Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Animation + Conclusion.

So, the link above is a HEAVILY compressed version of the original file.

4.3 GB downscaled to a measly 32 MB. Why? It had to be quicktime, and I was having SO much trouble and spending SO much time trying to find a nice balance between quality and filesize.

Unfortunately, nothing compared to the final in the end. Even though I had to render it in standard resolution, which was quite a shame as I had optimized the textures and lighting for HD playback, which is based on the development of Crysis / Fable 3 (the look of which we were going for,) high res textures, looking awesome, with low poly models.

It really is a shame, really. It's obviously too late to do this now, but the animation is also quite bad, I'm not pointing any fingers there, but long story short I should have corrected it, but I rushed the render to try and get it finished on time, and still managed to overrun slightly.

So, how's this experience been?

Fairly good. I enjoyed working with everyone on the team even though at certain points the workmode just died completely, even in times of desperation work wasn't getting done, leaving me to get more work done. At least I know now, there's no way in hell, that I'm EVER





going to leave a project like this till the last couple days again. It takes far too long to make sure everything is perfect, especially when you're working in a group.

For future reference Mr.Litchmore, be more boss, be less friend, otherwise, nothing get's done and you get the blame.

All in all, I hope we get a decent grade.

Bring on the next project :D

Some fairly HQ stills to show.


So, 3 days to go. What's left to do? Just animate really. Watch this for Dominique's block out of the animation. I did start this, but Dommeh took over. In terms of the actual animation though, I guess that's my fault. Well partly. All I did was do parts that actually needed animation, and deleted the keyframes which created that blocked out effect. It was obvious at this point that some things were far too fast, and the camera did go a bit weird at points.

I did try to fix it, but what I managed to salvage did not impress me at this point in time, as it wasn't as I had envisioned. Time was spent trying to correct but no prevail as time was running out. I had to get everything ready and set up to render, otherwise it wouldn't be finished in time.

State of mind: Stressed, because of both projects, and because of the fact that the animation isn't as cool as I'd hoped.

The water drops and puddle I was previously talking about, along with a nice bit of scenery. Lighting is pretty much perfect, sunset. This is what I've been aiming for and working towards.
I had a specific idea in mind for the layout. Since the rat pretty much sticks to the right hand side of the road / street once he emerges from the starter house, I thought it would be common sense for me to place the houses of which everyone had modelled, on the left. This is pretty much the most sensible way I could expect the camera to at least brush past. :p Now, it's just time to animate and render.

Last but not least, the only thing that's now left is the main house. Because we were running out of time, I started blocking out the animation. This was later taken over by dominique, who then passed the job on to gerome, so it's a shared effort between the two of them on my model. After it was done I textured the pipe.

In terms of animating, the block out was to allow us to see how things would move, so hopefully we wouldn't have a shoddy animation. Stay tuned.
Another quick render shot of the end of the street. Geromes house is straight ahead, my house is on the ight, and Lily's house is on the left.
The sacred apple, the apple of LIFE! Yes, this is the apple which the rat spots from a distance, only to get taken away right in front of his eyes. It's because of this that the rat has to go and look elsewhere for food. :P
Another screenshot demonstrating the water as below.
Now, I don't know if you can actually see this, but in case you can't later on there is a brighter image. As I mentioned before I did try partical emission techniques to try and get rain to fall, and puddles to develop. As I mentioned before also, I failed with this horribly. Thankfully though, I managed to solve quite a few puddles and placed them around the map.
Gerome suggested that I applied a brown tint to the lighting, to give London that overall muddy, dirty look. He said that he liked it, but envisioned London as it should be, being more grey. This lighting was obviously discarded.

Whilst at this point, Oly didn't have anything to do for a while. So I asked her if she could perhaps make some trees. Unfortunately, I'm not to sure what was wrong with them but the leaves we're showing up as leafy blocks. Because of this I could not use them as it would look really wrong. Instead, I deleted the leaves from the tree, re-applied the textures, and imported them back into the scene.

Thankfully, which is something I didn't notice until later on, is that Oly had actually animated one of the trees a little bit. It's a shame that it didn't work properly though.

Credit is given where it is due, so props to you Oly, and everyone else thus far. You're all lazy noobs, but you all work when time is near (kinda) xD

And yes, I'm included in that :P
Once everything was back in place, I began to import, apply the textures, move, scale, etc; of all the objects which needed to be put in. So

Stalls - By lily
Barrels - By lily
Apple - By Sarah
Rat - By Gerome.

These props we're randomly placed according to light and shadow, and camera shot which matched the animatic.
Sarahs house! Looks cool. Just thought I'd state that. And next to sarah's house is dominiques house. Finally finished, error free. It's all done. Yaaaay. Just need to put everything back into it's original place.

Now, this image is very important. I don't know if you can actually see the text, but if you can, it states that all the red arrows, are the the objects modelled and textured by me. So the buildings,
and the floor. I didn't bother state what houses I had textured if I didn't model them. There wasn't that many anyways.

