Calendar August 15, 2013 16:02

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30 Head Sculpts in a Month Challenge

Everyday for the next month, I'm going to sculpt a head in Zbrush. It doesn't look that great now, but the idea is that hopefully by doing it everyday I will get better.

My friend Brandon Rees is now a tech artist for EA Tiburon, and he gave me this great idea. He said that I should take no more than an hour per sculpt, after a while what used to take me 20 minutes to do will be done in half the time.

I will have to admit that I cheated on this head sculpt since I spent almost 2 hours doing it. I know that it looks really crappy for 2 hours worth of work, but it took me a while to figure dinamesh and all that set up stuff. Anyways, here are the renders from ZBrush:

I was trying to go for the look of an old wooden idol head. If anyone has critique, please feel free to let me know. That's all for now, thanks for reading!

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Calendar August 12, 2013 02:26

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Quick Start to ZBrush: Volume 1 Assignment

So here is my sculpt for the assignment at the end of volume 1 in the DT (digital tutors) quick start series:

I decided that I'm going to create like a rocky beach and I will eventually learn how to make a treasure chest of some sort and put it on top of the middle pedestal with other things around it as props. It doesn't look like it from this angle, but I made it so that the part that is sunk in is lower than the rocky part. I don't know if I can do this is Zbrush, but if not I'll figure out how to do it another way, but I'm planning on adding water of some kind to that it looks like a beach.

Hopefully my plan works, since I can see it so well in my mind. If I have time, I'll try to sketch out a concept of what I mean over the week.

Now its time to start volume 2 and learn some more Zbrush! Thanks for reading!

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Calendar August 10, 2013 01:34

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Quick Start to ZBrush: Volume 1 - Done

So I've decided to learn Zbrush, and I'm taking the learning path in Digital Tutors for Zbrush.

I have finished watching all the video and I've been following along, and been doing my own model. I downloaded the project files just in case I needed them, but it turns out that its probably just better to do everything my self.

Here is a quick render of what I have after the first lesson:

I also took the test, and I only got 1 answer wrong giving me a grand total of 93% for the final test.

Next, I will do the homework assignment and create another terrain on my own. Hopefully by the time I'm done I will have 2 finished assets and know my way around Zbrush.

To be fair, I was always scared of zbrush because its so different from what I'm used to with Maya. All the controls felt weird, but after a good couple hours of working in Zbrush, I'm actually really liking this software package and hope that I can keep getting better.

That's all for now, thanks for reading!

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Calendar July 12, 2013 23:57

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Fifth Day of Teaching

So today was my last day teaching at Spy Hop.

Today was mainly about getting the students to do 3d modeling on their own, so I was mainly jumping around helping students with questions. The students had freedom to make almost anything they wanted, but I made sure that it wasn't too complicated.

One of the students was trying to redo the companion cube on his own, another made a computer, and made a cake. Even though it was a short week, the students got really good at the basics of Maya. I gave them links to other resources like Digital Tutors to help them keep progressing in their 3d modeling.

That's all for now, thanks for reading!

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Calendar July 11, 2013 22:34

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Fourth Day of Teaching

So today's lesson took longer than I thought it would. I can do the model of the companion cube fairly quickly, but showing a group of people took me pretty much the full time. A lot of the students were really excited to do this project since its based of the game of Portal. 

The reason why I picked this model is because its harder than it looks and it also teaches a lot of tricks for 3d modeling. For example, if you take a look at the companion cube its really only made of 4 parts and its just a matter of making one and duplicating them. 

Tomorrow is the last day of teaching, and I have to say that I really wish there was more time for this class. Thanks for reading!

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Calendar July 11, 2013 01:51

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Third Day of Teaching

So I think I'm finally getting a little more comfortable standing in front of people.

The point of today's lesson was a simple introduction to how UV's and materials work in Maya. Since this is a one week course, there is no way to teach everything there is to know about Maya but at least a simple intro would do.

I gave the students access to this file that I got from one of my professors when I was going to school. This is a really simple Maya scene and the main point is to make it look more complex than it really is. Applying a few simple tileable textures can really make the difference on that scene.

It won't look like a AAA game quality work, but the point of this exercise is to get a general idea of how textures work in Maya. That's all for now, thanks for reading!

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Calendar July 9, 2013 21:08

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Second Day of Teaching

This is harder than I thought it would be since some of students are still a little nervous or shy about being in the class. I tried to slow down on my presentation since I could tell that some of the students were not able to follow completely yesterday.

To start things off, today I went over the overall process of the art pipeline using this great article I found on IGN. It does a really good job at explaining the overall process but with the right amount of detail that its not too general. I also added some of my personal experience with game development with how some parts of the pipeline can be affected if you skip over or don't do some of the things in the article.

After that we created the basic model for a fire hydrant. It took a while to get started since Maya is still really new to them, but we managed to get through it. At the end, I showed them how to add some of the other detail since we wouldn't be able to keep going with the lecture without going over on time.

I hope that I will get less and less nervous while talking as time goes on, I think that's part of the reason that I start to speak faster. When I get nervous, I start to speak faster so I may lose some of the students. That's all for now, thanks for reading.

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Calendar July 8, 2013 21:41

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First Day of Teaching

So today was my first class at Spy Hop, and it went better than I expected.

I think at parts I was going a little faster than what the students could follow, but I tried to slow down every few steps to see if anyone had questions or if they needed help.

For today, we made a simple chair model. And I could tell that many children weren't really exited about it. But I think that by the end of the lesson, they understood why I was using a chair as the first model that we were going to build together.

Tomorrow, I'm going to be teaching about the art pipeline and make a fire hydrant together as our class exercise. Hopefully, it won't take as long as it did today to make the chair since they should all be more familiar with Maya.

That's all for now, thanks for reading!

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Calendar July 7, 2013 16:48

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Companion Cube Render

Here is my finished Companion Cube. I used Maya for the 3D model, and Photoshop and Illustrator for the texture. I used Xnormal for baking out the normal map, and occlusion map. Finally I used Marmoset Tool Bag for rendering the final image.

Here is my texture map:

I think I'm having a little issues with the normal map, so I might be able to redo it. But for now, this is what I have. Thanks for reading!

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Calendar June 30, 2013 18:51

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Intro to 3D Modeling in Maya

So I got a small side job coming up, and it involves teaching and intro to 3d modeling class. I will be teaching at a little nonprofit place called Spy Hop Productions. I had to create a syllabus of what I will be teaching, here is what I've come up with:

3D Modeling in Maya: July 8th - 12th

This course will teach students how to create their own 3D models using Maya. While this course will not be able to teach everything in one week, it will be enough of a foundation that if students wish to pursue this career, they will know and understand the overall process.

  • Program/Learning Objectives: 
  • Students will learn what it means to be a game/digital artist. 
  • Students will learn the pipeline of game art. 
  • Students will learn vital terminology used by game artist and understand what it means. 
  • Students will learn how to navigate the UI of Maya. 
  • Students will learn how to use basic shapes to model objects in 3D. 
  • Students will learn the basics of how to layout UVs and apply textures to models. 

Day 1:

Introduction to the class. This includes showing examples of work and learning the user interface of Maya. By the end of the class, everyone in the class should know how to use the most common tools in maya and we will create a simple model together in class.

Day 2:

Now that students know the basics of Maya, they will learn the pipeline of game art. After the pipeline lesson, students will learn how to use simple shapes along with other tools in Maya to create a fire hydrant.

Day 3:

Now that students are more familiar with Maya, they will use what they learned from the pipeline lesson and start thinking about their final project for the class (more on that below). Students will then learn the basics of UVs in a simple scene and apply tiled textures.

Day 4:

As a final joint exercise, I will show that some models are harder than they look by working on a companion cube from the game Portal. The final project will be discussed, and anytime left over will be used to work on the final project.

Day 5:

Students will have most of the class left to finish working on their final project and ask for help if they need it. Before the end of class, everyone will present the 3D model that they created.

Final Project:

For their final project, students will create a 3D model of a weapon for a game of their choosing. This could be a staff from World of Warcraft, a sword from Final Fantasy, or it can be a completely original idea from the student.

On day 3 the final project will be introduced and students should start thinking of what they want to make. I would advise that they should create a sketch and find plenty of reference images of the weapon that they want to create.

On day 4 we will begin working on the 3D model until its finished and ready to present on day 5.Students will be encouraged to keep the difficulty of the model to a minimum and try to limit it to about 900 triangles.

I got most of the material from one of my professors in college, he had a really good way of teaching the fundamentals of 3D to some people that had never touched Maya.

I'm a little nervous since i don't really know what to expect, this is a summer camp and a lot of different students will be there with different ages.

That's all for now, thanks for reading!

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Calendar June 16, 2013 01:17

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Almost Done With Texture

So I've keept working on my texture for my Sic Fi environment, and I'm glad that I'm making progress. I've trying to learn as much as possible about what it takes to get the Borderlands 2 look, and its not easy. I've read to everything that they posted on a Polycount thread they created with a bunch of renders from their models and textures.

In the mean time, here are the new renders of my progress on this piece:

By my next update, I hope to have figured out how to do the inking correctly for the art style and get rid of the nasty seams in my texture. Thanks for reading!

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Calendar June 9, 2013 03:12

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Texturing Sci Fi Environment

So I've been trying to texture my final project for my Hard Surface Modeling class last semester and use Marmoset Toolbag for the rendering. For some reason my normal map file isn't working, but for now this is my first pass at the textures since I only wanted to get some base colors down on the mesh.

I'm trying to mimic the visual style of Borderlands 2 in this environment, so I'll try to get some critique from some of my old class mates from the U on our Facebook group.

Here is the render:

I plan to take some time doing this crate, so that once I have the look I want I can then move on to the other pieces in the environment without having to stumble so much looking to see what works and what doesn't.

That's all for now, thanks for reading!

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Calendar May 13, 2013 01:54

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Breaking In My New Cintiq

So for graduation, my wife was very generous and paid for half of my new Wacom tablet. Its a Cintiq 13HD, and I love it. I haven't been able to stop using it and I feel that it will really help me as I try to get better in art and in my future career.

For the mean time, I've decided that I need to start doing more 2D art and I saw a drawing on the web and I decided to do a trace and a little of my own work. I'm not happy with some areas and I think that I need to add a little more detail in others, but for now I think its the beginning of something good. Once I'm done with it I plan to take it into Illustrator and make it a vector image and then paint it on Photoshop.

Here is the image of what I have so far:

If anyone actually reads my blog, I would appreciate some critique. Anyways, thats all for now as I continue to work on some side project now that I'm out of school. Thanks for reading!

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Calendar May 9, 2013 13:25

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Sailboat Model

So now that I can catch up on my internship work, here is one of the models that I've done, a sailboat. Here is a render of the model:

I still have a lot stuff left to catch up on, but this is the beginning. Thanks for reading!

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Calendar May 3, 2013 20:04

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Master of Fine Arts Achieved!

Earlier today I had the chance to see everyone in the cohort for a last time over a MGS sponsored breakfast for the students and family. It was fun talking to people one last time, but at the same time kind of weird seeing everyone's family.

Then later it came time for the ceremony, and it was kind of boring until it came time to walk up on stage. Since the MFA is a terminal degree, we got hooded (I don't know if that is the right term, but I'm going to use it) and everything. I tried to look over to my family in the crowd as I got hooded, but the lights were so bright I couldn't see anyone in the crowd. But the feeling was amazing, like that feeling that you get when you have just beat the final boss of a really good game. Like you would do anything to do it all over again for the first time. That might sound a little weird, but its the only way I can explain it.

Now we just have to put the final touches on our game, an it will soon be published on Desura. I also have to make up a lot of hours on my Internship, but more on that later. Thanks for reading!

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