Monday, December 26, 2016

Capstone Week 02: Vertical Jungle & Tree Concepts

This next week of winter break I continued work on concerting the jungle environment. I was directed this week to incorporate more ideas for "verticality" to accommodate a key game mechanic: wall running. I also started to test ways I could incorporate shanty pieces of old machinery into the environment.

I also began work on some ideas for alien trees that could be strewn throughout the jungle environment to give it an otherworldly feel. I hope to refine the theme and tone of the alien flora throughout the coming weeks.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Capstone Week 01: Jungle Environment Concepts

With FIEA now being let out for our winter break, it is now officially (and unofficially :D ) the time to start working on our Capstone projects. To recap, I am working on a team of 15 people to make a game called MasterKey. I utilized my first week of newfound freedom to work on some concept art. Out of our three working environments, I chose to stick with the jungle. These are two scenes I whipped up to get the ball rolling and to check with our art lead if I was heading in the right direction.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Animation Week 8-11: Character Mailing a Letter

Animation Week 5-7: Jump

Animated Growing Ivy

This piece was originally created for our Wizard of Oz VR experience but did not end up making it into the final product, mainly due to integration issues between Houdini and Unreal. I followed a very popular tutorial to make this animated growing vine and it was a great learning experience. I hope to continue my research in learning how to convert something like this into a digital asset so that it may be used within Unreal.

RPP Round 1: Doodle Duels

The first round of our rapid prototype class required us to follow two conditions: the first being that we make a game that is simply FUN. The second being that we had to make the game in Flash. Shown below are examples of my artwork created for the game.

My team and I made a two person "doodle duel" game where each player has to use a pencil/eraser to match the image in the center as close as possible before time ran out.

The theme of the game was centered around Windows 98 and, more specifically, the MS Paint application. Various comical power-ups were offered in this game that stayed true to this theme.

RPP Round 4: Dear Brother

This round of rapid prototype was designated the "storytelling round". My team consisted of Samuel Moss, Gabi Capraro, Brandon Kidwell, Siddhant Grover and Evan Bass.

My team decided to go down the horror/mystery route and created a wonderful prototype called Dear Brother. Players begin traveling on a boat towards a dark silent island while a letter from this players younger brother is read on-screen. Players land upon the island and discover a series of notes from the brother that slowly begin to unravel the mystery of the town people's disappearance. The game took a lot of inspiration from and played upon the historical event of the Roanoke colonies' disappearance.

Shown below are some of my 3D models made in Maya for the game.

Watch the video below to see a full run-through of the prototype!

RPP Round 5: Project Jade

For the fifth and final round of Rapid Prototype Production, we were required to make a game that used some sort of advanced technology. My group consisted of Paul Nirenberg, Hannah Pogue, Tiffany Brodie and Dale Diaz and we chose to create an escape room using mobile AR technology.

First things first, we chose to use Vuforia as our AR development platform. This technology allowed our phones to recognize physical target images through the camera and spawn an original 3D model onscreen. We also incorporated a collection mechanic where the phone recognized if you had a certain 3D model in your inventory, which would then allow that model to act as a "key" to a corresponding puzzle. Below are some examples of 3D models I created for the game.

As for the premise of our game, we decided to go with a theme along the lines of technology, AI and singularity. We wanted to evoke a unique and interesting emotion that had not been done before in an escape room. Our target emotion was compassion.

In a quick nutshell, players are prompted with the idea that they must work with a friendly AI named Katya to stop an evil AI named JSN (Jason) from taking over. Katya was acted out, live-action, by Hannah through a computer in the room's video chat system. This allowed the players to befriend and feel a connection to her. To evoke the feeling of compassion, we designed the room so that at the end players realize the only way to stop JSN is to shut down Katya for good.

Katya was created as a 3D model that pops up on player's mobile screens for visual feedback. I created some animations for her. An example of her "beaming up" and collecting an object can be seen below. 

The  escape room ultimately ended up being a success and very popular among the cohort. We ended up running the room/experience upwards of 8 times.

