Monday, 27 January 2014

RUST ~Final Major Project~ Research & Daily sketches

WALL-E - 2008. Pixar Animation Studios

This has been on my film list for ages, and thought considering the theme of my FMP i thought now would be a good time to watch this movie. It follows an inquisitive little rubbish disposal robot who is the title's namesake, from his life in isolation on a futuristic abandoned Earth to his pursuit of a new model robot he falls in love with into outer space and humans new world aboard a vessel that has been travelling through space since earth became over polluted over 500 years ago. 
Though primarily focused on WALL-E himself, as the movie progresses you get to see more robot designs each with a purpose to fulfill, but also with a distinct personality reflecting their role; i.e. the cleanup robot, overrides his programming as his cleanliness OCD gets the better of him. It is this characteristics that each robot has that really struck me as something i want to get across in my own project, the designs of the robots themselves are quite simple and i liked the contrast between the smooth body's of those newer droids to the clunky but functional design to Wall-E. Something else that i really honed in on while watching this movie, was the attention to detail in every aspect of Wall-E's design; he looks like something that could be built and function (maybe without the same personality traits), from his eye lenses that he replaces with wires all hanging out, to his retractable arms and head. It's this level of believably i really want to integrate in my own robot designs, to really complement each characters personality.

Another page of robot sketches: again, emphasizing posture, and attitude through body language. Once i have a good range of these sketches, ill develop ones i think are strongest and adapt them into the main character templates for the main characters ill work towards bringing to life. 

RUST ~Final Major Project~ Research & Daily sketches

A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) -2001, Steven Spielberg
I looked at the film A.I. not really because it was an initial inspiration for RUST but because it was suggested as something to watch as it shared similar ideas and story focuses that my idea for my robot focused one described. Focusing on a distant future in which mankind has been reduced in number due to global warming induced floods, robots have now reached the levels of even becoming emotionally attached to humans, and the story focuses on the creation of a new 'mecha' called David, the first child robot that has the programming inside to learn the ability to love. The journey follows him as he is adopted by parents who's son is in a coma, then his abandonment and the tragedy of him trying to realise what and who he is, and how he can find his 'mother' again. 
I found the tale of David in this film really depressing, and is more of a reflection on society and human nature more than anything. I can see very close similarities though on how it relates to my own project; The abandoned robots seeking to fulfill their purpose, while the human world turns against them. I liked the theme of each robot having their own personality, regardless of it being programmed.... although the stark contrast between this film and what i want to achieve in my own project, is that the robots in this movie are very close to humans in appearance (mostly), while my focus is making the characters of RUST have personalities that doesn't rely on a human appearance to do so. 

I did enjoy A.I. and i will definitely take some aspects from the film and consider them in my own project, especially the worn and dilapidated appearance to a lot of the abandoned robots in the film, to the extent of them bearing really surreal appearances. The focus on a child's journey in this move kind of makes me want to reconsider creating a human child character alongside my droids as part of the plot, but this will all depend on time and weather it will detract from the end goal. 

More robot sketches, as part of my aim to doodle some robot designs each day: trying to look at varying styles, so not all of them will be biped's or humanoid in appearance, but still bear some resemblance of personality through their pose.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Vehicle Project: Part 2

Though the main purpose of this project was to learn about using and applying shader's effectively, and looking at how they work with various surface properties, I definitely had a larger focus on the design process of the vehicle itself which is reflected in my final outcome: Despite this, and maybe not allocating more time to shader's as required in the brief I'm still really happy with the final design, as it reflects my strengths in focus on imagineering and inventing out of this world creations.
If this is had been a strictly design and create focused brief I
definitely would have spent more time populating  the environment with more equipment and machinery to bring the whole scene alive. This though maybe detracting from the main focus, would have added that extra element to this final scene and made it seem less empty, the area around the airship itself. At least this way the focus is definitively drawn to the vehicle, and not distracted by anything else. 
Overall this project I found really enjoyable, especially the idea concepting part of it. There are definitely some areas of improvement apart from the ones I've already stated, also little things like implementing shadows, as its something I really noticed after, definitely the main one that should be cast by the airship itself. Also, the way that the orange light shines into the hangar, it was incredibly tricky to get it to work that well on the airship as when I applied that same light to the relevant shaders, no matter how much I adjusted it the light itself would always look weird and not flow correctly, so I did without that effect in the final renders. It would have been a good thing to spend more time on, but Im still pretty happy with the results.      

Friday, 10 January 2014

Ubisoft Character Project ~Part 2

This project was really enjoyable, mainly that both the subjects involved were two that I have a big interest and passion for: Character design and Japanese History (specifically the samurai culture). From the outset, I was pretty much set on creating the historical warrior, Tomoe Gozen, being one of the most notable female warriors in Japanese history there was a lot of strong reference material available, both in old artwork depictions of her and depictions of people dressed as her during traditional Japanese festivals. This had both its good and bad points, as even though it gave me a good starting point it also meant that It made it hard to drift from the depictions of her that were already out there, especially as I was wanting to depict her as historically accurate as possible. With this in mind, with conceiting I focused on her costume mostly, trying to fashion something existing in style, but of my own design and colour scheme. Needless to say I wanted something fairly extravagant for such a famous warriors, so looked at clashing colours, which were often used in high ranking generals uniforms and armour. 

The base mesh for my depiction of Tomoe gozen: Made the effort of including a lot of the ornamental aspects of the traditional samurai armour from the 12th century, with lots of fancy rope work and knots, holding all of the plates of the armour together. There are some areas that could have been improved, such as the folds on her leg wear, as it looks poofy, but now as billowing as I wanted it to. It was one of those things I spent ages trying to fix, and yet couldn't get it to look right. One aspect I was really pleased with though, was how accurate i was able to get the armour style down, so I think having good research and knowledge on how it is all held together really helped in making it authentic. 

I had roughly over 3000 spare tri's I could have used to add extra detail to areas looking at my final tri count. I think this would have probably benefited some parts of the mesh that needed to deform during the rigging process. Also the rigging itself had a few small noticeable issues that I ran out of time to fix, with some verts sticking to parts of the mesh I didn't want. Also would have liked the time to play around with different poses, with different prop weapons but my schedule didn't allow me to fit all that in.
Apart from small niggles (that I'll always have, being a perfectionist) I'm really happy with the final outcome of this project. I had quite ambitious plans to make things to support the final character, such as more weapons to pose with and even a horse! (as she was often depicted on horseback)  but that in itself is a big challenge, so obviously had to cut that part out. I think because I was so ambitious and excited about creating this character though, really helped in contributing towards making a strong piece of work. Given more time, I'd probably tweak specular levels on certain areas, polish up the rigging more and maybe look at adding more detail to the diffuse for the face, to add more depth.