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The 3D Thread


suzakuseven
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Well, good news is that I got through my 2nd year of Uni, just. I was so unorganised and nearly messed it up because of some silly girl :rolleyes: but managed to scrape through.

Fortunately I've managed to find a placement with an ISP that a friend of mine started. They built their own Data Centre last year and have been wanting CGI walkthroughs of it done for a while now so I convinced him to take me on for my placement year, so he could have all his stuff done in-house.

The upside to this is that I get a paid placement which will go towards my degree. The downside is that I'm the only CGI'er there and it means taking on all my own learning. If I get stuck somewhere, the only way I have of solving it is by finding it out myself.

My biggest weakness is lighting as I don't know a massive amount about it. Mental Ray has so many different options and I have no idea how to set most of it up, don't even get me started on V-Ray.

My texturing skills also have a lot to be desired. I can barely remember how to create my own materials in the material editor, let alone unwrap something.

Still, I've got a till October to teach myself a thing or two so hopefully I use that time wisely.

I thought I'd post my 2nd year show reel anyway. At the time I was quite happy with it but that's mostly because I didn't fail the year. There are a lot of things I could have done better and I really have to get myself organised for the final year, but I have confidence that I'll be able to pull it off!

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Anaardvark, good work on the placement and passing 2nd year. I didn't even start trying uni until 3rd and 4th year as we just done 2D animation and lots of random stuff before that and I still got a First so theres plenty time yet to improve as much as you want to.

I would definitely focus on texturing skills to get them up to a proper standard and also try to find an exact thing you want to do when you leave uni and work towards that. I shoehorned all my work into the environment modelling aspect as much as I could rather than just doing the same brief as everyone else as that's what I want to get work in.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Been a while! Anyway, glad to say I finally got a job again. In Canada! Thing is I don't start till Mid April so wasn't quite sure what to do with myself. I did start a little on the follow up to Nintendo Sad Story but I'm not sure if it's a good idea to do another 'rough' animation. So now I'm just focusing on brushing up my skills, been reading loads on normal maps today which resulted in me messing about and I came up with this visual tutorial. I'm doing a blog and hope to keep updating it over at gamasutra but now I've added a twitter feed for others to get notified about new tutorials/additions. Might be useful for anyone here starting out in this area...

http://twitter.com/#!/caponeart

http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/AdamCapone/20110223/7071/Lesson_02_Normals__first_steps.php

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Nice work on the job! Exciting new chapter for ya. :)

Had a wee look at your blog and even the links you mentioned for normal maps. Thats the kind of thing I need as I'm really struggling to find good resources to teach myself 3ds max.

It's so difficult to find time to sit down and learn when your working 9-5 anyway but I've had a holiday this week and got some more done. I'm still finding it hard to get to grips with it. Modelling a fairly low poly truck right now which is taking ages, I know if I was doing it in Lightwave I'd be done in hours, not days! But it's fun learning, and I need to do it to get a job. Just a shame it's taking longer than expected as the pressure is on to get a job soon really.

Will be keeping an eye out for your blog anyway pal, hope the new job works out for you. A couple of months to relax and get things sorted for the big move. :D

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Howdy, as a long time XSI user, i'd have to say go for XSI. BUT as autodesk have now monopolised the 3d market with Maya, Max and XSI under their banner, i fear for how they're going to develop them.

A good friend of mine who is a programmer by trade, is currently looking into a 3d application for some more technical artist work we've got going on on our game. He's been heavily looking into Maya, Max, XSI and Modo to see which if any, are any good.

Maya - the "i use Maya because we learned it in Uni" is awful. If you like windows everywhere, comparitively restrictive and poor symmetry options and poly tools unless you find some plugins, and an interface straight out of windows 3.1.

Max, again is suffering from the everything in one box, and a cluttered and unhelpful UI. Max suffers from a lot of what Maya suffers from in this regard.

the benefits of these two options is, they're used a lot. That doesnt mean that they're any good though.

XSI - Inititally visualised as an animation tool, XSI has some REALLY great poly tools and the wonderful ICE (think node based creative system for making trees, particles and deformations etc) XSI's interface and raycast selecting etc is awesome. XSI is suffering a little bit under the wing of Autodesk, as they have done zero marketing of the application, next to zero developer promoting for extra tools and support to get plugins ported to the system and many XSI users fear for its future as a modelling application. apart from this, it's wonderful as a poly modeller for environments, rigid and soft body modelling.