RPP Round 3: Totem Tower

Round 3 of RPP was designated as the mobile game round. My team decided to take the simple yet aesthetically pleasing route and made a 2D falling stacker game called Totem Tower. Gameplay entails players memorizing a totem "pattern" given to them and using a gyro mechanic to tilt the phone and catch falling totem pieces, seeing how high they can make their pole before it topples over.

There are two aspects to this game that make it unique, however, the first being the inherit educational merit. Players are briefed on the meaning of each totem before gameplay begins and must understand that different orders of totems mean different things. For example, players are to avoid the falling "crow" piece because according to native Alaskan lore, the crow symbolized a deceptive trickster. Players would find that their entire totem would be deleted should they catch the crow piece. The second aspect of this game that makes it unique is the theme. I decided to take the art in a more mature and relaxing direction which is not often found in mobile games.

Some of my artwork for the game can be seen below.

RPP Round 2: The Life Game

The purpose of round 2 was to create a game that went "beyond entertainment". My group and I had many great ideas and we could not initially decide which direction we wanted to take.

For the first interim week we decided to make a game called "You are Number 6", a game where players find themselves in a series of waiting rooms, waiting on their assigned "number" to be called by a mysterious speaker behind a closed desk window. The player interacts with several characters within each room, who all speak of the wonders that are through the next door.... and to just sit and wait. The game is essentially a metaphor for life, and how you must not simply wait for good things to happen to you, but rather make these things happen for yourself. The only way for the player to break out of the cycle is to take action and look around the room for an escape through the air vent.

Mid-week we ended up changing direction and going more towards a game that represents making personal connections with others while they are still around and not waiting for them to come to you. The player progresses through 5 rooms that represent different stages of their lives and interact with multiple characters to see what kind of connections come about, only to find out how they end up influencing your life as a whole.

Below are some models I created for the game in Maya.

Now shown below are some screenshots from the final prototype.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

2D Week 16: Final Figure Drawing Turn-In

Examples of drawings I created during our semester long figure drawing class.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

2D Week 15: Final Delivery (All Material)

This week I finished up the set dressing of the Lion Level by replacing bramble textures, making graveyards more jagged and other various small details.

I placed dead scarecrows in the hanging cages. I also rigged/animated the new bat meshes and then placed them all around the scene and offset their initial position.

My main contribution however, was creating three new lion animations and implementing them through trigger box blueprints in Unreal. Depending on what position the player is standing in relation to the lion, a different animation will play.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

2D Week 14: Concept Round 04 (Final Color)

This week made major changes to landscape and set dressing, layed out warzone graveyard area and new path leading to witches castle. Rigged and animated swinging cages. Made path narrower and layed down new path in mausoleum area.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

2D Week 13: Concept Round 03

This week I worked on the set dressing of the lion scene. We now have a "mausoleum" area where you first meet the lion. I added fences, several new graveyard areas, updated assets and adjusted the natural environment. I also rigged the bat proxy and threw an animation on it, placing many of these animated bats all over the area.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

2D Week 12: Concept Round 02

This week for the Oz VR project I continued working with the lion rig. I posed him in different emotional states to start developing a feel for his attitude and personality. This also gave us a chance to see where the rig weighting needed to be improved.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

2D Week 11: Concept Round 01

Continuing on with the OZ VR project, this week we focused on further conceptualizing our environments. Some of my fellow teammates worked on 2D concept work and I started getting my hands dirty with animation in the scene.

I took our first pass rig and slapped an idle animation onto him. I then pushed this animation into game as can be seen below.

I also continued work on my growing vine animation. I got it to look good but then encountered an issue with how to push this procedurally growing vine into the Unreal engine. I tried exporting it as a digital asset but it did not work.

In the meantime, I sought another way to conceptualize vines around our tree proxies. With the help of my professor, Chris, I was shown a free premade Houdini Digital Asset straight from the side FX website called the "Ivy Paint Asset". I played around with this on one of our trees as seen below, and think it would be a great addition into the final experience.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

2D Week 10: Artist Discovery

This week we continued working on Oz VR. As an animator, I figured there were not yet many opportunities to work on character animations since we are still in the early stages of environment and character development. Since I have an additional interest in Houdini, I decided to take up a little side project for possible use in my team's game section.

