Week 1 – Talking G.O.O.S.E
This week we talked about the project that we where starting. Which was going to be the project that we where going to work on until this part
We went out to the the St Georges Market and took pictures, here are mine.
We generally went to get a sense of how a market is splayed out. We took pictures of different aspects of the market. I mainly decided to take evidence of:
- Entry points
- Crowd generation
I found this picture that is a better view of the stalls that are within the market.
Once taken we began to talk about how we should proceed. We all agreed to complete floor layouts.
Throughout the conception phase I thought about the different ways the player, as well as crowds can enter. I mainly stuck with 3 – 4 as I believed that was going to be the
I began my deep and treacherous road of research. I found some inspiring things, an example of this would be the making of “Dead Space” developed by Visceral Games. Within this video Glenn Scofield takes us on a tour of what the making of the game entailed. However, there was a part that intrigued me, a thing that I ahve not seen within many of “Making of…” videos, and that is, level design. Level design is a crucial part of games, as it is where the player is being taken through to experience the game.
Within the likes of the game Taunt are envisioning, there needs to be a well thought out level design.
Fiona rustled up a quick design of the environment that they had in mind. I cannot show it here for non disclosure reasons, however, I used some assets within her concept as key assets to base my level layout design after.
The two above is me applying my knowledge of what I have been research and applying initial ideas into these designs. I also tried to make it robot friendly and thought of different ways to incorporate shortcuts, paths and non accessible areas within the level.
Concepts based off of Fiona’s concept:
As showcased within the concept below, I have wrote down a possible way to go about designing the level in the future. The statue is a key asset, therefore I began to think about basing in accordance to the statue.
The piece above implements some of the ideas shared by Tom and Fiona themselves and by simplifying the design I believed it was easier to see what was going on.
In retrospect, I actually forgot to add in a Key to help the group and Taunt understand what was going on.
On top of this I decided to create very basic sketches to explore the many little details that was discussed with Taunt and the group. I mentioned how about having some holographic implementations to every objects, although, this is a given to anything related to cyberpunk.
Above you can see that my thought process was demonstrated within the initial concept phase. I went nuts creating holographic signs.
The other point that Tom and Fiona mentioned was that we can create things and have fun with the design by incorporating a playful and tongue – in – cheek design.
Therefore, I decided to incorporate this into my thought process throughout creating these assets and will continue to further implement them into future designs.
For the stalls, especially food, I was thinking about how they might be decorated. In the future that is. I looked at a few creations, including WALL-E and cyberpunk artwork as well as playful architectural work.
Below are my references:
I liked the idea that we discussed as a group to implement solar panels, and consider how the world would look like and, in turn, interact with people as well as nature.
With this consideration I came up with the idea of having the stalls not only have tongue-in-cheek, or innuendo, but I want them to be of use. To have purpose.
Take the two basic concepts for food stalls. On the left I have a generic food stall that sells items similarly to a grocery store. I also thought, say if the market was busy, they might need something to make them stand out. Then I thought, a straw like pole that keeps up a mushroom. This at first was rotating, however, in the final concept, I decided to make it stay in place. On the mushroom there will be solar panels, giving the shop electric.
I also considered the thought of there being stalls that have wires spilling out all over the place, like we see in many cyberpunk artwork, games and movies. This idea aided in the development of the noodle bar (Right).
I decided that the noodle bar would be shaped as a spilling bowl, or a bowl being tipped whilst someone takes the noodles out of it. This thought gave me the idea to erect a noodle sign like they are being taken out of the bowl itself. Therefore, for the roof, I gave it a little bit of an extension to give it some depth.
Based off ramen shops like the ones found in Japan, I also looked into other media as well. A good reference I found that aided in the creation of my own stand, was the ramen stall from Naruto, which is the one where he frequents. This helped me visualise how the inside would appear.
Talking with the group about the flow of people and entry points as well as the over population in cyberpunk concepts and media, like Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Deus Ex: Mankind Evolved, where over population is a hindrance. This is displayed with cramped spaces and claustrophobic level layouts, especially in the latter game.
Also, Shilin Night Market, Taipei, in Taiwan gave me the idea of how a city that is overpopulated would look like. I took not of the wire spillages, the abundance of signs and cramped spaces.
I also noticed that between bigger buildings there were smaller shops. I thought they might find it hard to be noticed or visited. Then I began to think what if they had a notice board.
For reference on the notice boards, I got inspiration from notice boards/ information boards around Belfast itself. Mainly looking at shape and height.
However, I wanted a mix between modern and past notice boards that will later incorporate the futuristic element to them as well. For example, the use of neon light.
This noticeboard began to only have a few signs on it.
Later, I thought that it would be interesting to see the environment and turmoil in this game on the assets themselves. I came up with the idea of having the notice boards be piled with signs the workers put on themselves. A bit like sign graffiti.