Modo - the new kid on the block really. built from the Ligthwave guys, it's a really great modelling application. with some nice fancy drilling tools for lining up off-shape objects to lay onto the sides of other polygons and shapes. my mate who is studying which modeller to use after a few months research and playing, has decided to plump for Modo for his modelling, and all rigging and animation he needs to do will be done in XSI

There is Cinema4d, which a lot of the compositor crowd and VFX guys seem to be using these days. I blame VCP and Greyscale Gorilla, but yeah.

I'll pm you some stuff also

Not many places use XSI though, and in terms of online help and resources there's just not much stuff around for XSI at all which would be tough for someone trying to learn the ropes.

I think if you're starting out and want to be able to get going relatively quickly then 3DSMax is good for that, Maya is more technical but it is pretty much an industry standard for TV and Film so I think it would pay off in the long run.

I used 3DSMax for 13years as a generalist and know the package very well, modelling is good but texturing and animation especially are a faff.

Maya I used for the first time last year for animation, took about 2 weeks to work confidently with it but found it to be better than Max for animation. The last 4months I've been working with XSi and it does feel intuitive, only took me about a week to pick up(I chose not to use the Maya keyset) and I'm really impressed although I've not touched anything really outside of animation.

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Yeah I looked at XSI but seeing as all the jobs I would be looking to go for were split between Max and Maya I went for Max. Not seen one video game company advertising positions that use XSI to be honest.

I would second that, XSI is so dramatically different and I'm really not a fan.

I've used Max for 8 years and then we moved to Maya last year, nowadays I'll choose Maya over Max for modelling and UVs.I don't understand Maya as well technically but the general tools are great to use. If you want to work in games then pick Max or Maya.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Eventually getting somewhere with Max now! :D I'm beginning to enjoy modelling again now which is great as the last few weeks trying to learn has been a right pain.

Started work on a small portfolio piece today. Gonna try and get it finished in a week in time for Game in Scotland recruitment fair next Saturday. Although, like last year, I don't reckon it'll be worth the effort as no-one was actually hiring and the big guns weren't there. Except from Realtime Worlds but we shall not be seeing them this year. :(

What I do need help on though is lighting. I have no idea where to start and can't really see any decent simple tutorials to just show me the basics.

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I had to tell someone this... It's embarrassing but funny.

I was modelling away last night and ended up hiding the layer the camera was on just so I didn't have to see the camera. Modelling away some more, fiddling about with already created shapes, not creating any more. Then this morning I started up and went to add a new shape and it was invisible. The transform gizmo was there and I could see it was creating sizes and letting me select and rotate but I just couldn't see the shape. I thought I'd glitched it or something as I was mucking about installing various plugins, etc beforehand. Spent hours fiddling about trying to find a setting I'd turned off, googling it to see if it was a common problem. Even reinstalled everything Autodesk related.

Had pretty much given up then it just dawned on me out of the blue that I had hidden the camera earlier and I was still on the same hidden layer. D'oh!

Oh well, only about 3-4 hours wasted! :lol:

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To be honest, any of the good ones I find seem to be Vray and not just standard Max which is annoying. I just want the basics to get started and actually light some of my work so I can get some renders out.

Seen this today:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-12803144

22 jobs in Edinburgh to work on APB: Reloaded. Can't find any other news of it, no vacancies being advertised anywhere yet as far as I can see.

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A wee update on what I'm working on. It's a building from an episode of Band of Brothers. It's always stuck in my mind and I've wanted to do a wee piece on it for a while so what better a time than now? :) Some of it isn't exact copy as it's hard to work out sizes and details from the shots but for the most part it's fairly close with some changes where I had my own ideas.

Originally set out with keeping it under 5000 tris as I wanted to have some more detailed sections in it but not over the top. I'm on 4,000 just now and still have a basic gutter to do and some loose cables hanging off the wall. Then aiming to unwrap it all this week with a 2048x2048 texture which will be great fun trying to do in Max for the first time!

