Monday, 20 December 2010

new blogg

so a little update on what ive been up to.
ive neglected this blog a little, as ive been working on a new blog ive been setting up. its still a work in progress, but its my new HQ so be sure to head over there for new updates at

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

environment modelling

*holds up the white flag* ok so i said weekly blogs but that kinda didnt happen. not because of lazyness but quite the opposite, ive been working flat out on our FMP and dissertation that ive had little spare time to do anything. so lets make it every 2 weeks for now and work myself back into a routine.

ok so whats happened since

after my last post i spent a fair amount of times working with the apprentice's hair style. simon had a particular idea in his head and i did my best to portray that in my work. it took a few work overs to get the style he wanted, but i think we are at a good place with the character at the mo (thank god^^)

so after crafting those luscious locks of hair my next task was to put the character to the side for a while and flesh out the cabin for our first scene. this is where i like to shine, i really enjoy fleshing out environments and love adding little details here and there. working from a painting simon provided, i set about working on the room and ive got to say its been a great challenge so far and really tested my skills and my soul to get some of this work out.
keeping polycount low but trying to keep the detail is something ive got a good grasp of, but the most time consuming part has to be unwrapping everything for texturing. the spiral staircase was a good challenge but the hardest part so far has been the window bay/window frames...jeeezzzz. it feels like blood sweat and tears went into making them. it takes me a few attempts to find the optimal way to get over certain issues, but from there on it gets easier, especially in the long run.

something ive found to be my little passion is the piping/ steering wheel area in the room. sounding very geeky, ive made a set of pipes and several types of connecting pieces and joints so i can make a vast hub of piping, all neatly unwrapped. it may just seem like regular piping but i promise its not, its super cool piping!

ok back to normal people stuff: im hoping we can push this room to finish it before we leave for xmas next week, it wont be texture or lit, but thats on my never end list of stuff to do.
so what ive achieved so far this term
1 floaty airship/blimp with fully functioning mounted harpoon gun
1 apprentice character with spikey hair and dungarees
1 almost finished room with some epic piping

cant measure this but ive achieved lots in the sense of working in a group/team of people who willing to put the hours in and achieve something thats gonna be great.
working closely with my team has increased my knowledge,skills and speed of production and i'd like to thank them all 

things ive got to teach myself and do still for the end of the project

  • lighting: light the cabin scene and the outside shot of the fly bye,
  • texture EVERYTHING!
  • do a high res version of the blimp for the close ups
  • make lots of plants and trees
  • keep up team moral with my wacky personality
so for now thanks for reading and i'll post up some piccies at a later point, peace out.

some rendered character shots to show the hair. i still need to topoligise the hair correctly but its not a prio just at the moment, these are just to show the progress of the character.

matt luxton 3d character model three quatermatt luxton 3d character model front

Thursday, 18 November 2010

guess who?

1 month later and after some serious hours put in, i return to my blog and back to weekly installments hence forth!
ok so lets start off, as one of the modellers for the group I've been given the task to make the apprentice character so I'll be provided some images of my work flow over the past few weeks into the creation of a character.
below is a concept design for the character drawn by Simon Acty.

when starting a new character i prefer to start of with the face of the character and begin with the eye.
so how i go about this after setting everything up such as image planes, i create a Sphere and then a polygon plane, the plane is place at the top of the eye and then i slowly work around the sphere to create a shape like below.

click to see a larger version 
so after completing this it sets me up for the rest of the head, i prefer to work my way down the head starting with the nose area and the flesh leading from under the eye to the cheeks.
a days work later you can see from the picture below ive got the basic area i prefer to be in to start introducing the rest of the topology to the head.

im pleased with what ive produced so far, espcially with the speed of thinga, practice makes perfect as they say. The ears are my greatest achievement unlock so far, my second attempt at making an ear, and if i may say, i think its pretty darn good for a second attempt. how i went about making the ear was to take some reference images of my own ear, and then in photoshop draw the topology i wanted to make over the image. this helped a lot  and it prevented me from going slightly overboard with the topology.
click to see a larger version

i was introduced to a great forum post about topology..geeky i know, and as correctly guessed by my tutor, I spent most of the night reading it all and studying the methods.
this helped me with the flow of my model so far and to get around the horrible task of sewing the ear onto the head, i prefer to do this straight away after the point shown in this image, as it makes life easier in the long run. after the ear is sewn on, its plain sailing to get the rest of the head done.

click to see a larger version
upon completion of the head, i then go about making the body. i do this by starting of with a cube and divide it into three sections to make a torso. then its just a matter of filling out the shape. after some research into topology i found that the flow to the left in the picture is not really suitable, it doesnt flow with the structure of the body, so after so tweaking and adjustments i made the shape to the right of the image. the upper torso was the area in need the most and im pleased with the results so far.

click to see a larger version
next on my hit list was adding the arms to the body. 4days work and ive got the base of my character sorted, and the great thing is a can always reuse everything i make for later projects. im really pleased with what ive done so far and im noticing errors alot faster and avoiding the majority all together. its a great feeling knowing you are improving and the vast amount of knowledge you know.

the next steps in my workflow is to start thinking about items of clothing. from learning about the flow of the body the same principles with follow with clothing also.

