PHASEgaming

Jason Pook's Games Design Blog


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Technical Skills/ 3D Realisation- Sketch Up Advanced.

Progressing from out previous Sketch Up lesson on the basics (previous lesson), we had enough to go upon to advance further in sketch up so make a magnitude of fantastic things. Firstly Gareth went back over the basic set up and how we should have it so turn on large skill set, tools and styles. This set our Sketch Up user interface up nicely ready for the advances we was about to make.

We was shown to use the free form drawing tool to create a shape of any imagination just a random shape then to use the push/pull tool to expand it width wise to any scale we could think of as this was our advanced sketch up project. Before we did this for ourselves we watched Gareth create his own Sketch Up model using multiple techniques. First thing he introduced us was to the 3D Warehouse then Get Models, this is the place where other Sketch Up users have uploaded there models to the warehouse for all others to see and comment, but the feature that makes this warehouse useful is that you can then import them models into your current project. So Gareth wanted to go an aircraft he imported many different ideas such as a cockpit from a harrier jet, some small angled drone wings, body of a apache helicopter and much more. These were all full models of e.g. a harrier jet but the good thing was that when you import these you go to Edit->Components in Model->Explode, those steps make the models you have imported spilt into different segments depending on how it was made, the repetition of exploding maybe required to get the smaller more detailed or little parts of a jet e.g. the wing flaps then use the move tool to keep the items you like. Make a Group by selecting the set of objects you want and then clicking make group so it all bundles together and keeps your model moving as one. If you want to mirror an object to the other side e.g. a wing of an aircraft just copy, paste, then use the scale tool to drag across to overlap current format  and flip the image (tip: use the measurements in the bottom right so you have a complete mirror of the image you are flipping/ mirroring). He then pieced together using multiple items and models he liked over the top of the original random shape to make a futuristic 2 seated aircraft.

The mini-brief we was then given you can probably guess is to build our own 2 seated aircraft doing this same process using the 3D Warehouse. I have taken many images on my progress throughout the model and then even animated it to upload to my YouTube channel. After I had finished with my model I could do many things with it of my choice really, I had the choice to upload to YouTube which I did, Export into Photoshop to experiment on it as a model and maybe turn it into concept art, or weaponise it develop the model more in Sketch Up which I will return to at some stage.

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This is how I started you can see the random shape in the middle and then I had gathered a drone from the Model warehouse taken the small front end body wings placed them on what is currently the back of the shape to give it a streamlined futuristic look then the front is also from that drone it was the panels on the bottom of the ship but I mirrored them to give a modern panelled look to add the cockpits onto the ship.

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I then wanted wings for this model so this was key for the model as the wings need to be scaled correctly or the aircraft will look unbalanced its the same with dragons if they have tiny wings and a big body they look like a cartoon funny dragon rather than fearsome so a sense of scale is important. Then I tried to experiment with how to add a cockpit so this front end was from a different drone to try panel it and add a cockpit in-between these mirrored panels.

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This was an attempt to add weapons to the spaceship, which I decided against for now as I wanted the basics of the ship first. But I got rid of the front end from the previous photo as it didn’t look right but the body of the ship was coming together nicely. This was all done with all I learnt from the last lesson on the Sketch Up basics like rotate, move, and scale.2013-11-06 16.19.422013-11-06 16.48.36

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This is the cockpit I found on a spaceship this is the only piece I took from the ship as the rest didn’t appeal to me so I exploded the ship until it allowed me to take the cockpit and place it on the front of my ship, I particularly like this feature and design of it as the glass allows panoramic view for the pilot so he can see a lot more than say a single slot. Also I move the gun scaled it down rotated it and tried to place it on the bottom as I liked the cannon for firepower but it just wasn’t working. I also made the wings bigger to make the scale more realistic.

