Website design

I have been working on increasing my web presence through my ArtStation and sketchfab. However, I wanted to carry on building my web presence through my website like I discussed on my older blog.

I deleted my older website that I created during year 2 on Wix and started anew. Using the research I got on my previous blog, I managed to improve the look of my site over my previous one. I started to create one on Wix again since I already had experience with it, and I decided to go with more of a minimalistic style this time. I prefer this look since it puts focus on the work rather than the website itself.

Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 20.20.45.png

I started by just getting the general layout, figuring out where to place menus and titles on the site.Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 20.54.16.pngI then started to place my images in, linking them to a hidden page so they don’t come up on the menu in the top right.Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 22.13.46.pngI started making progress on wix, but then I started to consider what other website builders they were and whether they could offer anymore benefits. I heard some people recommend Squarespace and I also found that the artist C Crumpler, who’s website I really liked used Sqaurespace too. So I decided to create an account and give it a try.Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 20.36.25.pngI used a theme that looked good for portfolios and started to build it from there. I wanted to largely create the same look as my Wix site, but possibly add some effects to images – such as hovering over them and images zooms in, or text saying ‘view’ as you put the mouse cursor over it.Screen Shot 2018-04-20 at 19.15.39.pngHere is my site up to now. I have achieved a slightly cleaner look over my Wix site, however, I have not managed to implement the effects I wanted for the images as of yet. I also bought a domain for a year so if I go premium I can use my domain name which is sam-akester.com. By having my own domain name, it allows me to brand myself better since it solely focuses on myself without mentioning another company name such as ArtStation.

I have not paid to publish the website yet since I am making some last refinements, but also because I am considering WordPress to host a website. By using WordPress, I could use a host server and buy a theme to get a website up and running. Doing this would be most likely the best and most economical way, since it would only cost for the theme and server which can be cheaper than paying for sqaurespace for the year. This way also means I don’t have to rely on a service such as sqaurespace, since on WordPress you just use it to run your website through.  However, I have made my website twice so I don’t want to be to inefficient with my time and make one again, since I need to focus on other areas such as my fmp. So, whilst I am still undecided, I am leaning towards using Sqaurespace now since I have everything set up.

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Subway Development 7

Recently, I have been working on smaller assets for the project to add more realism to the scene. For instance, I added some posters to the cinema wall along with adding rubbish/garbage to the scene.Creating carboard box.PNGI made a few variations of cardboard boxes and plastic bottles and also made them high poly. The high poly bottle allowed me to bake the ridges into a very low poly bottle. Whereas the cardboard boxes I planned to sculpt damage in using either Zbrush or mudbox. I decided to do this, so I could gain more experience in these programs, which I identified in my swat analyses has been a weakness.sclupting edge damages.PNGI decided to use Mudbox since I had it installed but is very similar to Zbrush. You can see here that I added some wear around the edges of the box, which was very easy to achieve by sculpting.box textured.PNGHere is the box in UE4. By sculpting some of the damaged details I was able to get better edge wear in Painter as you can see here.

Next, I wanted to model a bicycle to go into the scene which could be propped up against the side of a building, or subway station. Since this would be the start of a level, the bike could be used by the player to navigate the small streets and alley ways to explore the city. To start, I knew I wanted a vintage looking bicycle to go with the time periods style. So, I looked at bikes from the 40’s to 60’s to gain a better understanding of their aesthetics. After browsing on Pinterest, I came across two bike brands I liked the look of – Roadmaster and Claude Butler. I decided to go with the Roadmaster however since I preferred the looks. After this, I then got some more research on the brand to understand the bike brand further. The Roadmaster made by Cleveland Welding was founded by Rusus L Patterson and started production in 1936. The company was then bought by AMF in 1951. I decided to base my bike of a 1953 Luxury Liner by Roadmaster as a basis for my model.grey blocking bike.PNGTo start I made a simple grey block trying to get the size and scale right.improved tyre.PNGI then moved onto working on the tires, bridging the two sides and using symmetry to aid me. This part was slightly tricky as I was trying to get the correct width of wheels without any precise measurements.improved tyre gaurd.PNGNext, I worked on the guards. On the left it the older one and right is the improved version. To improve it I used the line tool to get a better curvature without using many more polys.modelling upper section of bike.PNGHere I modelled the basic frame and used a plane to model the upper half of the bike, giving me a foundation for where parts of the bike would go.modelleing seat.PNGI then used the same technique for the seat, using a plane to get the correct shape before then shelling.modelling handle bars.PNGI used the line tool again for the handle bars, giving them a better flow than when I tried to make them manually with a cylinder. I don’t use splines too often, but I do get better results over other methods, so this is something to keep in mind for my future models.high poly bike.PNGI then made my bike high poly, which is a habit I have been making for most my models now since it is industry standard.improving back.PNGI started adding smaller details such as this small extrusion on the back.adding pedal details.PNGThen adding pedal details which can be baked in.using procedural topology.PNGAfter some research on the best way of creating tyres, I found a video by Arrimus who recommended using procedural topology that changes the flow of the topology. This allows for easier manipulation of the topology on an angle, something that is good for tyre patterns.High poly tyre.PNGAfter doing this I was able to create a tyre pattern for the bike, but still was not quite there in terms of realistic tyre pattern looks.using line tool for tread.PNGSo, I then found some reference of tyre patterns and tried to recreate this. I also got some advice of Paul for the best way to do this, and he recommended using the spline tool to create the shapes. This way was much simpler and more efficient than the way I was previously making it, as I used a plane and tried to cut out the shapes which created unclean topology.tyre tread continuied improvement.PNGI then started to use the spline technique which proved much better.attataching tyres.PNGI then attached, welded and used opensubdiv to create a more realistic look.new and old tyre tread.PNGI was a lot happier with this attempt as it provided significantly more detail over the old version. This technique will also come in useful for old and new projects that use tyres. One example is my Marathon Taxi car, which I couldn’t quite get the pattern right and so I left it out altogether. I can now go back and improve this model when I get the time.creating spring alpha.PNGTo optimise my low model, I rendered a helix I had from the high, which I planned to make into an alpha.too low poly.PNGThough I thought it looked too low with the rest, so I decided to just optimise the springs instead.

