Thursday, 2 May 2013

Final presentation and cinematic

In week 12 I presented my final presentation and cinematic. These were the slides I presented and my final cinematic.

I recapped the scene I was working on and also noted some of the key changes of my scene from alpha to its final stage.

I then discussed my success and issues that I faced in the project. In particular I reflected that I was very pleased that I had replicated the scene well and that my high to low poly workflow was a success. I explain my issues with time management and the problems that caused me to fall behind.

I presented my final cinematic and then followed what I had learned from creating the environment and what I would like to improve it. I expressed that I was very fond of the scene and that carrying it on was definitely my intention.

At the end of my presentation I answered some questions and received some feedback. Overall I think that the final presentation went really well.  I was told I had put in a good effort and again don’t think that I received any negative feedback.

I will be continuing creating this scene and will keep my progress updated on my website.

Feel free to follow my progress.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Prop and texture improvements

As the final hand in was quickly approaching I needed to really increase the amount of ruin and mess that was on the floor. I began to pose the skeletons I had created into crumpled positions on the floor which I could then scatter around the level as corpses. I created some variations by positioning the bones and started placing them around the level and also built a corpse pile out of them which began to make the level look a lot more filled and less spacious.

Maya Corpse variations

Corpses scattered around the level

I felt like a lot of my models textures were looking bare and dull in comparison to the stone texture I had made so I updated some of my textures and also quickly created some normal maps for them using the xNormal plug-in. This greatly improved the look of my scene and I was really beginning to grow proud of it.

Updated props
Updated props

The final tweaks to my level that I made were lighting changes to better replicate the original image reference and also vertex painting to add some variation on my models. To do this I created another tiling texture and then set this up in my master material which then allowed me to vertex paint on my meshes.

Lighting added to surrounding walls
Vertex painting on static meshes
Master stone tiled material with vertex painting parameters added

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Stone material and runes update

In particular I have focused on my stone material and getting the runes onto the walls of my scene. To do this I used the xNormal plugin in Photoshop to create the normal map for the runes which I created by downloading a font and then typed out some of my blog as an Easter egg for the scene.
I then overlayed the normal maps together which I could then apply to the parameters of my material instances. I also managed to get some nice results from the specular maps as well. I ended up with a really nice stone material which I was really proud of.

Wall normal map with runes overlaying the cracks

Runes added to the walls
Another thing I did was lowered the Ambient occlusion maps which I had applied to my material instances. As well as doing this, I applied the normal maps from my high poly models to the material instance parameters and immediately began to see some changes in my material definition. The normal and specular maps were also working very well in bring out the detail of the cracks and damages on the pillars.

Normal and specular maps bringing out the damages on the pillars

Friday, 12 April 2013

Easter break catch up and alpha presentation

During the Easter break I spent a lot of time catching up. I had fallen behind when optimising my low poly models as I had created so many variations which I had to each UV layout for bake tests. However by the time the alpha presentation came around I was feeling a little more optimistic about my level. I had created another high poly asset which was meant to be the huge structural damaged hole in the back wall. Although I had some issues with UDK not getting the most out of my normal map it did help to add a greater scope of depth to the level.

Back wall structural damage
As we are now in week 9 I presented my alpha presentation. These are the slides as well as my alpha cinematic of my scene.

Over these two slides I recapped what scene I had been working on.

I then showed some images of some of the focal points of my scene as well as some establishing shots which I had been focusing on. I then played my alpha cinematic.

My next slide covered some of the challenges I had faced, in particular scaling the level out as well as finding the balance for my geometry and my normal maps.

Next I explained what I had left to do and what in particular I wanted to focus on.

At the end of my slide I answered some questions about my progress and how I was going to complete my remaining focuses. The presentation itself went quite well I think. I didn’t receive any negative feedback and similar to my block out presentation, I was more offered advice on how to complete certain aspects and things to focus on.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Creating the light beam

To create my own light beam for the scene I followed the udn volumetric light beam tutorial which allowed me to create the exact effect I was after. I needed to change the colour of course to a blue to suit the original image but the effect I got was very good. 

Light beam material

Friday, 15 February 2013

Material and prop updates

When I began to import my updated meshes into UDK I decided that creating a tiled texture for my models would be the better option. I thought that by doing this I could have a stone material as a base texture and then overlay it with textures unique to the model. It was then that I found out I could set up material instances which would let me create one master material which could then have parameters set up that I could apply each individual texture to. Below is my master material that features a parameter that is ready to have unique normal maps, diffuse's and specular's applied to each instance of the master material.

Tiled stone master material
At the moment I am just using these instances to overlay the ambient occlusions of each model but I will later set up parameters that will allow me to vertex paint on top of the models.
I also needed to create some props to fill the floor. I needed to scatter things such as papers, weapons and skeletons to help give the appearance of ruin and randomised aftermath. Originally I tried to make piles of paper that I could scatter about but it looked unnatural and pre-placed. In the end I created individual paper pieces that shared one texture which I could then place around the level more freely.

Old paper pile material

Updated paper material for individual pieces

Scattered pieces of paper on the floor

I also created a couple of weapons which I scattered around the scene as well as some larger props such as the crates, an obelisk and stone blocks. I also created a tiled cobweb texture which I could apply to some meshes that I created to act as cobwebs.

Tiled cobweb material
These began to fill the floor a lot more but I also needed to create some skeletons for the corpses on the floor.
To do this I created one overall skeleton and then changed the skull and armour to form two variations. One variation was a standard dwarven soldier and then the other was meant to be Ori, the scribe who is resting against the tomb stone.

Armoured dwarf and Ori

Dwarf for the well and Ori against the tomb stone

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Grid and pivot mismatches

Whilst editing my geometry I had to alter a few models to all fit together properly on the grid in both UDK and maya. Previously I had worked to the grid only from the top down views. Building my first modular scene I had forgotten to build the geometry to the grid in the side and front views too. Most of these very easy fixes but in places I needed to place the pivot points slightly off to make sure that the geometry all fitted together properly within UDK. This issue I fortunately solved without too much hassle but for future projects I will certainly pay more attention to this issue when blocking out the level first time round to save myself time redoing things.

Pivot points placed on grid to fix issue