Monday, October 26, 2015

Much Animation. Wow.

Yowza! There's been a lot of time that's passed between my posts! IT'S TIME TO FIX THAT.

The last couple of weeks have been particularly busy because the third round of RPP arrived! We also started up our MoCap training in Animation. Our assignment during those lessons is to do an assignment that merges everything we have done so far (walking, running, jumping, etc.). Let's talk about animation first. ♥

The first step of learning about MoCap was getting acquainted with the Motion Builder software. I made a lot of blunders with it. A lot. Like ... a lot of really simple mistakes. The interface itself doesn't look particularly complicated but the struggle is just remembering every option and procedure without confusing it with another program. After about five times of harassing our instructor over my dumb mistakes, I was finally able to get the animation working! It was pretty gratifying. Though, I know I need a lot of practice on it.

COVER GIRL put the bass in your walk.

After that, we spent some classes in the Motion Capture studio. We learned how to calibrate the cameras, work with the Vicon Blade software to record everything, and how to marker up an actor. Everything is pretty routine, from how it seems, so it's just something we need to get into the groove of doing regularly to properly master it. I'm definitely going to be making some appointments in November so I could be a certified MoCap animator! ♥

As for the long animation ... it's going pretty well! I didn't want to repeat my previous assignments so I opted for something slightly ballet-inspired. Here's the first pass of the animation that I'm currently editing: 

*swan lake INTENSIFIES*

RPP has been particularly busy. Our team has three artists and we reeeeally took advantage of that to make something great. This week's theme was "emergent gameplay". I'll make a separate post about this later but what I CAN say is that I'm very thrilled with how our game turned out! It's definitely difficult, though. I'm consistently terrible with each game I help create. Here's a sneak peak at our WONDROUS SPOOPY GAME. ♥

*this is halloween INTENSIFIES*

An exciting thing about Drawing Fundamentals is that we FINALLY moved on to human anatomy. I could definitely use some work on my anatomy but, for one reason or another, I can't break out of my anime-like drawing style. Working towards versatility will definitely be a process. Coupled in with learning about human anatomy, I've recently been attending the Life Drawing classes and wondering why the Hell I haven't been attending this entire time. Drawing from a live model is a GREAT opportunity for any artist and definitely helps you improve exponentially in a short time.  

Now it's time to work on some animation & 2D/3D assignments!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Kiss From a Berry

Great strides have been made during the course of this week. James' (the fish guy) finally has his UVs all mapped out. This time around, I didn't run into as many errors with the UVs as I did with the canons. Despite that, there were waaaay too many instances where I had to sew each individual plane together to make a decent map. While I'm not exactly sure what I did to wonk up the UVs to that point, it'll be something to watch out for in the future. Now it's time to get to Zbrush-ing all the details on each part of my fish dude! 


As for animations ... I've been working on improving both the running cycle & pose to pose jump I blogged about before. Originally, we were also supposed to work on idle animations this week. Since we have our MoCap lessons coming up on Wednesday (yay!) that add-on to our assignment was cancelled. I opted to do two idle animations anyway to get some practice in on them and they turned out to be the most difficult ones so far. Maybe I was just overthinking everything, but there's something challenging of having to keep a character still while still in an interesting motion. They were a great deal of fun!

be looking heavily like the animations in sonic adventure DX.

this guy be copping some serious 'tude.

As for my improved running & jump cycles, here they are! I'm still working on finessing them (nitpicking ahoy!) so I can shove them in a decent-looking demo reel. I think I'm improving!


shout out to chris for recovering my lost keyframes when i thought maya deleted them forever.


It's been almost a week since we have turned in our second Rapid Prototype. The reason I have yet to blog about this or shamelessly promote it is just chiefly due to my inability to post it online (as I'm extremely incompetent with all things Unity still and haven't figured out a way to upload it to my Wix site). So, I did the next best thing and recorded a PLAYTHROUGH to give a look into the look and gameplay.