OK its the 2nd of november and its time to make some clothes for the apprentice. i started with the shirt, and what i did to make this was to duplicate my base body and delete away faces to make a shirt. then by scaling slighting and creating a thickness.. voila! you have a shirt. the boots and trousers i re-used from a previous model i made.
I'm very working very closely with Simon with the character, which is great as its recreating working for a client/colleague, and thers always lots of changes to be made..hehe

click to see a larger version
Nov 3rd and his basic clothing is done, damm those dungarees! the top part with straps was quite challanging to make and keep nice topology, but my hard work pays off and im in a nice position for to take the character further.
feedback from simon preciously was to increase the bagginess of the trousers which ive done and added some minor creases without going overboard on topology. so far its going well and its really enjoyable making the character.

next part is to start making the hands of the character which is always a tedious section. getting the right balance of topolgy and and detail is key.
this is essentially how i start off with making hands, sometimes i start of with a cube and go from there, others with a single plane. for this version though i started with a single plane and worked on from there.
once the basic shape is there, the fun starts with making the topology work.

 so after a fair few hours of tweaking, ive made these basic gloves for the character, now in hindsight i see they arent that good, and after some reference and feedback i saw what was wrong and i made further adjustment.

here is currently what the character looks like with his gloves. currently the gloves are off putting, so more time in front of the pc is needed.

apart from that i added a temporary afro to the character to represent his hair...awwwwyeeeh!

click to see a larger version

ok so its the 12th of November and after alot of tweaks ive made some new gloves. Slightly stylised and more shapely.i orignally made the fingers too long in comparison to the palm of the hand which is shown in a picture below.

 currently the hands look very thin which isn't good so some fleshing out of the hands is in order. ive spent alot of time on the hands as they are the tools of a person, nearly any action you do involves hand movement, so attention to detail was needed.
it was at this point i realised that the character needed to be stylised a bit more, as having just stylised gloves and nothing else seems a bit weird to me. to counter this i tried making the arms differently.

it was around this time where we had a team chat about stylising the character further as it seems to realistc looking for what we are going for. so we set about coming up with a slightly new design.

click to see a larger version
its now the 15th and as you can see, quite different to the orignal design, exagerated features and more obvious lines.
i didn't make a new face for this, i simply reworked my original face is a sculpting packed to more easily move around the topology. to me this is a good sign as my original base head obviously is holding up with a variety of shapes

click to see a larger version
click to see a larger version
we still need to make a hair piece for the character, this still needs to be worked on, but im much more at ease now the character is less realistic, and it really feels like things are going places.ive also adjusted the arms to make him look slightly scrawnier and now it seems more fitting with the large gloves.

Simon has asked me to make the character some goggles to wear on his head. they are pretty simple to make especially with the pipe primtive. the goggles will hopefully be one of many little items the apprentice will have to wear on his journeys with the hunter character.

click to see a larger version
after getting the basic character done i started to UV unwrap the parts of the character. i use a free program for Maya called RoadKill, its great for displaying your object in 3d space making marking seams easier. its very simple to use, but i find you do need to swap between Maya's built in editor to just tweak the Uv's slightly when they are unwrapped. a couple of months ago i hadn't really touched Uv's and texturing before, now it seems like a piece of cake......mmmh cake.

click to see a larger version

here are some examples of my layed out Uv's for my characters rousers and gloves. the checkered pattern in the image is used to tell if there is any stretching with the uv's. if the squares are similar size and evenly distributed, this means there is little or no stretching which is what we are after.

click to see a larger version

my next task and nearly finalising the character is to create the hair. this is found to be very tricky, i drew up some basic hair designs to work from to help me.
i tried making the parts with cubes orinally, but was quite tricky to do, so i tried using curves and got some better results.

click to see a larger version

 here are some shots of the hair on there own. its a really tricky task, but i will persevere and hopefully produced something worthy of keeping. fingers crossed on that.

okie dokie thats me blogged out till next week, thanks to those who actually read through that, hope it may have helped in some way shape or form.