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This is pretty much the final product I found the rear end of a spaceship as I wanted futuristic thrusters to power my spaceship and then the wing just glide it around in space or future earth. To get just the rear end I had problems with exploding the image as when I tried to take the rear end it was stretching the ship rather than separating. so to do this  and get just the rear of the ship I had to make a rectangle then use the push/pull tool to cut straight through the shape then select the model going to edit->intersect faces->with selection. This will cut the shape when you then move the rectangle out of the way so there I had my rear of my ship. I also needed one more seat to I put a harrier 1seater cockpit on top which is still streamlined.

And there is my finished animated version of my 2 seated spaceship. I showed this to my tutors today they was very impressed with my full animation of it and the style of the ship, Gareth imagined it dropping out of a huge star destroyer then the wings raise up to a glide then the thrusters has the option of hyper speed. That’s exactly what I was trying to get across so therefore I felt like I had done my job with this well and now all there is to do is possibly weaponise it or concept art it in Photoshop.

This was all to let us get better at Sketch Up as its a useful software for doing really quick 3D Designs and concepts for example buildings, I am currently doing a gladiator arena in Sketch Up for my Adaptation task so I have really taken a shine to Sketch Up.

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3d Realisation- Software Introduction (13/11/13)

We have been introduced to new software in 3D Realisation today, a multiple of software names were mentioned which we could come across in 3D realisation such as: Maya, Z Brush, Sculptress, Madbox, Lightwave, Daz, Blender, Unity, UDK and many more. But today we have been introduced to 3DS MAX a software which happens to be free for all of us students, a massive bonus for us as we can work more at home on our models. Our tutor asked for a show of hands at how many students have experience in using 3D software in general, only 4 hands were raised as although I have made a roll-a-ball game in unity recently I wouldnt class it as much experience in 3D Software.3ds

Before being allowed to experiment with the software Paul took us through the basics of 3DS MAX which are the fundamentals that I need to know when using this software. This was a dot is a vertex, a vertex is a single point in 3D; then an edge which is a line in 3D with a vertex at either end, a tripolygon which is a triangle which is used to render objects and items in the software, and then a quad polygon which is the same as a tripolygon but with 4 vertexes to make a square (this is the one that we will be working with). We will be working primarily in quadpolygons because we need to model in them so that when we import a model into UDK it will turn all of them into tripolygons itself, as UDK likes to do that itself and unless you have a huge understanding of where tripolygons should and shouldnt be in UDK then just do it in quadpolygons and let UDK do the seperating. And then if you need it back in orginal form as something has gone wrong Blender has a tool to change tripolygons to quadpolygons. The more polys you have the higher the detail will be in your model, my 3D artist i chose Tor Frick used 69000 tripolys to make the Datacore (see other blog).

Whilst we was waiting for Paul to print the next sheet which would be a tutorial on making a crate in 3DS MAX, we had to read a “user interface and navigation” worksheet booklet to make sure that we know the basics of how to get around and work 3DS MAX including useful tools and tabs we will come across such as Orbit, Display Tab and Modify Tab. Once we all had at least one read through of the navigation and user interface sheet, we was handed another worksheet titled “Your First Model” which instructed us to build a crate by modelling, unwrapping and then texturing it. To begin we had to create a box and specifically model it to a set size given by us, which was each dimension set to 50. Next in the command panel we have the modify tab which I had to right-click on my box to make it into an editable poly, this will enable a whole range of new options to appear in the modify tab so i can advance to the next step. Using CTRL and then clicking the face of the side of the space it selected that side or sides to be able to be modified. This lead to using Inset (as a by polygon) of 5.0 and then extruding the shape as -2.0 this created the crate effect.3dsmax cube progress

This was the process of the crate where i have purposely selected the extruded faces to show you that the crate has been done successfully.

Addition things we could try was doing the top and bottom of the crate inset and extruded aswell which required the exact same process as the rest of the sides. renaming the box from box001 to crate 001 which was extremely easy as it was at the top of the command panel in the modify tab. Then finally an option to put a texture onto your shape of your choice this I came across some minor problems with as when rendered my first texture I chose which was polished chrome you could barely see as I had not entered any light source, but I quickly reverted to a stone texture so it rendered well. Also when choosing my texture I had a problem with getting the texture onto the box this was due to my rending settings, I had to edit my render settings to put it onto mental ray so it can texture and render properly.