The signs would be hammered on top of other signs, or covered up if there was a disagreement or a stall that has been replaced. Some signs would even be loose and just placed against the post.
I thought this was a interesting and small little take on how the world of G.O.O.S.E is in their reality. There is a bleakness, however, Tom and Fiona steered us away from adding too much bleakness like blade runner. Therefore, these signs would be intended to be bright, light-hearted (incorporating tongue-in-cheek) and incorporate a wealth of neon lights and designs.
After showing the group my concepts, they seemed to like this idea. This led me to add colour to further demonstrate the idea to them in a clearer way.
I lay down loose colours and added in little hints of the neon lights. Still figuring out how to use the drawing software to its full ability, I did not incorporate fancy glow to the signs just yet.
I incorporated the holographic idea to the sign post and used a colour scheme that was a mix between G.O.O.S.E’s and my own research as well. I just changed the hue when needed.
I then took inspiration from other group members and decided to create some more asset concepts. I created some more stalls. I took inspiration from Deus Ex: Mankind Divided with this and implemented lights, fluorescent lights and began thinking outside the box for trends in this time period and began to implement them into my designs. I consider the colour scheme we talked about in the group chat as well as the moodboard Taunt sent us.
The below concept is more mundane, however, I wanted to see what the colour scheme looks like when implemented in a drawing.
This piece of concept art is based on the previous comment of tongue-in-cheek. I created a stall that sells lights, but they are displayed around the tent.
For the tool and repair shop/ stall that I drew, I wanted to explore how the shop would expel its chemicals and how its vents are used and made in a similar motor exhausts of vehicles. I wanted to implement real world aspects to fiction.
I created some Bill Boards to show how they might look in the future. They are based off of the recent implementation of the billboard/ wifi/ charging station placed outside of castle court and Victoria Square.
(add pic of them here)
Below is me experimenting with the colour scheme and focusing on lighting the world.
Below I tried to play around with futuristic signs. I also experiments with different styles of artwork as well. I believed adding in patterns in the background made an intriguing look, and maybe they had a holographic side to them.
Week 2 – Focused Concepts of the G.O.O.S.E.TOV
Tom and Fiona seemed pleased with the outcome of the concepts and liked that we took on board the thoughts they initially had and expanded upon them.
They liked Chloe Hughes’ layout, however, they did mention to add in other access points. They seemed to like the fact that we where thinking about this now.
They thought the human element was the main focus and to try and have an open square letting the place to breath a little.
Think about the flow of people, consider other creative ways for useful access points including subways, elevators, escalators.
Think about how G.O.O.S.E fits into the world really.
This week they want us to focus on choosing an asset and to create concepts and model block outs in the next coming weeks. They told us to think about a variety of concepts, in fact they said getting that variety is important.
Look into 70’s interior designs and colours.
The list of assets to choose from where;
- Developing Shop Fronts
- A futuristic subway entrance
- Vending Machine
- Street signs
I chose to complete billboards because I had a good few ideas for them during their feedback and during the concept phase, so I felt confident enough to create these assets.
I started off this week looking into the colour scheme that Tom and Fiona thought of and asked us to consider. Knowing that the group will be looking into this aspect of things I decided not to go overboard and pick the colour schemes that I like and would present to the team.
These two 70 colour pallettes where intriguing to me as it represented day and night. It also shows that there still can be a poppy colour mixed in with the dark.
I especially liked the colour below.
This gave me insight into how these colours might look with texture applied on top of them.
I began to look into many different futuristic billboards that I found interesting. I created two different mood boards based on futuristic designs in many different aspects of media.
What I took away from my research is the use of solar panels, the incorporation of wires, the height of the billboards and the screens as well. I also looked at the shape of them and realised that the screens are a form of rectangle and hardly any deviate from this.
I also looked into the variety of billboards there actually are and what used to go on them. The evolution of the billboard is interesting to witness. They used to be hand painted in the now retro art style with catchy slogans and it progressed to DSLR images with catchy slogans to say what the item or brand is about.
I noticed that there are changing billboards which always blew my mind as kid. These where usually done using shudders that rotate to reveal another advertisement on the back. It was like a revolving billboard.
There are mobile billboards, can be found which can be found on bicycles, vans, buses and cars.
The digital billboard which is implemented more and more now that the new age of technology is coming they have seen a good use in them. You can find these on the motorway, not so much on the motorway over here. They put adverts on the ground and erect them to be able to be seen when cars go past. Over places, like America incorporate them on the motorway.
Static billboards that house images that are plastered onto wood can be seen on a day-to-day basis. In Belfast I have noticed new billboards become erected that are multipurpose. They are wifi hubs, as well as a billboard, as well as a mobile phone charging station. It oddly brings people together.
