Category Archives: Ekow

Unit 67: 3D animation – Final Game assets with animations

These are my final game assets for unit 67: Task 3.

 

 

Evaluation

My goal with this task was to create 4 different characters to parallel my graphic narrative, and 4 different environments that compliment each character.graphic-narrative-4-2

graphic-narrative-5-2

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Overall, I found creating and animating these elemental characters to be very challenging, mostly because rigging in Cinema 4d is quite challenging for creatures or entities that are not human, since you can’t use the preset character rigging in the software, and need to create the joints yourself. Even then, I had some issues with skin stretching, and found bound joints difficult to move since the rotate tool would dissapear once the joints were bound, meaning that you would have to enter coordinates to move joints.

On the other hand, creating the environments was not so difficult at all, since I had experience from the previous year, However, since I created 4 different environments for this task, none of them are too detailed or complex.

Creating the Environments

Fire

The idea here was to create an apocalyptic, volcanic landscape. I started with some basic landscapes primitives, these are great for creating smaller environments, as they are easy to customise and look good once you add more segments.

Screenshot (149)

To create the volcanoes, I used an emitter to create a smoke effect, then added a pyrocluster and pyrocluster – volumetracer and applied them to the emitter, I also used orange spheres with glow and more emitters to create a firefly effect. Creating a decent looking volcano effect was surprisingly easy to do.Screenshot (150)

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I then added a sky to the environment and turned it red to give the landscape a darker, more fiery feel.

Screenshot (152)

This is the final result.

Screenshot (153)

Water

The water environment was the simplest to create, using a simple disk technique to animate the background with light rays. This involved using a light filtered by a transparent disk with an animated material on it, to create an animated water effect. I then added a sky, and used a gradient to make it more ocean like, the further down you move, the darker it gets.

Screenshot (154)

Screenshot (152)

Near the top of the light

Screenshot (155).png

Further away from the light

Screenshot (156).png

Earth

This is the largest environment out of the four, But the entire landscape is created from one primitive plane with a displacer material applied to it, this material helps to create a natural looking mountain range, and changing the seed of the material gives you a large variety of random combinations to choose from.

Mountains 1

Mountains 2

Mountains 3

Adding bump to the material allowed me to make the ground look more rough and complex.

Mountains 4

Mountains 5

Air

Using the emitter again, I managed to create some realistic looking clouds using the pyrocluster and shadowmaps lighting with global illumination. The idea is to let the emitter create particles for 3 frames, which will create clouds that look even denser with each frame.

In editor

Screenshot (157).png

Rendered

Screen Shot 2017-01-27 at 13.53.09.png

When it came to adding the character, I added a rotation, which I wanted to use to create a vortex surronding him, since it’s setting on infinite, the clouds started to swirl around themselves, although this was an accident, I decided to keep it this way since I like the way it looked.

Screenshot (159)

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Creating the characters

Earth

I wanted the earth elemental to be a large, hulking beast, which is why I chose to give him more of a gorilla posture, when It came to actually creating it, I used a technique I learnt about on youtube explaining how to make realistic looking rocks using simple displacement materials applied to a primitive sphere.

I created rocks like this and used them as my building blocks to create a whole body.golem-screenshot

After rigging him through CMotion didn’t seem to work, I decided to rig him from scratch using the joint tool, since it would be easier to get the exact shape I wanted, this was a challenge however, since it could be awkward to animate a creature that moves like a gorilla.

Screenshot (160)

Fire

This is the last character I created. I created it with the same rock technique I used to create the earth character, although I put more emphasis on materials on this character to make him look more fiery. Admittedly this one was challenging and quite rushed, not only due to time constraints, but also because fire is difficult to create in Cinema 4D without an expensive plugin called TurbulenceFD, which I did not have access to.

Created and rigged using the same techniques as the earth character

Screenshot (165)

To create his face, I used the spline tool and referenced my graphic narrative, then added a glow material.

