Week 13 – Scenes and Finals

Making Scenes

So it is time to make the scene arrangements.

Let us go into Unity to our pre-made, simple skybox. Created from the palette!

I have made a terrain in Unity added the texture/colour and roughly changed the heights to add some landscape variations .

I have then exported the assets that I made from Maya, making sure the pivot points are at the base of the objects.I made prefabs from the assets and added their corresponding materials and textures.

For the ease of distribution, I added the prefabs into the terrain paint tree section which allows me to place the trees massively instead of one at a time. It also accounts for the terrain level variations so the trunk is always at the correct place ( just touching the terrain) when the asset is placed.

Now for the scene variants. I have decided to make the scene navigable but only to a certain extent, so the audience can admire the view rather than clipping through the assets. For this reason there will be some empty place or path that will help the player navigate. I used the first person character controller provided in Unity to make it possible to walk around the area.

I had to alternate between placing the prefabs straight onto the scene and the landscape painting because collisions did not work properly. For the closer up larger assets I used a simple box collider. I also played around with lighting and added a black fog to make the scene look as if it was night.

terrain06
In game view with terrain 2

Final Scene

To make the final scene I have rearranged some assets and made mini compositions

Evaluation

Overall, I am happy with how the project progressed. I feel that I could have added more variations to the tree shapes, however as a prototype this gives me a good idea of where I would have to head next if I were to develop the ideas and style further. The final outcome is a scene which the player can navigate through. I tried to make the layout of the scene as natural/ wild looking as I can while maintaining a neat field of view from all angles.

I feel that the final colours have turned out well. What I really like about the outcome of importing the assets to Unity is that the assets integrated into the environment well, creating atmospheric shadows and silhouettes.

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Week 12.2 -Getting Things Done

It is about time is it not?

The modelly models are being made!mudboxscrn

The cardboard flutes have proven to be an overkill with the scales I am using.

I have tried the other method I thought of using normal maps to project the flutes onto the mesh. I have made the flute curves in maya, converted them to polygons for thickness and exported the models to Mudbox for the normal map baking. The Normal map turned out really low detail even with the high resolution I had set. I could tell the process worked well but because of the thin model it was inefficient.pine_map

Although the ideal outcome would be having detailed flute texture, I have decided that it is not needed to achieve the cardboard effect. To finally make progress I will use the flute pattern that I made before and will focus on the asset creation itself.

Here is the Scots Pine tree

Here is the Birch tree

Here is the Rowan tree

Here is the Juniper bush

alltrees
All the trees and shrubs together, with a cube as human scale indicator.

 

Here is the Heather

Here is the Mushroom

I tried to make the cap from a four sided cube but that turned out to not really fit the rest of the assets so I ended up using a cylinder and extruding the sides outward.

mushroomflower
Mushroom and flower next to the juniper bush

So this is it. Now all that is left to do is to is small adjustments and scene arrangements.

Week 12.1 – New World Order

Oh, the hopeful me…

Continuing on from the last post, I have set up a new Maya file.

I have organised a certain structure I would like to follow, or certain standards.

Conventions

Cardboard

The wonderful cardboard I am using as reference for the larger assets is 3 mm thick

The thin cardboard I am using for parts of flowers and mushrooms is 1 mm

and the thinnest potential cardboard I will be using is 0.5 mm, which is pretty thin, but thicker than standard paper, which would make the cardboard still less bendable.

I used this website to confirm the sizes are accurate enough:

http://www.zxprinter.com/support/paper-thickness.html

Flora

It is a mixed tree forest so the flora that grows there needs to be this type specific.

As the plants can vary from country and region I have decided to narrow the area down to European woodlands, with a focus on species found in and around the entire United Kingdom.

Despite that, each specimen is going to be simplified and stylised, as well as follow the colour palette to create unity.

Trees

Both coniferous and deciduous.

I have found that Scots Pine and Birch trees are able to grow together

A good example is the Caledonian forest, Scotland

http://treesforlife.org.uk/forest/the-forest/

The forest includes many species like

Scots pine– can grow up to 36 m

birch– up to 30m

rowan– 10-15 m

aspen– up to 20m but usually around 10m

Since the Caledonian forest is such a great example, I will be basing the wildlife around it.

