Procedural Animation – Week 3 – Character modeling

We have been ongoing about the character design for quite some time, after narrowing down the concept it was finally time to 3D model it. I started off by shaping a cylinder with a reasonable amount of subdivisions. Since this is the character model, I tried to keep it somewhat low poly, but of course not too low poly. Since it’s the main character.

After shaping the cylinder into a sphere, it started getting the shape I was going for. However, it was looking somewhat too round. I created the lid out of another cylinder, and used the extrude to form the shape. The handle was quite simple, I created a doughnut and refined it a bit to look like a handle. I created the nozzle out of a third cylinder and used extrude to shape that as well. Obtaining the form and shape by moving the faces, edges and vertexes, I ended up getting something that looked like this:

Teapot 1.PNG

Teapot 2.PNG

Teapot 4.PNG

It was starting to look good, however the shape was not quite what I was hoping for.

It felt too big and round, so I thought it would maybe look a bit better if I tried to make it more flat. But not too flat of course, because it should maintain the sphere shape. It ended up looking something like this:

Teapot 5.PNG

Now that the shape was starting to look better, the shape of the nozzle had room for improvement. I felt it was a bit too tiny and I was getting some good feedback from Marcus and Edvard too. Trying to make it a bit bigger, I also accidentally made it too long:

Teapot 6 BIG.PNG

Again getting some feedback, I gave it another shot at making it a tiny bit shorter.

Teapot 8.PNG

Now I was starting to get quite satisfied with the shape. There was still some room for improvement on pretty much everything, but I thought I could start making the head and legs in the meantime.

I used Ncloth and applied it to a sphere and passive collider on a plane. This gave me the possibility to experiment with the bounce settings. So it was like dropping a water balloon towards the ground without having it bursting. The sphere looked like a tiny blob at some point. When I got the shape I wanted, I duplicated it and continued on trying. I also at some point created a doughnut and made it the second passive collider. This caused the sphere to try and flow through a tiny hole in the doughnut, which made it look even more like slime.

Ncloth.PNG

Putting together the head and legs from these shapes, I was starting to get the character from the concepts. Adding subdivisions, scaling and shaping the edges of the slime, I managed to create a tiny blob hanging out from the nozzle which we will probably add jigglebone to later.

I also made the back side where the handle is a bit flatter to look more realistic, and I tried to shape the handle a bit differently, because it was looking too much like a doughnut. Take a look:

Goop boi 1.PNG

Goop boi 2.PNG

 

Although it was looking quite nice looking, it still needed some improvement. Edvard and Marcus pointed out that the legs was a bit too short and that the handle should be improved a tiny bit as well. After spending some time sending pictures back and forth asking for feedback, this was the final result:

Side view:

Goop 1.PNG

Goop 1 WF.PNG

Front:

Goop 2.PNG

Goop 2 WF.PNG

Slight perspective turn:

Goop 3.PNG

Goop 3 WF.PNG

The poly-count I ended up with was not too high considering our character is going to be quite small which is good.

Polycount.PNG

Why this is good is because we then get more space for more assets or characters with more detail. Considering most of the assets we are making is low-poly, our game will run very smooth which is our goal to achieve.

Now that the character is done, all that is left to do is texturing it. I made the UV map ready in UV Layout and cleaned it a tiny bit. Take a look:

UV.PNG

Now when I am going to texture it in Substance Painter, I want Edvard to assist me, since he is responsible for how the style of the character will look. What artstyle we will be using and color-palette.

I will keep you guys updated in the next blogs!

 

 

 

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Procedural Animation – Week 3 – Modelling Assets

So this time, we all gathered up in a meeting room and agreed on that we were gonna make a list where we followed up on who makes what. Edvard quickly went in google sheets and created this asset list

Assets list.PNG

We wrote on the left who was working on what, and when we finished it, we highlighted the object area green. We have managed it so that when you hover over the actual highlighted area itself, it takes you to a download link for the OBJ file and a picture of it.

Now that we had this system, I jumped straight into modeling the assets.

Getting a lot of help from Beatrice in 2nd year, I got a lot of insight in tips and tricks I could do in Maya, Zbrush and Substance Painter. Obviously this sped up my progress and made the assets better.

First tip I got was the Extrude shortcut in Maya “CTRL+E”. She gave me the tip that if I was gonna try to obtain a shape from a reference, it would be quicker and easier to use the extrude shortcut, and scale it in what ever way needed. Pressing “CTRL+E” again after moving the surface would create more subdivisions, which is a great tip for making a low-poly model. Considering that we are making assets for a video game, I have to think outside of what I have originally learned, since I am an animation student. Because in animation, there is usually not as big of a focus on low-poly compared to the game industry. This is because for a video game, the lower your poly-count is for the model you are making, the easier it will run on your computer.

First off I started making a banana peel, taking reference from super mario:

Banana_(Mario_Kart_Wii).png

Using the extruding tip I got from Beatrice, I started off with a cylinder with quite few subdivisions. Extruding the surface and bottom, I achieved the look of a banana top, and I used the detach tool to kind of split it up like the banana peel in the picture above. I then cleaned up the model a bit by using the append to polygon tool, to recreate the surfaces I lost.

Stretching out the banana peel flakes, I merged some vertexes together on one side of the banana that originally had too many subdivisions to achieve the pointy tip.

This was what I ended up with:

BONANA.PNG

BONANA 2.PNG

BONANA 3.PNG

For the future update: I will attempt to texture this banana using substance painter whenever I get the time.

 

Next up is the lamp post I made.

Using the same technique to extrude, I attempted to make an old lamp post. However, Edvard wanted something a bit more Urban rather than an elegant antique lamp post.

This was the lamp post I ended up making:

Lamp update 1.PNG

Lamp update 2.PNG

Lamp update 3.PNG

Lamp update 4.PNG

Putle made a bunch of cool drawings of Urban lamp posts which I will attempt to make in the future as well.

YRVFAW5.jpg

Concept drawn by Putle

 

I also looked at the concept drawings of some doors that Putle made.

zxJ9sUo.jpg

Trying to obtain the shape and the style of the door on the left, while my intention is to add the graffiti from the door in the middle in Substance Painter later.

Using the Extruding tip, I quickly obtained the shape of the door. However I made the mail slot in the same model as the door. To save space in the poly-count, I got another tip from Beatrice that I should try to create it as a separate model with the door, and rather bake it in the texture of the door itself in Substance Painter to save some data and space.

This is the door I ended up with, quite a simple model actually, but still has a lot more refining to be done:

Door 1.PNG

Door 2.PNG

 

Now as for the last asset I spent the most time on is the pizza slice.

How I made this was by creating a low poly square with a lot of subdivisions. Shaping it into a triangle and forming the subdivisions to get thinner towards the tip, while the crust part is much more thicker.

After I did this, I created a plane and shaped it a bit with some bumps here and there. Placing the plane under neath the pizza slice so the tip was sticking out over the edge, I applied Ncloth tool to both of them, and generated the pizza so acted as a cloth. After fiddling around with the settings of Ncloth, I managed to get the pizza slice to look like an actual pizza slice. I added some pepperoni’s on top of it and baked it into the texture.

This was how it currently looked like:

Pizza slice 5.PNG

Using Substance painter and Photoshop, I created 2 textures I applied to the model it self.

The textures was created with hard surfaces in photoshop since we are going for a quite simplistic style:

Texture 1 – Pepperoni

Pepperoni 2.png

Texture 2 – Cheese

Pizza texture.png

After exporting these textures to substance painter, I spent some time brushing them on to the actual model by the help of masks.

Rendering some quite cool maps:

UV map

PizzaLowPolyUVDONE_2_initialShadingGroup_BaseColor.png

Normal map

PizzaLowPolyUVDONE_2_initialShadingGroup_Normal.png

Occlusion map

PizzaLowPolyUVDONE_2_initialShadingGroup_OcclusionRoughnessMetallic.png

After getting the whole file ready for Unreal engine, I wanted to see how it looked like in Maya with the wireframes on. This is the result:

Pizza Slice 1.PNG

Pizza slice 2.PNG

Pizza slice 3.PNG

Pizza slice 4.PNG

For these screenshots I did not add the normal or the occlusion map, because I only wanted to view it with the wireframes on.

