Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Research Assets

I started on modelling the research tent and related assets:

This is the cage and the microscope. I made the cage with two simple boxes for the top and base, and I then used a single plane which was duplicated around the edges for the bars of the cage. I didn't think it was necessary to make them more than one plane thick, and once it is set to work as a two sided material, there should be no problems. Also made the microscope as simple as possible. I might go back and add some extra sides to the cylinders used for the lenses. I decided that its design should be simple and small, compared to some of the bulky ones we have today, this is a more futuristic design.

This is the work bench and crate. I will be able to use these multiple times in the research area within the level. The crate is meant to be designed for stacking. These would have the basic supplies for the scientists.

This is the tent. I think I will have two used in the level. This will give the idea that they have recently just set up their base for their mission. It is implied that they only come out here for the day to collect the data needed, and then they go back to the ship they arrived on for the night. I decided that the poles holding the tent up should be made of the wood from the environment, because why would they waste space and weight on their journey here when they could use things within the environment to set up the research camp. Again I used a simple box to make the tent canopy, and then cylinders for the sticks and wire that supports the tent.

So, there is the main tent, a table, a cage where a creature will be placed, a microscope and a storage crate. I might make a few more assets that would could be in the tents. I got a lot of ideas for this from the BBC series "Lost land of the Volcano", where they had some research tents that were quickly set up and had all the necessities for recording information on finds and capturing creatures, and it was also very simple. So I want to keep my research tents similar, since they wouldn't have been able to take a lot of stuff with them to this planet, they are using just the essentials for the research trip.

Texturing the Grass Stalker and Tree Ray

Now texturing the grass stalker. I'm going to use the same techniques I used for painting the concept in the actual texture. I'll also colour pick from the concept to make sure I keep the correct colour themes. Did several ambient occlusion maps for the diffuse as well since these help a lot with starting on the texturing.

Again, I painted the diffuse myself, using the concept as reference. I used a blend of a height map and the diffuse itself to make the normal map. I concentrated a lot on making the ribs look like they stick out.

Next is rigging and animating.

Now texturing the tree ray. This is a small creature that lives on the trees. His colouring will have to match the bark already used in the level. he is meant to be camouflaged, so it should be difficult to spot him within the level.

I painted the diffuse, and then blended the bark texture I used on the trees over the top of it. Also painted in the moss that is used on the ground texture by using the clone stamp tool. Once I have the moss decal on the trees finished, he should be able to blend in reasonably well.

I made the normal map show off the details like his nose and also made it look like the moss sticks up from his body.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Modelling and Texturing the Feather Ghost Creature

 I'm now modelling the feather creature in 3ds Max. He should be pretty simple to make as he has repeating features, and only the head is really unique.

 Modelled the basic forms of the head and feather appendage, again using box modelling.

 Added more geometry, and repeated the feathers all the way down the body. Added in a thin body so it makes more sense and the feathers have something to attach to. I tapered their size along the body as in the concept. I've made a loop along the body for every 2 pairs of feather appendages, hopefully this will work fine for the rigging stage.

 Added in eyebrow ridge and eyes, and also simplified the geometry of the feathers to reduce triangles. Decided to leave out the tongue as this would be a rather complicated thing to model and rig so it looks realistic, and it would be strange if it was modelled to just stick out permanently.

Texturing completed. Used some ambient occlusion maps to start off the diffuse, and then just painted it using the concept as reference.

I like the high specularity in the feathers, it helps give the luminous effect. I'll probably make an emissive map for him as well to get the glowing effect within udk.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Feedback and making the Grass Stalker

I've started on modelling the Grass Stalker creature. I started off with the same approach to box modelling a human.

I am defining the torso here, and started on the should joint. I'm making sure to keep the curve of the spine the same as in the concept, since it was a defining feature and important to the silhouette.

I then extruded out the spine bones. This area will have a little more detail because of the individual bones protruding.

Adding in the arm details as well as starting off the hip shape. I found that I had to keep defining the edge of the ribs, may have to cut in wards to make the base of the ribs stick out more, as in the concept.

I then started on making the head. I extruded most of the details, and again kept referring closely to the concept to make sure I was following the shape I had designed originally. This creature has to be small enough to slither through the long grass in my level reasonably hidden. The horns are designed to mimic the shape of the grass to help the creature blend in.

 I made sure that the arms were away from the body so it would be easier to rig. Also got the shape of the tail modelled out. I used a spline as a guide to get a fluid curve. Spent some more time defining the shape of the hip joint.

I had to make sure that I made the tail in a simple enough pose to rig, since in the concept it is curled up, so it would be pointless to model the tail to follow this shape when its meant to be part of the animation in the end. I think the arms need to be a little bigger, and there's still some details to be added in the back and claws.

Also, after having some feedback on my level, about adding a different colour to the spectrum, particularly red, since I have many shades of blue in my level so far; I decided to try changing the tone of the sky to a more reddish hue.

I'm not sure yet if I like this change however. I might experiment more with the values, and also leave the sky in the level like this as I work to see if it does eventually feel that it fits.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Modelling the Tree Ray

I started on modelling the Tree Ray creature. I wanted to keep it reasonably low poly since none of the creatures in my level are very large. Therefore, this wouldn't waste any triangles that really won't be seen to make a difference, especially as the textures can add the majority of the details.

I started off with a box, using it to get the basic shape of the tree ray. I was constantly referring back to the concept to make sure that I was developing the form correctly. By moving the verts and adding in new loops, I pushed the basic shape towards the concepted creature.

Began to refine the shape and added the tail. I am making sure to keep the topology tidy and efficient, I can't spend many triangles on this creature since it is quite small, perhaps about 28 inches in length.

Defined the eye ridges, as they are very pronounced in my concept painting. I used the cut tool to add in the shapes and then extruded the faces inwards. I added in a few more loops for the tail, keeping in mind that this will need to move fluidly once rigged and animated.

This is the model and the concept for comparison. I would say that this is finished, but I think I may add a few more details. I find it quite interesting that the front orthographical view makes him look like a space ship! A lot of the features will be more defined with the textures, which I'll be working on next.