Monday, 5 May 2014

RUST Final Major Project ~Wrapping Things Up...

With all the characters in and sorted, bar a few last minute adjustments and tweaking, I spent some more time cloning props to give the scene a more cosy feel with an enclosing circle of trees: This gives it a more, forest clearing feel I think, with a nice meeting point for the three main characters outside their home before they set off on their journey. I also threw more items about to make the environment more debris-strewn, to give you an idea of the sort of abandoned world that the robots inhabit amongst the natural backdrop. 

With the scene pretty much finished with a few exceptions, I went back into MAX to sort out my final renders and file setups for the presentation of my final characters. I polished up some of the characters animations as well, including adding a run cycle to the start of Sprockets usual walk cycle, which I think gives him a bit more depth to his movement with this added change of pace thrown in. I also created a little pedestal for each character (the model was the same throughout, I just changed the colour scheme for each character) for them to be displayed on, as well as a camera and light setup: Basically with the light, I added it to the circle shape and made it so that it moved to the frames on the animation. This essentially meant, that when set up in my render settings to the timeline, it would take a render at each key (a total of 240, which understandably took ages). This along with the really nice ambient lighting I added, would mean that I would be left with a load of JPEG'S  that would show off my characters at a complete 360 degree angle, WHILE they are walking along their walk-cycle. One of the final things I adjusted with Leo was to detach his loincloth mesh, and apply a cloth modifier to it, making it move along realistically as he went through his animations..... Though on a down note this meant that if he walked in a straight line he left it behind, in what can only be called a robot strip-tease. Time restrictions mean I cant try and fix this, but as this is only for the final MAX file It's not a massive issue, though unfortunate I couldn't carry across the fix into engine. 
Tweaking the materials of my characters is something that was an ongoing trial for me throughout this project, as I struggled getting the right levels for damage and rust as well as how it is applied to various areas on the robot's body surface. Through the application of noise  filters to areas of rust, I was able to give an effect of 'roughness' and 'peeling metal', as well as baking on ambient occlusion through the option in 3DSMAX, by rendering the shadows to each texture map then applying them to the diffuse on a lower opacity layer, it made each texture have a bit more depth even on a basic diffuse  layer underneath all of the additional maps. 
On top of the material adjustments, one of the final things that I wanted to achieve within my scene was to apply an animation tree to my characters within engine, so that they would be mobile, and walking about the scene. However, giving the last days to go, and things I still have left to do (such as documenting all of this ironically) on top of the amount of work it takes with applying animation trees, with varying animation sequences into Kismet... It's one of the few things that I just don't have time to do. It's a shame, but at least I have my Characters moving about in 3DSMAX, and in a well populated scene to finish which is more than I thought I would be able to manage during the final few weeks until project deadline. 

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