I also got some criticism for the spokes on the bike which I overlooked. I did not realise the spokes overlapped to provide better support for the wheels, so I went back to improve these.creating better spokes.PNGI used the spokes I originally had and grouped four together making sure they overlapped and then used an array.trying different skys.PNGAfter texturing I used Marmoset Toolbag for rendering, which has consistently allowed me to increase my rendering presentations. I have also been working more on lighting and post processing to achieve better looks.bike textured in scene.PNGRenders can be found here – https://www.artstation.com/artwork/KK2Vx

 

Reference –

http://www.oldbike.eu/emancipation/?page_id=127

Tyre tread image – https://pixshark.com/bike-tire-marks.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Portfolio Design Research

I am in the process of deciding what the best ways are to promote myself and my portfolios. To aid this I am going to get some research on how different artist brand themselves in the industry, which should hopefully give me some more guidance and ideas on what I could do. Currently, my main focuses are websites and business cards.

One of the first websites I came across was one by an artist called C.Crumpler.Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 15.10.47.pngThe website has a minimalistic look, allowing the portfolio of work to be seen clearly and effectively. The menu in the top right gives access to an about page, resume, contact, resources and store. Along the bottom are also links to social media sites that further expands this presence, some of which include twitter, Facebook, twitch amongst others.Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 15.13.39.pngYou can also keep scrolling down to see other projects, this also retains the same layout with the top and bottom bars moving down as you scroll.Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 15.21.33.pngThe about page shows a wealth of information, showing the location of his studio and names of the projects he has worked on and clients he has worked with. This background information allows employers to quickly gain an understanding of how much experience this artist has, without taking too much time to find out.Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 15.25.53.pngLooking at his resume page it quickly shows you his work experience. Seeing his resume has made me consider how I could improve mine, and is something I could research a little more on another blog.Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 15.31.17.pngWhen you click on one of the projects it displays some information along with the software used. The layout reminds me of Artstations, just flipped to the opposite sides. With this being on an independent website however, it has the advantage of the viewer being immersed in just that persons work, without ads and with direct links to store pages and other social media accounts. As you scroll down past all those project images, the previous projects display allowing for a seamless transition to the next, keeping you engaged for longer. Amongst normal renders and videos, there is also 360 images allowing you to see the project from all directions. This is something that could be beneficial for me to consider for my projects. Crumpler has created a tutorial on how to make them in UE4, so I will be sure to give it a shot.

Overall, I really like the website layout and presentation with it having a clean minimalistic look that puts all emphasis on the projects. Navigation is easy and encourages exploration to other projects, and display experience and Resume information quickly and easily.

Clinton Crumpler’s website – http://www.clintoncrumpler.com/#/ccasubway/

ArtStation – https://www.artstation.com/ccrumpler

I also read an article on Creative Bloq which recommended looking at five very good portfolio websites. Creative Bloq also says that using a website is more professional than just using ArtStation, giving you a better chance that artists will look at your portfolio.