This time around, I was grouped with Larry, Samantha, Gordon, and Jonathan. That's right. Three - COUNT THEM THREE - artists. With this round's theme being "storytelling", we ended up being slow to start our game's production. The "story" part of the project, since it was the most important part, ended up making us indecisive during the first few days and that had a trickle-down effect to every other part of the prototype. These two weeks taught us an important lesson on organization and planning.

One of the most important things to take away from this all is: don't be afraid to produce absolute crap in the beginning phase. Don't be afraid to take over if things are going stagnant. Don't be afraid to make shitty character designs or pisspoor level layouts. They can ultimately be changed and refined later but it's extremely important to start generating ideas to get the ball rolling early. Nothing's going to be final in the beginning.  

Despite this tangent, I think we made a pretty good prototype that had a positive reception. Check it out!

Monday, October 5, 2015


an actual image of me.

The last few days consisted of me powering through my assignments at an EXTREME SPEED - after a weekend of doing nothing school-related. I completed each of my assets for the second RPP round strangely early (even for me) so it allowed me waaaaay more time to work on my homework and improve!

I finally finished up my Common Core homework. Our assignment was to do textures for either a character or an environment. I did both. Because I'm that kind of obnoxious overachiever. 

First, here's Carl! When I did the fish model painting a little while back, I saw that I was way too subtle on the details. Before I went to paint Carl up, I went back and added more details to his sculpt (which was pretty plain, now that I look back on it). After that, I went happy with painting! Thanks to the carve mask tool, a lot of the detail work was done thanks to the geometry. There's a lot of bold and subtle details in there this time around, so I'm very happy with the end result.

he's seen even more shit.

i skinned the starfish but i did not skin the octopus.

After that came the environment texture! This one had to be a repeatable tile. Since it was my first go at this, I went for a stone wall texture to work on.

heeeere's the render.

the shadow map.

the depth map.

the normal map.

aaaand the painted-up tile!

The only problem I ran into was fixing the seam Zbrush so kindly gave me (argh!). Also with trying to get everything to wrap properly (as I sculpted) so I wouldn't end up with strangely shaped rocks for the wall. I don't run into as many problems as I once did -- so that must mean that I'm improving! YAY. I can't wait to do more of this in the future!

As for animation: I finished up my assignments for that too.

Because running is apparently the assignment for next week (lol), I had to do a pose-to-pose jump too. I got to do this one with Jonathan giving me instruction as I went along, so it was pretty hard for me NOT to screw up.

complete with HAT BOUNCING.

After that was finished, I went back and corrected the errors to my "running into the jump" animation. Anticipation & body shape variations really do add a lot to a sequence. Just after fixing a handful of details, this animation looked LOADS better.


I'm pretty excited with everything I've accomplished in the past few days! ♥ Now, onward to UV-ing James (the fish guy).

Friday, October 2, 2015

Merry Month of Spoopy

Happy first day of Halloween Month!

This week has been pretty busy! The second RPP round is slowly coming to an end and my group's end result is a pretty darn promising prototype. There'll be more on that after we show off the final product on Tuesday.

So far, I've been working on my homework for my other classes. For the last two days, I've been working on this guy here!

I've named him James.

Our assignment this week was to model the first half of a complex character. As you can see here ... I kind of went overboard and did next week's assignment (the legs, boots, and his awesome accessories) too. This gives me a lot more time to fix him up and get to UV mapping him before the third round of RPP begins. WOO!

In Animation, our assignment was to do a jump animation. After taking all of the feedback I gathered from the walk cycle animation, I wanted to do something more ambitious. That thing is: running into a jump. Here's the current work in progress on that!

Some things I have to fix on this include: speeding up the run cycle (clearly), and adding in some anticipation before the little dude flies into his jump. So far, it looks pretty good!

Drawing Fundamentals had us working on VALUE today. I like to think I have a decent grasp on value by now -- I tend to do it best using charcoal because I could get some more dramatic lighting. This was a pretty good opportunity to work on it a lot more. This is the current state of my homework assignment right now:

It's not too shabby. It's definitely still bordering on cartoonish shading, so I might go back in and try to add some more detail and lighting variants. Since I'm finishing stuff in a vaguely timely manner, I'm hoping to take the opportunity to continue practicing and challenging myself in each of these assignments.