Sunday, August 30, 2015

HOUDINI: Boot Camp Saga Pt.3

Today, the Houdini workshop came to an end. The length of this workshop was only three hours (half the amount of time as the other two!) and it was mostly in a lecture style rather than us doing the inputting all of the attributes with the instructor.  As I'm someone who learns a program by doing instead of watching, I ended up getting lost about midway through. Houdini as a program was truly fascinating, however! I still want to implement it in a game we may make in the future. I don't know for what, but it'll be something AWESOME.

What this workshop left me with was a profound amount of respect for Technical Artists. As our FIEA instructors made a point to tell us: Technical Artists have to be skilled in most of the disciplines out there. They're a middle man between Artists and Programmers, while being a jack-of-all trades for the project as a whole. The most difficult part (I found) about Houdini was the math and equations involved in getting some functions to work and be connected.  I wholeheartedly respect anyone who makes a career involving even the slightest bit of math. Those people are very brilliant. If I am able, I hope to continue dabbling with Houdini to at least get enough proficiency to create tools and assets. A working proficiency would be nothing but beneficial.

After the Houdini workshop had ended, I tried my hand at Adobe Flash. I was trying to recreate what was supposed to be a simplistic apple-eating game but, for some reason, the ActionScript wasn't quite working for me. The code wasn't registering that things like "speed" and stuff had values set. For some reason. Ahhh, processing. How I thought  I was done with you two years ago! While, ultimately, I was not successful in completing the game, this venture gave me some more familiarity with ActionScript03 and implementing it into Adobe Flash one way or another. So, some good came out of it! There isn't a single cell in my body that's even halfway decent with programming.

In any case: while learning Houdini was fun, I'm happy that it's finally over. My brain was complete mush by the end of Saturday's session. Now it's time to begin my second week of classes!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

HOUDINI: Boot Camp Saga Pt.2

Today was the second day of the Houdini workshop. This time around, things were a lot more complicated than before. Confusion ran rampant as everyone tried to figure out what the Hell they were doing. I definitely ended the day feeling like my brain was mush as I tried to process everything we were working on.

Houdini's a program you definitely need more than one weekend of instruction to learn. You'll probably need a few months to be even halfway competent with it. Though, I appreciate that I -- at least -- know the very basics of this program. I hope we will be able to utilize it in at least one of the games we'll be making in the future.

rollin', rollin', rollin'.

We spent almost four hours on a barrel. That's right: a barrel. NOT JUST ANY BARREL. We were working on making it into an attribute. By doing that, artists could take that attribute and make many different variations of that barrel (and even pots/baskets out of it, if the cap's removed). It would definitely serve a lot of use once you start building 3D environments! Though this was definitely a complicated process. I spent 80% of the time not knowing what I was doing and hoping for the best.

colors of the rainbow SHINE SO BRIGHT.

Next we worked on a box. We gave that box a buncha pixels of colors (that varied like a disco ball when animated!) and made the thing exploded into a bunch of dancing color-changing pieces. This part was us playing with some of the settings and equations -- and me making a lot of simple mistakes. orz. It was pretty nifty!


I don't know what's up with this class and locusts, but here we go! The last part of today's workshop was getting particles to move in a set path. The first round we did it with a curve, and the second round we did it with smoke. That was definitely lot of fun. ♥ Since we were able to do smoke with the program, I really want to try my hand at messing with water or even fire. There's so much you can do with this program and I'm really looking forward to being able to implement them in the future.

TL;DR: My brain is mush right now speed-learning a pretty cool program.

Friday, August 28, 2015

HOUDINI: Boot Camp Saga Pt.1

Today marked the first day of the weekend-long workshop to learn the basics of the Houdini program! Admittedly, it wasn't until very recently I learned that Houdini is a 3D animation program. That made me all the more thrilled to be taught it -- especially when I learned it was used on some Disney films I loved, like Frozen and Big Hero 6.

As a program, Houdini is a weird hybrid between Autodesk Maya, MaxMSP, and something else unholy. It's very easy to get lost during instruction because there's so much to this program it's not even funny. 20 different options can accomplish the same thing and something as small as the type of quote you use can screw everything up. Also math. Ugh, math.

forest or funky city: YOU DECIDE.

After learning some of the basic controls, we worked on making a forest. Then along those lines we took 2/3 of those trees and turned them into rectangles and toruses. Because practice. It came out decently!

the hidden plague: teapot locusts.

Our next experiment was with locusts particles and getting those particles to take the form of a teapot.


Then we made some exploding square rock.

gotta go fast.

Our next exercise was getting a sphere of color to spiral on a black plane, then give that sphere a trail, then have it rise in height. This part was my favorite, even more so since I managed to pull it off.

we made the most uncomfortable-looking chair along the way too.

and a bunch of rocks.

I gave up on trying to make these rocks varied, so it's just the same one over and over. I messed up along the way with naming my files so the needed added equation wasn't quite working so it can do what I needed.

THOUGHTS SO FAR:  Houdini can be an very confusing program, even with someone there to guide you along the way. The key is to have patience to learn every bit that you can. And save a lot. Always save a lot.  Before using Houdini, you should be at least semi-skilled with equations, modeling, organizing, and have some visual sense. While it can be very frustrating at first, it's a lot of fun once you get into the swing of things!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

UNREAL! engine, that is.

It's been a few days since classes began at FIEA and I'm slowly beginning to settle in. So, I'm kicking off this poorly-made blog with some of my first assignments at FIEA!

The first assignment in my 2D/3D class was to model a pretty nifty cannon. 

bby got model.

It was something within my capabilities. I've spent the last two years or so putzing around with Autodesk Maya, so this wasn't too difficult until the vertices began to merge on their own. I'm not saying it's ghosts, but it had completely nothing to do with me not paying more attention to model parts I wasn't working on at that moment.

The next step was to export the model into an FBX file and import it into the Unreal engine.

SHING sparkle sparkle.

I adore this program (so far) because its interface is very similar to Maya's. On top of that, the model looks a thousand times better when it's sitting in Unreal's environment! My cannon is now the cannon of kings in all its golden glory. 

My Common Core Art class required me to mess around with Photoshop some more. While Photoshop is great to use for graphic design, it's definitely not my preferred method of drawing right now. Maybe that'll change in a few weeks, but the blur/blend tool has definitely become my enemy with its reluctance to work as well as Paint Tool SAI's.

an unfortunate result in my photoshop adventures.

I'll have to admit, though, that it's hell of a lot more convenient to have hundreds of brush options at my disposal without bouncing between programs.

Until next time!