One that was recommended was Videarium, which is a studio that specialises in architecture. Whilst I am not aiming to go into architecture, the website is still useful analyse for my own.

Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 16.04.03.pngThe website provides a clean minimalist look, with white being the chosen background allowing the images to stand out. The images are also displayed in vertical columns of three, and interestingly don’t line up as you go down.

Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 16.07.25.pngThis may be to break up the monotonous conformity of them all lining up as they go down. This stops them all from blending together as your eyes recognise the break ups in the layout, thus making you more attentive to the images.

The next website on the list that caught my eyes was by the artist Husni Qamhiyeh.Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 16.15.34.pngThe projects on here take up the large majority of space available. This is putting work above all else, which can make the user interface slightly confusing as it takes a more orthodox approach.Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 16.19.35.pngWhen you click on a project, it shows beauty render of the product, and requires scrolling to see the full image.Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 16.20.46.pngWhen you click the arrow on the right it shows the uvmap for the prop. This is good for showcasing your uvmap experience and can show other artist how efficient you are with this process.

On the main page, there is also a section for a demo reel in the top left corner, though once clicked nothing plays. I assume this is a work in progress and will be uploaded when completed. It is an important reminder to me that when I am in the process of rebuilding my website, not to be hesitant publishing it if it’s not fully finished, as people still can see work and find it useful.Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 16.29.48.pngOnce you click the navigation bar, you can then access other areas of the site from categories, to about and contact. Other important information can be found here to such as location, number and email.

Whilst navigation here may be a little harder to navigate, it seems worth the compromise to have all work show to the viewer quickly and clearly.

Husni Qamhiyeh website – http://husni3d.com/

I have also started to research business cards to gain a better prospective of layout, font and style. On the business card website Moo, they have a section with a huge amount of business card designs, giving me a few idea of what designs I could do.Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 16.53.52.pngI have been extensively looking through different designs and I am still unsure on a final design, but I do like the look of the more minimalist designs. I have also started to create some mock ups in illustrator so I have some foundations to build up on. Another thing to consider is nfc. Moo can be building in a nfc chip which could route someone to a website, which could be handy for linking them to my ArtStation. Whether this is worth the extra cost I’m not sure, but is something to consider nonetheless.

 

Subway Development 6

Development updates –

I have continued to refine and develop assets for this project. However, I have not worked on this project as much as I planned to, due to the majority of my developments going towards my FMP. So, over the past week I have been trying to get the project back on track and model the remaining assets for the square. The issue I had with the project was that I was using the same building template for most of buildings, giving the scene a lack of diversity. So, I planned to model with different architecture to add more variation.

My plan was to model a cinema and after some research, I came across the Chicago theatre which I liked the look of. It was built in 1921 and a great noire look to it which I imagined would fit well into my environment. I also thought it would look good as a centre piece in the square, which goes against my original floor plan to have the cinema/theatre on the east side, a bit out of view from the main camera starting point.Screenshot-2018-3-30  Chicago Theatre.jpgmodelling corner wall.PNGI wanted to make the building as modular as possibly which would allow for freedom in size if I wanted to make it larger, whilst also keeping an ideal texture density.bottom progress.PNGI broke it up into sections where the doors are, allowing me to construct the ground floor.building development.PNGThe next section was the middle arch which was slightly trickier in getting the right shape and curve. It was also problematic since I was a bit unsure on how many polys I should allow for the arch. My first attempt it was too low and severely hurt the look, so I decided to increase them since it is in the main square and would be easily perceptible.making upper section windows.PNGI then made the windows in section allowing me to easily copy them across.building development 2.PNGBuilding completed. I did not model the back since I planned to have other buildings connecting onto this, but I ideally, I would have liked to of modelled the whole building. There are some more intricate details that are missing which I want to add, but I may not have time to implement.refining texture.PNGI am trying to double down on creating textures within Designer, so I decided to create the stone texture in here.Square progress.PNGBuilding textured in the scene. The colour of the brick may stick out too much due to it contrasting with the other darker building bricks in the environment, so this is something that I will try and refine. I used a concrete texture from game textures for the ledges, since I could not get quite the right look in Designer.expanding street.PNGI then started expanding one of my streets, adding more buildings and signs. I do however need to model a greater variety of buildings, since I still have the same issue of using the same few. Ideally some shops would be good to have, along with cafes and clubs.drain dirt added.PNGI also started to make some drain textures which I wanted to use as decal textures in Unreal. I used Photoshop for the initial creation, then used substance designer to PBR it and add grunge. I have currently made three different variations and I have others planned, such as – sewer covers, manholes, gas covers etc.managing floor.PNGI have also started to work more on the floors, working out areas where I can add extra textures in order to break it up into different sections.adding side walk texture.PNGI made the darker texture on the left, then started to add this section along the building sides. Hopefully breaker up the square a little more.changing floor layout.PNGI then started adding it to other sections, such as the cinema. Though I may change the floor texture to something different here, adding more diversity. I have had issues however due to my floor being very modular, which means that if one section needs to be moved, many of the others need to be moved also. My lack of foresight into the overall layout of the square is where I went wrong here and so because of this lack of planning, it has made it slightly more difficult to make changes to this area.

