Week 7 – Day 2 – “The Presentation”

After six weeks of hard work, the presentation day finally came. The last few days were really tough (hence the lack of blog posts!) trying to solve issues that arose and getting the last minute finishing touched included in the presentation.

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The presentation went quite well. Simon and Joa complimented my Art Bible, which was great, and they gave really useful constructive criticism about my final scene. If I get a chance I will implement their recommendations, but I’m not sure if I will get the time right away. It was suggested that I could introduce more rubbish piles and debris throughout the scene to populate it more, and to add some more overlays to the floor as it seemed a bit too perfect in places. Joa recommended that I attempt to tell a story through the project, for example if it was used for antisocial activities during its deterioration. Simon mentioned that the hole in the wall was a little too perfect, and that I should roughen it up a little more. Finally, it was noted that the door handles I created are slightly too large, and slightly too gold. These are luckily all quite easy to fix, and I will definitely adjust themas soon as possible.

There were also a few things that I wasn’t entirely happy with. Firstly, I had a lot of difficulty with the light maps in my scene, and I couldn’t get the shadows to look the way I wanted. Also, the frame rate dips near the window, probably because of the quantity of high resolution meshes, and I would love to break-down what is going on and resolve it.

 

The last thing we did today was Simon introduced our next project. We have to model a diorama, on basically any topic we want. We were really given “enough rope to hang yourself with” as they say, because there are very few restrictions. But I am definitely going to use this as an opportunity to model one of the many things I have wanted to model over the last few years but never had a chance.

 

Summary:

Today was our presentation for the Hotel Morpheus project which went really well. It was an amazing project and we learned so much over the last six weeks. But I am also very ready to move onto the next project, building a diorama.

Week 7 – Day 2 – “The Presentation”

Week 6 – Day 3 – “Animating in Maya for Unity”

Date: 10/2/16

Today we learned a bit more about animating in maya, and how to export our animated scenes to Unity. The animation editor in Maya is much more powerful than the Unity equivalent, so it’s much handier to do the basic animations in Maya first, and then bring them in.

 

Joa showed us a few really interesting things in Maya that I had never know, like the ability to reference another file using the Reference Editor (File>Reference Editor). This will become particularly useful when animating, but it also would have been really useful when modelling my peeling wallpaper elements, as they are all based on one element that I was copying and pasting into each file.

In Unity he also showed us the Align With View option, found under GameObjects. This aligns a particular object with the current camera’s view. This is particularly useful for directing lights, and I have already used it in my unity scene for positioning the directional light correctly.

When animating in Maya and bringing it into Unity there are a few things we should always do. Firstly, make sure that Maya is set to record keyframes at 60 frames per second, as that’s what games typically aim to run at. Then, save the file with ROOT in the name, and never save over it. Instead, reference it, and save it as a new file. We saved it as “Door@DoorOpen” so that we knew exactly what we were doing. Then in Unity we need to create an animation controller and apply it to the object we are animating.

Finally, we went through some really fun image effects that can be added to our scenes. These effects are quite expensive, but really add to the look and feel of your scene. For example, I have already implemented God Beams (Sun beams) into my Unity scene. I originally tried to create these beams via an alpha map, but the image effect version is much nicer, but if it doesn’t run at the end of the day, I can always turn back to my alpha planes.

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We also learned how to adjust the  colours in our entire unity scene using the 3D Lookup Texture effect. This will be particularly useful for my scene as I will be able to create a saturated feel easily.

I then went on to model shutters to go over my windows. I originally made them really basically, but decided that because they will be visible, I should probably add more detail to them, and modelled hinges and added bevels to the shutters. I hope to go back into unity and break some of the struts in the shutters to give it more of an aged feel, but they are ok currently.

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Summary:

We learned how to export our animations from Maya to Unity, and how to add image effects to our final scenes. I also modelled the shutters for my room.

