Constructing the Street

Posted by Sam Hayes On Monday, December 19, 2011 1 comments
Over the last week, Rich and I have been working on a final scene of the street, each taking a side to build using the props and buildings previously modelled. It is taking it's time to get to the quality we're aiming for but it should pay off in the end, and some hard work over Christmas we should be able to achieve what we set out to do. Once the street is completed, we'll pull together to build the alleyway, which will be much more compact and manageable, then onto the courtyard, which  considering the way we want to portray it, should once again be much easier to construct. We'll also be re-using as much of the props and buildings as possible without it becoming too noticeable.

Below are a few shots of the right-hand side of the street, which I've been constructing. Alan has also helpfully given us some tips over the last week in regards to lighting, which has made things much clearer (Though the shots below aren't using the photographic camera that we've been experimenting with)

The clothes/sheets will be blowing in the wind, In a separate scene where they were modelled, I set-up some Ncloth using transform constraints on the rope-lines, which created a nice result. Calculating this in the final scene might be a bit of a slog, but I'm sure it'll add much more movement and realism in the animation.

The lanterns have a simple colour on them for now, they'll be much more detailed when textured.

Terrain Experiments

Posted by Sam Hayes On Monday, December 12, 2011 2 comments
It's getting to the point in our project where we need to start piecing things together to get more finalised scenes, for this we'll need a terrain to work with. I've been experimenting with different ways of creating the rocks, the first being a plugin into Maya which turned out to have too many problems (big render times, uncontrollable textures etc.) so the next option was to aim for high quality normal maps on simpler geometry.

Using Autodesk Mudbox I've been trying to sculpt a rock wall from a simple base mesh in Maya which will hold up in quality in the animation. The first resolved attempt is below, which should be a good starting point. We'll also need a large rock for the centre of the town which will come next. There is sure to be improvements and I expect a complete new model for the rock as better techniques are worked out, but it should be a good starting point to place our town alongside. I think maybe more references pictures are needed and a more refined colour texture worked out (Maybe even a bigger resolution map) but the using normal maps, the render times are quite short.

One trick I used was blending two normal maps together, one being the Mudbox sculpt and the other a normal map converted from the diffuse. The quality seemed to improve as the overall shape was derived from the Mudbox sculpt and the smaller details, such as fissures, from the colour normal.

Street Buildings

Posted by Sam Hayes On Thursday, December 08, 2011 3 comments
Production on our project is starting to come together, we're getting closer to completing our first and largest environment, the main entrance street. Rich has been working on props and the Saloon and over the last week I've been modelling and texturing a few buildings. Two of these are more generic buildings, such as houses and the last is a rough stable which will be seen briefly in the opening shots. Soon we'll be compiling all these buildings into a scene and start working towards some more finalised renders.

Next I'm going to tidy up the blacksmith as it needs more detail and refined textures.

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I'm a student studying CG Arts and Animation at the University for the Creative Arts, I'm living in Kent.

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