Progress on “PROJECT:Dragon Princess”

Have done further images for the character.

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Make-up of the clothes

clothes-make-up

Will be making further character sheets!

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NEW PROJECT!

So this semester, we will giving ourselves a brief, effectively giving us full agency on what we would be wanting do. While not much has happened last week, I already have a good body of work that I have created in my end. I was challenged to do a more semi-realistic style so I was practicing it in the summer.

style testing

I like the dresses as well as the blond horned character so much that I decided to make my whole project based of her.

I intend to make a full game character of her, with animations and cloth simulation implemented. The story I have in my head for her is that she is a dragon princess that woke up in a forest with all of her powers forgotten. So as you go through the game, she starts to (re)learn her powers again, essentially a Metroidvania puzzle-platformer character.

I’ve produced some moodboards to illustrate my point.

moodboard real-life

Dress Moodboard

moodboard

In-media moodboard

moodboard gameplay

Gameplay Moodboard

I drew up some more concepts from the initial idea and experimenting with the dress design. I know that I want her to have a long bottom-heavy dress, a corset, and an implementation of dragon scales.

It’s a very big endeavour so I intend to make the 3D model in Maya in my second Semester as my Major Project. This Semester, I will focus on making high quality concept art.

Moodboards, Moodboards, …

…and more Moodboards!

I know that for my Character, I want to do something along the lines of idols. As for the genre, I’m thinking of something along the lines of a electronica/disco Serenader like Gloria Gaynor, or Power Rock with her being the main singer.

 

I also really want to design my character around them having Vitiligo. I find that it would really interesting to learn how to draw the viewer’s attention to the face.

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As for the thief character, they still need a bit of ways to go but I am narrowing it down and am aiming to get a final concept done by the time the Tech team need to pitch theirs. A possible model sheet would be great as well but the concept art is the thing I absolutely need to be done with.

thief-concepts-2

With that said, the outsourcers have some landscape moodboards that they can use to look at and to start concepting props for and to get used to the style of the game.

Here I go again…

on my own… (except not really)

New semester, new briefs.

One module is Digital Practice where we get to make up our own brief and to finally do what we want to do. This is the brief where I really push myself in my skills and to really find the thing that I want to do.

I know that I want to do Character Art, specifically aimed at Figures.

figures-moodboard

Moodboard on Character Figurines

Character Design is and has always been my forte and I want to make a good product to the best of my abilities. While my skillset is bit unorthodox for what I am aiming to do, I have to and want to deliver my best for this project and I can’t afford to set aside a chunk of time to learn or better my skills at a program I am not comfortable with.

Whereas in Computer Games Development, we team up with the programmers in the Computer Games Technology course to make a game according to a theme along with the first years of Computer Games Art as our outsourcers. The theme for this semester is endless runners and we already have made some progress from both the artists and the programmers side and it shows some good potential!

All in all, this semester is going to be a challenging one.

NYANKO: From Mesh to Skeleton to Skin (Rigging)

Nyanko was made for this module.

When I first learned of the animation and rigging module that was happening this year, I was under the impression that I was going to animate one of my models I made in my first year. When I actually got to the class, I found out that the model that was intended to be animated was actually the ZBrush Model of last year.

face thing 2

While I do like my Log Horizon character, ZBrush has a tendency to have strange texture maps and is meant for High Poly Sculpting. I definitely have seen people use ZBrush to sculpt and then bring it over to Maya to optimise. However, I think that optimising an already posed high poly model that also has a prop with complex primitives will take a lot more time than it should, despite having tools like Simplygon. My workflow is to basically model to the lowest polycount as much as possible and to add more lines and optimise as I go. Had I optimised by ZBrush model from scratch, I would be very behind and would have not started my Skeleton until a couple of weeks into the module.

charamoodboard

So for a problem like this, I modelled a completely new character in Maya just for the purpose of animating it, called “Nyanko”. Nyanko is your average catgirl character; she is brimming with energy, very child-like and animated, and full of exaggeration. Her main characteristics are her big eyes, her giant paws and her two-ended tail. I was inspired mainly BlazBlue’s Taokaka and the Miqo’te in Final Fantasy 14, although BlazBlue’s Kokonoe Mercury and Darkstalkers’ Felicia is a better fit to my character’s visual appearance and Neko from K (as well as Taokaka) are good representations of Nyanko’s core personality traits. I wanted to make Nyanko a cute, huggable and likeable character despite the Nekomata and the Bakeneko‘s association with death and revenge in its original lore. While some of the fearful lore remains today in modern media, it’s not to the same extent as it was in the past.

nyankoconcepts

I was originally going to give her a bob-cut as seen in my concepts but when I got to the modelling stage, I went for a pixie-cut instead. Getting her hair to work with the cat ears was more frustrating than it should have been so I textured onto the cat’s head a new hairstyle. I didn’t think her hair would move much either with a straight bob-cut and I also think that it would eat up more RAM than it should because you have to add more frames to let the hair rest before the main animation. I get that the idea that’s how it works since the nCloth seems to work that way as well.

With that said, the first brief of this module is to rig a character with Inverse Kinematics and Forward Kinematics Controls and to animate it with personality. Nyanko’s a rather simple character design. She is a normal biped with a tail and cat ears in a simple white sundress. I consciously made the decision to have the legs and body two separate pieces. This way, I can model the skirt without creating cleanup errors. Alas, when I was done, I had to triangulate then quadralate it because it would not let me bind the skin to the skeleton that I created for my Nyanko.

