Recent Goings On
Alright, it’s been a little while since I last made a blog entry, and I aim to rectify that. It’s not that I haven’t been doing anything (Truth be told, I’ve been playing a lot of Space Engineers) but I’ve also made some stuff since last post. Let’s talk about a bit of it!
Misc Work and Stuff
Pictured above is a mil-spec guidon. Show this to anyone that has served in any branch of the U.S. armed services and I guarantee they’ll recognize this object from their basic training and/or time in garrison. I decided to do a bit of cloth simulation + 1 turbosmooth modifier for the flag. It’s decadently high poly, but given that the target is SFM, I’m not too worried. I plan to port it over to UE4 at some point to test the cloth shader. The pole at least is done well. I’ve got the hang of high poly -> low poly, and the shape was fun to do. I did notice that normalmap compression kind of chewed up the surfaces though. I rigged the pieces separately for posing as well.
In the ragdoll front, my side project has been Meryl from Metal Gear Solid 4. I’ve done everything short of the modeling and texturing – I rigged her, implemented bodygroups, jigglebones for the earring, even hacked together a dress uniform from a source model from xcom, not to mention FACS faceposing.
I tried another foray into getting my max scene of the model into maya, this time instead if using FBX, I did the built in ‘Send to’ functions in max14/maya14. It still failed to properly compile with DMX and brought great shame to my house, causing me to consider committing sodoku.
I’ll be releasing her for gmod as a ragdoll and playermodel and as a character for SFM as soon as I finish the last little fixes and feature checks.
Although not a game model, I made a hih poly + render of the new UAC logo from the upcoming DOOM. It’s a nice logo, I hope I did it justice. I could unwrap a low poly and port it to a game engine but it’d be wrong to put it in anything other then idtech6(66).
I recently made a practice model, a super low LOD version of that shuttle I made a while back. I decided to simplify it as much as possible and bake everything to a new set of UVs (I know introducing a new texture just for a skybox+ distance model is not really smart, but it was worth a try for practicing baking multiple maps and whatnot, as well and layered normal bakes.) There are some obvious baking errors, but I thought it turned out kinda cute.
Another practice model was this holo-platform. It has nice, pretty shapes and the bake turned out pretty nice. Unwrapping was a ton of fun what with the 0 help max gives with unwrapping spline geometry. Haven’t had a chance to texture it yet!
nDo? dDo? 3Do? Oh my!
Speaking of textures, I picked up the new Quixel Suite. As a texture artist, I was outspoken against using it in the past – after all, it essentially replaced my position if the team-based workflow I was in, but now as I transition to controlling the entire pipeline, I can appreciate cutting down on time if the results are good.
Here are some things I’ve made using it:
A nice simple shape with a wide range materials to recreate, it was a good test platform for experimentation. Just slapping on the default colors and textures that come standard is really only going half the distance; when I went in and got my hands dirty with fine details, the texture went from bland to believable.
I even converted it to source and made an informational and totally not overstated comic. I also released it!
I find that dDo is really good at doing those textures that would otherwise be very tedious to do do by hand. I personally believe that my work is much more… alive(?) when I do it myself, the dDo results feel accurate but mechanical. For example, I made a recreation of my work desk a while back, but I never found the motivation to finish it because I knew the texture would be so bland and with so may surfaces, a bit of a waste of time. The dDo results worked perfectly, and it fills the role of a minor background prop well.
On the other hand, there are some things that I’ve had less luck getting a good result from. I’ll have examples of that in a future update I think.
In light of a ramped up UE4 work, I’ve been trying to wind down work with source. If I want to realistically do game design and content creation as a job, I simply cannot tie myself to an old engine that is barely relevant to AAA studios. In light of that, I’ve decided for a full release of my source compiled sci-fi assets. A few posts back, I talked about how I was planning on making a mod with them, but it would be smarter to pour that into making content for UE4 – they have a fledgling asset store, it might be smart for me to make some modular asset heavy sample environments and sell it for peanuts there so I can get my work out to people that I would potentially like to work for.
I’ve continued to make content for the overall design those props use, but I find myself just starting from scratch for things that need to conform to a grid (read: almost all of the props I’ve made to this point). In the process, I’ve been rendering out full color ID maps in max with the high poly normals and AO to speed up the workflow pipeline between programs. I recently started going full steam on flat wall and floor textures.
I’m shooting for a new level of modular use for these, allowing everything about color and surface properties to be decided at the last moment with an instanced material in UE4.
The shader still lacks the definition between things like scratches and dirt overlays (I’m using a built in function in the shader editor for these which mostly works) but I still want to give the textures more definition before I say they’re definitively done. Once they are, however, I should be able to usher in a new type of unified texture generation for my personal workflow.
I’m still doing some more traditional hand done texture work too. Right now, I’m mostly done with a door.
Alright. With all that, we’re just about caught up. I find myself posting little snippets to twitter as well, so if you want something faster paced then the slow moving glacier that is this blog, you can check me out there.