peace out

i'll sort the layout issues later ^^

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

3rd year project

ok so this year its full steam ahead, I'm teamed up with a great group of people to make a 3d animated main focus this year will be to improve my modelling skills including texturing and lighting.
The idea for this project was a rather last minute thing decided just before the start of the term. This was mainly due to the fact the myself and a few other team members were struggling with our original ideas based around our pitched idea last year involving humanoid animal characters. so to get the ball rolling we brain stormed and came up with some general ideas we'd like to go into, after the base ideas were written down we took a long hard look at lots of student animations, and soon realised that the good shorts were the simplest visually and story based also. So after this we went back to tweaking our idea and we came up with a basic story involving 3 characters in a exploration/chase sequence. at this time the story was just in its basic form and would need a lot of work to make something good of it. With the help of Derek we pitched our idea to him and he gave some great tips to improve our story further it took another two weeks of more tweaking to really finalise the story with complete storyboard and animatic.
so once we had our idea we set about giving jobs to our team. initially the team involved myself,Simon Acty, Tom Dowler, Roy Nottage, Emma Taylor and Matt Butler. we soon realised that we'd all pretty much have to        
animate the project and we'd struggle to get it done. fortunately some of our course members were really interested in animating in 3d and headed over to us for more info on our project. so the newest members of the team are Holly Tselikova and Oddne Madson, not only did we get animators, Peter Stache also offered to do some special effects on our project such as explosion and smoke etc. later on in the production. Finally to top it off we've managed to grab some of the second year students too, Olly and Scott have offered their assistance also. So we've got ourself a great team of people covering basically all aspects of the pipeline and things are looking really great so far.
Directing the project is Simon Acty and Roy Nottage is co-directing.
Producing the group is Tom Dowler.
Pre production consist of Emma Taylor, Roy Nottage, Simon Acty , Jake Jones
Modelling group consists of Simon Acty, Matt Butler and Myself.
Rigging consists of Simon Acty, Matt Butler, Scott
Animators are Holly Tselikova, Oddne Madeson, Roy Nottage and Emma Taylor.
Lighting and render test Myself
Special effects/Post Production Peter Stache
(Olly and Scott will be helping throughout the project when and where they can as they also have their second year work to also focus on)

so with this kick ass team we hope to produce a really great animation and hopefully enter it into festivals etc.
what my main focus this year is to improve my skill set within Maya, my main priority in the group is modelling, so I've been set to model the Blimp, the Apprentice character and then scenery exteriors and interiors. along side the modelling i will also be learning how to light scenes properly in Maya and by the end of the year i hope to be quite good. i've got alot ahead of me, but im really making the most out of this final year and so far its already paying off, working the nine to five during the week is a great way to ease into a working mind frame getting ready to jump into the industry, to be honest the work hours will propablly be longer than that in the industry but its a great start. I enjoy what i do so much that as soon as im home and have eaten i'm straight back on working till the early hours again, which is great because this is why i'm here, to get a job doing something i love.

The blimp

Blimp designs by Simon Acty
Harpoon Designs by Roy Nottage

so these are the final design, and i set about working on them hoping to get it finished within a week, but UV unwrapping took longer than expected, so it took eleven days in the end.
the hardest part about modelling these things it not go to overboard with the geometry because it can really bite you in the ass in the long run. Whilst making the Blimp and Harpoon, i started teaching myself a bit more about Nurbs and noticing the advantages to them over using Polygons especially when it comes to texturing.

so these are some renders of the blimp and the harpoon gun, im pleased with how they've turned out so far, there's going to be certain shots where areas are closer to the camera than others, soi'll have to remake a few bits and pieces higher res, but apart from that its all good. Everything its completely unwrapped and is ready to be textured. my next job is to make the hunters cabin which should be good.
so for now peace out

(you just lost the game ^^)

Saturday, 5 June 2010

the art of the buckle

ok just a quik update, ive been making all the accessories for my character before i want to start sculpting him. i probably wont get it all done in time for hand in, but im not going to rush it as i want to do this character well.
so this week ive added a satchel and a belt and buckle to him. the satchel has been a beast especially with all the buckles ans such but its good fun and im learning lots.
ive also got a side project on the go for an on-line competition in which i have to take a person or scene from 1 film and make it in the style of a different film. e.g back to the future in a pixar style, im really looking forward to this and even if it dont win anything, atleast ive got my name out there a little bit.
^^ peace out

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


made my chap a waistcoat and added a collar to his shirt which was a complete mission getting the topology right.

im steadily adding to the character and it seems to be going well.

i understand that it seems like ive not got a target i'm heading for, in which i mean by a concept to work from, but for this project i just didn't really have a final design in my head. i new i wanted a character with goggles and a moustache, and i did some quick sketches of overall body shape and such but never a finalised piece.
realisticly i would have a final concept before modelling even commences and i would stick to the design completely. but with this character i just wanted to see where the wind took me.
i see these projects as all learning exercises and ways for me to better understand my field. i make loads of mistakes on the way, but from these projects i never really make them again. with upcoming modelling projects im going to fully design characters first and hopefully improve my drawing skills also.i hope to get some feed back on them as i really apreciate every bit of crit i can get as it will help me improve. i really dislike it when people just pat you on the back as that does nothing to help me improve.

so all in all my skills in the field are increasing and with more practice i hope to achieve some really nice work. i hope to do a few models over the summer to start building up a show reel for next year. and any competition on line that i can compete in i will do as i really want to get my name out there.

peace out ^^

Monday, 31 May 2010

aww yeh!

ok so this week ive been ocupied with the pitch project which is going well in my opinion, we have a strong idea and people seem to like it, but i'll post about this later, for now im blogging about my character. so after lots of testing i have made some basic clothing meshes. they arent complete yet as i'm still tweaking them. ive also made the character goggles which went well. Time wise i think everything is going to plan by this weekend i should have got the clothes all done and sculpted..but here are some shots below: