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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Calendar April 29, 2013 19:11

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The End Is Nigh

So this is my last official week at the MGS lab, and I'm happy to say that today my group and I presented our thesis game, Drop Drop. It took a while to get here, but it feels like yesterday was the first day that I meet everyone in my cohort and now we are about to graduate on Friday.

First off, I have to admit that I wasn't really ready to present my game. I don't mean that I hadn't prepared something to say, I mean that I didn't really know what to expect when presenting your thesis and going to your formal defense of it. My team created a movie instead of a PowerPoint presentation, this made sure that we were only going to have 4 minutes to talk about what we each did on the game, and to stay brief and to the point. I have to admit that I get really anxious when I have to talk in front of people, but I think I did ok.

After the presentation, I had to wait about 2 hours for my turn to go into a room with the Chairman and the rest of my committee evaluating my contribution to the thesis game and my thesis paper that I finished last week (which is why I haven't been posting much lately). For the first part I knew what I needed to say for those 4 minutes, but for this part I didn't really know what they were going to ask me about my paper or the presentation. So I really had nothing ready, I was just ready to answer questions truthfully and hope that it would be enough.

The first thing the Chairman asked me was, "What does the title of your thesis paper mean?". I had titled my paper "Development of an Artist", FYI. And from there a conversation started about how I had started two years ago and where I was now as a game artist. I honestly can't remember everything about the conversation, but I'm really sure that it lasted about 20-25 minutes going back and forth between the five other people in the room and myself. I even had the pleasure of having an old teacher from my undergraduate degree in my committee  and she knew that I had really improved since I took classes with her almost 4 years ago.

Then they had me step outside for a few minutes, until they called me back into the room and congratulated me on the completion of my thesis game and paper. Now all that is left is presenting my Sci Fi environment on Thursday for my hard surface modeling class and one more short paper to write. And if all goes well, I will be walking across the stage on Friday receiving my MFA along with my peers.

Its all kind of surreal actually, thinking that I'm about to graduate. I've been going to school every year since I was like 5 (or whatever the age is when you go to pre-school and all that good stuff) and now in less than a week it will all be over. I'm actually one of the weird kids that like school, not only because I'm kind of a nerd, but because I like what I do and I like talking to all my friends in the MGS lab. I will really miss my computer, and all the really late nights some of us stayed up playing games of League of Legends (its a team building exercise) yelling at each other to stop feeding the other team. Those were the good old days, and now they will be nothing but memories.

I'm going to miss everyone in my cohort, and while I can't really call them family, at different levels, they are all my friends. I will try to stay in touch with all of them, and who knows, one of them might end up being a really famous game developer one day. I may even have the chance to say, "I know that guy/girl, he/she is a friend of mine from grad school." I know that every single one of us has the potential to work at a AAA game studio, and I know that we will all get there one day. Some have already achieved it, I have a few friends that have accepted positions at EA, some in Orlando and some right here in Salt Lake. I can't help but feel a little jealous that they have jobs lined up after graduation, but at the same time I'm proud of their accomplishments and I hope to catch up to them soon.

There is a lot I've learned from this program, and recently it was ranked as number 1 in the nation for the undergrad, and number 2 for the graduate degree. I hope that one day we will be able to claim #1 in both slots, and I'll be even more proud to say that I graduated from the U.

Now the real challenge starts, where I have to find a place where I can get my foot in the door. I've applied at a couple places, even had a couple interviews, but so far nothing. I hope that someone will be able to give me a chance and prove that I'm a good game artist and that I have what it takes to contribute to the studio and the project at hand. I know I will find a place, I just have to be patient and in the meantime continue to improve my skills as a game artist.

This was a really personal post, and I'm sorry to have made it so long. But for now, that is all I have to say. After all, I still have a project to finish and a paper to write. Thanks!

-Chris (soon to be Master Christian Munoz!)

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Calendar April 28, 2013 14:03

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Baking Normal Maps

So I've finally started to bake down my normal maps. I was having some issues but a friend of mine helped me figure out a stupid little mistake of mine. Here is a render of a floor title:

That is the render of a plane with my floor title, it went from being over 10,000 triangles to just 2. I love normal maps! I baked out an occlusion map and a normal map, here is the composite image of both maps:

I only have a couple more models to finish for my scene, but I will continue to do the bake down over these next few days and get it ready to take it into Unreal. Wish me luck since I've never used Unreal. That's all for now, thanks for reading!

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Calendar April 23, 2013 18:09

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Scope of My Sci Fi Environment

So there is one week left before I have to submit my sci fi environment and I don't think that I'm going to be able to complete what I had intended in the beginning. I have a lot of detail in the hallway, so I've been working on making that look as good as possible adding props and other details to make it look lived in without having to go into the other area of my environment.

I also decided to seal in my hallway, making adding a big door on either end of the hallway. Here is a render of my new door:

I will think of more items to place around the scene and I'll post updates when I have something to show.

Also, I have to start baking out the normals soon along with some light maps. I'm planning on taking this into unreal for my presentation, so maybe some real basic texture work might be in order. That's all for now, thanks for reading!

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Calendar April 18, 2013 17:08

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Yet Another Sci Fi Pillar

So I wanted to create another pillar that I could place randomly around my scene, but that it wouldn't have to be up against a wall. Here is a render of everything:

My logic behind making this new pillar is that it wouldn't have to be up against the wall, so I can have it in places that makes the scene look a not as clean and not mirrored. I still have to figure out where I will place them so that they aren't in the way of someone walking around. That's all for now, thanks for reading!

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