3ds max rendering stone

Here is this finished rendered product in the bottom left of the picture with the textured orignal shape on the right and the texture selection in the top left behind the render. After this I experimented with other shapes using the same techniques to find out which shapes it would work with i had success with a pyramid but the sphere wouldn’t work.


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Technical Skills- Sketch Up

In todays session of technical skills we began to learn the basics of sketch up. Sketch Up is the program that was used to build the buildings on Google earth and also was used for a lot of the environment of the game Uncharted. So this for us as 3d games designers could become a very useful software to get the hang of for such things as: level design, environment art and even concepts.

So Sketch Up the basics was the lesson, we learnt pretty much all the basics in one lesson it was just using our own creative minds to create a building or a car or anything you can visualise as long as you piece it out step by step. Today wasn’t about amazing buildings or extreme detailed missions though it was about the basics and getting us Sketch Up beginners to get a grasp on the program. To utilise the program properly you needed a good understanding of the basic tools. These tools were Orbit (rotate camera view zoom in and out with scroll), line/ shapes (draw your objects using the guidelines), select (drag to select certain parts to modify), move (move shape or a line in a shape), push/pull (make the objects 3d in or out) and rotate (rotate object or a line once selected). These are as I say the basic tools needed to begin with sketch up. Other tools such as follow (stretches shape into all sorts of things), paint bucket tool (add colour/texture/ transparency to your object) and even animate (create a small guided tour of your project using scenes) were all tools which just added onto the basics.

Another thing you may want to get used to is having an idea of scale, when you open Sketch Up you have many options of scales e.g. millimetres or inches etc. this is useful to know as when you try to enter this into another project that may be to life size scale your little project may be way out of scale.

You can also go into the Trimble Sketch Up Archives to upload other peoples exported projects onto your own project and use them for inspiration or even dismantle their work to add to your own its up to you. I tried this immediately when I searched games design and a robot showed up it wasn’t elaborate at all I could see how it was done it just takes planning and vision to do so. So this was useful to me as a learning compound.

After learning the basics we began to experiment with the program. I began trying to build my statue upon which my eagle will sit upon in one of my other modules of 3D, so trying to kill 2 tasks at once really but what began as a platform I slowly built into a building with a sort of balcony level entrance through a tunnel. This immediate showed to me that one idea can easily grow into another and then another and you just keep building on your original ideas, I started with a simple cylinder with a circle platform on top it turned into a basic outline for a level in a game.

platform 1 build

platform 1 build

platform transform onto building

platform transform onto building

added colour and transparency to level

added colour and transparency to level

final product of first attempt with Sketch Up. Level 1 platform building.

final product of first attempt with Sketch Up. Level 1 platform building.

I was very pleased with my first attempt with sketch up, if anyone is interested in using the program the Pro version is free for 30days otherwise you can use the free version or pay for pro. Although we may not use this for 3D in the game itself it will be useful to me personally for concept design and modelling.

Here is a Getting Started video for Sketch Up with step by step help for beginners, for more help see the Sketch Up Learn Centre.


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Drawing 101- Life Drawing (16/10/13)

In the latest instalment of Drawing 101 we was left purely to our own skills and techniques to do a life drawing of multiple items in the room. I chose to draw the mannequin and the art canvas stand to begin with. Whilst drawing this I had to use my previous taught drawing 101 lessons and then my own drawing skills. So once I had drawn some guidelines and boxes for the basis of my mannequin I drew the curves in rough over and over to find the line I felt I needed which was then firmly outlined. The shape of my mannequin I was very pleased with so then I added some skills from the last lesson of drawing 101 which was contour lines, this made the breast of the mannequin stand out much better and it also clearly defined the waist. During this drawing I could tell how much I had come on in just 3 weeks with these lessons and it spurred me on to keep practicing as clearly it was improving my drawing. I moved onto the art canvas stand, this I felt in particular the shading I did very well as there was multiple light sources so it wasn’t as easy as I originally thought to properly show the shading. The only problem I came across with the stand was the base I felt after I had drawn it I should have done it in perspective instead of just self presumption.