Next steps-

  • Carry on adding decals
  • Work on creating different buildings
  • Refine textures and assets
  • Create some smaller assets such as benches, fences, bins
  • Create basic background skyscrapers
  • Work on lighting
  • Improve performance – possibly by reducing the rain gpu particles

 

UE4 Screenshots –

HighresScreenshot00031.pngHighresScreenshot00032.png

Reference –

http://www.compassrose.org/balaban-and-katz/Chicago-Theatre.html

Image reference –

image 1 – https://www.flickr.com/photos/birispaul/3096144242/

Response analysis

Based on the research I have gathered and compiled, I have found areas that I fulfil and others that are a weaker for the environment artist position.

Many roles for an environment artist require a similar skill set, though can vary with more experience and skills depending on the level. Normally there are three levels, junior, environment artist and senior/lead. Junior requires the least skill set though still requires the same fundamental skill sets as the others. Which is generally strong knowledge of 3d software, good understanding of the production pipeline, strong communication skills along with experience with one game engine or more. From what I have gathered most 3d software packages used are 3ds max and Maya, though some others do come up like Modo, though since the fundamentals are the same most of the skills can be transferred over making it not too much as of an issue. Being in the junior position, this would mean that you would work with the lead environment artist on any of these smaller ad hoc tasks. The ability to create stories too comes up often, and is of course crucial to make environments interesting and intriguing to the players. Other software experience is beneficial, such as Algorithmic software (Painter, Designer) and Photoshop comes up almost always to. Illustrator less so but is still beneficial. As for experience, a strong portfolio is required, showing technical knowledge, experience with engines and modelling. So, wireframes, engine shots and videos is ideal.

The normal environment artist position usually requires more responsibly, making sure that yours and other artist work is coherent and fitting to the style. On top of this, the role typically requires that you make sure that assets meet technical specifications to run well for the targeted platform. The software is generally the same, though sculpting is more common with software such as Zbrush or Mudbox. This role typically requires you to work closer with the art lead and level design team, making sure that ideas, concepts, implementations and solutions can be put in place.

Requirements usually ask for organic modelling to, making sure you can be varied in modelling different assets. As for experience, this usually goes up to about three years give or take in the industry, or one shipped game.

Senior/Lead artist requires all the same skill sets, along with the largest responsibility to make sure that the project is operating smoothly and on target. Along with this, a senior artist will work with the art and game directors to make sure the style is consistent, with assets, textures and the overall look fits the concepts. Furthermore, mechanics, scripts and the flow of the level will be communicated with the level designers to allow for efficient implementation. The senior artist will also have the task of making sure that the game is efficient, by working with engineers and other technical roles to work on better performance. Requirements for this position are considerably higher than the rest, with five plus years of experience and have in depth knowledge of all the environment creation processes. From workflows, PBR textures, shaders and very efficient time management and leadership skills.

Of course, I would be aiming for the junior environment artist position and so there are a few areas I hit, whilst other areas need more work. My understanding of the workflow process is good, but could certainly be improved. The best way I could improve this is with actual industry experience, since I would get a greater understanding of the pipeline and how one department works with another to collaborate on a project. Due to my projects only being worked on by myself, I can’t advance further than were I am now without working in a team dedicated to certain positions. Such as a texture artist, level designer, concept artist etc. For software, I have a solid foundation with modelling max, and I have used Maya and Modo but I do need more experience with these to feel comfortable. Mudbox I have some experience with and Zbrush I have very little, so I need to focus my efforts here as this is a requirement for many of these positions.

On my checklist, I also noted some software that is not brought up too much but would be beneficial, especially for roles outside of environment artist. Software such as realflow would allow me to be more flexible in my abilities and more beneficial to certain level areas. For example, if the game relies heavily on realistic water. Along with this, using other engines would be great experience as it adds yet more flexibility and knowledge of different engine workflows. Furthermore, my traditional art skills need more work and will hold me back from some positions. My ability to create concepts quickly and clearly is certainly undermined and limited by my drawing ability, and is something that I need to actively keep working on to improve. Some environment artist roles do say it’s beneficial to have, whilst other do not mention it at all. Regardless it is still necessary to have.