Screenshot (166).pnggraphic-narrative-4-2

Screenshot (167).png

 

Water

I used an extruded disk primitive to create the body of the elemental, then spline modelling to create the armor referencing my graphic narrative. I then I placed an animated material on the creature to make it more watery.

Screenshot (163).pngwater-elemental-fixed

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This character was easier to animate, since he didn’t have legs, and his arms were more humanlike, however, I still had issues with stretching skin that I couldn’t fix in the end  due to time restraints, which is why this character had limited movement.

Screenshot (164).png

Air

Unfortunately. This character is completely static, it was impossible to rig it with the technique I used to create it. So I decided instead to use an emitter with a tracer effect to make a vortex surrounding this charater, so there is at least some animation in this scene. To create this character I started with the skeleton using the joint tool, and used a cloner to distribute cloudy-looking spheres evenly around its body, I then used an extruded disk to create its armor, and deleted random sections of it to make it look like the armor is rusted and is containing the creature.Screenshot (168).png

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PRE PRODUCTION for 3D animation, working to a brief, and graphic narrative

Here is the proposal for my game idea for the 3D animation unit, as well as working to a brief task 2 and Idea generation and concept development. Inside you will find gameplay ideas, legal and ethical concerns/sensitivities, the storyboard, concept art, target audience, and mood board:

pre-production-proposal

And here is the budget and production schedule:

budget-brad-hurley

production_schedule-brad-hurley

And here are a few initial brainstorm ideas that I had early on:

new-mind-map-2

The first one was later scrapped for a newer one:

new-mind-map-3

Which was then replaced by the finished brainstorm of the idea that I was happy with:

new-mind-map-4

Inspiration from the MMO genre (Massive Multiplayer Online)

For my game idea, I want to create a massive open world area that encourages player vs player combat. The reason I want to create a game in this style is some of the games that I have played have this open world combat feature, which can create some hilarious and unique moments in your gameplay experience. Another advantage of the open world in a competitive player vs player game is that due to the large scope of the world, you will often fight in a lot of different places, as opposed to just fighting in a few different arenas like most multiplayer experiences have you do. Not only does this mean that you will not likely fight in the same place often (unless you choose to), but it also means you can discover new areas and a lot of interesting conflicts over certain areas can be made.

Inspiration:

Red Dead Redemption

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This game has a multiplayer free roam element to it that allows players to explore the game world as they please, there are a few objectives around the zones to do that can be done solo but are worth teaming up for too, however, the players can also attack each other, and killing another player gives you a small amount of experience you can use to level up. Players having this ability can create some very intense, fun, and comical moments and players have formed rival gangs to fight each other in the free roam world. This also adds a sense of danger and threat that I think that any MMO should have, it also gives incentive for players to interact with each other, either to team up or kill one another.

World Of Warcraft

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This game has 2 different factions to choose from when you create your character, these two enemy factions will be able to attack one another if they encounter each other out in the world. This sort of open world player vs player combat can be a lot of fun, (on the winning side) and offers a large part of replay-able PVP in a huge variety of different zones.

Why these games inspire me

The reason I chose to use these two examples is that they are both games that I have personally got a lot of enjoyment from in terms of open world player vs player combat, so I think it would be good to put my focus into creating a game that I would very much enjoy myself.

Available Resources

Everything that I need should be readily available to me at all times, fortunately, most of the resources I need are accessible from a computer, either at home or college. But I may also need headphones to watch tutorials and expand my knowledge on the software that I will be using, as well as a USB to store my work on.

Contingency plans

There are a few measures I will take to help make sure that the production of this project goes smoothly. Firstly, I will make sure that all of the software available at college such as Cinema 4D, Adobe after effects, and Photoshop are also accessible at home in case time grows short or for some reason I cannot make it to college. Hopefully this will make sure that I can finish the project in time, it also allows me to manage my time more efficiently since I will easily be able to work any time it feels necessary. I will also make sure to have a backup USB or another place to store my work, just in case it gets lost or corrupted. I will also save multiple copies of my work, this will mean if I mess something up and cannot undo the problem for whatever reason, I can easily access an older version of my work.

