Thursday, 9 May 2013

The Group Project, Finished, Part One

After fourteen weeks of impeccably hard work, yesterday myself and the rest of my group, (Chelsea Lindsay, Daniel Peacock, Dominic Bell, Luc Fontenoy and Daniel Hargreaves, Pudding Lane Productions) gave our final presentation to our tutors and the rest of our year group as well as a number of final year students. We all felt the pressure, we all felt the nerves, but we all felt confident, as we have throughout the project, confidence in how much effort we had put in, confidence in the quality of our work and confidence in the outcome of our project.

So I hold my hands up and take full responsibility for the fact I haven’t updated my blog for a while in regards to the work I have been doing for the group project, and I apologize for that. But, I can assure you full well that the work has been done, in fact, apart from a little visual design work, the group project work is the only work I have been doing since my last update 11 weeks ago. I didn't even take any time off over the three week Easter break last month like some of the other members!

Its all been worth it though, our project has just gone from strength to strength and all thanks to the hard work every member of the group has put in as well as the fact that the team has gotten on so well from day one. We have helped each other, supported each other and I'm so happy that I was put in a group with such talented artists.

So lets get on to the work I have contributed to the project since my last update! I wont go into to much detail on my processes of development as it would no doubt make this blog very, very long but I will try my best to give a little description of what the work was for. More information on all of the teams work can be found at our group blog;
I will also go into much further detail on all of my processes in my personal design document.

  • Week Three - In week three myself and two other members of the group took a trip to Rutland and Oakham to begin gathering some first hand reference for our modular buildings, more information can be found on that trip at our group blog here;
With a little time left at the end of the week I began to experiment with the building process of modular buildings;
Team photo of the Rutland trip
My first try at modular buildings
  • Week Four - In week four the team began to split the work up between the members. The ideas were flowing and the diversity of work needing to be carried out was growing. After the Rutland trip I'd managed to get plenty of reference images of churches and church ground objects, and from my initial research and concepts I had included some churches in those too with gravestones and a church wall. The rest of the team liked those concepts and the idea of including church grounds in our level so this week I was taken away from my modular buildings and asked to build a decent selection of low poly gravestones. Seen as other members of the group were developing their modulars, the team thought it would be a good idea for me to do the gravestones as well as a modular church wall so that we could start to demonstrate how the level would also be populated with smaller assets.

  • Week Five - At the end of week four I spent some time completing the minibus test at the university and was able to arrange a trip to York, The Shambles, for all of the teams taking part in the 'Off The Map' project using the university minibus. It was a great opportunity for the team to collect more first hand reference, and because I was driving the minibus we were able to spend as long as we liked in York and all of the team members were able to attend. The trip was fantastic and gave the whole team a real sense of just how tightly packed the 17th Century London Streets would have been. More information on the York trip can be read at our team blog here;

The Shambles in York
After the trip the team went into week five in full swing, full of inspiration and ideas from the York trip. For the week I was tasked with producing a selection of street specific concepts for Pudding Lane. The team were worried that, although the level was beginning to grow rapidly, a lot of the streets were beginning to look very similar. Some of the team members were doing more detailed concepts of their designated streets, looking at various props that might populate certain streets. I on the other hand decided to look into the teams idea of colour grading individual streets to bring variety to the level. I have to admit, I’m not the greatest fan of digi painting as it is, wont go into that now, so I decided to produce a variety of water colours as I'm confident with the medium and I think the medium lends itself well to portraying the atmosphere the team hoped to convey in the level.
Week Five team blog;
The watercolours I produced are shown below;

  • Week Six - Before the team had their first meeting of the week I first spent a few hours in and around Leicester city centre gathering more reference for the team. Some reference particularly for use for modelling as some for textures in the coming weeks. I also wrote an independent blog on the teams blogger on my adventures around Leicester which can be read here;

After collecting all of the reference in Leicester, my job for week six was to produce a selection of textures for the project. The team hoped to get the full selection of 'modular' type textures done for all of the buildings this week so we planned all of the textures we thought we needed, discussed the amount of material id's our modular buildings should use, and then the textures were divided between myself and two other members of the team. The team was also hoping to bake the textures from high poly models in order to ensure the textures were of as high a quality as possible. I was a little unsure about this as I haven’t one much modelling in ZBrush and therefore wasn't very confident with it but one of the major benefits of this project has been the fact that certain team members are strong in certain areas of their work and, especially because our team got on so well, we were all able to share our knowledge in these areas in order to help others. Dan Hargreaves is much more familiar with ZBrush and high-to-low poly baking in general and was able to help me a great deal with the whole process, providing me with plenty of advice as well as links to good tutorials on the process. In the end, I decided the best way I could go around doing my textures was to do the main details for the stone work and bricks by first baking the larger stone shapes and the using the program nDo2 to create the smaller details. For my wood and plaster textures I purely used ZBrush to sculpt these. Another thing I found hard was creating a tileable texture within ZBrush, but again Dan was able to help me with that process and any other seams for these I was able to fix in Photoshop. I was extremely happy with the outcome of the textures I produced after not being so confident with the process at the beginning of the week.
Team's week six blog;

  • Week Seven - Week seven got off to a slow start as it was also the start of the three week Easter break, but prior to the holiday the whole team had a lengthy meeting to discuss the jobs we would all like each other to do over the break, and anything else that might of needed to be done we could all chat on Facebook. I had decided to stay in Leicester anyway over the break instead of travelling home to the parents as I was planning to basically not take a break and work throughout the holiday. So, for week seven, to start the Easter break, I was tasked with completing my set of modular buildings, I hadn't finished these with doing the modular church assets in the third week of the project so it was time for me to finish mine. I set myself the task of completing ten modular buildings for the week, concentration of keeping the main structures the same, two/ three stories, and creating as much variety as possible in building shape, wooden beam distribution, door position and shape, window positions, size and shape, chimney position, size and shape not forgetting that the textures completed last week would also add even more variety to my buildings.

Below are my modular buildings as well as the team blog for week seven;

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