Next up, I will attempt to finish the Character model and some more of the assets on the list and last but not least, finish up what I have said I will continue on through out this post.

 

Procedural Animation – Week 2 – Animation

We met up with David, teacher at our school. To help us out with the motion capture and teach us how to navigate the program. He told us a lot of important information about how to calibrate the cameras before we used them. We were told to check all of the cameras and see if all of them were working as intended.

20170927_133745.jpg

In total there was 8 cameras working at 100% capacity.

We were using tools in the room itself to check if the cameras was able to spot 4 dots placed on the tool. We then used another tool to calibrate the whole room by go around for 5 minutes and waving it around in the room like a madman. The cameras picked up red dots in 120fps, the more dots you had on one camera the better calibration you would get.

20170927_133701.jpg

After the wand had done its job, we started the processing status of the wand.

How this worked was that it would use the data the wand had gathered and processed it to calibrate the average length of space we could walk on. We had to click on “Run Again” several times in attempt to get the “Wand Length – Avg:” as close to 500 as possible. The better calibrated, the cleaner our recordings would get. To our luck, we managed to get it fairly close to 500, and the recordings ended up very clean. Rarely any dead frames or dots on our mocap suit that would disappear.

We got our actor, Edvard, to dress up in the motion capture suit.

20170927_133642.jpg

It was important that the suit would be tight, because if the actor would have folds on his or her suit, the recording could bug out, or the rig could break.

20170927_134333.jpg

To our luck, Edvard fit perfectly inside the Large suit we had. Additionally, we had another Small, Medium and Extra Large suit laying around.

Now that he was fully dressed up, we had to attach the dots to his suit. In total there was 40 dots we were going to place around on him. So as David instructed us where to place the dots, me and Marcus placed them on each side of the suit to speed up the process.

20170927_135244.jpg

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After our actor was all set to go, we had to attach all of the dots he was wearing to an existing rig. We instructed Edvard to stand in a T-pose while we recorded 2 seconds of it so we could use this recording to attach the data from the dots to the rig itself.

20170927_135543.jpg

It was quite easy because the program asked us to locate the dots using a given name to that part of the skeleton. Having prior knowledge to what the different parts of a rig is called, it was not a problem to connect the dots.

Now that all of this was done, we were ready to record all of the movement we needed.

Marcus instructed Edvard on what we needed to do, and I recorded it and cleaned up the recordings. Luckily, the calibration was so good that there was rarely any clean up needed between each recording.

Next up now, is cleaning up the recordings in Motionbuilder with assistance from our good teacher Josh.

Procedural Animation – Week 1 – Character design

So we began by drawing different concept ideas for the character, and later discussed this with our online students of our group over a skype call. We shared different concepts and designs, eventually landed on one concept we agreed upon.

Our character was supposed to be made entirely out of goo, so the design we landed on was goo inside a broken teapot.

Edvard Teapot

The teapot was Art Director, Edvard’s idea, where this was the first concept of it.

We started planing out different move-sets for our character, how it would punch, jump, grapple, walk, run, block, taunt, etc.. As we were planing our Group Manager, Marcus, started writing down everything we said and made a refined list of how our character would fight and move.

Punch

The punch idea started out as a joke, but ended up becoming what we all wanted to use. Since the teapot consists of goo, it can take the shape of anything. So our idea was that when the character punches, it will form the shape of a giant human fist out of the nozzle of the teapot.

Teapot punch

Again the concept was made by Edvard.

Grapple

The online student Putle also had an idea he illustrated while we were chatting, and that was a grapple move. Where the teapot would use the goo from its nozzle and grab a Teabag that is laying inside of the pot. The goo would reach in from the top of the teapot and pull it out, then throwing it forward and pulling it back. The idea was that the teabag would be covered in sticky goo, so if it hits an enemy, the enemy would stick to the bag as our character pulls the enemy towards him.

The string of the teabag could be as long as we want it to be, so it wouldn’t have a super short range.

Putle drawing

Concept made by Putle.

Block

As for a blocking mechanic, we thought about either the teapot using the lid on the top of his head as a shield when blocking. Alternatively I mentioned he could shoot out goo in the shape of a shield absorbing anything coming his way.

