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Thursday, 11 December 2008

Advanced Techniques - Week 9-15

Hello there... This article isn't actually as boring as the title might suggest, got quite a bit to show.

So the project is three part; Poly Modelling, Rigging and Textures and Lighting. The project is about introducing us to advanced techniques within the three areas. First off the poly modelling. Here we had to do a class exercise of modelling a bug. A bug is usually pretty simple since most bugs have the skeleton on the outside and so have quite hard surfaces. This makes it ideal for working from simple geometric shapes. But as I decided to take this challenge a little bit further, and make a bug with character (the video below is the wireframe turnaround, which is why there is those lines all over the model):-

The reason why we have to the model in wireframe is for the tutor to see how we build the model. Its all about how clean lines look, and how many you are using. I dont wanna go into too much about the technical stuff about poly modelling, but a poly is basically the surface between the lines. Ideally you only want the lines to form squares, and not triangles or ngons (pentagons, hexagons, heptagons, etc.) The next bit was to model a hand, with the intend to animate it. When you model for animation, it is important not only to have quads (square polys) but also to think about edgeloops. Edgeloops are a string of lines, and you want those to run efficiently around the model. Good edgeloops helps deform the skin properly when you put a skeleton (rig) in. Bad egdeloops dont.... So heres my planning for the hand:-

And the turnaround of the final model in low poly, high poly, shaded and textured state:-

That's the first part of the project. The next is about rigging. The rigging process is very technical, and in my opinion there is not a lot creativity in this stage. That being said I still really enjoy the rigging part because I'M A NERD!:-)
Rigging is basically about putting in the skeleton, and telling the program how the skin (object/model) is gonna behave. This stage is crucial for the animation since a crappy rig can really slow down and limit your animation. So to show the rigging you do a deformation test, which is a video where you bend all the joint separately. Quite boring, but a necessary evil for the animation. Here the deformation tests of my bug and the hand:-

Another part of this project was the texturing. For this project we were only to generate procedural textures and not painted ones. The difference between the two is in the making. Procedural textures are generated from mathematical formulas, while painted ones is generated by.... ermmm painting. A more detailed explanation would require going into areas like UW mapping, which is extremely boring (unless you are a nerd:-) so Ill spare your brain this time around. For the project we had to do a realistic skin texture and some stylistic ones, so here they are (click the images to view a bigger one):-

The last part of the project is lighting. The job was to create a scene and light it for dawn, midday, dusk and midnight, with a focus on realism. So here's my planning(click the image below to view the planning):-

And this is what I got out of it(click the images to view a bigger one):-

The lighting of a scene or character can really make or break it. Lighting a scene is not just about illuminating, but more about creating a mood. For example if you had a room with a bed in it, you can then suggest a feeling about the bed. Light the room with harsh florescent lights, and you get the impression of a hospital bed. But if you light the room with yellow and red lights with soft shadows, then you might think its a normal bed. The point is that with the same model, you can suggest different feelings with the lighting.

That's it. I really tried not to make it a too technical article, but that's probably the same trying not to get wet while you swim:-s
Right so the future for me entails the major project, which in my case is gonna be a short film. The making of this is gonna span for the rest of the school year. So it might be a while before the next big update, but I will most likely give smaller updates of where I am in the process.

For now I will just wish everyone A MERRY CHRISTMAS and A SPLENDID NEW YEAR!!!!