Posting this a day late because I came home exhausted yesterday after a huge list of changes to my plans and woke up at 2am. I wont go into much detail besides mentioning that I am currently writing up a proposal for graduate studies at chico and I have about a week from tomorrow to finish it and turn it in. On top of that I will be in SF for GDC 3 days after that. So very glad I decided to postpone my throne room until after GDC.
Last week my portfolio finally went up, after a year of WIP versions. Honestly I am still not quite happy with the current one, but from here on out I will be doing small edits to the layout instead of taking it down and putting it back up. I want the ability to apply for a job as soon as the posting goes up, and that means having a well maintained and populated portfolio.
On top of that my business cards came in a couple days ago:
As for work, Osman and I started wondering about creating a somewhat perfect wood graph in substance. Wood is one of the more challenging things, in my opinion, to pull off procedurally. I’ve only got about an hour or two worth of work into is so far but I am liking the results. Osman has been working on his own version and whenever we get to a point that we like we have been sharing info. Most of the resources we have found online have been either lacking in quality or lacking in information.
I have some potential solutions for making the knots better, along with making the grain more believable and wood like. I just need to get back in and work on it.
I’ve also been working on some more tile, this time focusing on flooring. Inspired by the amazingly well cleaned floors found all across the Chico campus.
To add onto these tiling textures I have been working with substance in another way this week. The first of witch is creating a brush for substance painter that creates welds. Right now they’re a little too clean around the edges and I want to add in some exposed values giving you more freedom to control what types of welds you want to do, ranging from clean to messy. But it is a start.
The other one I haven’t quite taken into painter yet because I am working out some kinks but it is a paint drips substance effect made for painter or even just for some masked images. I have been planning on playing with PopcornFX so I might try to just create it all in substance alone, or just base it off of a current effect like leaks, but I like the idea of being able to use it in substance without painter involved.
Yesterday I put up my new portfolio. This is the first time since I purchased my domain that I’ve actually had more than one model on my portfolio at a time. It seems to have always been in flux.
If you don’t want to go to the top of the page you can get there thought here jschwieger.com
As for the reason this post is called changes:
A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to start and finish the throne room challenge before GDC. While it was defiantly possible at the time I had started I don’t think it is anymore (I would like to thank my body for getting sick roughly 3 times in a row). I have less than 2 weeks to GDC and I think it would be better, overall for my portfolio if I finish up some of the “almost done” models I’ve had sitting around for a few weeks or months instead of rushing an environment.
The throne room will still be worked on, but this time I will aim for the actual contest deadline instead of the one I set for myself. That way I can get home from GDC and jam it out.
My current Fire Temple environment isn’t bad, I wish I had something else to go with it instead of 1 environment but speeding through a portfolio piece is not a good idea at this point. I am also lacking off portfolio quality tiling textures and more props couldn’t hurt.
Things I will be showing off on friday will be the current state of the throne room scene, a new brush/tool I have been crafting in Substance Designer/Painter and hopefully a couple new tiling textures to show off.
Unfortunately didn’t get much done this week for modeling due to putting in a lot of work on my new portfolio site, resume and dealing with start of the semester type things. But I have the weekend to commit to modeling and will be posting an update with the final blockout sometime Sunday, which will be the same day that I update my polycount thread. Also my new site will be up sometime in the coming week, after that I will be updating my business card and ordering those for GDC. My current ones are fine but I have learned some good tips for making a card specifically for events such as GDC. One of those is adding a headshot of myself and a section for notes on the back of the card, that way my card feels more personal and people can write any note about my they want when they take my info. Another issue with my old card is that the model I threw onto it was my just finished character model from last semester, the problem is that I am not a character artist, and my card understandably confused people. Good thing I wasn’t looking for jobs yet I guess.
