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Rokas Blog

The Blog with alot of stuff ಠ_ಠ

FMP Evaluation

In this post I will be talking about my Final Major Project, how everything went / What could I improve / and what I would do differently. So lets begin with how everything went with this project. I am quite positive when thinking about the outcome of this project, I know it didn’t came out as a game (which was my plan from the beginning) but it is still an amazing experience for me and for people that are playing it. I have had many positive reviews and positive feedback from people that I showed the game to. I would have liked to have more time to work with the UnrealEngine as most of my time was spent on modeling the assets and making them look extra nice. And now we come to the part where we talk about what I could improve if I was to do the project again. First I think I would spend more time on the physical work, which is modeling and coding, because they are most important things after all and will impact your project the most. I think that maybe more sketches and planning would be a thing I would do but I think that the amount that I did this time is quite good and gave me a good idea of what I want to do when I was going towards the end of the project and everything was coming together.

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Lost Sectors – Sector 4 Demo

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A horror map that was made by me. Assets modelled in Autodesk Maya and Assembled in Unreal Engine 4.

Get the demo here: http://www34.zippyshare.com/v/X4H8N3Y4/file.html

The making of Sector 4 (Lost Sectors)

Sector4Dcal

In this blog post I will be talking about the game level that I made and I will be going through the development and making process of the map. The entire time that I took to make the map, from the initial ideas to the playable game level was about 1 month.
So I started out with gathering ideas on what type of project I would like to make. Because I play a lot of video games and have been involved in another game’s development, I decided to make either a game or a game level. Now that I knew what I want to make I started thinking about the theme and genre of game i’ll be making. I was going through my steam game library looking for something to play and I saw one of my most favorite games Alien: Isolation. Its a game based around the Alien movies from the 70s and because I played the game quite few times, I knew that I should make a sci-fi horror game that would take action in space. So I started drawing sketches and putting down all the ideas that I came up with. After doing quite a bit of sketching and brainstorming I started digitizing the sketches on my computer by using Photoshop because that way I can add much more detail and make everything look much more nicer and more the way I wanted it to be.

Before                                                         After
Digitized Map/Layout of the space station

After some thinking I also had a list of what individual components I needed to make for the map. For modelling of the map and all the pieces I used Autodesk Maya software which I have been using before and had experience working with it. It didn’t take long to have first pieces of the map which were almost ready to be put into a map.

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Corridor Section Development/Renders

After I have finished the modelling I moved onto the next stage which was the assembly. For that I decided to use Unreal Engine 4 as it offers really nice shaders and allows you to make a very nice game without much work on the lighting (Which is quite difficult to do in Unity). At first I used the BSP Brushes to block layout which is basically the map that I will be building but made out of basic shapes such as rectangles. After I finished that and had an Idea of where I want to place everything, I started replacing the blocks with the assets that I have modeled in Maya before.

Screenshot_5.pngBSP Blocking process viewed through wireframe more to attach everything correctly.

During the process of replacing all the BSP brushes I also added the lights to the level, adjusted the colors and brightness to make the scene look and feel as I wanted it to (Which is horror themed level).
When I was importing assets into Unreal Engine I had trouble with walking around them with my character and what I found out later was that the collision boxes were of the wrong shape and size so I had to choose complex collision to make the pieces work properly. Although this added a bit more stress onto the system, it was much better, because now you were able to go nearby the wall and not be stopped by a force field half a meter before it.

Screenshot_7.pngDoors with advanced collision boxes enabled

After I fixed all the collision boxes everything worked perfectly. But then there was another problem that I encountered and that was Lighting. As you can see when I was modeling In Maya I added light emitting materials to the objects to act as a light source in the game. So because not all the settings from maya properly transfered to unreal, I had to create new light emitting materials in unreal. It was a pretty simple process as just creating a new material and adding color and multiplication of the color so it becomes emissive.

Screenshot_8.png

After I sorted out all the lights, I started working on the textures for objects, as the ones made in Autodesk Maya didn’t look very well in the game engine. I added some metallic values as well as roughness, to control how reflective the material is. Screenshot_10.png

And thats the making of my game level called ‘Sector4’. I think it went pretty well and would love to have had more time to work on this map and make it into a game. I am however planning to make a full game in the future so keep an eye out for a game called ‘Lost Sectors’.

Lost Sectors: Research (Moodboards)

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These are the moodboards that I made while I was doing the research for my game level. I looked at the space pod called soyuz, as well as the rocket that launches it from the ground to the orbit. Afterwards I looked into some different space station / spaceship designs from all over the world.