My plan now is to continue working on my projects, naturally allowing me to gain experience whilst also allowing me to build a stronger portfolio. I also want to start creating a more diverse portfolio in terms of style, with more of stylistic cartoony look which will allow my portfolio to look more diverse. Thus, allowing studios to see that I can be flexible with my art, and not just go with a realistic look each time. This may be something to work on after my projects are finished, so I do not halt progress on Space Station FMP or Subway project. A stylistic project may be a good opportunity to learn a new game engine such as the CryEngine, allowing me to get experience with two areas I want to improve on at once. Along with this, I am going to create some assets which incorporate Zbrush into the workflow. This asset could be for either of my projects, and I’ll make sure for it to be a small asset allowing me to primarily focus on Zbrush in order to gain more experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online Portfolio

I have slowly been increasing my online portfolio over the time I have been on this course. I originally created a Sketchfab account on the first year and added assets which I created for my projects. However, as time has gone on, my skills have progressed and so I deleted these assets and started again. My Artstation account I started to use in the second year and I have recently gone through the same process, curating assets I do not like and deleting them.

As it stands now however, I am somewhat happy with my portfolio as my texturing and modelling skills have increased, though my presentation skills do need some work which is something I am currently working on.Artstation.pngThis is my portfolio on ArtStation which is starting to look populated with a diverse selection of assets. I have architecture, vehicles along with some smaller detailed assets such as my radio. I have also started to add environments to my portfolio such as my space station scene. Whilst it is still a work in progress, it is still beneficial to have the current scene as is to show potential employers what I can create currently.Artstation2.pngBottom two assets on my ArtStation page.

The one issue I have with my ArtStation as of now is the inconsistency in presentation. For example, my hologram asset has a blank white background, whereas my drone and car have grey. Then paired with other assets having different backgrounds it looks a little messy and incoherent. I don’t think this would be as much of an issue if the backgrounds went with the assets, but some just look bland and more of an afterthought. I have observed many ArtStation accounts from researching and browsing and have been picking up on the different backgrounds and renders other artists have been using, which has made me more aware of what types of styles to use. This has in turn allowed me to increase the quality of my backgrounds and presentations overall in my latest portfolio of work, as you can see by my latest assets.sam-akester-c6.jpgFor my computer, I looked at assets like this to see what would be best for the background. I came across and artist called Javier Perez who had a dusty bokeh background which I really liked the look of. By blurring the background, it draws the attention onto the asset but still provides visuals and a theme to flow through the image. Originally, the background was grey with the dust specs but to make it more coherent, I added a blue tint to go with the accent colours of the computer.

I also have noticed many artist use Marmoset ToolBag with to get high quality renders quickly and in real time. Whilst I have used the trial and older versions, I decided to invest in the current software to improve my final renders for my portfolio. This should allow me to be more consistent and more efficient when rendering my assets for my portfolio.sam-akester-screenshot052.jpgMy radio I rendered in Toolbag 3 which allowed me to experiment with lighting and different backgrounds quickly.Screen Shot 2018-03-27 at 13.17.22.pngIt also allowed me to use the marmoset render which can be embedded into the browser, allowing viewers to view the model in 3d. To do this before, I had to rely on Sketchfab to allow uses to view my models.

I still will continue to use Sketchfab however, since I have been building my portfolio on there and has its own large community. Meaning that my work could reach a larger audience than just relying on one services such as ArtStation.Screen Shot 2018-03-27 at 13.51.02.pngHere is part of my portfolio on Sketchfab. The largest benefit to this service is that is easily allows viewers to search for models and view them in 3d. But also allows them to view the different maps in use, along with the model wireframes. I also have more of a consistent look, due to all the backgrounds being blurred making presentation look a little nicer. Along with this, sound and animation can be used to further enhance the scene/model. Paired with this also, VR/AR can be used to add yet another dimension increasing the appeal of using the service.

As of now these are the two main sites I use for my online portfolio. They both offer a large user base and the potential to be seen by other professionals in the industry. ArtStation seems superior in the fact that you can go in depth on the break downs of your scenes, whereas Sketchfab allows a 3d real time in-depth inspection of the models. This could then allow potential employers to see your technical skills, such as efficiency with polys, use of normal maps etc. I also want to start working on my website again which I developed in year 2. I haven’t worked on it in a while, so it may be worth just starting again. By using a website however, I can customise the website to the look and format I want, without having to rely so much on the format of what another service uses.

