Sunday, 28 February 2010

Game Art & Design: Working within the Engine

This week in Game Art & Design, my team gave a presentation on our progress so far and explained where we're going to go from there, it was well received and even helped us develop how we were going to tackle the next stage once all design work had been completed. (See a new creature design to the right.)

Next we re-entered the world of Second Life to develop our skills and to learn how the physics, animations and scripting works. The task was to create a simple windmill so that there would be a solid structure the propeller can be attached to via an axis. The main trick to getting the object to act like a really windmill is all in the placing of the linked propeller to the axis, by selecting the axis before choosing the Link option in the tools section this makes the Axis the main object that will animate once the script has been written to make the object r0tate on the x-axis it will appear as though the windmill is actually working. In the end animation in Second Life is all based on where you put the main object and the proper scripting.

(my Windmill)

Scripting in the key to making things come to life in the virtual world, without the proper script nothing would exist. This can be used to create moving textures to help create the illusions of a realistic waterfall, to make objects susceptible to the environment around it and to even allow interaction between objects and avatars.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Check This Out: Akihabara Majokko Princess

Whilst checking up on the lastest updates over at I came across this Video Directed by American, McG most recently responsible for Terminator: Salvation (or "Terminator 4, back to the future, featuring: Batman") and starring Kirsten Dunst of Jumanji fame. This video is a cover of the old Vapours song "Turning Japanese" featuring Kirsten Dunst performing the vocals, now first of all her voice isn't really suited for the song but thats not what bothers me, what's truly concering is the way Japan could be seen when veiwing this video. True the songs lyrics have masturbational metaphors and the video represent this well including Dunst dancing around Japanese folk like their were wooden doll, if that was the desired aesthetic then well done, if not I'd say back to the drawing board.

Thats the other thing that worries me is that with Dunst dancing and almost practically using the people in the video as weird sex toys immersing herself within what others may consider the entirety of japanese culture. Do Westerners just see Japanese culture as what this video shows it to be? With no illustrious and interesting past such as the Shinto Shrines? No signs of Traditions and the wonderful festivals?

Maybe I have this all wrong though, Japanese society is known for being extremely hard worked (and it pays off, their years ahead technologically) perhaps this Video shows that Japan can be a fun place to visit and that whilst their society can be strict it also knows how to let loose. Including the infamousity for pornography, perhaps it's just a lash back of how tightly strung their society is?

See the video below:

What's Your opinion? does this video do more harm than good or am I just worrying to much about McG stereotyping a nation of people?

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Game Art and Design: Painting on 3D Models

Last time in Game Art and Design I was taught how to create textures to apply to in-game models in Second Life by using Maya to painting staight on to a model, before that though I went through an exersice of applying multiply textures to simular shaped objects. Through the power of Maya I created two cubes and using the Hypershade menu and exporting their UV maps onto one Jpeg file, this allowed me to simulataneously work on two skins at once in photoshop. From their I import the skins back into Maya and apply them to a lambert node in the Hypershade Menu from theere apply them to the shapes, because of the programing having two different skins on one hypershade node allows me to easy apply them to objects of the same dimensions making texture baking slightly quicker.

Next, using a pre-built model of an avatar from Second Life I learned how to paint directly onto a CG-Model's Surface. It's quite a simple interface of selecting the texture menu then clicking "3D-Paint Tool". With this tool is possible to paint straight onto the model with ease, this is a great way to map out prelimanry points of the texture I'll be making as I can then import it into Photoshop to touch up and improve on the rough outlines to create a more finalised texture. I can then pass the file back and forth as a kind of quality check.

These are some great and interesting methods of creating textures, I feel they're going to become a great help in the future.

Game Art And Design: Creature designs

When it comes to the creature designs I've been having a lot of trouble trying to visualise the monsters, I originally started with basic ideas when thinking about the smaller creature designs like rats and bats, then tried to inject a bit of insect influence, this still needs a little more development but it's coming along, like the image at the bottom of the page. When it comes to the humanoid/shape creature I was still having trouble, but with this recent amount of doodles I've came to a design that I really like and want to develop further as I feel I'm on to a winner with the design, of course I will have to look at Mark's set designs and develop them further before finalising anything, but I'm thinking of adding a kind of ritualistic sheek to the overall design. Finally when it comes to the large monster all I've been thinking about is a gigantic squid type monster where the only part you would see are the tentacles.

I've also complete a basic turn around for the main character, but it does still need colour, check it out below:

Keep Checking back!

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Rss Feeds: Personal Verdict

Before I go into what are my personal Pros and Cons, lets first outline what an Rss Feed is and it's purpose. Now many people often have favourite websites in which they check the latest updates in their interests, take for instance Facebook with it's home page which shows all your friends and groups updates this is a variation on an RSS Feed, except with a proper RSS Feed Application you can set it up to your desktop or web browser to give you all the latest updates of your favourite websites, sounds good right?

Unfortunately what I've found in my own personal experiences is that an RSS Feed hasn't made web browsing any more convenient for me. For a limited period I tried using one but found it to be cumbersome as it was too full of posts from one website and not enough from another meaning the site with less updates got blocked out, if there was some way to filter the feeds into groups by website and then filter those feeds into relevance to my interests perhaps I would enjoy it more, but I use the Internet as a leisure tools as much as an information tool so to have it the posts from sites that I go to look at for fun kind of defeats the purpose of leisure which is basically wasting time, When it comes down to it though I still prefer going to my favourite list in my web browser and click on the site I desire to look as it's slightly more self-rewarding to scroll through and find the updates I'm looking for.