Shrubbery

Includes Juniper.

Low growing Juniper is up to about 60 cm.

Medium sized Juniper grows up to about 76 cm.

Flowers

Some of the most interesting examples are

Heather

20 to 60 centimetres

Cowberry

Crowberry

Common Cow Wheat

Although rare the Twinflower Linnaea borealis can also be found

For now, I am going to on heather later, if time allows i will make the Twinflower.

Mushrooms

These are also influenced by what plants grow in the area. In the Caledonian forest the examples include Fly Agaric which is probably the closest to what I had in mind

size of up to around 20 cm fully grown.

Often found next to birch trees.

sources:

http://www.woodlands.co.uk/blog/flora-and-fauna/caledonian-forests/

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/types-juniper-shrubs-51499.html

http://treesforlife.org.uk/forest/species-profiles/heather/

http://treesforlife.org.uk/forest/species-profiles/fungi/

http://www.wildfooduk.com/mushroom-guides/

Research Conclusions

Considering the plant-life is considerably different from what I imagined, especially the flowers. I will have to consider different structures. Actually I am pretty happy with the new flower types that I discovered, I think it will be an interesting challenge to recreate these.

Study Sketches

Scales

The assets should have realistic sizes and since the common material is cardboard, they have to be scaled so that would be possible to make them.

The scale I will be using is 1:10cm

Scots pine : 20m

Birch: 15m

Rowan: 10m

Aspen: 10m

 

Week 11- New Beginnings

At this time of the semester the deadlines seem closer than ever, and they are! I am worrying about not having enough work to show for the semester, but I know I have been making more effort than ever. I have managed to update this blog pretty regularly, so everything I have done is here. I just can not believe it has already been 10-11 weeks.

To make sure I am on track for the module, I wanted to revisit the brief. Mostly for myself, although I’m sure I will find a few interesting things I wrote back then.

Here it is:

Abstract:

The purpose of this project is to design a believable environment for a game project I want to work on in the future. Preferably trees and the natural environment overall. I would like to research and create different types of vegetation that would naturally appear in a “magical” forest habitat. The end resulting project would include a few 3D vegetation assets, modelled and textured.

After re-reading the abstract I have to say I still feel the same as before about this. I like how I wrote “few” as if not to bring the expectations too high.

I feel that as far as the abstract goes I am on track, although for now I am not so sure about the “believable” aspect of the  assets I have made so far, I got some comments about how the cardboard could be thinner to make it more like cardboard. As well as the fact that I have not really put any of my rough assets into a scene.

Personal Reflective Goals:

Last semester I feel that I did not manage to get a lot of iteration to my work which lead to limited polish in the assets and art style.

I feel that in order to improve on this, I need to make a lot of different sketches relevant to the project. With different iterations in shape, form, style and colour for each asset I am going to create.

I definitely feel like I made improvements on the Iterations side here. In fact, Iterations are all I did so far! Although maybe not on the shape of the trees, or any other asset for that matter.

Practical Reflective Objective:

I would like to make my own game. To make it, I realised that I need a lot of planning, conceptualising and 3d modelling skills that I did not manage to develop in full during my previous projects. My objective this semester is to develop and iterate a solid art style based around the game environment. During creating the assets, I will also have to be involved in designing the concepts and finding a proper modelling and texturing method. This will help me familiarise myself with the new version of Autodesk Maya and further develop my texture painting skills.

In case of this section I feel I also have reached the objectives. With the whole process of recreating cardboard in Maya I have faced many difficulties in terms of both modelling and texturing. I have also familliarised myself with the new version of Maya, or rather a whole new set of bugs and forced improvements.

Designing the concepts on the other hand I feel I could improve on as only recently I have decided on the colour palette and although I have made some interesting options for the trees, they are stuck in their test forms.