Health and Safety

There are a few health and safety concerns that must be addressed while creating these 3D environments and graphic narratives. First and foremost, exposure to a computer screen for long periods of time can strain the eyes and cause headaches, It is recommended to take a 15 minute break every hour. Sitting up straight is also another important issue since slouching can damage your posture. Another concern would be to make sure you keep liquid/water away from the computer, not only can it be dangerous if it spills, but it can also disrupt work if the computer breaks.

Concept art – characters

water elemental fixed.png

fire-elemental-1

air-elemental-fixed-1

earth-elemental

 

Game idea – Year two mind map

Here are a couple of mind maps for game ideas, here is the first idea:

new-mind-map-2

 

 

 

and this is my second idea, that i vastly prefer to the first, as it is much simpler and sounds a lot more fun in my opinion, with less focus on story and more focus on gameplay.  This will likely be my final idea and the one i settle with.

new-mind-map-4

 

Application of 3D

Application of 3D

 

  1. Various different industries make good use of 3D Environments to create quality and professional products. A prime example of this is the gaming industry, which has been impacted heavily by the use of 3D. This is because the jump from 2D to 3D made many new types of gameplay and genres available such as horror, as well as adding much more potential to create immersive and enjoyable experiences. 3D is also used in film and television, as it opens up many new possibilities for animation, which was previously stop motion and 2D, which were much more limited in what they could display and achieve. 3D is also used in Architecture because it can be used to show the attributes of a proposed design, helping in the process of building a structure.

 

  1. Cinema 4D is an example of a software used to create 3D environments. Many reviews praise Cinema 4D for being easy to learn and having quick and quality results. This software is also praised for exceeding in modeling, animating, lighting, texturing, and rendering.

 

A model made in Cinema 4D

cinema 4d image

Blender is another example of a 3D environment software, This software is free, giving it an advantage over other programs as this makes it much more accessible to people with low or no disposable income, while still being capable of creating quality results. Blender is also capable of fluid and smoke simulation, particle simulation, and soft body simulation, as well as having its own integrated game engine.

Blender particle simulation

blender particle simulation.jpg

Another software commonly used is Zbrush, which is very effective at creating dense and complex fibre systems which can be converted into splines for rendering in other 3D packages, making it a good choice for the creation of things such as foliage and furry creatures, while also a good choice for somebody who uses multiple different 3D softwares to accomplish different tasks. A disadvantage of Zbrush however would be that the GUIs are complicated, making it difficult for newer users to create quality products.

Zbrush fibermesh
zbrush fibremesh

 

3.

Architectural Walkthrough

splendid-example-of-conceptual-architecture-walkthrough

The image above has been used by an architectural development company in a walkthrough of a property, demonstrating all of the features and properties of the house. It is clear that in architectural 3D, the focus is on displaying the building internally and externally. Therefore, simple ambient lighting has been used in this image to illuminate the building. Making the walkthrough realistic would be unnecessary and time consuming to produce and render.

 

  1. Geometric theory within game development is a way to model objects or characters in the game, which are created by using an initial mesh. The way in which this mesh is created is through the process of combined polygons. A polygon is a 2D shape with the three features, a Vertex, a face, and an edge. These polygons join together to create the mesh that defines the shape of a polyhedral object in 3D graphics and modelling.

 

A basic polygon

polygon

  1. One of the biggest issues with 3D modelling is that the file size of a 3D environment can sometimes be large, leading to issues with limited space on a computer. This can be caused by a large amount of polygons in a single object or model. Too many polygons in a 3D environment within gaming can also lead to a loss in frames per second, which can ruin the experience for the player and make the game very unresponsive and frustrating to play.

 

  High polygon count image

 

Batman FaceMesh TriCount

 Low Polygon count image

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The image on the left may be a good quality model, but there are a lot of unnecessary polygons on the model, especially on the character’s face. As a result, the file size, render time, and framerate will all be negatively impacted by the model in game. The image on the right however, has less polygons. This means it will be easier to render, will not have a bad impact on framerate, and does not  have a large file size. One advantage that 2D has over 3D is that in 2D you do not have to worry as much about the complexity and file size of your models.

