backlog of updates: lighting & texturing

February 4, 2014 at 8:48 pm (School) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

This was a really good class. I learned a lot and if I have to work in Maya, I’m all in for lighting and texturing (that’s probably because a lot of it would happen in Photoshop haha). Aaaanyway… The first major assignment was to take one of school’s characters, Bloke, and put him in any setting we want and light it. The facial expression was locked, but we could pose his body. I did have to model and texture anything I put in the scene other than Bloke, but the main focus was to create dynamic lighting that tells a story. I decided to set my scene in the forest with a campfire. Believe it or not, there are 5 lights: 2 yellow-orange lights in the fire pit, slightly offset from each other, in order to cast those wonky shadows you get from flickering fire, 2 blue lights on either side of the camera acting a little as moonlight in order to compliment the orange glow of the fire and define the dark shapes of the characters, the final light is directly on the fire in order to actually light it, since none of the others could. The geometry of the fire also has the incandescence turned on so it glows.

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The final project was to texture a garage scene the instructor gave us. We could model more things for the scene, but had to fit everything, well-packed, into 3-5 UV mesh files. A UV mesh is your 3D geometry laid out in 2D space so you can design custom textures, like so:Image converted using ifftoany

In order to have the mesh, I spent many hours moving UVs around. In order for everything to be in the correct proportion together, put a grid texture on all surfaces. Then you can see if all of the squares are the same size or if there is any stretching and fix them up (pro tip: there always is so be prepared to fork over some time). There is also a lot of cutting and sewing seams together so they are in the least conspicuous places and so the pieces are as easy to lay out as possible. Once you have that, Maya can look at the geometry and create a rough Ambient Occlusion (the shadows objects cast on each other just by being close:

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In order to make things go quickly, I set up tools. Color highlights of each section, so I could easily grab areas with the wand tool and a “lipstick” layer to let me know what direction things are facing. I applied the texture on the geometry so it was possible to see saved updates in Maya by simply reloading.

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Next, to start on the diffuse (color) layers:

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Once the basic color patterns are applied, it is necessary to give the surfaces texture and character. How lived in is this garage? What is new and old? If it is well-used, in what ways does use affect the object? Where do wear and grime and scratches and dents collect?

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The next step is to make a bump map in grayscale. Bump fakes depth in a surface based on the scene lighting. So at an angle, it looks like there is depth, but along the edge it is straight. You can also make a displacement map that will actually affect the geometry to create depth, but you have to have a high enough poly count for it to work, which is not always possible. In the bump map, white = the most raised and black = the most inset.

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The last thing I did was create a specular map. This tells Maya how shiny an object is: white = 100% shininess and black = 100% matte. There is another kind of map for specularity called specular power, which dictates how concentrated the shine is and what the fall off of the shine is, but I did not get to those in this assignment.

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There are so many different kinds of maps you can make to customize the look of an object, like translucence and incandescence, that once you know how to use them, you can pretty much make anything you want. It’s pretty cool. Here are the final renders of my scene:

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March 22, 2012 at 5:07 am (School) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

SO. Finals….

My image manipulation class assignment was to find something to use as inspiration. Then, create my own art based on that. As open-ended as it sounds, yes. I mean, there were specs… 180 dpi; RGB; PSD file to turn in with layers labeled; printed version mounted on black matte board, but the other details were totally up to us as the artist.

As my inspiration, I finally landed on a contemporary surrealist, Vladimir Kush:

And here is what I came up with. Digital illustration is definitely not my deal, but it was fun to hone my photoshop skills some more and challenge myself with the illustration related aspects. The instructor actually said during the in-class review that it was her favorite one (and some of them were really good, too #notsohumblebrag)! WHOA.

UPDATE, assets:

I had the same instructor for my 3D modeling class, which was much more difficult. Not in a bad way as far as content goes; a good challenge and something very new. Yay for that! … BUT… she fell behind in material. Like, our final was to complete all of these renders from the scenes we created in Maya throughout the term, put them together in After Effects and make a QuickTime movie. The problem is that she still had stuff to show us… ON THE DAY OF THE FINAL. Sooooo, we had to come to class ready to learn how to turn in the final. As a result, I am not totally satisfied with this. If I had known more of the variables to a+b=c … I would have done things a little differently. With that disclaimer and under the circumstances, I felt pretty good about my output. Some of my textures are really nice. There are a few minor proportion issues that I would go back and fix now and I would definitely refine my ball animation for roll distance and perspective view. Anyway, for a first time with any 3D modeling, I call it a win and look forward to gaining more experience.

Also, if you need me to animate anything for you, let me know! It might be a few years before you see the results, but I TOTALLY WILL! HAHAHA!

PS: every time the instructor asked us to do anything with our balls, the 13 year old boy in my head would giggle. Sometimes out loud.

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