 

Artist inspiration continued

I have been following Matthias Develtere for a little while now and love his work,so, I thought I’d research and analyse his portfolio. Matthias is a junior artist atMachine Games, who are the developers behind the games Wolfenstein from 2014onwards. Whilst he is in a junior position, his portfolio is vast consisting largely of assets from the Wolfenstein games, though he has worked on other games such as Farcry 4.Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 16.51.33.pngFirst and foremost is the first impressions. Matthias’s front page on ArtStation is very consistent in style and looks. The backgrounds of renders are black, emphasising the model and highlighting the very intricate detail they have. If I was to contrast this to my page, some of mine have backgrounds, others don’t and generally doesn’t have the seamless cohesion that is achieved here. The work is clearly water marked allowing the viewer to understand quickly that this is for a game. It is also made clear that it is intellectual property when the viewer clicks on the image, as it come up with the company name and publisher.matthias-develtere-ufocrane6.jpgOne of the reasons I admire his work is due to the considerable amount of detail that can be found throughout. Each assist is brimming with mechanical workings that add greatly to the overall model’s industrial utilitarian aesthetics. It also allows for more parts of the models to be animated, which in turn creates a more dynamic scene for the player to experience. This railing for example, has chains attached to the cogs which could be dynamic and moving in game. However, the amount of detail that is here would most likely mean that it would be baked down, or possibly removed. By adding more detail such as this however, it gives you better judgment of how the machine can animate and work, whilst also allowing for high quality bakes.matthias-develtere-silverfishinterior-6.jpgThis render is of an interior of a submarine vehicle.  There are details everywhere from small bolts on frames, wires on the back of chairs, vents and decals that can be found throughout. The cockpit also has smaller details with dials and buttons that command attention at the front. Just like the rest of his models, this is high poly allowing for the maximum possible quality to be achieved.matthias-develtere-silverfishinterior-7.jpgHere is a close-up image of the cockpit details at the front. More details can be seen here with scratches on the walls, along with the dial indicator arrows which look to be 3d. It is clear that no area seems to be left in terms of detail, creating an incredibly detailed looking small.Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 17.26.28.pngOn the comments section I found that all the models are Sub-D, allowing for very detailed high quality assets. This also means that most of the models were most likely retopologised for low poly.Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 17.49.11.pngThis model for example, took a week to make high poly. Then two days for the low poly to be made. The model here in this image is the low poly version.matthias-develtere-8.jpgHere is the high poly model version of the vehicle. You can see comparing the two how some of the detail has been toned down on the low, with less details extruding and smaller details such as the ladders being removed altogether. Still however, many of the details have carried across from the baking process. Reading that it has took Matthias a week to create, it has given me a clear indicator of what high quality assets can be made within this time frame. However, it is important to remember that this does disregard the concept process as this was provided from an artist called Per Gullarp. So, if I was to create an asset as detailed as this, planning would add time and so would my skill level most likely. It is still good to remember this as a benchmark however, for future high poly assets and this scale and detail.

Overall, Matthias Develtere’s work has incredible attention to detail that leaves every model awe striking and admirable. My main takeaway from looking at Matthias’s work is to start adding more details to my models. Many of my models I do not make high poly, or do not consider making higher poly due to the pressure of trying to create as many assets as I can for my scene. But if I took my time a bit more I could have higher quality assets, but this comes with the compromise with having fewer assets for the scene. So, I may need to consider the speed I am modelling the assets and possibly try and find faster work flows, plug ins and short cuts to help speed up my process.

All images are Matthias Develtere and can be found here – https://www.artstation.com/devmatt

 

 

 

FMP development 11

After redesigning some of the bridge area, I thought I would revaluate the front command section to see if it could benefit from a similar redesign.

Command deck progress.PNGThe Bridge had a relatively small area compared to other stations I researched, making it seem orthodox in its shape and design. Along with this, it meant that there was not much space for assets making it more complicated to fit what I wanted in there. Overall the design seemed a little inspired. I decided to start planning some different layouts to alleviate this and hopefully create a better design.bridge expansion.PNGNext, I broke off the glass and started figuring out the scale and size I wanted it to be.deelopment.PNGI also made a room which is dedicated to the hologram, acting as an area in which the crew could site and gather information.hologram room  development.PNGScale and size of the room. By adding an extra room, it allowed more room on the bridge for chairs, computers, tables and other assets.base on floor.PNGI wanted the room to be practical, so I designed stools which would come up from the floor. This meant that the crew could stand in the room when in a rush but sit for longer sessions. It also allows me from a technical perspective to practice animating more which is one of my weaker skills.chair support 1.PNGFor the stools I worked on a few iterations of the mechanism, taking into consideration of how it would move.stool progress.PNGI did not want to overcomplicate the design, so I went with a simpler mechanism which was not to problematic. However, for future models I would want to try some more complicated designs for this process.high poly panel.PNGI then started making some high poly panels which also need to be animated, so they open as the chair moves up.stool pats.PNGStool parts and iterations.hologram room progress.PNGStools within the room.broken mechanism.PNGI also want to work more on story telling and atmosphere. So, for one of the stools I want it to be stuck due to a broken panel, or mechanism. This would cause it to keep hitting the panel and paired with sound, could be a little unsettling.stool compact positation.PNGHere I was working out the pivots and checking how it looked in Unreal.room development.PNGRoom development – I added more detail to the base of the hole where the stools would come from. The room its self needs more details, especially on the ceiling. As of now I have some temporary lights which where created for another area. The shape of the ceiling may need changing as it lacks depth, and the texture may need changing to panels to add visual interest. Furthermore, vents, wires and other details need to be added to combat the emptiness of the room. considerign.PNGWhilst considering what assets could go into the holoroom, I started to work on the next section of the bridge. I decided to make the parts modular, so I could adjust and resize the room as I see fit. The added flexibility allows me not only to resize the bridge though, as I can use these assets on other areas if I have the time. So, I made sure to use the grid to make sure the corners and walls snapped together.development.PNGMaking sure scale and size looks right by looking in engine.walls in place.PNGDevelopment shot 2.adding more wall detail.PNGI then started adding details to the walls. This wall for example lacked depth so I added extrusions vents to the wall, along with panels to the bottom.panel in engine.PNGPanels in engine.creating higher poly wall.PNGI then started adding more detail to the other modular walls, such as lights and vents.development 3.PNGI then added these updated walls into the engine, along with the floor and ceiling textures. I have also been spending more time within Substance Designer trying to create better panel textures for the floor. Up to now however, they lack definition and detail, but I hope to spend more time to refine and improve them.Creating floor around curve.PNGI also had some issues with creating the floor around corner sections. I did not know whether it would be better to have a modular corner floor section, or keep it connected to the rest of the floor. If I keep it modular then I could potentially use this throughout other areas, so this may be the best route to go down.planning floor layout.PNGThe floor layout is something I need to work on next, as I haven’t fully planned out the different sections and what details to do for the floor. For example, I need to plan out where the computers and chairs are going to be placed, and whether to make lower areas in the floor. My plan next is to sketch out some floor layouts and detail plans, whilst also working out which parts of the floor could benefit from being higher poly.

 

 

 

 

Checklist

I have made this checklist to note down different areas I need to improve or learn, specifically for a 3d artist.

  • Learn different 3d software – Houdini, Modo, Maya. Typically, these come up on job applications and whilst all are similar to a degree, each provides unique advantages.
  • Focus more on animating. Whilst most 3d jobs require an 3d artist first and foremost, animating knowledge is typically beneficial and will always offer an advantage over someone that has no understanding.
  • Improve portfolio. I primarily use ArtStation in conjunction with Sketchfab to allow the viewer to see all the model. However, my renders could be improved along with better backgrounds such as – a blurred background or a grey grimy background which goes with the context of the model. For example, my dystopian surveillance camera.
  • Organising time management. Consider time management software or prove I can manage my time efficiently. Some jobs use specific software to stay on target.
  • Keep learning new software. New software will also be advantages and help in the long run. One example is real flow, software used for creating realistic fluid simulations. My interview for a 3d artist role they discussed how they used real flow on some products to get a better look than using typical modelling software.
  • Many jobs require great knowledge of high to low baking. I do incorporate this into my workflow but it could be improved. One example would be using cages in Substance Painter, which I do not use but could potentially give me better results.
  • Shader libraries are also something to consider as some jobs require this, specifically a 3d environment job at cloud imperium games is where I came across this.
  • Drawing and painting skills comes up to which is something to work on.
  • Practising and learning with other engines is something I need to do, showing that I can adapt and use multiple engines efficiently. This is beneficial as many companies use their own engine which may be very different from the primary engine I use – UE4.
  • Look into CryEngine, Unity, Amazon Lumberyard.
  • Use different renderers. I primary use nvidias Mental Ray, but there are better quality ones such as Vray or Keyshot, which could provide better results thus enhancing my portfolio. It also comes up as beneficial on some jobs to have good knowledge of these.
  • Improve physical portfolio presentation. Get better quality prints of renders.
  • Start designing business cards
  • Consider using InDesign for portfolio documents
  • Get a stronger understanding of Quixel. Some jobs require both Substance Painter and Quixel experience as they use both in their workflow.
  • Learn Zbrush. Often is beneficial on jobs and can help improve asset quality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3d environment artist traits and roles

This document will focus on what is typically required to be a 3d environment artist by gathering research from various companies. I have compiled some images below helping me compare similarities and differences between the companies.

Naughty dog environment artist –Naughty dog environment artist.pngNaughty Dog requires more skills and requirements than most of the others making the entry level harder to reach. Some key takeaways from this is autonomy which requires you to work with minimal direction and concept art. Strong technical knowledge so you know how each asset should be designed regarding the impact it will have. Create clean topology under busy deadlines.

Sumo digital – Sumo digital .pngSumo digitals 3d environment skills ask for some normal traits for the role such as use with zbrush, shade creations and experience within the industry.

Playground games –Play ground games .pngPlayground games has come up with an untypical trait of experience with real world environments. This may be because they make racing games such as Forza which have large environments based of real place, thus requiring the utmost accuracy in the portrayal of a particular place. Forza 3 for example, is based in Australia and so a great understanding of the terrain there would be advantages. For a particular role such as this, travel experience would be desirable would be a great advantage but the same however, could apply for most games.

Axis Animation –Axis animation .pngAxis Animation is a studio that creates hyperreal cinematics and animations for various companies ranging from T.V to games. They require Mari and body paint which is essential for this role, and is something that I have seen come up before. Great knowledge of Zbrush has come up again, allowing for the creation of sculpted assets.

Looking from these four alone, I can pick up patterns emerging from what is required for an artist role. The requirements range depending on the studio and so for Naughty Dog for example, the requirements have the most possibly due to each person undertaking more, or to keep the talent skill level higher and multipurpose. Requirements also range depending on the game/project. Naughty dog requires strong knowledge of creating plants, vines and such which suggest that the game they are making has large amounts of vegetation. Looking at their past games too such as Uncharted, vegetation from jungles and exotic locations are populated with plants and organic shapes and it makes sense for this requirement. However, based on the other job roles this is not mentioned and so does not appear to be a common trait within this role. However, I need to remember that depending on the studio I want to work for, this could be vital for if say I wanted to work at Naughty Dog.

Strong experience with modelling software always comes up, and generally mentions Max or Maya. But for most if you have knowledge in one modelling software, then the skills are transferable to another and should not be an issue. Still, knowledge of different 3d software’s is beneficial. Organic modelling comes up often and is usually a requirement for this role. Typically for people, creatures or intricate details. Shaders are common too, along with lighting and is important to portray the tone and style of the scene.

Playground games mentions experience with terrain sculpting which does not come up on the others, suggesting this is an uncommon trait. Still, it makes sense for an environment artist to have experience with sculpting terrain. But again, depends on the studio and their projects. With games such as Forza having huge environments that are parts of Australia, it seems that the terrain is sculpted which allows for an efficient creation process. Other studios working on smaller levels or parts of environments, may rely less on a terrain sculpting process as the assets make up most of the environments. Playground games is the only one on this list that does not have minimum industry working experience entry, suggesting that this may be more of an entry level role over the others here. All the others here require industry experience with the minimum being on Axis animation, with at least 2 years’ experience.

Mari and Bodypainter software do not typically come up on game studio job roles, but since Axis primarily do animations, this software may be more typical in these industries. Both allow for painting and textures onto surfaces like how substance painter works. But Mari allows for higher resolution textures which means that it is inefficient for games, but for something such as animation these restrictions do not apply. On a final note, Mudbox and Zbrush are prevalent due to their sculpting abilities and are widely used in the industries. Sculpting assets with software such as this can be easier and more beneficial than trying to sculpt in software such as 3ds max, and can also help improve hard surface models. For example, you could model a brick within 3ds max, then make it a high poly and export it into Zbrush. From there you can then add more intricate details such as scratches and other wear and damage. From here it can then be baked to a low poly providing you with a highly-detailed asset by using an efficient workflow.

Overall I looked at four different companies and discerned the similarities and difference between them. I found the modelling package is not too important if you have a strong knowledge with modelling and topology overall. Technical knowledge is also vital by understanding the limits of the platform making sure assets fit the requirements. Shaders, Zbrush/Mudbox and great time management are also common. I also found that depending certain skills vary from companies depending on the projects, such as Naughty Dog requiring strong experience creating plants but are still very necessary for many roles. It may also be worth learning software such as Mari which could prove beneficial for vfx or animation roles which typically rely on this software more than game industry software.

References –

Naughty Dog – https://www.artstation.com/jobs/4M7V

Sumo digital – https://www.artstation.com/jobs/4Mwz

Playground games – https://www.artstation.com/jobs/jNy4

Axis animation https://www.artstation.com/jobs/4MOV