Monday, 23 December 2013

Marry Christmas!

I thought I'd make myself a Christmas scene as I found a snow tool so had to test it out. Here was the outcome, I am getting much better with making scenes in short amounts of time. I even found some trees and learnt how to edit the amount of leaves visible and the detail. This scene rendered very quick considering I did it in HD and included snow so I guess my polygon count was fairly efficient!

One issue I had was with the pivot point of the head because of the eye brows I added were twigs which were totally distorted shape wise to add the detail. But got there in the end anyway!

Friday, 20 December 2013

Final Thoughts of 12 Weeks

This task has been one of the most fun so far at University. The initial challenge was to produce 3 Star Wars models in 6 weeks then use those 3 models in an animation which tells some kind of story. Not only do I feel I achieved this to a fairly high level but also took advantage of the process to learn as many different tools inside 3DS Max. After the initial first 6 weeks I was feeling quite negative about my modelling abilities but my first grade resolved that issue as I did quite well which drove me to do even better! So I've have gone full out on the second half.
My animation went extremely well considering some of the hiccups I came across but even with the strict time constraint I think I did an awesome job of telling the story from my initial storyboard even if I did replace the Ebon Hawk with Darth Revans light sabres. I would still have liked to have made a space located scene to show off some more camera angels and I still can just won't be marked, plus I'll have to build an X-Wing and maybe even the Millennium Falcon I originally wanted to create when I first recieved this assignment.
Although it wasn't part of the criteria I really think adding the sounds really improved my skills using audacity as well as a basic editing tool!
I think I have also picked up an invaluable skill with blogging. Its something I had never done before and now I'm kind of kicking myself for it. I imagine blogging whatever project I work on is going to be beneficial as to be honest I get quite competitive, even with myself and increasing my views every day was one of the primary drivers to try and blog once a day. (I've managed to get to 2100+ views now which is over double what I was aiming for!)
At the end of my first 6 weeks I listed a fair amount of tools I had learnt in that period. Time to count up how many I have learnt since then. I have learnt unwrap, detach, shell, Msmooth, various forms of lights including directional and omni, autokeys, rendering, target camera's, free camera's, environmental backgrounds, height mapping, displacement, normal, 2D splines including connecting models to them, lens effects such as glow and ring, morph, noise, biped, rigging, skinning, ripple, tessellate, slice, bombs, atmospheric apparatus, text, relax and a large variety of material tools. On top of this a general improvement to all the skills I had already acquired! And the best bit is I have gained a new hobby as I don't think now my semester is finished that my modelling is also complete, I can't wait to see how this blog is looking in a years time from now!

Relax Guy!

Another modifier I thought I'd play around with, first I used it on two simple shapes. It seems like it could be a useful tool for animating objects dissapearing. I remember in my first year game I animated ghosts to become smaller when they were killed. This modifier could have made a more professional job of this.

After using the tool it seems resenable odd so I decided to quickly build a more complicated shape and see how it would react to a grouped object, the result was a strange saturn like baby rattle thing? Either way it seemed to be ok with the relax effect although seems to remain tall as oppose to shrinking so relax seems to thin objects out but as you can see from the pyramid shape above that the angle an object shrinks seems resenably unpredictable.

This tool could be usefull in a warp type scenerio but other than that I am struggling to think of practicle uses thus far.

Raytracer and Friends!

I thought I would play around with some of the mesh options and raytracing was mentioned on one of my colleagues blogs. I struggled to get the reflection to work properly, initially I could not get any colour to appear and when I finally did it was kind of inverted which I kind of liked. Other than that though the process was easy enough especially after I added a metal like effect over the top to increase the detail. I then edited the opacity to see what it is capable of as self illumination so you can in this one image see around 4 different effects creating an interesting scene. Its almost like art...

I then thought I would test out the marble effect, this was interesting and could be helpful for adding a nice kind of shine effect to silver and gold objects in the future but just adding a bit of extra variation. I then threw the dent effect into the gloss section to see how you can build upon other effects. Straight away I thought how this could be used along with the ability to change material as this would have looked awesome to add before the planet explodes!
Then I checked out the smoke effect. This looks nice but I think would probabily need to be added to a particle effect to really get the full feel of smoke. Although in its current state kind of reminds me of Diablos from FFVIII but that may be because of its sphere shape.
To finish off my look into various material effects, atleast for today. I thought I would check out the wood tool as this come could be quite useful as wood is a common material in real life. I thought the wood effect was awesome, and is a really easy tool for so much detail. Although this image really points out the issues with my reflections. I'll have to work on this sometime soon!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Material Changing in an Animation!

I was wondering if it was possible to alter a models mesh whilst in an animation so I had a search on the internet and found this video [LINK]. Whilst playing with this tool I was surprised by the simplicity to pull this effect off. The only real weakness I found was rendering time had increased massively. I'm not sure if this was an issue with my computer so I'll have to check it on the university computer when I am next in. I was trying to build a scene of an ice age and the planet Earth heating up but alas rendering was so poor I opted out for an image. It gives a general gist for what the tool can accomplish.

The menu screen to the right is where the magic happens. By moving the line on the bottom graph whilst Auto Key is active allows you to change the intensity of one image as time goes by creating the effect in this case of Earth heating up and ice melting.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Colleague Blog Part 5

I thought I would check another persons blog to widen my horizon for comparison. Here is the link [LINK]. I thought this blog resembled my own to an extent with lots of screenshots and video examples of their animation so far. I was also very impressed with this blog, especially the extensive detail they have gone into to show the process for example they show their process of developing flames onto the back of their x-wing which when I next have time I would like to give that a go myself.

I again feel like my own lacks detail and is more of an overview of what I have done as oppose to a process although I can't decide if I prefer my own way or more detail. I am also quite jealous of the detail they have attained in their own models in the same amount of time!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Colleague Blog Part 4

The next blog I returned to was the first blog I compared my own to. Since then I have tried to add more detail to my blog and give a greater level of detail of my process. I think I accomplished this but in looking again and seeing how the animation process is built I have found their evaluations of their animating process to be far more detailed than my own. They have done a good job of showing each attempt to render whereas I only mentioned these issues and concentrated far more on the final product or at least the ending stage for that day as most of my scenes needed alterations.

I do think the use of dropbox is not as effective as my own use of screenshots and videos showing the outcomes of my work although this may be quicker than uploading a video on here. But overall I again feel as if I could have added more detail.