Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Hooray UDK!

I was very frightened to start using UDK because I had never used a game engine before and it looked very difficult to learn. However I gathered up my courage and opened the program, only to find that it instantly crashed my laptop! Hahahaha..oops! 
I then installed it on my PC and it worked completely fine! I quickly learnt the basic process of importing my models, assigning the textures and placing them on my scene and after a few hours, my building and my trash project was fully imported! I spent a bit too much time testing my scene as a level and seeing how my collision boxes worked, by jumping on my bin bags and running up and down the steps, but I was really proud of what I had achieved! 
I didn't actually have any problems when importing my models, the only problems I had was assigning the textures that Blitz had provided on their buildings, because obviously as I hadn't made them, I didn't know which texture went where! I'm not sure if I got all of the textures assigned exactly correctly, but it looked the same so it was close enough! :D

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

What a Rubbish Project! ..Literally XD

This is just a quick update of the first few projects I have done when rejoining the course after summer. We have been given two briefs in Game production set by Blitz game studios. One is to model and texture a scene of a pile of rubbish using either the given reference images or our own images and textures. The other project is to model a building that would fit in between two supplied buildings using our own textures and references.

Here are the final renders of my Trash Project:

I used a different rendering program called “Marmoset Toolbag” for this project, as the renders in 3DS Max don't really look realistic. I was quite pleased with this project as it looks like I imagined, and it was a good introduction back into the course. If I had done this project again I would have made the bin lid a bit more round, but I ran out of triangles because I was a little bit over ambitious with the items I wanted to add to the scene. However other than that I am very happy with what I created.

Here are the final renders of the Environment Task:

For this project I tried to get the textures as close as possible to the existing buildings, which was very difficult but I was quite pleased with what I achieved, I based the style of my building on the existing ones to make it fit as well as possible in the scene. I chose to make my building into a tea shop to add more of a unique focus to it. If I did this project again I would have got round to texturing sooner, because I had a bit of a problem with the normal and alpha maps, but it was all sorted in good time for the deadline!
Now that I am happy with both of these projects, I have to export them together into UDK. I am quite scared about this because I have never used UDK before, I have only ever seen it on other people's screens and it looks very daunting! It's like now that we're reasonably confident with 3D Studio Max, we're presented with an unknown program and thrown into a world of confusion again! AAAARGH! D:

Monday, 5 November 2012

Contemplations and Aspirations

When I first started Year One of my Game Art course I was overwhelmed by the pile of work that kept growing larger week by week, eventually I got into a better frame of mind and kept on top of the amount of work, finishing it to a reasonably good standard. Initially I was really pleased with what I had created in my first few lessons of Game Production, especially my first texturing project - the wheelie bin. Now that I look back to my Game Production work, I feel that it is evident how much I learned and how my skills grew without really realising. I had a few setbacks where I recreated my Transit van and my Gladiator models as they were originally not up to standard, but I am glad I redid them as I can now see where I went wrong. 
I have now learnt to take my camera with me everywhere I go, just in case I see a nice texture or an interesting scene, and since scouring Leicester for wheelie bins and transit vans, I now see them everywhere, including video games!

In Visual Design I learnt to hone my drawing skills by being set new projects almost every week, which mainly made me learn to draw quicker, as I had already learnt about perspectives and life drawing in my foundation art course. I enjoyed going out to different places to draw, my favourite being the National Space Centre, as I have been interested in space since I was young. It was interesting to have a different scene to draw and also a good way to learn where places were in Leicester, as before this course I had never been to Leicester so didn't know where anything was, which is a scary part of being a first year! I think that the main thing that I learnt from my Visual Design lessons was to look at a landscape and to find the best place to “frame” it to draw pictures from, and to not be completely “precious” over all of my work.

The main thing that I enjoyed in Critical Studies was watching films in the afternoon, because we mainly watched psychological thrillers that I wouldn't have watched by myself (I generally don't like gory violent films). The films were really interesting and made you think so broadened your mind a bit more, so I was a bit disappointed when they got cancelled because the DVD player broke and no one could be bothered to bring a laptop in or anything. The rest of Critical Studies was to teach us about the history of games and to help us with our other work by giving us new ideas of things we could reference and base things from. I must admit that I didn't really enjoy Critical Studies as much as the other lessons because I am an art student, I always have been, and I will never enjoy writing. It has taken me a while to get round to writing this blog post actually, I would rather be drawing, sorry! However I don't think I will forget the things I have learnt from Critical Studies so I am glad that it is part of the course.
Ideally I would have liked to have written more blog posts over the summer holidays but I was quite busy making my summer project, swanning off to Germany with my friend from college, and making a Loki costume from scratch!
(My 21st birthday was shortly after the summer holidays, so I wanted to celebrate it in style, by having an Avengers party and going to Drayton Manor!) ^__^
But this year, as my birthday isn't as special I will concentrate more on my blog over the summer.
Here are a few images of my summer project:

I decided to make a Tudor style village featuring a few houses, two horses, a tavern and a house with a water wheel. Ideally if I had more time and a bigger triangle budget, I would have added a small market place with food stalls, and maybe some carts for the horses.

In conclusion the first year was quite challenging, I found that I was out of my comfort zone, I didn't know anyone, I found it difficult living away from home for the first time and having to live with some very inconsiderate people that I really disliked. The course itself was a bit nerve-wracking as well because there was so many new things to learn, scary new programs and feeling stressed about meeting the quality of work of my peers. However I enjoyed it, this is definitely what I want to do, and I got through each challenge I faced, so I can only grow stronger. Every day just gets me closer to my initial goal of being a part of the games industry, and when I look back to what I have achieved in just a year, I feel quite amazing!
I passed the first step, It's a new year, I have a new hair colour and I'm ready to learn, so bring it on! XD

A few things that I would like to achieve this year:

+Learn to doodle quick sketches for visual design concepts
+Be an absolute pro at 3DS Max
  - Get better at unwrapping/texturing 
  - I can bake cakes, but not textures, learn how to bake textures! 
  - Learn to export into UDK 
  - Create more realistic renders 
  - Learn about lighting and shaders
+More blog posts to express what I've learnt and to show off how amazing my work is!! (..haha ¬_¬ )
+Learn how to digitally paint correctly
+Actually do the correct amount of work on time without leaving it to the last minute
+Practice drawing more landscapes
+Push myself out of my comfort zone
  - Use different medias for drawing 
  - Practice different techniques
+Try and enjoy myself!