Inspiration research (FMP)

So today I will be talking about where I got the inspiration for the design/feel of my game and how I will be implementing the ideas into my game.

So the initial idea of making a space themed horror game came from a game called Alien: Isolation.1396108606-alien-isolation.jpg If you’ve been following my blog for a while you know that I’ve done sound design research on that game because that game is one of my favorites when it comes to the genre of horror and space. I have been playing a lot of that game recently, gathering ideas of design/feeling and structure from that game.

When you play the game everything is very precisely modeled and because of that I’ll be aiming to do a good quality game with good design and models / textures instead of more gameplay with not as well made graphics. maxresdefault.jpg

When playing the game I noticed consistent shape of corridors. This shape is also very repetitive all throughout the game, which makes the entire map look very similar but in reality its very different in every area.

I think this inspiration will help me a lot when i’ll be making my game as I’ll be making it in UnrealEngine 4 which provides amazing graphics with the ease of node-coding which is a really good thing when you want to build a simple but really nice looking game.

AR/VR Video Game Trailer: Progress Review

In this post I will be talking about how is everything going with the AR/VR project, what we did so far, what went well and what would I do differently if I would be doing it again.

So.. My role in this project is 3D artist/animator, I’m working on all the 3D stuff. So basically I’m making everything for VR part that will be in the final piece, the environment, the characters and all other assets. My job is one of the most important ones as I am responsible for the main part of the trailer. On first week I started working on the terrain which was supposed to be kinda similar to the “No man’s sky” game’s terrain but much more simpler and have low polygon count. Another example game that is really similar to my environment is “Small Radios Big Televisions”.

small-radios-big-televisions-screen-04-ps4-us-14sep16.jpgTerrain from Small Radios Big Televisions Game

This is the type of terrain/Mountains I am trying to achieve in my work. I think if I would do my work again, I would probably have some more Autodesk Maya classes as I sometimes needed to search for the right tool for half hour or so. And that impacted my productivity. But because I already knew all of the basics + some extra tricks, my workflow was quite fluent. The next thing I worked on was assets, so Trees, grass, etc.. Because these were also low polygon count objects, I created them from the basic shapes such as cube, sphere, cone and gave them low subdivision count. At the end, to make the polygons stand out better I hardened the object’s edges. I think It all went quite well but I still had the same problem that I had with making the environment which is lack of knowledge on certain tools.

Then going on to the real life stuff.. Last week we were working on recording footage for the trailer. It will be used in the beginning of the trailer and at the end. I think what went well is that we did record quite a lot of takes for each scene, which gives us a failsafe option if one or two scenes are bad. I think what we could have done better is be more prepared and know all the very specifics of what we need to record, because now we needed to kinda come up with ideas on how we should do that scene. We could have prepared the recording area better by booking it out earlier and making it look like proper lab. What I could have done better is adjust the lights in the green screen room so there would be no shadows because of light coming from both sides. It is possible to eliminate those shadows but I wasn’t familiar enough with the equipment  and didn’t know how to operate all of it. I tried to do my best with the lights I brought into the studio  and position them to give the best result.

So this is my roundup of what’s been happening and how did everything go in the past few weeks. We should be finished in next few weeks and will have the final Video Trailer by then.

Material Study by Jarrod Hasenjager (FMP Research)

 

I took some ideas and inspiration from this material study and used it in my Final Major Project. I used some of these textures on my map assets to make them look nice and realistic.

Full article can be found on https://www.artstation.com/artwork/aL4JR 

 

Task 1: Research

In this post I will be talking about Pixar’s Short films, how they are made and what techniques are they using. So animated short that I have chosen is called “Day & Night”, it is a short about two creatures that are a day and a night. Inside them you can see different types of real life 3D things that represent what they are doing in 2D. for example when the Day character was running , there are people running inside as well. The software that I think was used to make this animated short is Maya or Cinema 4D. Then for the 2D part of the animation they could have used Adobe Photoshop or Flash to create it.

