Week 5 Activity: Reflection
Updated: May 14
We looked into reflection this week and how to use it in our work. There are five different reflective domains and how these domains should be used in balance with one another. We also looked at forming S.M.A.R.T goals. I thought I would use these reflective domains to take a look at my first rapid ideation process, whilst I have been on the MA Indie Game development course, and review my work half way through the two week challenge. It will be good to look at what I have learnt so far, challenges I have had and S.M.A.R.T goals I have formed for after the course.
The rapid ideation session has been great for the development of my skills as I went into the exercise wanting to go through the art process of making a game. I wanted to work on my weaknesses within the art process, to hopefully realise the parts I found most enjoyable. This work would help me realise how I should look at narrowing my focus of this course.
The Art Pipeline (art process): "Art pipeline is basically the “production line” of video game development. It is used to describe the streamlined process of development and production. It is broken down into four major categories, each with their own very specific set of steps. The phases are concept, design, pre-production, and post production." (Elonka, 2006)
"Concept art is used to visualize ideas so that modelers, animators, and VFX teams can make these ideas ready for production." (Revoy, 2020)
I have always had a passion for 2d art, so I found this part of my project enjoyable and less time consuming than the 3d side of things. I am still fairly weak with a number of aspects such as dynamic posing, perspective and polish. However, I have a number of strengths such as; anatomy, shading and colour theory. I revelled at the opportunity to work on characters, however I found I was out of my depth when it came to environment designs and visual development due to my perspective knowledge. I enjoyed the freedom to make my own decisions about the characters and environments as I felt there would be a lot of freedom within this sort of job role within the games industry which felt great to me. (fig.1)
"3D sculpting(also called digital sculpting) is when an artist sculpts a 3D object on a computer with material similar to digitized clay. Software with brushes and tools that push, pull, pinch and smooth make it easy to create detailed sculpts that mimic real life textures and objects." (HEGINBOTHAM, 2018)
Blender was used for the sculpting of the Mercury character (fig.2). I decided to use blender for its ease of UI, compatibility with drawing tablets and the sculpting modifiers such as the Boolean modifier, which I used throughout the process. I found sculpting difficult, however, my anatomy knowledge sometimes was not up to where I would like it to be in terms of overlapping muscles. I need to learn how often to re-mesh the character as I found holes appear in the mesh after multiple re-meshes with high quality details. I enjoyed this character sculpt and I believe 3d sculpting will benefit my 2d anatomy knowledge too.
"Retopology is the act of recreating an existing surface with more optimal geometry." (Williamson, 2016)
I have retopologised once before using Blender, so I decided I would try to retopolgise using Maya and I appreciated the ease of the software and the optimisation of Maya for retopology compared to Blender was leaps ahead without implementing a paid add-on. I really struggle with retopology as I didn't know the right stage I should be retopologising my character at.
"Rigging is a technique used in skeletal animation for representing a 3D character model using a series of interconnected digital bones." (Petty, 2016)
Rigging was an easy experience as I decided to use a add-on in Blender called Rigify, which cut my usual rigging time in half. I also decided to rig the character with automatic weights in the T pose to allow for less mistakes. I found the hardest part of the rigging process was placing the bones in the right place and parenting bones to the right child. I also found weight painting difficult due to my knowledge of the body and how much of an effect each bone had on the outside body. Coming back to this process I would use Rigify again, but I would do more research into the weight painting process and bone placement.
"Textures are the graphical skins laid atop 3D models so they appear to have surface detail." (Bogost, 2008)
Substance painter was my main tool of choice for this character as I UV unwrapped my character in Blender before exporting it across to substance painter. I did want to do a hand painted approach like the 'Hades' game However I ran out of time and I had to use smart textures that were already available on substance painter. I believe that my 2d painting skills helped me here, however my knowledge and use of texturing was poor especially when it came to the shoes of the character as I should have applied multiple shaders to the shoe before bringing it over to substance painter in hindsight.
S.M.A.R.T goal so far:
I found it useful to do a preview of my Rapid Ideation as I reached a half way point as it allowed me to step back and look at the bigger picture and to realise what I have learnt so far from the project. I thought I would outline a S.M.A.R.T goal so far for myself which may change over the coming weeks before we are done with this module and I believe this goal is for after my course and how I plan to use this course to direct myself towards this career. I believe I would best fit an Art generalist role/ Concept Art role as I have a great knowledge of both 2d and 3d. I have realised that I love to draw story driven characters and I am able to create multiple iterations of a single character. I still have a lot to learn on the 3d side of things, but from doing this project I know that I can do it. I also learnt that 2d art and 3d art go hand in hand with each other as I found when I sculpted the character my drawing of muscles and understanding of volumes also improved.
fig.1- Luke Morrisby. 2021. 2d character sketch process of Vulcan Character.
fig.2- Luke Morrisby. 2021. Anatomy sculpt of character Mercury in Blender.
fig.3- Luke Morrisby. 2021. Wireframe of retopology compared to sculpted mesh.
fig.4- Luke Morrisby. 2021. Rigged character in Blender.
fig.5- Luke Morrisby. 2021. Character body textured in substance painter.
Revoy, D., 2020. What is a Concept Artist?. [online] Concept Art Empire. Available at: <https://conceptartempire.com/what-is-concept-artist/> [Accessed 4 March 2021].
HEGINBOTHAM, C., 2018. What is 3D Digital Sculpting?. [online] Concept Art Empire. Available at: <https://conceptartempire.com/what-is-3d-sculpting/> [Accessed 4 March 2021].
Williamson, J., 2016. Introduction to Retopology. [online] CG Cookie. Available at: <https://cgcookie.com/course/introduction-to-retopology> [Accessed 4 March 2021].
Petty, J., 2016. What is 3D Rigging For Animation & Character Design?. [online] Concept Art Empire. Available at: <https://conceptartempire.com/what-is-rigging/> [Accessed 4 March 2021].
Bogost, I., 2008. Gamasutra - Persuasive Games: Texture. [online] Gamasutra.com. Available at:<https://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3652/persuasive_games_texture.php?print=1#:~:text=Texture%20in%20Video%20Games,appear%20to%20have%20surface%20detail.> [Accessed 4 March 2021].
Elonka, 2006. Art pipeline. [online] En.wikipedia.org. Available at: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_pipeline#:~:text=Art%20pipeline%20is%20basically%20the,%2Dproduction%2C%20and%20post%20production.> [Accessed 4 March 2021].