Research Objectives:

Visual Practical Technical
Look at 5 relevant artists/professionals Still life sketches Maya
5Influences in environments Life drawings z-brush
5Successful landscape compositions Study plant structures and organic forms Photoshop
Look at different environment styles Maybe Unity

In terms of the visual objectives, I feel I did well although there is always room for more research! The practical side I will honestly admit that it is practically non-existent! I did some structural sketches of potential cardboard representations but not the natural occurring ones. I should work up on that especially now, when I am creating the assets. The technical Objectives have been somewhat ticked off, I have worked in Maya,Photoshop and started to work in the basics of Unity, however I do not feel like Z-brush is a valid package for the type of project I am doing right now, I feel more comfortable working in Maya as well.

Time Frame:

Week: Objectives:
1 —Intro—
2 Write Project Proposal ////Research nature/gather examples/
3 visual analysis/sketching
4 Prototyping/ digital concept images/palette experiments
5 Analytical drawing/ extracting info from life
6 Develop 5+ style ideas/ prototype 3D
7 Week 7 | Feedback Week
8 Work on different styles
9 Change colours and see what happens
10 Really Detailed models, all problems solved.
11 3D Assets/ Portfolio First Draft
12 Iterate  2nd draft
13 Iterate 3rd draft
14 Final Draft
15 Project Submission/ Final Final Draft

This brings us to the Time Frames! This, I fell is the most challenging to judge. It is the end of week 11 right now and by Now I should have the first draft. Although I am working on it I feel like I have fallen behind at least 3 weeks, while the reality is that I have not fallen( that far at least).

I have worked really closely to solve the issues I had with the structure of the larger assets and I think I am almost there.I have made a lot of progress so far and I figured out the way I want things to progress.

In fact, I hope to work on the individual assets on a fresh file, a new blank slate. Where I can build up everything with a proper, viable  scale and texture. With a unity and harmony in the textures and colours. Everything from the ground again and better than before!

To summarise, I would like to remind myself of what I need to do in terms of this brief objectives:

Make cardboard accurate/ thinner– proportional, it is going to have different types of cardboard possibly, consider what world they will be placed in. Is it going to be real world scale or kind of minature scale? This makes a difference remember.

Set up scenes with assets– 5 small arrangements or one big one containing them. In Unity, You have the rough skybox set up already.

Try different shapes like you wanted!

Do naturally occurring plant sketches-go to natural museums, or even the internet.

Make these 5 different assets already.

Keep an eye on the deadlines.

 

Week 10 – Colours

Since there is some good progress on the modelling side of the project I decided to finalise my colour palette( at least for now).

Since I am making the assets for a “magical forest” of a sort, I want the mood tho be mysterious. In this case what is better than the good old Purple!

The process of finding the right colours was a bit more complicated than that though. I had a bit of trouble coming up with good and matching colours since everything looks good to me! I never really cared about the colour wheel and just slapped whatever colour there is onto paper.

Just to make sure I was going the right direction I used a simple colour wheel I found on the internet as reference.

What I did to get the colours originally is to sample them from the colour studies I did a while back. I only sampled the ones that seemed to create an interesting effect( it was all instinctual). I managed to narrow them down quite a lot, and surprisingly I found a few colours that repeated often. I then tried to roughly sort them in a spectrum and eventually into little groups of circles.

In the end I did not want to end up with too many colours so in my test I limited myself to similar colours with only a few contrasting ones.

colourtest2small
First Colour Test, figuring out the environment

I experimented with a few combinations of tree/ground/path colours to see which match better. I looked towards the overall scheme being not too bright, a bit harmonising and peaceful looking so I ended up with the below. By the process of elimination.

colourtestsmall
Second Colour Test, deciding the environment

I ended up sketching out some of the assets and tested different colours on them. I added one more tree colour for the deciduous trees as I felt using just the one would make the trees too similar to each other.

colourtest1small
Third Test, figuring out the assets

Afterwards I extracted the colours and organised them a little. I am quite happy with the outcome of these studies as I finally feel that portraying the mysterious/calm atmosphere is possible by using these colours.

palette
The Resulting Palette