 

Week 6 – Day 3 – “Animating in Maya for Unity”

Week 6 – Day 2 – “Animating in Unity”

Date: 9/2/16

Today was another scripting day with Joa. We went through all the of the things we did yesterday, like using mesh colliders as triggers for turning lights and things on. We then linked triggers to different objects, so that we could turn on a light remotely from another object’s collider. But the most interesting thing we did was learning how to keyframe inside of unity itself. The process was a little bit complicated, but the result was a nice animation that was much much easier than trying to make it in script alone. We basically made a door that opened as we approached, and shut behind us. We gave it a static animation, and then an opening and closing animation. This was much easier than scripting the entire scene because you get a bit of visual feedback, with the node-style animation editor, meaning us artists can follow it.

 

I also showed Simon my updates to the room, and he suggested increasing the size of the windows to allow more light to flood into the room. This wasn’t as difficult as it sounds as I didn’t have remodel the entire window, because when I originally modelled it I made it in a modular fashion, so that the modules could just be altered slightly and still fit together. After adding the changed however, I decided to make this section of the room one big module, as opposed to 5 smaller modules, as it meant I could add variation to the entire wall, and considering the fact that this wall is the main wall the player will see it deserves as much variation as possible. So I added some bubbling to the wallpaper, to simulate dampness, as well as some cracking around the windows.Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 23.19.12.pngScreen Shot 2016-02-09 at 23.50.08.png

Summary:

We learned how to create basic animations in Unity using the Animator, by key framing animations and linking them together using the node-based editor. We also recapped the scripting we did yesterday, and learned how to use the two to create a keyframe animation in Unity that responds to our player.

Week 6 – Day 2 – “Animating in Unity”

Week 6 – Day 1 -“Intro to Scripting in Unity”

Date: 8/2/16

Today we had a technical artist from a Microsoft Studios branch (Lift London) named Joa Malan. He is with us for the whole week to give us a brief introduction to scripting in Unity. This will be incredibly useful for understanding the basics of animating our environments in unity.

We learned the basics about the scripting interface, and then went on to more fun things, like opening a door using a mesh collider as a trigger. The coding side of it was pretty difficult, considering I have never touched the stuff before, but it was pretty easy to pick up… It’s obviously very logical and methodical. Here is a sample of the code, in case I get stuck in the future!

Joa then came around and helped us with our projects for a bit, giving us pointers and tips that would help.

Simon then did the same, making sure we were on track for our hand on Tuesday. It was suggested that I reexamine the scale of my walls, because they seemed a bit low, so I went back to Maya and scaled them up. I also went back and added metal maps to all of the assets that had none, and assembled the entire scene in Unity.

I then went on to model and texture the window and ivy for my scene:Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 23.08.00.png

Summary:

We had an introduction to scripting in Unity with Joa Malan, where we learned how to animate a door opening using code.

Week 6 – Day 1 -“Intro to Scripting in Unity”

Week 5 – Day 5 – “Animation with Alex Williams”

Date: 5/2/16

What a crazy day. Today we were given an introduction to animation by Alex Williams, who is an amazing animations expert, with experience in almost everything (Who Framed Rodger Rabbit, Looney Toons, Harry Potter and more!). Alex brought us through the 12 principles of animation – Squash and stretch, anticipation, staging, straight ahead and pose animation, follow through and overlapping action, slow in and slow out, arcs, secondary actions, timing, exaggeration, solid drawing and appeal. As he went through these they were so obvious because we had all seen them in every cartoon ever, but had never ever occurred to us.

He then went through key framing in maya. We learned how to animate a ball bouncing, using the principles of animation, and then went on to animate a neon sign turning on.

It was pretty crazy to have such a professional animator teaching us how to animate a neon sign, how often does that happen!

 

I then asked Alex how I could go about animating the ivy in my scene. He suggested using nCloth to dynamically create movement, but it could be too expensive for a mobile game. i will definitely give it a try though.

I then modelled a few more assets for my scene, including hotel room keys [SketchFab – Keys] the door to the room [SketchFab – Door] and a few others.

