Thursday, 30 June 2011

Ellen Ripley

This week's project was inspired by the new title by Gearbox, 'Aliens, Colonial Marines'. The game looks great and the models are fantastic, but check out this screenshot-

Battle hardened marines anyone? I think I've seen these before somewhere. What made the Alien franchise so appealing to me was characters like these:

This game is being called advertised as a true sequel to the Alien series, so I hope it's got some good female characters in it. All I've seen from screenshots so far are male soldiers, but I'm crossing my fingers for the rare opportunity to play as a female character, even just in multiplayer!

I'm trying to make my own current generation model inspired by 'Aliens'. I'm giving myself one month to try to replicate this image in game ready 3D, rigged textured posed and rendered.

What an icon! The M61a Pulse Rifle was completed last week.

I started by studying Sigourney's face and making quick references of her facial landmarks like her very pronounced jaw and cheekbones.

Then went on to produce a photoshop painting, this took 2 hours and was valuable in understanding the shape of her nose.

Painted topology over a photograph.

Quickly blocked out a head mesh using 3DS Max and the topology reference, then put the mesh into Zbrush to check proportions after adding sockets for the eyes and mouth.

Fixing the topology, trying to get rid of the majority of triangles. This is the first time I saw a hint of Ripley in this model. Adding eyelashes really does make a difference, even at this basic stage. I noticed that her eyes looked a little too large when the texture was on so I worked to make them look more human.

So far this is a WIP model, I'm going to keep coming back to it as I model the rest of her body. The 3/4 view looks a bit off, her nose is wrong and her eyes are still quite creepy. I need to finalise the textures and build up a good normal and specular map, then get started on the hair.

Next Week:

Start on prep paintings for Newt's face and finish Ripley's. I've never made curly hair before!

Model, unwrap, rig and pose a horse. Maybe do some basic texturing on it if there is any time. I failed to make my little creature this week so need to pick up the pace. Crits welcome :)

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Off to India!

I've got an internship with Ubisoft! I'll be leaving around October time and really can't wait. Seems like a pretty good start for my first job in the games industry :D

My lack of work this week is because I've been working way too many shifts at the hospital and sorting out my online portfolio and paperwork for the internship application. My portfolio can be found here .

I did manage to finish my Alien M61A Pulse Rifle though, and it took longer than expected. I spent a long time studying reference and trying to figure out how the thing would work, while sticking to the lowest possible triangle count. Please let me know what you think.

And here's my progress:

Started by setting up a reference and blocking out basic shapes using extrude and shell modifier.

I then began refining the shapes with chamfer and adding detail like screws and pins before moving on to unwrapping and texturing.

Next Week's Action Plan:
1. Start modelling Lieutenant Ellen Ripley, possibly the coolest female character ever invented. The main issue with this is going to be getting her face right - everyone knows what Sigourney looks like and it's going to be tough to replicate her well. I think a week spent just on her face will be a good start and I can come back to it over the next few weeks.

2. Get on with some pencil sketches and photoshop paintings! I'd like to do some preliminary sketches of Ms Weaver just to understand her facial structure before I jump straight in to the evil 3DS Max and Zbrush. I also want to do some studies of how different lighting conditions affect faces.

3. Make some sort of creature and rig it again. Rigging creatures is great fun, and I have no shifts next week so I have no excuses. I might make a super low poly horse, and next week make a higher poly version with normals.

4. Sort out flights and health insurance for India, alongside trying to find someone to buy my room in Leicester for a year... wish me luck!

Thanks for reading as always! Please leave criticism :)

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Tree, Zbrush and Photoshop

This is an attempt at making a low poly tree for my racetrack. I looked at many images and real examples to try and understand how the leaves attach on to the branches.

Wireframe (full screen) ^

Here is how it looks in engine, still needs some work with shaders and lighting to get it looking right. I also modeled a cute version of a Vietnamese lion statue for the level.

I made this head in Zbrush 4.0 - trying to understand facial features in three dimensions is pretty tough. Also trying to learn how to make efficient topology without excessive loops. I got stuck at this point in the retopologising process:

I think I'm going to start from scratch on this one, I've learned a lot in the process and think my second attempt will be more successful. Before now I've only used Zbrush 3.0 for my Dinotopia statue - modeling a human head is much more difficultso I need the practice.

This week's photoshop paint - an Asian mum trying to control all her lovely girls! Inspired by someone I saw in the street with two children on leads. This still needs some work on the hands and faces. Here's my progress:

Next week I'm planning on creating a current generation model of the M41A pulse rifle from 'Aliens', it's one of my favourite movies and I'd like a weapon in my portfolio. I might also try to make Ripley at some point, because she's awesome!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Racetrack and Graphite

I spent a lot of time this week doing portrait drawing sessions with friends. I used a medium graphite stick for the following 15 minute sketches.

And I used a stick of charcoal in these 2 minute sketches to quickly capture the form.

I also quickly drew some weird cartoon characters to test if my knowledge of facial proportions is coming along without reference. I think I've improved vastly in the last 2 years but still need to get much better.

This week marked the beginning of the professional brief from Codemasters. We're getting personal tutorials from the concept artist Lee Piper over the next few days.

I started by blocking out a static mesh in 3DS Max and used the terrain tool in UDK to make a drivable track.

Made some quick assets in 3DS Max, trying to replicate a cartoon style.

I then made simple tilable textures and put the assets in to populate the track and get a sense of scale. I'm currently still working on a concept of the perspective view of the track, here is my progress so far:

This still needs to be fleshed out a lot more, needs more trees and rocks everywhere and the bridge is out of perspective. If I did this again I would draw out an isometric view to tackle the perspective issues.

I also painted a quick anatomy study in photoshop to tackle that difficult underarm area that is so darn difficult to model in 3D! Need to work on feet more I think.

And a quick head speed paint, I love the asymmetry of her face:

I'll be working on this race track all throughout the summer break, hopefully it'll be near to a professional standard by the end of it. The project should be a good practice run for my FMP and will keep me involved with UDK, maybe I'll grow a new love of environment art too. Thanks for reading please leave crits :)