6.

Gameplay from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

 

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This image demonstrates many different geometric techniques in 3D. One clear technique is that hyperNURB modelling has been used on to create the player’s weapon in order to make the edges look more smooth and reduce polygon count. Another technique to note within this image is that the textures/materials and foliage up close are of high quality, but in the background, the resolution of the terrain textures/materials are much lower. This is a technique that has been used to improve performance of the game while still allowing the player to have a large render distance to see off into the distance. The rubble to the left of the image was made by primitive shapes that have been extruded and textured to look like the ruins of a destroyed building. While the terrain to the right of the image is a smooth subdivision surface, made by relatively simple meshes.

 

  1. Examples of some common viewing modes that are used when creating 3D (in cinema 4D) models are: Perspective, left/right, front, and top. Perspective mode will likely be the most frequently used in most 3D modelling scenarios, (in cinema 4D), but there are some situations where using the other display modes will come in handy. The Top view for example, allows you to view certain polygons, lines, splines etc in a way that may be more easier and more effective than viewing it from the perspective view. As a result, the model you are working on may become much easier to edit in the top view.              

 

Perspective, Top, Right, And front views in Cinema 4D

cinema 4d views.jpg

A few examples of common modelling tools would be: Extrude, resize, and loft. These are basic tools used to edit models. Loft allows you to generate a mesh by sweeping a shape along a path. Extrusion serves the same purpose as Loft, but the path is always in a line.

 

8.

      Gameplay from Planetside 2                               

Planetside2-Amerish.jpg

This image shows a 3D environment that has been made from a mixture of both subdivision surface (HyperNURBS) and primitive shapes. I think it is likely that the developers used the perspective view to edit the primitive shapes (such as the trees and buildings). I think this because the perspective view allows you to rotate and zoom the camera freely, making the editing of these objects flexible. On the other hand, i believe that a birdseye (top) view has been used to edit most of the basic terrain. I think this because the floor is very smooth and organic, and in the top view it would be easy for the developers to pick and edit the ground mesh as they choose.

 

  1. 3D modeling has many different types of lighting that are available to the users:

 

  • Spot Lights – shines light in an area, projected in a cone, good for illuminating or emphasizing a small area, like a torch
  • Point Lights – similar to a lightbulb, and shines light from a point outwards, like a lightbulb
  • Area Lights –  casts directional light rays from within a set boundary, such as a fluorescent light or  window light  
  • Physical sky light – mimics the light of the sun, used to make the most realistic experience possible

 

  • Ambient light – cast soft rays in every direction

                                                  

 

Gameplay From Dragon Age 2

 

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In this image you can see how the light illuminates the room through the window panes.

 

  1. Textures and materials are used to paint a mesh to add color (and sometimes realism) to a model. These are used to create more interesting environments within 3D. Textures and materials can also be used to hide the polygon count. Good textures can disguise a model, making it look more detailed than it actually is.

 

With and Without Texture

SackboyRender1.png

  1.                                            Gameplay From Starcraft 2

 

Zerg2.jpg

This image is an example of textures and materials used to create an environment.

Galaxy Editor

galaxy editor

The Editor that was used to create this game has its own texture pallet, allowing most of the map’s surfaces to be created more easily and efficiently. This makes methods like material editing unnecessary and saves time. The other models however are textured from scratch, it is easy to hide the polygon count however, since the game is viewed from the top-down, meaning that the textures do not have to be too detailed to be effective.

 

  1. Rendering is the process of creating an image based on data stored on a computer. OpenGL is a graphical interface API used to interact with a GPU to achieve hardware accelerated rendering. DirectX is a collection of APIs for handling multimedia related tasks, similar to OpenGL, but DirectX is used for different platforms such as the xbox 360 and xbox one.

 

14.

