Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oh hai!

Hey Everybody!

Long time no see. This past month has been a very very hectic one as, (surprise!) I can no longer say my home address is Indianapolis, but instead is Marlborough, MA. Yeah, that's right. I moved out for better or for worse. Some of you may know that Ben recently got hired at the wonderful 38 studios here in Maynard and I, like every girlfriend since antiquity, came along with him.

So after the weeks of planning the move, making the move, making sure we weren't sleeping on the streets the first few nights, got an apartment, furnished it and then realized we are pretty much broke all over again. . . I can say that we are finally settled! Massachusetts so far is a pretty cool place. We visited Boston our first weekend after the move in and all I gotta say is "meh" but then again when you barely have enough money for parking let alone seeing any sites, its kinda understandable why our experience was a little lack luster. (We walked the freedom trail but didn't have the cash to go into places like Paul Revere's house. So it basically turned into a tour of graveyards).

So what have I been doing while Ben is at work (like all freakin' day)? I've been home, alone, working on a new portfolio piece which I will now share with you. I've been very eager to get it done and since its creation took place around the move, its been difficult to update on it. So I'm gonna try my hardest to give you guys a breakdown of how it all came together.

I wanted to try my hand at something that is 100% hand painted but still with a good amount of detail. Basically the types of stylized assets that I always wished I could make but never had the time or resources to pull it off. Its been slow going (as you'll see) because after 2 years of doing photo based textures and modeling in 3D, my painting skills have fallen by the wayside. It took a bit of patience to get back into the swing of things.

I decided to make a relatively large asset that still was somewhat intricate but without requiring me to devote weeks to creating a full on scene. I think that's my biggest pet peeve about my portfolio is that somehow I always end up doing complete scenes when sometimes, I wish I just had a collection of really bad ass individual objects. Anyway, a gypsy wagon ended up popping into my brain one night and voila! A new project was born.

The modeling was actually the easiest part of this piece, which is somewhat surprising when i think back on how complicated it seemed to me at first. Mostly cause there is no good reference out there for what the heck is going on in the undercarriage of a wagon like this. In the end I had to pretty much settle for whatever I could make out in just your average pictures and realize that in a game environment unless an angry mob knocked the wagon over (which with Gypsy's is always a possibility) you weren't going to really see the undercarriage much. I think I got it pretty close though, minus maybe a few thingamajigs . . .

Next came the painting, or rather first, the planning out of the painting. Gypsy wagon's are supposed to be very colorful and artistic, but I already knew I wanted mine to look a little more run down. I actually considered switching gears and making it more of an old salesman's wagon (like the guy at the beginning of the Wizard of Oz) but in the end I pretty much stuck with the original plan and now color became a big question mark.

So this is the original color scheme (some things changed) as well as the original layout (which also changed to maximize size on certain things.) As far as color goes, it pretty much stayed the same, though in the end I chose to have more bare wood showing in places as opposed to having the entire thing be covered in peeling paint.

I then decided to approach the individual textures, well. . . individually, in their own files. This way I could easily place it out on the actual texture map and be able to deform pieces as I liked. So the wood came first of course and the wood went through about 4 different stages before settling on the final one. Part of this was me warming up my painting skills, and the other part was me pushing the level of detail. So here's a quick montage of the evolution of . . wood.

There were quite a few sub variations of many of these but sadly I don't have the iterations saved.

A few more textures that went into the making of the wagon. . .

And yeah.

I ended up going back into the mesh and sagging it up a bit in places (making it look like it may not be up to safety code) and adding more mesh detail in certain places. I ended up completing modeling out the curtains where as originally they were pretty much a scrunched plane. But after deciding on the draping fabric as opposed to just a typical hanging curtain, I realized that the mesh should reflect some of that form.

And so with some final lighting and the entire compiled Texture Map. . .

A couple things I wish I could change (but its a bit late in the process now). I wish I could have once again reallocated space for the UV's. Over the process of painting the thing, my ideas towards certain parts of the mesh changed along with their general importance. For example, the drapes should really have more space, but I didn't realize this till after I changed my entire approach to them and by that time there was no real extra room to give them or move them to. I wish I had decided on that back from the beginning or around the second time I reorganized the Uv's.

Same thing goes for the windows. I ended up enhancing their size by the end of the build which stretched their pixels a bit to the limit.

So . . . yeah. . .

Whats next? Well you may remember that Windmill I started a while back. I'm not sure where to go with it. Part of me wants to stick with doing hand painted stylized stuff, since quite frankly it was a lot more fun than I had expected (its wonderful how much more enjoyable these things can be without a school deadline). However I had never really intended for my rework of Emerson to go in that direction, I had always imagined it being photo real, Call of Duty kind of stuff. So I'm torn now whether to do something completely different, or just do Emerson in a different style. Hmm decisions.

Anyhow, I'm taking the day off now, as this wagon has stolen way too much of my attention this past week. It is now up on the website though. http://www.denisetomlin.net/Wagon.html

Hope everyone out there is having a good summer! I keep hearing about people getting hired finally (people who I thought should have been hired the first day out of school). So congrats to all you guys! I miss your talent being near me! (lol, that sounds stupid. . . )