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Texturing 1/?, Lighting and Redesigning the Gun

Redesigned the Gun to be more tailored towards RIGS.

gun-redesign

gun redesigns

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final redesign

I decided to go a little deeper into the science behind a Nitrogen Plant. To simplify, the air is filtered and compressed, cooled down through a heat exchanger and condensed into a liquid with fractional distillation, which is then transferred to the tank in the gun. During “MIST & FOG”, they go through a vapouriser and releases a vapour but in “ICE & SNOW”, it shoots a constant stream of LN. “TEMPEST” is the full power skill on I&S and “NIEFLHEIM” is the full power skill on M&F. Names might change later on.

plant_0003_layer-5

I also made a blockout for that as well.

Texturing walls and the furniture. I pretty much finished modelling every major part of the room, now the rest is just ornaments and such and I also exported those. All that needs to be done now is just texturing on Substance Painter. Now I’m just trying it out, see how it transfers and such.

With that, there is also lighting in Unreal. While I’m familiar with all the terminology used for lighting, I still need to learn where to apply it. Again, animated features have a bad habit of not showing exactly where the light comes from so I had to make adjustments and couple assumptions. I may decide to make this a scene during the night, perhaps the Blizzard before Christmas. I think I can get some interesting angles with those.

Rooms, Shaders and Substance Painter

I thought I’d give Substance Painter a shot while I learned about the Shaders in UE4. The whole application of shaders and their graphs is rather intuitive and simple to understand. It’s fascinating to see the change in materials just by how they certain values affect the look of the material. Since it’s a layering system like Renderman, I aim to have as little UV sheets as possible where I can.

freeze-and-shade_0002_layer-3

While all that happens, I have Substance Painter installed on my computer and decided to give it a whirl. Substance is also another very useful tool in your Arsenal. It basically lets you create the normals, textures and everything else in real-time.

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Painting Mode

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Rendering Mode

With that said, I made quite a bit of progress in my room. I also found some more inconsistencies in the movie as well as some more objects and ornaments placed around the room. I’ll stick by what I said about working in the Christmas timeline.

freeze-and-shade_0003_layer-2

Radio

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Fireplace, Sofa and Lamp

And with that, here’s the full concept of the gun. I call it the Cryogenerator.

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It takes in air through the vents that it has and strips Nitrogen from it. Then through compression,  liquefies it and fills the shells with the Liquid Nitrogen. I wanted a weapon that refills over time. Of course, once you use up all your ammo, it reloads all of the shells. It’s a weapon that demands strategic shooting and planning, like a support/defense weapon should.

Corruption after Corruption

Maya is nice.

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It corrupts meshes but only sometimes and it’s when I bring 2017 files back into 2016. I downloaded Maya 2017 and that that is on my comp at home, I realised that some of the machines don’t work as well as others. Maya 2017 seems to be working quite well on my comp so hopefully it stays like that. I’ve gotten to a point where I would export my fbxs everytime I made any significant changes and save more scenes than usual. I had to redo my armchair and now that I know the shape of it, it’s not that bad. In fact, I think my second redo was much better than my first!

 

I also had Leg FK and IK and spine FK rigged.

I am quite shocked that it’s almost literally the same process but with the legs. I also added a couple more edgeloops on the arms for a smoother transition between the joints.

That being said, the Sony brief is introduced! The brief is broken down into two options, Environment Building and Weapon Design. I’m going for weapon design and I already have an idea of how it will function. I know that I’ll be going for an Ice Beamer or something that projects Liquid Nitrogen.

I took inspiration from Mei’s Endothermic Blaster, Soldier 76’s Heavy Pulse Rifle, Zarya’s Particle Cannon, Pharah’s Rocket Launcher, Torbjorn’s Rivet Gun and Forge Hammer and Bastion from Overwatch, the Ghost Busters’ Vaccum and Samus’s  Arm Cannon. While they are of different styles, I do think with those in mind, I can create something in the style of RIGS.

This idea has been in my mind for a while now and I’ve been going over designs after designs…

… and overall, I know for certain that I’m making the gun at least 1 metre to 1.5 metres long and I want it to be bulky. I experimented with attaching a gas tank, as well as glasstubes, possible rotations that would occur.

I originally intended for the weapon to be an offensive gun but after looking into wikis and this video, I concluded that this is more of a defensive/supporting and knockback weapon than an offensive destroying one, especially since the stages are in hot and sunny areas and when LN turns into a Water Vapour-like consistency in contact with heat and ices things with tissue. This is further supported by Mei’s playstyle and the function of Samus’s Ice Beam. Of course, this weapon could turn into a deadly one when the opponent’s machine is frozen over, which makes it brittle. This is a bit more dangerous for the pilot than the machine. Looking into Samus’s Ice Beam, Freeze Gun and Judicator, this could turn into an offensive weapon in general if it was a Plasma weapon with a chemical refrigerant so then it basically shoots ice balls that freezes things upon contact or an ice missile launcher.

I also made a quick block out and Maya mesh to see how it would look like and so far, it’s been going according to plan.

TL;DR: Maya corrupts meshes, had to download Maya 2017, got legs and spine rigging done and am making a freezer gun. Loads of science, needs further testing.