                                              Gameplay from Infamous 2

infamous 2

The rendering technique likely used in this scene is real time rendering as this is used for most interactive media. This method’s goal is to show as much information as the eye can process in a fraction of a second (one frame), the output being 1280×720.

 

2D Starcraft Trailer Evaluation

I have finished my 2D trailer and have now presented it to my peers in the classroom.  After the presentation, my peers shared their opinions on the strengths, and weaknesses of my animation, and how it would compare to industry standards. I have five sheets from peers that have shared their opinions on my animation. The average rating for my animation overall was a 7.5 out of ten. Overall the reception of the trailer was better than I expected, as I wasn’t expecting to create an animation of high quality due to time constraints and lack of experience with after effects. Looking through all of the sheets, here are the most common points that seem to present themselves the most.

What are the strengths?

  • The sounds enhance the trailer, and carried it well
  • The animation goes well with the live action footage, there is a nice transition in the live action scene
  • The effects are cool and they suit the genre.
  • The music was excellent and timed with the end title well.
  • This animation was well presented and the theme and story behind it was interesting throughout

What are the weaknesses?

  • The sound is too sudden in some places, and could be unexpected or make people jump
  • Graphics on some of the assets are blurry, resized, and inconsistent in their graphical style.
  • The animation has several white flashes which could be inappropriate to watch for any viewers with epilepsy

How could they have improved ?

  • The length of the transitions could have been shortened to save time
  • I should darken the flashes to make the trailer more suitable for viewers with epilepsy or at least add on a warning at the start of the trailer.
  • Create higher resolution assets that look less blurry and distorted.
  • Could have better volume control and timing of animation segments. (shorten length of transitions)

These are all of the main points that have been raised by my peers. I am glad that some of these have appeared, as there are a lot of strengths and weaknesses that I did not notice myself when creating the trailer. This feedback has really allowed me to see problems that were invisible to me despite watching it back several times.

The fact that the sounds were praised was a surprise to me as I had no idea they would be received so well, since they were created by recording simple noises that can easily be created around the household. I also didn’t think that the presentation and context would be received as well by the audience either. I always knew that I wanted my trailer to be more of a story based teaser than a gameplay focused trailer. Unfortunately I planned to do more with this and could have possibly improved the trailer even further, I wanted to have more live action scenes in which the three races are amassing their forces and preparing for battle. I didn’t get to add this in the end however, as when I put my finished compositions together, the end result was a minute long and too long to extend, I also wanted visually appealing scenes to take priority over scenes that could have seemed a bit inactive and more boring to look at.

Most of the negatives that were brought up I had no idea about, apart from some of the blurry graphics, by the time I saw this as a problem, I didn’t have time to change it though, so I just had to create the best animation possible with the time and assets that I had. Since this was one of the most common criticisms of my animation, I will make sure that I get the resolution correct and make sure things are resized properly when it comes to future endeavours with Photoshop. I did not think that the flashing white lights would be a problem at the time, it just never occurred to me. So it is fortunate that people have pointed it out so that I can remember to include it if necessary in the future. Volume is another key criticism, which I will make sure that I control the volume better in the future by lowering the decibels in audacity.

I am happy with the outcome of this assessment as I know that all of the criticisms of the trailer can be easily fixed, I am glad that my peers would consider this worthy of industry standard if I improved and fixed it in some places.

Sound Evaluation

I have found the process of creating sound quite challenging, especially creating the soundtrack. In hindsight, I regret not getting familiar with Fruityloops sooner, as I would have been able to get a higher quality result with the time I was given.  Another drawback is that you cannot save on the demo version of fruityloops, but that is a problem that I could not solve, and I feel i did well for the short time window that I had to produce a sound.

Creating the actual sounds was somewhat easier, but still managed to prove a challenge as a lot of the sounds in StarCraft are very unorthodox and sci-fi, making them hard to recreate, this meant that a lot of time had to be invested in manipulating the sounds in audacity. Overall I feel I would have got more quality sounds if i managed my time better, as I recorded my sounds on the 12th of march and edited them on the 17th.