 

Summary:

Alex Williams taught us the basics of animating in maya, using key framing and some dynamics.

Week 5 – Day 5 – “Animation with Alex Williams”

Week 5 – Day 4 – “Intro to Mudbox”

Date: 4/2/16

Today we were given a brief introduction to Mudbox, or more specifically, the 3d painting tools in Mudbox. Mudbox is a great program, because it can paint textures seamlessly over the edge of different UV sets. This is infinitely helpful, as it makes creating textures much quicker. I don’t know if I will end up using it in the creation of my scene though, as I have already created most of my textures in Photoshop, but I will definitely give it a try. It is also a great program because you can paint normal maps on your model without having to use nDo or xNormals. But to be honest the results in nDo are great and I am starting to get the hang of it, thankfully.Untitled-1

In the afternoon I started to work on my project in unity. I, again, encountered a pretty fatal error, and spent quite a long time fixing it with Simon. Basically, the shadows were really blotchy and noisy, and the edges were really rough. I presumed that the shadow map was of a small dimension, but couldn’t figure out how to raise the resolution. After ages of messing with settings we finally figured out what the issue was. In the Lighting settings there is an option to increase the light map’s Baked resolution, but when you raise the resolution it doesn’t actually increase the shadow map resolution. It turns out that each mesh has a Scale in Lightmap option in the Objects dialog of the Lighting menu. This option bumped up the scale of the object in the overall light map, giving it a higher resolution. The Baked Resolution option is the maximum size that the light map can be before creating a second light map. So basically you can assign a level of shadow resolution to each object, meaning that you can only alter the ones that are important. In my scene, the walls and floors will probably be important, so I may set their scale to two.

 

I also got my game running on my iPhone today, which is kind of a big deal. Its really cool to see my own game running on my own phone, and it will be particularly helpful when applying for jobs.

 

Summary:

We were given a Mudbox introduction, as well as solving the low resolution shadows that I was receiving earlier.

Week 5 – Day 4 – “Intro to Mudbox”

Week 5 – Day 3 – “Exporting to the Galaxy Tab”

Date: 3/2/16

Today was a pretty exciting day, where we exported to the Samsung Galaxy Tablet for the first time. The process is quite difficult, and lengthy, but a necessary evil. We started by creating just a basic sphere in an environment, and exporting that scene to the tablet. We then inserted a character and were able to run around the scene etc. Once the settings are set up, exporting to the tablet is a breeze, we just have to wait for it to build, which seems to take a while even with very little in our scene. The screenshots below show the recommended settings for exporting to the android tablet that we have, in case you forget!

I then asked Simon about the issue with reflectance that I was having. It turns out my metal map was actually correct, as were by all of the textures and materials. The issue, however, was with reflection. I had created a reflection prove in the scene, however, the HDRI imageI was trying to reflect was mostly black. This was causing the texture to appear dark. So Simon showed me how to enable the Box Projection option, which basically reflects only the elements that are in the box that you define. This meant that in the texture I could see much more of the built environment, and less of the black. Such a school-boy mistake, but at least I know how to fix it now.

Then another issue arose. Whenever I exported to my scene, all of the assets that I created that had a normal map on them were not visible when exported to the tablet, but worked perfectly on the pc. Simon and I tried to direct the scene and figure out what happened, and it turned out I was exporting wrong from Maya, and the normals and targets were not following over correctly. Schoolboy-error number 2. Again, the correct export options are below

But at least we figured out the issue, and it was just a matter of re-exporting every mesh I had created. This took some time to do, but afterwards it worked perfectly, even on the tablet. Untitled-5IMG_7214

 

Summary:

We finally got to export our work to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, but that brought a whole new world of issues. All issues were solvable though, and seeing the game running on a tablet was a really cool experience, even with the incredibly poor Unity control scheme!

Week 5 – Day 3 – “Exporting to the Galaxy Tab”