I can see how it would be useful for a more business orientated user as it would be much easier to look through the feed to find the information they need without going to every single website they would have look at one after the other, such example are investors keeping an eye on the companies they have invested in, or film makers keeping up with the latest news from film critics but when it comes to private use I feel RSS feeds make things seem overly compliacted, but perhaps it's because I only have a select few websites that I check regularly.

Overall I don't think it's a case of RSS Feeds being good or bad but more a case of personal preferance as it is a very good application which can stop time wasting when searching for critical updates on websites but for me I enjoy surfing the net.

Game Art & Design: Character front and other things

Here's the final design for the character William Dyer, who will be appearing in the Sunken Temple Level in the video game level I and the two other members of my team are creating, when it came to clothing I tried really hard how to dress him but then I just watched Peter Jackson itteration of King Kong to see the types of clothing that appeared in 1930s America and it worked quite well, I have yet to colour it though. (click to enlarge).

I've been working on trying to get the image just right for this character whilst the age is 35 I took some liberties to make him look a little more interesting, as mentioned I was using actors for the basis of the faces and in this instance I chose the face of Jeffery Combs and thing immediately clicked, I adjusted it and developed it to make it seem more passing than exact look a like.

Also below check out some of the monsters I'm developing, the team decided to go with a 3 tier system, since I'm having to design 3 variations of monsters it made sense to create varying sizes, 1 small one along the lines of a Bat or something simular, 1 human-ish sized one and finally a gigantic one, check out some of the roughs below.

Stay tuned for more developments!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Game Art and Design: Applying Textures

When it comes to Second life there is a great amount of customisability, essentially allowing users to do what they want providing they have the skill. To practise this one task was to use templates provided by second life to create a t-shirt for my avatar. The process is fairly simply as all you have to do is import the template into photoshop, apply the graphics you want to the templae on a new layer, create an alpha layer and same it as a jpeg or bmp file, upload into Second life and apply the texture to a standard shirt shape in the inventory and apply. This applies to pretty much any thing that belongs to your character including skin!

This wasn't the only thing that I learnt this time, I also laernt how to attach a function to the chair I made last week as it's all about script but there are also action objects that will make avatars interact with the the object it's applied to, such as my chair!

There are also examples of pre-created avatar models that show the extent of what can be done with models and texturing when applied to a character, one such on is a "cardboard box robot" which was created with a series of objects, uploaded textures and avatar shape manipulation, see below.

I hope to develop these skills even more so that I can make my characters look the best they can.

Game Art and Design: Creating a character

As stated my group has decided to create a videogame level based on the "sunken Temple" theme, Mark has decided to create the settings, Ben will be creating the music, leaving me with the task of creating the player's avatar and three deadly creatures the player will encounter. I've been thinking about how to approach the 1930s vibe and how that should be incorperated into the character, I've also been looking at actors for inspiration for the character's facial features but so far nothing has been finalised as I'm working on all designs until I come to a level that I feel works well but below are some sketches of a creature design and the character.

( I looked at Sean Connery and Ardien Brody)

(one point of inspiration was bats when it came to the creature design)

I will be looking for at films set in the 1930s to gain a better understanding of clothing from that time and I will also be looking at other actors to try find a face similar to the description of the character in the given brief but also to help me come to a conclusion in designing. I choose to use actors as a base for the character to give it a more dramatic and cinematic idea as I feel like this is a good project to experiment with this concept. Stay tunned for more development pics!

Monday, 8 February 2010

Game Art and Design: Second Life Adventures

This week in Game Art and Design I learned about creating and manipulating Primative shapes to create objects inside the virtual world of Second Life. The method of creating objects in Second life is very similar to the system of creation fround in the computer program Maya but much more simplistic, I found this much easier to work with than the more mathematical based Maya, I first created a simplistic chair which was made of a a few cuboids and cylinders, to create the hole in the backrest of the seat was fairly simple as all I had to do was select the option and adjust the settings.

The real trick to making an object in Second Life is that once you've placed them together, select them all at once then select the "link" option from the list the Tool Bar, this will keep your object glued together. Using these skills I also created a flag, but to make it act like a really flag all I had to do was enable the acctualy fabric section to be manipulated by the surrounding elements of the virtual world, toggling with such elements such as how it reacts to gravity and wind, by doing so I create the flowing flag effect.

I also learned how to apply textures and as with other things it was much easier than in Maya as to apply a texture all I have to do is bring up the textures menu in the primatives menu then drag and drop it to the side you want to add a texture. You can also just slect a texture for the shape and it'll apply it to every side.

Well that's it for my adventures Second Life Stay tuned for more!

Visual Language: The finals

Finally after weeks of hard work I've come to final set of pieces which includes a character sheet and a turn-around for my shark-robot character. The overall time it took the create these two pieces was just under 24 hours, instead of my usual method of drawing on to paper and scanning into the computer to colour I made a rough outline to grasp an idea of the shapes I'd be using then proceeded to use my wacom tablet to create the line work in photoshop. I'm particularly proud of this as it was my first time attempting line work solely in photoshop and the line work was of a much high quality than I was expecting.

(The final Pieces Click to enlarge)

To create the turn around was an interesting challenge as it's something I've never attempted before, a good benefit was that with the front and back views all I had to do was draw out on side, copy, then flip and viola! I have one whole image by only drawing half! The colouring scheme was very similar to the one I had orignally given the rough for this design, I kept with it as I felt it worked very well. The design works well to the idea I had in my head whilst designing the character, that it would be a henchmen class enemy and many of this could exist on the screen at one time. Overall I'm pleased with the results, what do you guys think?