Sorry that I haven't been keeping that much updated on my work lately. Things started to get a little crazy a few weeks ago and I was just working every day with little time for updating.
Firstly, I would like to say that I'm really happy to have finished University and hopefully to have passed the Game Art & Animation course at the University of Glamorgan, Wales. Many times I didn't think I would make the insane deadlines and workload before us. Many late nights figuring out how stuff works and battling with rendering times clearly tested my mettle and also my will to continue with the course. I kept having to look at my goals to keep me motivated.
Taylor Reynolds helped me with my drawing and 3D work, and I'd like to thank him especially for helping me to understand aspects that I just wasn't getting!
At the beginning of this year I wanted to do more 3D because I've been enjoying it more and more over the months, and I've come to the conclusion that I WANT to do this as a JOB! The opportunities to do 3D work are on the rise and I'd like to be part of the industry.
So, I decided to pull my socks up a bit this year. In January, I began dabbling in creature design for Jeremy Evans, and found certain aspects to be very frustrating. For example, rendering Hair and Fur in 3DS was a mite difficult, and in the end the result just wasn't that great either. I had to shelve that idea several times before simply settling on a hairless pig. Also I had no idea how to do nice low poly work, so the pig represents my first attempt at clean edge loops. I had nightmares about how to make the inside of the mouth and while it isn't perfect I'm happy to not be so scared about it anymore.
Moving on, I worked with Jamie Cole on a graveyard themed environment. I honestly had no idea how to make an environment. My initial preproduction work was stupidly naive and I honestly didn't know what I was getting myself into. On top of this, I wanted to make the environment for a games engine, the Unreal Development Kit (UDK). This is where modeling became a problem because I really suffered trying to come up with convincing low poly models. Much credit goes to Taylor for helping me to understand the low poly aspects and how specular maps really work (there are links on my blog if you're interested to know more).
Mid way through the course I started to look at more UDK-related work. I'm really interested to use this game engine because it's easy to use and the developers (Epic Games) are always updating it with improvements, as they actually use this engine in their own games. We're pretty much using the same engine as AAA titles. I spent a while looking at Epic's game assets and looking at a lot of David Lesperance's environment work. The trouble with environments is that they are a lot of work and unfortunately with the deadlines we're under, there is only so much time I could spend studying UDK environments. Many important things I only realised quite late in my UDK projects, for example lightmapping and modularity were giving me problems but I had to work around these issues and hopefully not sacrifice too much on the aesthetic quality. I'm going to study lightmapping and modular building more after graduation.
The last of the four projects was a bit of "fly by the seat of my pants" stuff. In my preproduction, I came up with a rather ridiculous idea to do an undead dwarf character, having no idea how to do super tight metal suits of armour. Later, I came up with an equally silly idea to do a sci fi pilot girl in fully clad metallic armour. Stupid ideas which I had no hope of ever pulling off. It's interesting though because I've been following Jon Troy Nickel's work on his latest character, and he talked about going for crazy ideas because by the time you finish a project, your initial idea becomes progressively watered down. That is definitely something I'd like to keep in mind going forward.
Finally, I would like to thank all the lecturers, tutors and friends on the course.