Shield block

Concept made by Martin.

 

Potential issues we might face with this character is:

  • Too much work.
  • Way too many attack moves (Time schedule).
  • Difficult game mechanics.
  • Problematic to model and rig.
  • Problematic to animate.

 

However, I believe we can solve many of these issues by being realistic and cutting what we want to do and focus on what we have to do. Group manager Marcus decided it was better to have too many ideas instead of lacking ideas. Because that way we can cut away what we don’t have time to make.

Our Lead modeler Aleksander, is going to take on the job of modeling our teapot character, and will face the challenge of modeling and rigging it. However it is a fairly simple model, all we need to rig is the legs and head. The goo from the nozzle is something I will rig later in Maya.

Next up is Motion capture. Now we have a list ready for what we need to mocap.

Procedural Animation – Week 1 – Beginning

The goal for this course is to create Game characters and Game environment to then be coded together as a final product. The challenge of this course will be heavily balanced on the fact that we all have to work together with a time limit, similar to the actual game industry. Each team has to work on a schedule to deliver the product on the deadline, so that the UI Team can patch everything together and finish the work.

So for this course we got divided into teams.

Our groups consists of:

  • Backend / UI Team
  • Art Team 1
  • Art Team 2
  • Art Team 3

My role is “Lead Animator” for Art team 2 and our group consists of  6 other roles as well where 1 of them is not occupied. The other roles are: Group Leader, Lead VFX, Lead Modeling, Art Director, Generalist 1 and Generalist 2.

The role I got consists of being in charge of all the animation. We are going to do motion capture, clean it through mudbox, refine it in maya and send it along with our characters to the UI team.

Potential challenges I might face on this task is the following:

  • Problems understanding Motion Capture.
  • Bugs with mocap software.
  • The recorded animation will not be as clean as prefered.
  • Too much time on cleaning up the deadframes and filling up gaps.

Hopefully, everything will go according to plan. I have prior knowledge to animation, so I don’t think these issues will be anything I couldn’t solve during our time working.

Animation 3 – The take on facial animation

I know I am very VERY late on this assignment and I apologize for this. I will have it completed either way. I have planned out a very specific reference I will be using.

Seeing how I always admire how people use their hands to describe something they are talking about, I wanted to do a parody on Jerry Seinfeld due to exactly this. Considering he uses his hands in a million different ways while he is talking, I had a go myself and the result was shockingly similar. I also found out Jerry had a skit about old people, and I decided to do a little twist on his skit to make it fit my recent animation about the old man smashing a button with his cane.

My parody on this skit

For this animation I will need to 3D model a simple TV and a Microphone. Considering I am very much out of time, I will rush through it on saturday and have most assets done by monday morning!

 

Animation 3 – OLD MAN IS DONE

So I have finally reached the stage where the animation is done. After the blocking stage was finished, I polished the animation a bit due to some shoulder and elbow movement which was not very natural. Cleaning up the small bits, I also finished the facial expressions. The end result ended up looking smooth and clean.

Perspectives

Rotation

Front

Side

 

What a journey. From shooting references up, blocking out the important poses, polishing the blocking stage and finishing up with some facial expressions. Considering I had to shoot 3 different references I combined them all to be the entire sequence of movement.

This was the final reference I ended up following through out this project.

Animation 3 – OLD MAN Blocking 1

Before I started animating, I needed a cane to work with the animation and the rig. So I quickly 3D modeled a cane. I was afraid it would not animate properly so I made a rig Christina showed me back in the beginning of this course

Cane.PNG

The Cane

Cane 2.PNG

The Rig

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I also put up a marker on the screen to track where the cane was placed during animating so it would stay in one place. I used 3 screens to do this: Screen #1 had the reference videos, Screen #2 had Maya window with the animation itself, and Screen #3 had a teared off camera from Maya looking over the cane.

 

The Animation itself

As for the animation itself, I started following the frame counter on the reference videos. I blocked out the most important poses to fit in the animation itself. Although I overdid myself, and I made the blocking stage much more complicated than I was supposed to start with. Because a blocking stage should increase in detail over every WIP. But I just went head on and made the first wip really detailed.

This is the first WIP of my animation.