Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Extinction of a Student

. . . . to boldly go, OUT of the student status.

Ill be the first to admit that is not a happy feeling, no longer being a student, not like the good old days when you finished High School and you ran home with enjoyment to finally finish the latest version of Final Fantasy (surely number 26 by time people read this), but no, i find myself lost with no bearings.

After falling out with my Blog somewhere around the 2nd semester of my MA course i think i should keep this up to date now i should have more time to sit and think about what parts of my mind are safe to project onto the Internet . . . even though I'm sure there are a lot worse things out there than my thoughts!

The fact that i work where i once was a student still doesn't add to the fact that i will now be sat on the opposite side of the table.

Time to get to work on all those tutorials and projects that have been pushed in to the backup folders of my old hard drives, a mining mission to Seagate 720 is in order.

First Project: Tron Light Cycle and Animation Set. Currently 1% Complete.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Infiltration of the New Decade!

Star date 1001.04. . .

First off, Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a great Xmas and can't wait to start the new semester!

Secondly, hats of to Rebellion who successfully won there court battle with the idiots down under to have the new Alien vs Predator game classified. . . . think rebellion deserve a tiny trophy full of something burnt to commemorate this victory.

The one great thing about Xmas time is the amount of material that I seem to gather which inevitably fuels my imagination to 3D model and design new ideas. Seems that 2010 may see my work lose its cartoon feel and try and push into something a little more Sci-fiesque. This will however use the lighting effects that i learned and developed in my first semester to try something new and obscure. . . . what i mean by that i don't know, all i know is that is what my brain is telling me to do.

Recently a friend of mine recommended an animated film i hadn't seen yet which looks very interesting called "Mary and Max". Its art style is a bit like Wallace and Gromit which has been brushed over with Tim Burtons colour palette. Wonder if this could be a future influence. . .

Any way, to end this post as it started,


Live long, and prosper!

(Sorry had to do it, cant have a blog that looks like this without at least one quote every now and then)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Australia; Great holiday destination or A workplace for idiots?

Every once in a while 'Spam' or 'Junk Mail' throws us a little nugget of joy OR accelerates us effortlessly to the edge of our seats. Some people may have read that and thought i have gone insane, your wrong, i was already mad!

For any of you who receive the MCV newsletter, 3 times a day i may add, you may already know what i am about to talk about:

AUS: AVP ban in "public interest"

For those of you who don't know what AVP is, it's Alien vs Predator", and yes its a computer game set for release February of 2010.

I'm going to get straight to point here and just ask, Why?!

The original games were NOT banned and the films were NOT banned. I held back from posting a rant about the Modern Warfare 2 uproar;

which WAS started by parents who seem to think buying an 18+ game for their child is acceptable, and which then gives them the right to complain about its content, I'm sorry but any parent who did buy that game for someone who is 17 years old or less should be liable to some form of police action. Its illegal to buy or sell alcohol/tobacco or films to someone underage, and is a criminal offence so why not games! I'm sorry parents or adults who fall into this category, but YOU ARE RUINING GAMING FOR EVERYONE!

*sigh of relief*, glad that's out of my system.

Anyway, the good old Australien, yes that is how i am spelling it, Attorney General thinks that it is in the public interest to ban this game as it could lead to people "committing horrible acts of violence". Now I'm not going to go all out and say this statement is crazy as there could well be sociological and psychological backing for this, but what really got me was how His argument contradicted itself several times. He happily said that there is a small opposition against the banning of the game, but given time I'm sure that WILL increase, but the how he can base banning a game on the forecast that "1% of gamers will go onto commit crimes" due to this game is laughable.

Today's economic climate for gaming is holding strong compared to a lot of business and trade areas, but with all the bad press the games industry is receiving lately i wonder how long it can hold on? I mean its ridiculous to make decisions like this due to the extreme minority.

I mean, It would be like banning boomerangs because they could be used as a weapon. . . oh wait. . . .

If people are so mentally unstable that they instantly think to go out and commit acts of violence due to games, other steps should be taken to stop them from acquiring the material, god forbid if someones parents say no to their child!

All i can say is thank you Rebellion for releasing this statement:

“We will not be releasing a sanitized or cut down version for territories where adults are not considered by their governments to be able to make their own entertainment choices.”

Anyway, had to get that out of my system! But for strange reason after reading and talking about AVP i have got the urge to go out, hijack a spaceship and kill aliens. . . . .

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Lost in space!

Ok so its been a while since i last posted so im hopefully going to throw out a series of smaller blogs to keep up to speed.

After putting the atmosphere scene on hold at about 80% while i do the REVIEW and REPORT (i will be talking about this soon) ive been working on a new project which will show how dynamic lighting and level setups can be used without the need for complex rendering and visual affects, as im planning to do this in one scene and on the same screen at the same time.

Project 2: A Day At The Office.

The scene will be made up primarily of 5 office cubicles. There will be surrounding parts but they are place holders and will not be feturing in the render. The 5 office cubicles will have a different light intensity and feel to each. The main focus of this will be the time of day each of the sections show.


This will be to act as an experiment for my future work, as i am trying to find out if it is possible to use only the tools in Maya to create a dynamic scene.

This project will be presented like my other project and my work from the degree show, they will be printed on an A0 banner with a panoramic effect.

Anyway back to work, not much time left!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Into The Darkness!

Recently Ive had a lot of fun playing with simple lighting sets in Maya and discovering all the hidden effects that can be created, and even a bit of trickery by combining lighting affects.