There was, Gerome's house, and Oly's house aside from mine, but that is it.
Again, this is just the finished texture / UV of my twin house.
This is a screen with default lights, again just to see most of the stuff that I've done, on the floor that I've done. :p
Another test with all the buildings moved out of the way. Again, just for lighting purposes to see where specific shadows would end up.
I decided to go back and try and rework the lighting, the make sure that it was dark enough to reflect the mood of which we wanted to convey. Right.
Right. ALMOST FINISHED. This is actually an earlier screenshot. But I pretty much wanted to show all the objects I full modelled AND textured AND lit.

^Specular map for Geromes house.
^ Displacement map for geromes house.
Texture map I created for geromes house. Yes, he's a villain in our project. :P This was done pretty much using brushes in photoshop. Now if you're wondering, I didn't fully texture the house properly in the sense of using wood. What I did was copy a side of one of my original buildings, edit it a bit, and then put it on to the side of this building. Purely for the reason that I didn't feel it was necessary as you'd only see a little bit of the side.

The position of this building is only going to be seen pretty much from the front of the house. As I said before, only model, texture and animate what the camera is going to see.

Bump and displacement map. - Previously explained what these two are for. :p

Ollie hasn't been able to make it to mine yet (work and other commitments) so I'm texturing her building as well. These textures were pretty much taken from some of my other UVs / textures. In this specific example you can blatantly see my previous textured house in the top left corner

SOOOOOO. Part four of the journey.

Before I start my annotation and comments, I'd like to take this brief moment to state where we are.

Just over four days to go. And this is where I'm currently at. Lily is doing a barrel, and a stall. Sarah is doing an apple. Gerome is doing a rat.

How do I feel? Stressed. Very stressed. I'm doing too much work in too little time. :<>

Just got to push forward I guess.

Journey PT 3

Annnnnd this is a test render that I had done of the street and my buildings. Looks pretty decent with plain lighting. At this stage, I feel pretty confident about the look of the whole thing, since I've investigated plenty, experimented plenty, and have gained quite a bit of knowledge, and passed some on. Yaaay. I'm looking forward to the final piece of this though.
So. This is what the rendered versions of two of the small houses I modelled. Now, if you look closely at the house closest to the camera, you'll notice a little easter egg. Well, it's only if you can identify it. :P

Self explanatory - Same description as below.

These are the UV's I used for this building.

Now, I did four houses, based on the same geometry, and the same UV's. Obviously there's only a slight variation in terms of colour and texture. Like for example, some colours are darker, some have marks on them, near the base of the ground due to wear and tear.

Just in case you're wondering, some parts of the wood purposely have little bits of paint put over the wood. This is to illustrate the sloppiness in the making of the houses in that era.
Yay! Textured houses! Yes, they're all different. Thankfully with UV mapping you can scale the house. But only if you scale the object as a whole. Scaling parts individually means that the UV goes out of whack, and you're left with a texture-less object.

So, back to this house. Texturing time. Using the EXACT same method. (UV snapshots, exporting into photo-shop, painting the textures blah blah blah)

Oh wait.

I didn't actually explain how I UV my objects. :P

Well it all depends. Automatic mapping isn't really cool for this sort of thing, so instead I used create UVS based on camera in the Planar Mapping feature. This allowed me to texture the individual faces of a house. Later on it was revealed to me by Gerome who further experimented on what I taught everyone, and found out that you can individual create a face's UV. This would allow you to simply correct any errors.

Okay, this is just an image of the houses that I have so far. So, at this point, Sarahs house is finished (second house from the left) so is Oly's house, (first on the left) and Geromes, and Lily's house. The only house missing now is Dominique's. In all fairness, she has been trying really hard, but her laptop is pretty much ultimate fail. Every 10 seconds, the screen goes white until you knock it back into place, and randomly stops functioning. This, combined with simple mistakes made her house fail time and time again. Hopefully she'll have success soon.

Journey PT 2


Break. How is it all going?

I'm so tired.. I can barely function. Everyone else has gone to sleep a lot earlier than I am, I'm going to turn the machine off soon so I don't cause too much noise, + my machine makes a lot of noise.

And sarah is scary when she's tired.

This is the floor with the colour texture, the bump map, the specular map, and the displacement map. Now, at this particular shot, you can't really see much reflectivity amongst the surface of the brick floor, however you can see that the detail has been raised. Now, since this screen-shot, I have reworked the texture of the floor, tweaking attributes and also making the floor texture generally looking more realistic.

Upon asking the group, it resulted in a 3-3 tie. Flipping the coin made the decision to stick with the top one. Later on in the development process, I did re-import the other floor texture, and to be honest, it didn't look as nice.

Democracy wins I guess. :P
Now. Although this image looks better in terms of reflectivity and matches the mood better (the feel of this area is a run-down, post trading day London, just after the rain has come. It does look really nice though. As I said before, the textures and the lighting I optimized for high resolution, so hopefully it doesn't look too bad if we end up not rendering in high resolution.