As seen above, I started creating some animated growing vines using a tutorial posted below. If I could get these working correctly, I think they would look nice animating along the path of the Lion's section and contributing to the eerie atmosphere. I am having issues with manipulating the procedural workflow to randomly rotate the leaves, and I am also hoping to offset the animation but the vine shape is coming along nicely. This next week I will continue working on this to make it look realistic.

I also started into research on the Perception Neuron MOCAP system and its potential uses in our VR project. I attended the PN demo held in the MOCAP studio and learned how the equipment works, how the equipment is set up and how the system is calibrated.

The system detects motion by utilizing lightweight sensors that are barely 12mm square. These sensors capture your gestures and body movements and reflect them in your virtual world for an immersive experience. The makers of the motion capture suit boast that there are an unlimited number of combinations in which the sensors can be applied.  You can also remove sensors to limit data should you want less data.

An interesting thing I discovered about the PN is that multiple people can use it at the same time, allowing for some amazing collaboration and interaction possibilities. This makes me wonder if we can start thinking about incorporating a multi-player experience into our OZ experience. We have discussed utilizing  puzzle mechanics to travel from one section to the next... perhaps some of them can require the use of two people to complete... a sort of team based situation.

Another issue we are encountering with this experience is the concept of traveling and the breaking of immersion while teleporting. Since the PN system is wireless, it makes me wonder if the worlds can be designed in a way that can be simulated in a real life space so that players may actually walk through the entirety of our experience. Another way around this would be to potentially bring in a type of treadmill for the final presentation of our piece... if the roads are kept relatively straight in the game, I feel that players could still get the proper experience while walking in a straight line.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

2D Week 08: Artist Discovery

This week we began work on a long-term project - to reimagine and reinvent the Wizard of Oz characters in the style of artist Tim Burton.

I joined lead Paul Salas' team to focus on the poses, attitude and animation for the character. We were assigned to work on the Cowardly Lion character. This first week, we focused on populating a Pinterest board to nail down our artistic direction.

I worked on populating the board Animation/Poses/Attitude as seen below.

I then narrowed the selection down to four poses that I felt emulated the feel of the character we were after. The lion will be poses in a crouched over position, looking anxious/fearful, holding his tail in and keeping his hands near his face (perhaps biting his nails?)

I also included an interesting GIF I found that served well to conceptualize how this lion might be animated in the future. I proposed that his animation style would be stylized in the fashion of smooth, crisp, controlled arcs paired with an uncontrollable shakiness.

Monday, October 17, 2016

3D Week 08: Working in a Game Engine with a Final Prop

This week we pushed our final asset into the Unreal game engine. First, I exported the baked maps from Substance Painter 2.

The material was then pushed into Unreal and applied to the cannon within a blueprint. Extra details such as fresnel and ambient occlusion were added into the blueprint.

Shown below is the final asset within the game engine.

Monday, October 10, 2016

2D Week 07 Assignment: Basic Lighting

This week's assignment had us practicing using basic lighting techniques to give the illusion of depth.

We were told to choose an object, perhaps a decoration above our desk, and illuminate it with a basic three-point lighting setup. For an added challenge, we were told we could incorporate a colored light and see how we could implement it into the digital painting.

I chose to use a sculpture created by my friend, Boo, and used a violet light in my setup. Here is the original picture.

For the final result shown below,  I chose to go with more of a photo-realistic style and am pleased with how it turned out. I really enjoyed working on this piece and spent about 7 hours on it.

3D Week 07 Assignment: Bake Maps and Digital Painting for a Prop

This week we continued work with the cannon and used a new software, Substance Painter to paint realistic textures on the piece and give it the illusion of age.

In Maya, I exported out the low-res version of the cannon along with the sculpted high-res.

I then imported the cannon in to Substance Painter and, using new techniques I learned from Nick, brought it to life. We learned how to use various brushes and materials in the program as well as how to bake normal maps onto the model.

Shown below is the final result.

This assignment took me around 4 hours.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

2D Week 06 Assignment: Value

This week in 2D we learned about value and how to create visual interest with it.

We were given a piece of linework by artist John Carter and instructed to give it value and depth.

Below is the final result. This process took me around 3 hours.