As for modeling: I am playing with a lot of basic forms tonight and will most likely be doing so for the next few hours, I just need to get this post out there as an update. I feel like my last environment’s main flaw was a lack of a solid blockout. The current blockout I have now is about the same level of detail, if not more, than what I spent on the old environment. Because of that, last time I fell into a horrible trap where I was half way done with the project, and didn’t like where it was at, or have any clue how to fix it by adding more. I had to basically cut my losses because of deadline and do the best I could with what I had. This time around I am working on an even tighter deadline, but I have many more hours per day to work on the project so I think over all time will even out.
I am really enjoying where this environment is headed though. It will also be the first environment that I don’t really base off of someones concept and then adjust slightly. This one will be mine from the ground up so my blockout is sort of concepting things as well.
From here on out my plans are to finish the blockout (this weekend), make high poly meshes (either in zBrush or Maya depending on what is needed for the mesh) for the base environment (this week and next week), create the lowpoly and bake out, take things into nDo as needed(this week and next week), then Substance Designer or Painter and possibly photoshop if needed (this week and next week), throwing them into unreal and testing lighting (this week and next week). Then onto taking the individual small props from blockout through that same pipeline (next week and the week after).
For the longest time I have focused entirely on environmental and prop modeling. Here and there I have made animals and characters, I understand Edgeflow for bodies and faces, as well as the other complexities of being a 3D Character Artist, so the workflow isn’t new to me, but I have never created anything Reel qualit. Most of the characters I have modeled and textured were used to teach myself something or to keep my skills at organic modeling up to date. But I have always wanted to focus on characters. Like my previous post about how excited I am about working with a PBR workflow for a project this semester this post is to express similar excitement for my ability to work entirely with character art for a class.
Finlay (my name for him) is a concept created by Alexei Samokhin in 2011. I took the character as is and created some orthos out of him and at the same time created a backstory/personality for him to help flesh out the turntable for my reel. The most immediate thought about this guy was that he was an oafish sidekick of a hero. Lovable, reliable and protective, but a bit clumsy while at the same time being a strong fighter.
The next step of the process, after establishing the character and creating the orthos, was to decide how they would be textured. For this I gathered some references and threw them together into a ref-sheet that I can keep open while I work.
Once that was all done I got to modeling. I approached this model from a more traditional workflow. First I created a base mesh in maya, focusing on topology, with extra attention paid to the facial area.Once that was done I separated the mesh into parts that would be skin, and parts that would eventually become clothing. At this point I got a tiny bit ahead of myself and decided to see what the final textures might look like in a preview state. I separated the arms and face and threw them into Mudbox. Here I sculpted some details and did some quick suggestion of muscle groups on the arms and neck. The character himself has a bit of a soft look to him instead of rigid well defined muscles so this worked out very well.At this point I tried throwing it into substance painter, but having recently updated my drivers this was impossible due to technical issues (it is working great now!). Instead I baked out my maps using TURTLE in maya and threw it back into mudbox and started using the paint tools there.
One thing that helps out a bit was using the blur tool to fix any weird issues with the normal map in areas like the tips of the fingers, that don’t bake very well when going to a much lower polycount.
Right now all the textures are in a temporary state and will remain so until the rest of the character is modeled, sculpted, and baked out for painting.
As a bonus: While I was sculpting the head I found these great reference images on Polycount showing off the planes of the face.
Or at least that is the way that PBR makes me feel. As a 3D artist working in games PBR is something I have been devoting a large chunk of my time to. Sadly I have had no projects focusing on using a PBR workflow since most of my work in the last few years has been for Unity and focused towards mobile.
This semester I am finally able to create some PBR work, across multiple projects. I will be working in UE4, and using Maya, Substance Designer/Painter, Photoshop, and Quixel’s new suite.
I also plan on going a bit more stylized with the look, partially because I love stylized texture work, but mostly because I feel this is an area that has yet to be fully explored with PBR and would love to work through it. When most people think of this workflow they think of realism, in fact there was a lot of people wondering if stylized/hand painted looks would even be all that possible.
Both of these are great resources for starting out with PBR and gaining an understanding. Once you have your footing however I suggest you take a look over at marmoset’s website since they they two great write-ups on the subject.