I was actually going to put some light rain in, but after multiple particle failed tests, I decided not to.

The tutorial I followed pretty much just involved creating an emitter, applying gravity, adjusting fade length and some other controls. Again, it looked okay, but I thought it wasn't necessary, as well as the fact that putting it in added QUITE A BIT of render time.
And this is it with the bump, and displacement applied.

This is what it looked like without a UV map, (hence the scaling issues) with just a specular map and colour texture applied...
Displacement map ^ This is probably my new method for texturing. ;D
NOW. The interesting part. ^ Specular map

Colour texture - Texture of the actual object
Bump map - Definition of the raises in the object
Specular map - What parts of your texture are going to reflect light
Displacement map - Raises the geometry of your texture.

Now, this is pretty much all the information I gathered by messing about with maya, as well as informational tutorials on line. By using these four maps, and obviously controls, I was able to create a decent looking floor.

SO. For example..
As I didn't want the entire thing to be the same colour, a simple colour gradient was applied. This was to create variation in the colour of the brick pattern.
Now, as said before, this is the compilation of textures used. Well. Simply the texture used was a photograph of the floor in rochester, taken by sarah / lily. Now, obviously the photograph didn't come EXACTLY like this.

All that I did was take the photograph, warp it a little bit so that the image looked like it was flat on the ground. Then using the clone tool / other photoshop methods, cloned a square tile, re-arranged to have a much bigger texture.

All the textures that I'm using / want to use I want it to be high res, so 5k+.

At this early stage, the image above is what the floor ended up looking like, with a basic blinn texture.
In terms of the lighting, the image below is KIND of what I wanted in comparison to this sort of feel. Unfortunately, with my lack of knowledge in lighting, I don't know how I'm going to sort this out... YET..
This is just a render of the street with two basic lights on. Just to give me an idea of generally how it would look. Pretty from this point on was a constant battle to find a nice decent lighting source. Best of the best will be shown here. In terms of what I felt would match the scene the most.

This image here pretty much gives a great example of generally what I was expecting. However, due to the fact that there was no general light (just default black and white lighting) I added a light to it to see what it would look like. Well, I added two lights. (shown in the next image)
Shot of the street from above. Purposes? Deciding where to position the light to get the best shadows.
Houses removed, what are you left with? Can you guess? :O Yes, that's right, the floor.

Right, enough about the modelling of the houses. At this stage, not all of the houses are done to a finished modelled standard. But I felt it necessary at this point in time to put everything on a plane, and organize it roughly to how I'd want the road to be.

Of course, the initial layout of this was based off of the victoria street shown below (google maps) with a slight curvature at the end of the path. Doing this allowed me to generally get a grasp
Windows of my twin house. Done by Lily. I can't remember exactly why she did this, I think she was waiting for me to do something for her.. O_o Anyways, it does conform to what we had researched about arched windows. The details that we can put on will all be in the textures.
Geromes house. Looks quite decent. This house was based directly off of one of the reference images that sarah and lily took. Am I pleased with this? Heck yes! Going to be awesome when I texture it. Hopefully, I haven't textured yet, and know absolutely nothing about texturing as of yet.
It was at this point, that other peoples houses started being complete. Well the model anyway. Lily has finished her house, as well as geromes (far left). At this stage, only Dominique's, Sarah's, and Oly's house is let.
Like I've said before, began to work in the detail on the main house. This is pretty much going to be the end result in terms of what's already been applied. The same decoration will pretty much be applied on the front, back, and the other side. As I've said before, this is going to be the main house so this house needs to look the best, otherwise it'll defeat the purpose. Obviously that's all going to be down to texturing.
And then we move on to this. What is this specifically? Just more detail. Specifically the house focused on the centre of the camera. The frames and decoration of the house has been applied. Looks okay for the style we're going for.

How do I feel about it? Quite pleased. Although very basic, this is pretty much the first time I've ever modelled anything from scratch.

Infact, to be completely honest with you, this is pretty much my first time modelling, texturing, and lighting.

Moving on up!
Just another shot of the camera, showing the current stage of the houses in development so far.
Next up on the menu, a tall house. Random tall house? No. This is going to be the model for the main house. The house in which the rat decides to climb up to fetch his food. The reason why it's tall is purely for the fact that it can gather a nice look of the view as it climbs. Easily, you can tell that the model is based on the same basic shapes and designs as the other, with slight geometry modification.

Here is a little highlight of one of the buildings. As it's geometry obviously differs from the previous image. Added a couple frames, in terms of wood decoration to the model, and the chimney. The house now looks like a house, sort of.. :P

Before I moved on, in terms of working in a tiny bit of detail, I began to make the roofs. This was done simply by adding subdivisions to the faces of the roofs, and extruding faces out, then rotating them. Was this necessary? Well. One could debate that the roofs will very likely never be seen, but for the sake of this model and future potential I tried to make the roofs as accurate to buildings from the 1350's as accurate as possible. Clay tiles, slanted.