The main technique used in this animation is inverse kinematics, it is so because the movement of the characters is not robot-like and is fluent motion. The only lighting in the animation is found inside the characters as they both represent times of the day (day/night) so the background behind them is totally black like they would be in space where its pitch black. The main characters don’t have any static textures which stay in place as they move. They have more dynamic-like textures because as they move, the textures represent the environment they are in, the mood they represent or what they are doing in general. Because the animation was made back in 2010, they didn’t have as powerful render farms as we have today in 2016-17, so the texture/shadow quality looks a bit worse, I think the resolution that this animation was rendered at is either 720p or 1080p. So as I said they probably used either Maya or Cinema 4D for the creation of CG elements inside the two main characters, some modelling for the 3D animation could also been done by using zBrush which is very useful for creating a single element that can later be used inside Maya for animating. After the initial 3D animation was done in Maya or Cinema 4D, the 2D animation would be put on top of it, effects added on top to make it look nicer and have appropriate effects according to the 3D animation. After all the effects were added on and the animations put together, the work goes on to either Adobe Premiere Pro or Sony Vegas Pro where the main editor checks if everything is good and then renders out the entire animation again, this is done because when you render anything with Adobe After Effects, it is being rendered in nearly lossless quality and because of that you get really large file sizes which is very inconvenient, so when you render it out instead of maybe 25GB file you get 1GB+ file size depending on the settings and length of the video or animation.

So the main roles when creating such animation are:

Director or Supervisor: they are responsible for the project meeting deadlines, doing it at a low cost and making sure that the overall quality of the animation.
2D Animator (Drawing): they draw the animation on paper first to make sure that it’s the right thing and it doesn’t need any changes and then they draw it on a computer by using a graphic tablet.
2D Animator (Computer Animation): they do the final animation work, plotting the cameras to where they need to be and putting all the information on the dope sheets.

 

Task 3: Final animation & Analysis

In this post I will be talking about how I made my final animation, what tools I used and new things that I have learned through the process of making this animation.

So the animation itself was fully made by using Autodesk Maya 2017 which is a great program that is being used throughout the industry and also it is a bit complex, but once you learn the basics and start getting into more advanced stuff. The entire scene is made from very simple shapes such as rectangles/triangles as it is the main component of each model.

Screenshot_1.png

As you can see, the monitor is made up mainly of rectangles. this is because i used the Edge Loop Tool quite a lot, as it allows you to create new edges from which you can extract the shapes that you need. Also as mentioned, the Extraction was used when wanting to extract a specific face of an object. The Bend was only used to make the monitors stand, as it is quite complex shape to make and after few tries to make it with just edge loop and extract tools I decided that I needed something to make a nice bend on that stand.

Most all the tools are fairly easy to use if you experiment with them for a bit, but some tools require a bit more research as they are more complex to use and not always easy to find as Maya has hundreds if not thousands of different tools with each having it’s own settings and configurations, so as my teacher once said “Its almost impossible to fully understand each tool and to know how it works and what it does”, that’s why in big CGI companies like Pixar, they have lots of people who are each working on a different thing because they know their thing best. It is a very good model of work distribution, but nowadays companies also like people to know how to do more than one thing. So for example if we say you are modeller, the company will probably want you to be the rigger as well because you would then be working the work of two people for the price of one. And when we talk about the big companies like Disney where they have hundreds and even thousands of workers, it is much better to have less people with more skills than more people with less skills. Overall as I said, Maya is a very complex piece of software and if you want to make something like a short animation, it will take much longer and will be harder than if a group would be doing it.

When I was making other objects such as a table, it was just a matter of few steps as the using of Edge Loop Tool makes it very easy to extract shapes (Table legs in our case) and to change the shape of them when placed in right locations.

render2.png
One of the renders i took during the production process.

As you can see I have chosen a wooden top with steel legs. I did this because I wanted to create a table very similar to mine because I sit at it everyday and I really like it.

Render6.png
Another render during the process

I was making quite a lot of these render photos as the shading looked really nice and it also made it look very professional. I was using the Arnold render engine which is the main engine in Maya 2017. It is very easy to use and it much faster when compared to older render engines such as Mental Ray. Arnold render engine is also very easy to use as it has all the presets already so you only need to chose one and render out the image.

When the time came to animate, I was mainly using rotate and move tools and then keyframing them by clicking the S key which saves all the values that have been changed during the process.

The camera was added at the very end, when all the animating was done and there was nothing else left to do. I added the camera and the movement to make it more interesting as just looking at everything from a bit further would look boring and people wouldn’t watch the animation. I used few different types of shots to record the animation, one of them is a Closeup Shot which is by the very end where the camera zooms in onto the pen. I used it as I wanted to give the idea of pen either looking at the audience or at the monitor. Using the camera was quite simple, all I had to do is select the camera then go to Panels > Look Through selected. Then  you just move around with normal controls and keyframe with S key.

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