Friday, February 18, 2011

Team Fortress 2 Update Released

I have been working on this for the last 2 months with a client and am finally able to show it off!

C&C Welcome

Medieval Update for Team Fortress 2

(please be sure click the arrows at the top right of the page, there are 3 pages total.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

More of the stank tree!

For those of you who don't know, the female Ginkgo tree drops pods with a sticky, smelly goop, that gets all over the place, people say they smell vomit and or trash when they notice the stench.  Also rarely the male tree undergoes a metamorphosis and then begins dropping stink pods since it is now a female tree as well, just imagine if humans could do that without surgery, what a wacky world it would be.

Anyways I got a crit over at polycount that my branches looked disconnected and that there wasn't enough medium level detail, too much hyper detail, so I gave it some more medium detail and smoothed out the branches.  I finished up my high res and began retopoing, 2100 hand placed vertices later I had my low.  I definitely need a better way to retopo trees in the future, to have to circle around each branch 8 or more times in order to get the loops in there just took absolutely forever, and then of course figuring in the complicated splits.
Please click for fullview

High Mesh

Baked Low - 4553 Tri's

 Tree Normal Map at 512 (Original 2048)
Some wires

Once I finished up the low I was excited to bake out my normal maps, after an auto unwrap for testing purposes the results looked ominous, little did I know they would eat up an entire day.  After a proper unwrap and hoping the problems would be fixed, the branches close to the trees were being projected onto the trunk of the tree.  I did not think xNormal had a  ray distance function since I did not see it under the normal map projection settings.  After trying multiple techniques such as splitting up the mesh, baking in maya (which took about 3 hours whereas xNormal takes about 30 seconds) and importing my retopoed into zBrush for a normal bake from there (which destroyed my mesh in some areas) I realized I should search google to see if it had a ray distance function. -- Low and behold IT DOES! It was hidden (at least to me) under the low mesh options which I had never noticed before! So for anyone having a problem such as that just increase it until you get the desired results, you might want to uncheck "closest hit if ray fails" for debugging purposes until everything seems about spot on, then recheck it to make sure all goes well.  A lot of text but hopefully worth the read!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tree of the Ginkgo Update

I started out my sculpt on my tree first using curves in maya, then extruding cylinders along the curves using polygons as a guide, then used that to export to zBrush and created my base out of zSpheres.  Once happy with that base I began sculpting, this is what i've gotten so far and am about to start texturing, I am looking for critiques or suggestions for improvements.

Some of my reference

This one was shot by my lovely girlfriend Emily

Now for the goods

Placed a box for the ground ref of where the roots will cut off
 Some detail shots

Once again C&C are welcome!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Think it's time for a new post?

I do!

After feeling a dire need to update my portfolio to a more professional level and being inspired by an amazing scene in UDK, I have started on a project that will be an attempt to emulate it and then take it to another level by having seasonal changes controllable by a sci-fi panel or some sort of weather doohickey!

Here is the piece that inspired me, done by Paul Svoboda.

I am first going for a supersmall scene as a proof of concept deal as well as a chance to learn lighting in UDK, it seems that after I build an entire level, by the time I go to light it, the rebuild times take far too long for me to learn how to get good results, currently I have about a half second of rebuild time which is perfect for testing.

Okay enough text, onto some pictures, these are all untextured leaves with normal maps displayed on high quality in the maya viewport.  I am trying to use Paul's technique adapted to my own means as I only have a vague explanation of how he did it. 

For the tri count's I will be able to afford more than just 2 tri's per leaf for this scene since it will be focusing solely on one very small tree and nothing else.
 Flat leaf variations
 Curled Leaves

I will also be completely revamping my portfolio site, a total new look and a completely new layout.  After reading the do's and don'ts of a good portfolio I found that school forced me to do a lot of don'ts, so now I am going to fix all of that.  I will be doing whatever it takes to get my dreamjob!

I will get back to the concept helmet once I have my portfolio site redone and I will be able to update soon with a whole slew of objects I had spent the last 2 months working on for a freelance project.

More to come soon! These are ginkgo leaves by the way :)