79838267.jpg

vlcsnap2011031921h12m40.png

Any opinions and criticisms are welcome.

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Ah Carentan how I love thee! (reminds me of lunchtime COD sessions!) Overall looks good mate. I think the texturing on the roof is really strong. There is something about the contrast of the windows/frames and the building itself that makes them look a little flat (almost like there's not quite enough contrast)

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Cool, I'll try and pay attention to updates! Here's a little thing I was working on a while back but has sadly lost momentum.. not playing at proper speed (even when the gif has played once - it should be a wee bit faster) and there's some nasty travelling in the animation that I need to sort out!

lozsheath.gif

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Gonna try and get it finished in a week in time for Game in Scotland recruitment fair next Saturday. Although, like last year, I don't reckon it'll be worth the effort as no-one was actually hiring and the big guns weren't there. Except from Realtime Worlds but we shall not be seeing them this year. :(

I went along to that, met up with some now unemployed friends, what a sad state of affairs. I was called away at 2 but the first two hours didn't fill me with confidence. The "how to write a CV" section seemed like a right mess, had they even planned their answers beforehand? So much talent there I'm sure but hardly any jobs to go around. I hope Outplay are able to grow to their expected 150 staff count to get more people employed around here.

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Yeah it was dire as expected.

The "How to write a CV" section was identical to last year. It was actually the same 3 people answering the questions I believe. I went there kinda hoping for a little bit more but was let down again. It seemed alot busier last year, there were dozens of people surrounding the RTW section so it just seemed empty this time and the whole atmosphere was different.

If Outplay hit the ground running soon and reach that 150 mark in the next year or so it'll be fantastic for Scotland and obviously convince more devs to set up here too.

In other news, been a bit busy so just started unwrapping my model properly today. Quick question on the WIP. The difference in resolution between the main walls and the windows. Is that acceptable or should you really aim to keep it similar in detail level? I'm unsure on whether the difference will be noticeable or not when textured. :)

40229095.jpg

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It would depend very much on the type of game that the building was going into really, but if anything this is slightly backwards (i.e. the walls and roof are large areas and will have repetition so more density is good). For an FPS I'd aim to keep a constant pixel density accross the whole thing, possibly lowering it on upper floors/roof if you have no access to that height (or zoom).

To be honest you'd be much better putting something like this into an engine as treating what is a pretty generic building** as an individual object/asset is far from how you would work in the industry. By this I mean you would have access to tiled textures from elsewhere in the level (possibly the whole game depending on the engine and texture streaming setup), you would also hide obvious tiling with blends, add decals, etc. etc.

The thing to keep in mind is that assuming you are using tiled textures, for example, on the roof, you can always rescale the UVs once you have made your maps, in order to get the right density and number of repeats that you desire.

**(please don't take that as criticism, buildings like this are always useful in filling the space in games between more key locations)

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Yeah you make very good points thanks. :)

If anything, highest pixel density to larger areas but I think I'll aim to keep a constant pixel density across the whole thing then and see how I manage.

You say about rescaling the UVs after but wouldn't you make your maps to cater for your UVs. I guess you might want to change something after you've mapped it though and realise it doesn't look right.

Also, it's acceptable to overlap polygons on your maps isn't it? For instance, having the left and right sides of a building flipped on the map and on top of each other to display the same texture? I'm just wanting to try and get things done right from the get go with Max and do some proper objects that I can import into Unreal for realtime screen captures for my portfolio.

Cheers

(No criticism taken, I understand it's a bog standard building of which there would be dozens in any level of a game and not a fancy centrepiece. :) Gotta start somewhere. :) )

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When I talk about rescaling the UVs, I'm only talking about tiled texture usage, i.e. you might decide that you want extra repeats to show more bricks on the walls. Things like doors/window frames, yes you would unwrap, render your UV window out and make your maps accordingly.

For architectural work flipping UVs isn't a great problem (though again it depends on the engine for how your normal maps will behave - some don't like vertical flipping).

Overlapping UVs isn't an issue (though on something like a character where you would probably be baking in some AO, you would give each area unique UV space). Once you've unwrapped a section its always worth using the relax tool to check that it isn't flipped (on instances like building sides for example) which can happen if you've duplicated and mirrored geometry.

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