Wednesday, 18 December 2013

I'm still counting this as Wednesday!

So I was hoping to have my character sculpt finished by the end of today so that I can start retopologising, this is where I have got to:

As you can see there is still much to do and a lot of tweaking to improve the likeness and finish off the sculpt but I think I would have been able to get most of it done tomorrow if someone didn't quit working at Bistrot Pierre today leaving me with a shift from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. tomorrow. Friday is now my goal. The main things I'm wanting to correct/do are:
  • Sculpt more of the skin detail on the face
  • Re-adjust the jaw to be wider and more like my own.
  • Adjust the trousers to be wider from front to back as they look fairly odd at the moment.
  • Work into the boots, pouches and hands/arms more.
  • Apply a weave texture to the rope.
Once I have done these things I feel the sculpt should be read to retopolgise however a major worry at the moment is getting the hair to look right and staying within the tri count. I am significantly behind my ideal schedule as I wanted to have almost finished the texturing by now allowing me to rig and tweak for a while. Unfortunately life has got in the way but I'm going to focusing on this project a great deal to make sure it is finished to the best of my abilities and reflects the amount of work I have put into it.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Assements... what to do next

After receiving the fomative feedback a week ago I have been working out goals and ideas of what to do with the feedback and how to progress from here. I have come up with some techniques and systematic approaches to work from in order to create a better and more efficient workflow especially for Game Production where there were a couple of minor issues which need to be addressed.

Firstly I have started working on a flow diagram which I can follow for each mesh before I put it into engine. I am also working out some folder structures that I can use and some photoshop organisation to use. This will hopefully eliminate ngons, floating verts, unsmoothed areas and unnamed objects. Below is a work in progress of the flow diagram which will eventually address the issues with exporting meshes.

Considering that during the week I am in the labs everyday as much as I can be, I have decided that I'm going to try and dedicate Saturday and Sunday to personal briefs, blog posts and catching up on work I'm behind on. Unfortunately from January I am still working at Le Bistrot Pierre, I have recently been needed to work a lot more than desirable, 6 days a week, as its December and so my work load has increased to a degree that I am not very comfortable with. I have discussed this with them and we're trying to work out how I can work as little as possible.

At the moment I am working on the BMW art test, the Mortal Engines Character project and re-doing a final for Visual Design. In my assessment I was told that there were some key areas that I need to improve with my painting work because of this I was told to redo some final pieces to show improvement and maybe bump me up to the very good mark. As I am very keen to show this off I have decided to redo my Bradgate Park final with more depth, layering, compositional adjustments, compositional improvements and have more emotive elements.

This is where I've got to with the Mortal Engines sculpt, I'm behind schedule but I'm pretty happy with how its coming out and I'm enjoying sculpting more than I expected to. Still lots to do but I hope to be done by Wednesday evening so I can retoplogise and start texturing.

The BMW art test is slowly becoming more and more of a fully formed idea and I've got to the point where I can start making assets which I'm planning to do on Thursday. Below is the white box showing the idea of what I'm going to make but I don't feel I have the time to paint it even though I would quite like to. At this point I'm uncertain whether I will use Max, UDK or Cry to render the images, I'm wanting to do it in Cry but that is teaching myself another program so may not be the best choice. Again I'm behind schedule but I have planned out what assets I'm going to make and how I'm going to go about it.
Final Idea, unpainted to save time.

My initial idea of a subterranean modern art house.
My second idea, questioned/shot down because of the grimey-ness BMW being a more premium brand.

First whiteboxing of a dock scene, I thought it was far too large scale with not enough modular pieces.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Elements of Game Design: Visual Composition

Visual composition is a very simple concept but is incredibly difficult to use effectively. It is simply the arrangement of visual cues whether in a still image, video or interactive experience. It is one of the key aspects to art which is often overlooked by art students but is studied thoroughly by successful artists.

Leonardo Fibonacci helped the study of composition to no end, much of what we know in terms of how to arrange images is down to his work in mathematics. The Fibonacci sequence led to a better understanding of "The Golden Ratio", this had already been discovered and used by ancient Greek sculptors such as Phidas. "The Golden Ratio" is represented in maths as the Greek letter phi, Φ, this is important as it shows us composition has been studied for thousands of years but more importantly composition is a fairly mathematical concept. It is important to remember the roots of these things and to remember that the old masters, whether you are talking about the Renaissance painters or the Greek sculptors, were not artists as artists are seen today. They were scientists, philosophers and mathematicians, if anything their art work came from this study and intrigue into understanding what was around them and how to communicate that understanding.

Below you can see a mathematical diagram of "The Golden Ratio", this is often simplified or slightly modified to be called the "Rule of Thirds". The two different ideas are slightly different but they are very similar. To use "The Golden Ratio" you split the length of the canvas using the ratio of 1.618:1 from left to right, right to left, then from top to bottom and bottom to top. This will give you a grid like the image below, you then position the points of interest and focal areas on either the line or the intersection of the lines.

Golden Ratio: Red, Thirds: Blue. Source.

Most artists have taken advantage of this technique, below you can see some examples:

The Fighting Temeraire by Turner Source
Seurat's Bathers at Asnieres Source
From "The Golden Ratio" comes the Fibonacci Spiral below you can see this spiral and the method for creating it. 

Fibonacci Spiral Source
Method for creating the Fibonacci Spiral Source
Applying this spiral to compositions allows the image to flow in a natural and interesting way which leads the viewer in, it creates an almost natural composition. When applying this to artwork it is the focal point that you want to rest within the spiral or at least near it. This is another way to create the affect seen from the "The Golden Ratio" or Rule of thirds but is slightly different.

The Mona Lisa clearly showing use of the Fibonacci Spiral. Source

Twitter's designers showing off Fibonacci's Spiral. Source
Twitter really love using Φ. Source

Just as a music needs both to flow and break to create a pleasing composition, these elements are also required in visual composition. This can be achieved in use of value, colour, placement and many other simple techniques. The aim of our work in the field of games is readability and understanding, we are visual communicators. It is important that we make understanding easy for the viewer this allows them to dissect whether they like it or not without being put off by confusion.