visible quality of the normal maps if a Constant3Vector is multiplied with the original normal map with settings something like this:
R = 2; G = 2; B = .7
This jacks up the bump on the normal map and makes it visible even with light mass. Also, I found that it really helps to overlay multiple normal bakes via photoshop to really saturate the normal colors. Check it out:

Without the vector multiply:

With the multiply:

Monday, March 1, 2010


Well, I'm still working out a few minor kinks, but I think I got us a tree system that might work. I tried using a foliage volume, but quickly discovered that UDK hates instanced geometry and proceeded to apply the same lighting to all the leaves. Maybe I just don't know how to change that 'feature' but it seems like it's an inherent problem with the setup because I've heard other people having the same issue. As a result, I decided to resort to the good old-fashion hand-placed branch alpha technique. I think the shape of the trees could still use a little refinement and the bark obviously is a place-holder, but with what I learned with this tree, my next attempt should be far better and take much less time. The tree up close is about 5,000 tris, but I added a LOD so that it is about 1k after a certain distance.
Hopefully this won't choke our level any more than it already is.

LODs in action:

Sunday, February 28, 2010

House I think. . .

Well, I think the house asset should be just about done now. I decided to use a BSP for the base house and add my assets on top of it. The only thing we're going to have to do differently than what I have set up, is raise the whole house up a bit so the stoop isn't sitting straight on the ground. Other than that, I think it's going to work!

Friday, February 26, 2010

House Front:

Spent probably too long messing around with materials in Unreal to see if I could achieve a pseudo reflection effect. This uses a scene capture 2D actor that I'm projecting onto the texture with an add and alpha mask. I also threw in a little parallax so the reflection looks a little more lifelike. It's not perfect, but I think the effect is pretty convincing to the scrutinizing eye. I also learned that bloom effect = awesome. More to come soon! But now, the sweet siren of sleep is calling. . . why is the sun up already?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sky Domino:

Been working on the sky dome for the past couple of days. I think I'm pretty close to being done - maybe a few more tweaks here and there. I've also got a portion of the nebula for the bottom half of the sky, but it still needs some work so I'll save that post for another day (hopefully tomorrow).

The sky dome Texture:

Unreal and a little fun with glowy stuff:

Purple Clouds:

Look Mah, no seams!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The asset Train:

Well, I'm definitely not as fast as I'd like to be, but here are some assets for the house / rift-wild. They're all unwrapped and ready to go - I might do some zbrushing for the brick on the chimneys and the wood on the table, nothing too fancy though. Hopefully I'll get a little faster at this and have a few more ready for Saturday.


That poly count is waaaay off - I forgot to delete one of the high-res assets and it's adding about 7,296 tris to the scene. In other words, actual poly count is 4,826 tris total.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Translation Device and Monocole Together at Last!

So, I think I'm about 95% done with the said Translation device and Monocle. I need to read up on some Tutes for animated textures so I can fix the emissive aspects. Other than that, I think it's time to move on to some old-fashioned, hard-core assetting!

Translation Thingy:

Well, it's been a while since I've updated the old blog, but I'm still working, I just decided not to spam the site too much. Anyway, I've been working on the translation device and monocle for the scientist. As of now, I think the translation device is just about done. The monocle still needs some texture map slapped on it, but hopefully that won't take too long seeing how time is of the essence. . .

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Texture WIP:

Now, to follow up for the night, here's a little current status update on where I'm at with texturing. I'm still not 100% sold on the leather pants, but the blue genes he had before were a little weird. Anyway, I'm not minding the overall brownish tone he's taking, I just hope it doesn't make him too bland.

Normals and Lighting:

Well, forgot to post the shots of the scientist that were in the Alpha presentation. Basically just normal maps and diffuse to test the baked textures. I also did a little lighting test to simulate roughly what he might look like in the game environment (if he were all grey).

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Final Topology:

Alright, after several hours of topo-grinding, I think I'm pretty much done with the low-poly cage. I'm pretty happy because for once in my life, I actually made my triangle budget! He's sitting comfortably at 9,474 tris, just a bit under the 10k constraint we're working with. He could have been much lower res (and might end up being depending how people react to it) but he's got a lot of detail in the cloth wrinkles and I didn't want to sacrifice it. The result is a bit triangle-heavy, but I tried to put them in places that aren't going to interfere with deformation of the model. Anyway, enough chit-chat, here's the results:

And a closeup of the face:

Zbrush Milestone:

Alright, here it is - the final(ish) Zbrush model! I probably will go in and add a few minor details later, but I needed a break from Zebrushing so I went to work on re-topologizing a low-poly final mesh. Anyway, here are some high-res shots of the Zbrush Model:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Quick Zbrush Update:

About half-way through the first zbrush pass. Still have to work out a few logistics. . .

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Onwards to Science!

Well, I'll probably end up doing some more concepts for the environment, but for the time-being, I have some time to work on the Scientist character. He's a sort of quirky mix of Doc Brown and Einstein with a little Kramer in there as well. Here are a few concepts as well as a quick Zbrush rough for proportions / anatomy:

First concept:

An ortho-sketch:

Rough in 3DSMax:

Rough after some Zbrushing:

Environment Concepts:

Well, through some strange series of events, I wound up being the primary environment concept artist for the project during pre-production. I don't consider this to be my strong suite, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Anyway, here is a sort of 'rough' outline of what the game environments will look like, starting from the boy's house and leading into the rift-wild:

Right outside the boy's bedroom the house begins to fall apart:

Finding it quite impossible to get out of the house the conventional way, our hero finds himself in this strange cave/house hybred after going through a coat closet:

At the end of the cave stands the unlikely front door to the boy's house. There is no reason why it should be where it is, it just is. Out beyond is the great unknown rift-wild:

Outside for the first time, the boy's sidewalk is rapidly falling away and the environment is replaced by strange floating islands. To the boy's left is a strange glowing device that is almost in reach:

After falling through the Aether (the energy dimension) our hero finds himself on an island full of strange and wonderful sights:

Rift Has Begun:

Well, after about two weeks of pre-production on two different projects, the vote finally came around last Tuesday. The class democratically decided to work on a project called Rift. Rift is a sort of surreal / fantasy / sci-fi platform /adventure game that follows a young boy through some rather strange events. Long story short, scientists from another dimension have discovered another dimension full of pure energy and created a device to harvest that energy. Unfortunately, somewhere during the initial testing of the harvester, the membrains of the dimensions became unstable and eventually shattered, creating a multi-demensional rift. It just so happens that this Rift opens right outside the house of our protagonist (the young boy). The Rift-wild is a surreal, strange mish-mash of our reality and the other dimension's reality.

For the scope of the team project, we hope to finish the first chapter in the story, which would involve the young boy finding one of the surviving scientists who worked on the device and getting back to the device. At this point, the device would suck both the scientist and the young boy into god only knows where, ending our project with a cliffhanger of sorts.

If we were somehow able to make the whole game, it would involve the boy trying to help the scientist repair the device and restore the dimensions. Throughout the game, more dimensions would get sucked into the Rift and new dangerous dimensions would threaten the future of the entire universe.

Since I have been studying mostly character design in my time at SCAD, I will be working mostly on characters. However, in our team is the very talented Leng who is also a character designer. As we only have two major characters for the scope of this project, I will stick to the scientist character and Leng will work on the main boy character.

If all goes according to plan, Leng and I should be done with our characters around week 7 and be able to help the other teammates with any left over asset modeling and texturing.

Stay tuned for art updates and the like!