Tuesday, October 19, 2010


So I have this crippling fear that I'm going to lose access to this blog because it is attached to my old school e-mail which in essence doesn't exist anymore, and any attempts I've made to try and change it to something else for some reason aren't working. I just hope it never asks me for a confirmation or something cause I'd be screwed.

Anyhow. . . Hi folks.

So during my exile to the land of apartment girlfriends, I've been keeping busy with sort of a split personality of interests and hobbies. I also had an art test a few weeks ago so we'll see how that plays out. But as usual when I am left to my own devices I have turned back to good ole crafting to keep me sane during my endless amounts of free time. I love making digital things and so forth, but I also yearn back to my old foundation classes in college when we worked with sculpey and paper and hot glue that I always managed to burn myself with. I miss the tactile feeling of being able to touch and hold what I've created, you certainly don't get that with digital works. Normally I tend to turn to sewing when I get these urges but sadly I have no sewing machine currently.

So for a little over a month now I've been dabbling in the geekdom that is Papercraft. If you don't know, papercraft is basically making 3D models out of paper. Its kinda like origami except with glue and multiple pieces. It fascinates me cause most of the time it works much like 3D computer models do. You design the model, cut it up into pieces that can be layed out flat and printed out, then you glue those pieces together. Its much like UV unwrapping and texturing but without the undo button. I have found that it fulfills both my interests of creating something on a computer but being able to still hold it in the real world. I had heard of the craft before but recently stumbled across a site that designs and creates Pokemon papercraft models. They have done some pretty amazing models and it has been my introduction into the whole process. It was frustrating at first, I went through about 3 failed models before I successfully completed one (mostly by choosing less complex models to practice with). Its fun to put it all together, but the cutting out all the pieces is the most annoying part. However I have gotten pretty good at using an exacto knife now.

So here's the ones I have so far:

As you can see, lots of grass pokemon, cause they are not as complex and good for beginners. I also have a Charmander I made last week, but he wasn't done when this picture was taken. Ultimately I look foward to designing a model myself, potentially maybe off of one of Ben's character models, or hell, maybe an environment (though I find they are far less popular).

You can find these models and many many more like them at PaperPokes
And for the truly ambitious, how about a life size Link? Also, that guy is my new hero.

Also fairly recently, I decided to finally try my hands at book binding, something I had always said I would do but never did. I believe I even joined SCAD's club for bookbinding but then never attended a workshop. But the good news is, that it isn't too hard, and not even all that materials heavy. I tried a couple small books using a Japanese method, but then decided to try a Coptic Binding (where the spine is exposed but you can see all the pages sewn together) and the Secret Belgian method (which does have a covered spine).
(Its also awesome cause it means I get to work with fabric again! :D )

But on to more relevant things for this blog. I know I should be working on grander designs and epic environments but I also like seeing things be finished before I get too busy to ever work on them again. As you could probably already guess, I've become newly infatuated with Pokemon (but this happens like once a year, so not exactly huge news here). But while bored and perusing Deviant Art not too long ago, I saw that some 3D artists were starting to adapt Pokemon buildings and props (i.e. pokeballs) into wonderful 3D renders. It got my imagination rolling and I realized that I really wanted to adapt something also.

There are alot of different places in Pokemon (I mean, we are now up to 5 continents) but one of the more iconic ones I could think of was the Player's home. Its where you start off at the beginning of the game and is in most versions your beginning visual composition. The problem is that there isn't exactly anything super iconic about the house ( for clarities sake I'm just going to refer to Pallet Town's from Gen 1 and Fire Red and Leaf Green). First off, its just a tiny cluster of pixels, you never exactly get a sense of style off of it or even much information about its structer and secondly. . well . . its a house. Its not a tree house or a fantasy hut or anything its just a house. So it wouldn't exactly be the most interesting model I would make.

In the world of Pokemon, 3 buildings makes a town.

Style wise, all you can really tell is that its a pretty typical 20th century home, relatively modern,with white siding. So I started looking at contemporary suburban home designs and got a few elements I liked. Things that could easily be relatively easily modularized into pieces that could be used again for slightly different buildings in the same town, while still looking like more than just a box with windows and doors. But the idea here is that I wanted to approach the model as if Pokemon was made into a 3D RPG or MMO (which would be the most amazing thing to happen. . . like ever!). So I want the structure to be functional (something I never got to see to fruition with the original Emerson). So I thought out the floor plan (In the game sit was just the living room and your bedroom, but hey, lets give it a bit more thought) and how the player may be able to move around and explore a little more, maybe make the home a little more than just the place you want to get out of as soon as possible.

I did an elevation drawing by hand because I thought it would be fun, but then realized architects have T-squares for this sort of stuff (it was still kind of fun though). As well as Interior layout of the rooms and so forth, trying to compensate for modularity and so forth.

Finally I went into Maya and firstly fleshed out a non modular building so that i could get a 3D idea of where things were in relationship to others. I then went into Illustrator and began to cut up my overhead layout into logical modular pieces (which would of course influence the 3D version too). I then built the modular pieces using my original 3D model as reference. So right now, the exterior pieces are made and Uv'd. On the original 3D model I had made some gutter pieces but right now they are not included in the final model as I'm not sure if they really add a whole lot to it. I may end up changing my mind if I can find a way to squeeze them into the current texture space.

So yeah, here's an occlusion.

Yeah, that siding is modeled. Originally I wasn't going to physically model it in there but then Ben had to open his mouth about next gen graphics and blah blah . . .DAMMIT HE'S RIGHT! So I did it. It does look pretty awesome and it didn't actually increase the poly count to the point where it might crash UDK or something (there is less than 5K right there). I'm also considering adding in some stray roof tiles just to add a hint of dimension. I don't want to go crazy with the roof though, considering you'll never really see it when playing.

I could go much further into the logistics of the interior layout and why I did what, but this post is already too long and I'm sure I'll make a post about the interior at some point so. . . let's just leave it till then.