So my idea was to create some simple geometry, a rocking chair, a lamp, a bookcase and a dresser and create a small scene and use some different lights to create specific atmospheres. But as that is a little to easy my tutors gave me a gentle nudge into creating a scene where to atmospheres would combine creating a Dynamic Level Design. For those of you who aren't Games Designers this is really not an easy task. So Ive set myself the project out in stages.

Firstly i would quickly create some models which i can use to create a set.

Now i had some simple models to play with i began learning different lighting techniques with Lights and Volumes in Maya. The image above is using a ambient occlusion lighting rig designed to mimic sunlight (i can't take credit for that rig as i am not that far into light creation. . . just yet).

So the next task i set myself was to create an "uncomfortable" atmosphere. I used the word uncomfortable as i am repeatedly told that using the word scary is too confined.

My first test was using the daylight set up and a simple Spotlight with a Maya Fog Volume.

As my first test i thought this worked really well. But the more i looked at it i started to realise that the Lamp could make a huge difference to how the scene would "feel".

So after a bit of a shuffle and light editing my next scene started to develop a bit more feeling. The Lamp's light makes a huge difference to the scene. But i was still thinking the outdoor lighting could be having a huge effect on the scene.

Now, with the outdoor light removed and yet again another shuffle of models the scene started to feel more "uncomfortable". At first the scene was extremely dark due to the lack of light on the left hand side of the scene. So i had another play with some lighting and learnt how to create cool visual styles with OpticalFX in Maya. By using Point Lights, Light Volumes and OpticalFX i was able to create Candles to add a small amount of light to the left side.

After finding that with shifting models and manipulating lights can make a huge difference to a small set, i decided to dig deeper into the world of Maya lights and find what effects i could achieve.

So after about an hour of creating a particle system and a fire animation i created yet another render. The render does not do the particle system any justice as the smoke particles created from the fire actually have active physics which allow it to follow, collide and react with geometry within the fireplace (So the particles actually follow the shape of the chimney). I found that the ambient light created from the fire started to push the room into a "comfortable" scenario. So i had to go back to the basics of this scene and try and find that "uncomfortable" feeling yet again.

Here it is, the final light test for this part of the scene. With the addition of an external light source , which is my own custom light rig which Ive named "Moonlight Rig" (yes, i actually lied at the start of the post for the purposes of showing my idea generation).

With the use of the moonlight rig and some changes to the fire and candle lights i found the feeling i was trying to achieve. With about an hours work creating the rig and the and ridiculous render time i was made to wait to see if my final test would work. . .

"Uncomfortable" Scene render using Moonlight Rig, Ambient Fire Particle System and Candle Lighting.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

The Link Between Time and Waste!

Well, here it comes, the first angry rant of my blog!

Within the MA course the first semester is made up of two parts, the "Game Design" part and what i am now calling the "Complete B*ll***s" section. I know the name of the second part may sound harsh but i will now explain why i will not be changing my view on this section.

At the start of the semester we were all given a group project based around the design aspects of Preston city. At first i thought this was going to be a bit of a Mickey Mouse organised project, but after being given the assignment for this section i was actually seeing the point of it.

We were put into design teams, a mixture of people from other MA courses across the design school, and given a brief. Once in our groups we were given the task of forming a small hierarchy to make the groups more efficient.

So my group decided that it would be a good idea to go out and get some research together in a chosen area of the brief. This task started to grow on me after i started to become quite interested in the history of Preston.

Now this is where my choose title for this module will become clear. . .

After already being told we were given the project late so we had less time than we thought on this project, we all have to rush to get up to a point where we were comfortable about the deadline. And then after a week of doing the project at high pace we were told, by someone who didn't really seem to understand himself why the decision was made, that the project would now be worth 0%. . . .

All i can say is many people, including myself were p**sed off!

We all had questions, why? who's idea was it? and what do we do now?

Answers -

Why? - Errrr, well, ermmm, *silence*, *nervous look*, you can still do it for fun?

Who? - We decided (who the hell is we anyway!) to. . .

What now? - Well you can still do the group project as a bit of fun. . .

My reply to what now - why the hell should we? If we want to interact and have fun we should use the time on the Friday morning to go have a drink. I no its quite early in the day, but who cares?

I have to say its an absolute joke. First we were given a project late, then we had to work faster than usually to get up to the same deadlines, and then we were told the work would be worth nothing. If you can't understand my anger imagine this;

You have a worked for 5 days for a company expecting to be paid. Then on the last day, when you are about to leave for home your boss tells you they have decided not to pay you, with no reasonable explanation for it.

Anyway, we now have a project which still makes little sense and when we asked question about it the person who gave us the project didn't seem to understand it themselves. . . Personally i think its being filmed for some form of comedy sketch show where the creators sit and laugh behind blacked out windows, and as i don't seem any windows, i think its just a joke!

Needless to say i, and many others, aren't very happy with how that part of the course is being run and presented.

On a brighter note;

Games Design Section Happiness Level 100% - So nothing really to say about that section.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Mission I - Character Design!

Well it didn't take long for our first assignment to creep up on us! It was a relatively easy task, Create and design a character which carried a story and/or message.

So, being a big fan of Pixar and Dreamworks i decided to create a story which would fit well into one of their film styles.

My Project: The Recyclones!

The Recyclones are an alien race who rely on rubbish and junk to convert into an energy source. So when they come to earth in search of energy, where will their junk collection end?

The answer is they wont! They will gather anything which will fit into their vacuums!