Monday, 3 June 2013


The conclusion to a crazy ass long project, its been emotional guys. I dunno where to start I guess lets start with answering a series of questions. Did you achieve what you wanted? Did you meet your constraints/brief? What did you learn? If you did the project again what would you change? What was your biggest problem? What did you enjoy most about the project?

So I set out to achieve a taxidermy factory, my brief stated it would have at least one full wall of deer heads and conveyor belts of animals being processed. As the project went on this changed. My modular building parts could be used to make my factory infinity larger but the problem is filling that to make it look interesting and just not a big repeating room. I decided against that as i didn't want too much space because it would feel wrong to me. Also because of my research I found so many cool taxidermists, too many in fact that I didn't get to model even a fraction of what I want to. This is when I decided to do a showcase area in the factory instead because composition-ally it would be more interesting. But by reducing the work and trying to create as much animals and interesting things I think I did achieve what I wanted. I would want more cool awesome animals but that was time consuming and as one person I can only do so much.

Interesting...continue my friend

I am right on my texture budget of 150mb and I'm under my triangle limit of 200,000 tris without instances. I gave myself a massive triangle budget at the start because I wasn't sure what animals I would be modelling or the triangle count it would add up to. And i handed in on time so I met the time constraint, now that's not to say I worked productively all the time. This year has been hard and because of the length of FMP it was hard to focus sometimes add this to my personal issues and I think i could have used my time more effectively to add more animals and make the factory bigger because of that. But this is one of the things were I don't use excuses and I should have worked harder and I didn't and that's my fault. Even with that I think I did a nice job of the level.

Stuck in a bad loop? I hear ya bros

I learned so much during this project, it has been an eye opener. I found that I enjoyed modelling and sculpting the animals the most and that has questioned my environmental job applications. I just found them way more interesting and exciting to work on rather than pipes and building parts. So I think my next few projects after uni will be character projects and learning Zbrush more intensely to see if I have what it takes to be a character artist. Or a principle animal artist...that would be the best :D 


I think I kinda covered what I would change but to be honest Mike Powell said something to me when I presented the project to him. He said "Have you considered turning some of this taxidermy stuff into characters because there is some interesting stuff there". I foolishly said no because I wanted to do an environment stuff and the animals, I should have took him up on his offer and instead of the animals having to be rushed I would have had some amazing character sculpts and designs. Sometimes I hate that your always right Mike. This brings me to a good point though that half way through my project I realised what I was trying to achieve, a character and environment project. In industry a character artist would be told to make any animals for a game, so what I did was gave myself more to do because of this. Obviously I didn't have the time to make them as polished assets as Saran or Rich's characters but I did make quite a few animals. So you know what yeah I'm awesome :D

There there...Mike told you so

I think one of the major problems I had during the project personal wise was time management because I would just waste my time like a dick. But on a work related note it would be the fur, trying to make it look like fur was annoying and frustrating. I trying numerous things to do this, sculpting the fur manually would give a really nice stylized effect but it was far too long process. I tried alphas but the bake never seemed to get the detail that the sculpt did. I also tried tiling fur normal maps, the problem with that is that you can get some ugly seams. And its something I struggled with the entire project.

Fur...I give up

I enjoyed texturing pipes...that was my favourite part of the project...yeah as if, the animals are the key focal point of my level and I enjoyed doing them the most. I wish I got to sculpt more but as time went on I had to get faster and some animals didn't even make it into Zbrush because of this and that's a same. I also made it a thing to do some character work during my FMP on personal projects because it was good to get a break from looking at the level every second of every day which i guess I'll post on my regular blog at some point.

Oh look it's not FMP

As I whole I am pretty happy with the project, I like to be different and I think I have created something different and interesting. That is what I like to see in game and so that's what I like to create. I am not afraid of colour as you probably know by looking at any of my work. If I wanted to look at a brown level I would just cover my eyes in dirt but I like playing with colours to create a more interesting atmosphere. I can be a bit too garish with my colour choices but I stand by them. The building turned out better than I expected, at first I didn't know what this construct would look like or how I would modulate it but after some planning it came together quite quickly and it became a great place to host my taxidermist factory. Apart from wishing i had done more animals I'm proud in myself. But FMP is finally over and I feel like university has been a place for me to flourish and learn who I am and what I want to be. It's been full or ups and downs and being the first to go in my family I definitely don't regret it. All I have to do now is get a job and start getting paid to do what I No model cute ass stuff all day. I might do another post on my other blog about my university experience rather on my FMP blog. 

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Early Morning Sketches & Video

End of project and with everything done I have resorted to sketching cause it's fun. I remembered how much I miss just sketching stuff and I have grown my love for animals and I think the sunbear will become my new mascot, just so damn cute. Why a pointless post? Because I with it

Here's the flythrough as well, trying to keep it 30 seconds as this is what Chris asked us to do, I even went over I don't want to think how fast some other peoples levels would have to be. Again I'll probably apologise a billion times, my laptop screen is different than all u monitors out there and so you are probably seeing a darker more saturated version so I do apologize if that's the case.

But with that I think I'm done, I have new screenshots for Chris, the textures are lowered, Heather's files are cleaned up for Monday. And I think all I have to do is write myself an evaluation on the bloggies about the project. Could be a long one. So yeh I'll get stuff on disc later after I have a kip and then it will only be a few hours until this bad boy is finally over :D

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Quick change magic...UDK style

Right so I've changed the lighting a bit to see if I can make it more have more contrast, I also adjusted the colours in photoshop so it should look okay on the screen your using. 

I put the test template below so you can see a comparison as before I changed the fog so it wasn't washing out the lighting as much and I changed the lights inside to be less bright and smaller radius.  

Screen Differences

So you've probably been blinded by my images now because of the screen differences between my screen and other screen. So below is a test board I did and i made the colours lighter and less saturated for them. What I'm working now is when I went in to see Chris he made the point of the level being very flat due to some of the lighting. So I'm changing that up now, adjusting some values and trying to push the lights and darks then I will re-render my shots and put them up to see. After that I just have to just get the flythrough done and make my textures smaller for submission and that should be it.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Final Screenshots

Since Chris gave us another week to get our screenshots together I took that time just to model a few little bits and play with the post possessing a bit. The below images are the finals, note not the high res versions because they wouldn't upload. But its nice to see it done. My weekend will be de-res textures for submission and working on presentation, the level has generic factory sounds that I slapped together using various audios and Audacity. (I'll add a screenshot if i can find it below) And yeah awesome my next post will be an evaluation on my beautiful work and I might try render out all the assets together in max or something. I think I have...around 150 or so assets...that'll be fun to put in one scene. I think I'll do it via UDK actually.

P.S. Vibrancy will probably change due to your screen so sorry if I blind you, that is all :)

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

What day is it?

Days pass and it all blurs into one huge hour. Time seems to fly by as its getting closer to deadline and some days I seem to do loads of work and others I seem to dander. But it's getting there, this week has been doing loads of things like speculars and normals I put off at the start of the project. So making my way through them baking down some last of the assets. I still have a lamppost to texture and still have to model some trees this week, also need to get some more dirt decals on the go and just keep playing with the lighting and composition of the scenes. The kismet is down and I have a particle effect for the steam inside the factory, I also have sound for the level that I downloaded from a royalty free website and I just need to edit that and put it in. I fixed the size of the character through kismet so its a good size now. I still have to fix some normal seems on the animals that seem to be occurring for some reason. I also painted a skydome while watching eurovision cause that's how I spend my days, well that and watching really bad films.  If I have time would be nice to model some more clutter for the floor, maybe some general taxidermy equipment and some books. Anywho here is the level at the minute;

Also the plaster on the walls is done so I can change the colour so here are some outlandish colour changes just because I love me some colour. Like I rearranged the room a little to make the shots a little more interesting. But yeah out of all these I like the yellow most surprisingly the yellow and orange are pretty cool, I think if I was for going for this I would change the lighting a little bit to support it better. 

Right so there is nothing too major that has to be done I just need to fix stuff, change a few things, model some things. All stuff that is doable in the time. I want a couple of days to just sit and tweak it so I will try get  it finished asap so I can do that. But you can never predict the days, yesterday I lost a days work and so I will have to do that again but shit happens and I'll tear on. Deadline is looming and it will feel good to get the project over with but for now I has shit to do so stop distracting me blog.

Peace out.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Herba Glarb

Just quickly putting up some shots and talk about them quickly on what I've been doing. So I've been texturing recently and trying to get through it all, a little while back I did the following screenshots for my portfolio and polycount thread just to let people know what I'm working on.

A bit update then on what I'm doing and what to be done. 
       -So I need to fix the lighting cause its bugging me like crazy, I might just remove all the lights and then do it again start a clean slate. 
       - I redid the brick texture finally and I need to get a new normal on the go. 
       - Have to do another variation on the pipe texture as its also annoying. 
       - Few assets still need finished texturing and fixing up a bit. 
       - Need to do more lightmaps have to be done. 
       - I'm doing more foliage for the outside at the minute to make it seem more at life, I might do a pond still but not sure. 
        -I did trees but hated them so they are deleted and I'll redo them this week make them look half decent. 
       - I have to get a sky box on the go as well. 
       -Also making my way through one of the last assets for the level, the Pim Paalsgraaf piece and I'm retopoing the crystals at the minute. 
       -I've got some decals to do, I tried to do some but I made them too low res so I will redo them and make the areas that rely on titling textures more interesting.
       - I've got to do the kismet for the factory stuff behind the glass, also some particle FX
       - I want to do an animation of a deer for the outside just grazing and being cute but this is something i probably won't get done for deadline but I will do for degree show.

Friday, 26 April 2013

UV Maps

So something different for a change, I thought I would share with you guys my UV layouts. This is a mixture of organic animal unwraps as well as hardware machinery parts. You can see the difference in how I construct my layouts. Organic unwrapping is very different to normal unwrapping and sometimes you have to waste space. I don't like doing this but the odd shapes you get, you can't help but waste a little. Unwrappign is something that you just learn to get better at and every time I do them I always try and optimize them to make sure I get the best texel density. I think there is one thing I don't do well which is allowing bleeding and so I can get some errors due to packing my maps a bit too tight, this is especially true for normal maps. These are most of my texture sheets for FMP but I'm sure I've missed out some by accident but I thought it would be a fun blog just to show the way I unwrap and pack my maps :).