mannequin and canvas stand

mannequin and canvas stand

Then once I felt I had spent enough time and practice on the life drawing of the mannequin and canvas stand, I moved on to doing some quick 2minute sketches on some students who were also drawing chosen models, this was a harder test of my art skills as the time set was limited and some people was sat in different positions so contour lines was used on the faces to properly position the facial features and then pure judgement was used on the rest. I did 3 people in 6minutes and was pleased with my quick sketches, yes there was problems with certain elements as true detail was unable to be added to the face which is the defining feature of a person but for a quick sketch I felt my sketches were fairly accurate.

quick drawing people

quick drawing people

Finally I went back to basics with one thing I was taught in early years of doing art at school which was drawing and bottle and shading it. But this time I used contour lines to define the shape on the Pepsi bottle and also thick line/thin line to show the outline. Pencil pressure was key when drawing this as it was a see through bottle with embossed logo in the bottle so this was a challenge I felt I did well, I times it as well and it took 12minutes so wasn’t very fast but detail had been added and care taken in shading and 3d.

Pepsi bottle

Pepsi bottle

Overall I was very pleased with my art in this lesson and the progress I have made in these drawing 101 lessons was truly evident to me. This was shown particularly with the use of techniques I had been taught in previous lessons.


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Drawing 101- Lesson 1- 3/10/13

As our first lesson in Drawing 101 we was all took back to the very basics of drawing from doing simple 3d shapes to then shading those shapes by entering a light source on the page. We started by watching a video from a famous designer called Saul Bass who was giving advice to design students.

“Learn to draw, if you don’t you will live your life getting around that.” – Saul Bass

This was the key quotation I took from this video which really hit me as drawing is something I do but never did avidly it wasn’t a primary thing for me it was just a thing on the side I enjoyed from time to time.

My tutor then introduced me to the idea of pareidolia, this is the idea that you see faces and things in other items or unusual ways for example: you may see a cloud that looks like a car, or a patterned wallpaper you can see a face in etc. This I found particularly interesting as it made me think that art and design is all around us, we just need to have the vision to see something and think yes this would be artist or a good game.

Then came the actual drawing, we was asked to draw basic 3D objects on our sketch pads so a Cube, Sphere, Cylinder, Cone and a Taurus. once we had done this we had to apply shading to the objects using a light source we place on the page.

basic shapes with shading

basic shapes with shading

Another thing on this page was the idea of we need to see the page not as a 2d flat page, we need to see it as a 3d plain so we can draw better in 3d. Apparently this will be hard to get used to but the progress in drawing 101 lessons will be apparent. Also we had a go at cutting segments out of shapes so I cut a segment out of a sphere to make it look more 3d.

Then for homework we was asked to do the same using different drawing utensils maybe some we are not used to drawing in just to take us out of our comfort zone. So doing this was going to be a test of where I currently was in drawing skills.

Homework Shapes

This is my finished product I used a central light source to test my skills at shadow angles and darkness’s, I also used pencil, pen and fine liner to draw the objects which all gave different effects to the shading of the shapes. As we was told not to use the rubber as mistakes are things to be learnt from I noticed that I am better at cones with shading than I am with the rest. But overall I was pleased with my basic 3d shapes and shading but I will keep practising them as the basics of drawing are the fundamentals to build on.

So the main thing I learn from that video and the lesson was I need to practice my drawings even just a little time a day and I will improve, drawing is a fantastic way of showing your ideas to clients that may be interested in your work and that is why I must learn to improve my drawing skills.