These new boards allow for much more interaction, and I like the multipurpose/ inclusiveness of them as well.
I decided take on some of the advice Tom and Fiona gave to us, which was to think about how we should show variety and also to show how they would work.
These designs were a combination of cyber punk panels and metal designs to the mundane everyday billboard we see on the street. They are based on the billboards that contain static photographs.
I also added a human element into these designs as well and decided to show abuse caused by humans. As well as neglect.
This is seen in the loose wiring.
I kept implementing different ways an overpopulated city would affect these billboards.
I noticed that within my own city of Belfast that there are bird droppings, moss, scratches, graffiti, wearing of materials due to changing weather. I thought about all of these and decided to incorporate them into my designs.
Tom and Fiona said that they would like to see variety of designs. I took that seriously and tried to make 3 designs that appear different from one another. Also, with help from my earlier research, I began to make these designs.
The concept below is a big generator that is used to project a hologram. Taking inspiration from Chloe, there are little pads that should out holograms. This is my version of a digital billboard. It is somewhat first gen and is supposed to be an eye sore, which is why it is angular.
I tried to implement the wearing of the metal and gave it a rusted look. It is also breaking down, as hinted by the smoke in the right. I also wanted a frame glass on it so that the hologram does not go beyond a certain point.
For this idea I took inspiration from mobile phones. This would be a more futuristic, or in their world, modern version of the first idea. This idea contains solar panels that are placed onto the
For the last concept I created a mobile billboard that would fly around the environment.
The screens would not be holograms. As I thought that this little guy would be messed around with a lot. What I mean is, that humans would try and throw things at it. This idea came from looking at Megan Sutton’s Work. I liked the fact that she added a broken screen to her vending machine and thought that would be a cool thing to show.
So I thought “Human beings would try to see who could throw shit at the big flying machine”. That turned out to be the basis of the idea. I then built the idea around the aspect of hooliganism.
It would fly with a propeller, and would have a small little engine, then it would have little rods erected from a base that is connected to little suction cups holding the screens.
I then added little elements of people throwing things at it like a banana peel, a sock and a shoe lace.
Resources used in aid of the creation of these assets.
I know how to make cables…. Psh….
Nah I forgot.
And for future reference if I ever need them to move then I will re-watch this interesting tutorial that shows you how to make a dynamic cable.
I then moved on to create very quick and simple block out versions of my 3 ideas. I used the orthographic and added some lights to get a sense of how the lights would be displayed.
I just kept the rest of the model basic. I kept the topology low (except for the wires) and avoided smoothing the objects.
Week 3 – Material and Texture Research
Tom and Fiona where initially confused with the sizing of my concepts, therefore they asked me to play around with sizing. Either have them appear side by side, or use a human figure for scale. Make it universally the same.
They also liked my comment about photo bashing them into an image to show height as well.
They considered that we:
- Look out for detail that is functional
- Check out Unity dimensions, should be the same scale
- Discuss some environmental materials and textures
- Look for other artists on artstation etc
They wanted us to go and flesh out the models, think about lighting, texturing and make it a coherent piece. (style)
This weeks mood board’s where to focus on lighting the scenes and areas around the map of other video games within the genre and beyond.
But also to think about texturing, and how that will help in creating a scene.
The two suggestions I made was the recent Deus Ex games (Human Revolution, Mankind Divided) and a new interesting take, Far Cry: Blood Dragon.
Far Cry Blood Dragon
Since we have implemented the holographic style to the project, there is a lot of neon shit happening all at once. We either have to dial it back or, manipulate the skylight, to decrease brightness.
Because of this I thought of looking at the game Far Cry: Blood Dragon.
Even though it is lit mainly with neon lights, after all it is going after that 80’s synth vibe or the “true” cyberpunk motif (as REAL fans of the style would put it), the colours of the dark is affected by the dark sky above.
I just thought that as a group we need to decide what sort of setting and maybe we should think of both day and night colour schemes and materials.
On top of this, I looked at the textures on the buildings. I took note of the futuristic panels, lights and the use of concrete and metal.
There are also a good use of Alpha’s being used to show dirt, blood and grime. This shows NPC interaction and seems to breath life into this world we are in. This would be an interesting aspect to consider.
As a group we collectively mentioned Deus Ex video games. However, I said that I like it because I believe both Human Revolution and Mankind Divided do a great job with showing a living world through textures.
Mood board 1:
This showcase’s the first game and the texturing within it. This compared to the newest games demonstrates further the focus on the grime, dirt and dark lighting. Even within the buildings at the start of the game.
I can see some of the same 70’s colours that Tom and Fiona mentioned within the last meeting.
The top left is Far Cry Primal. This was used as a means to understand how they would like to incorporate warm and cold lighting and as an example of what I was thinking in terms of a night time scene.
Mood Board 2:
Within this mood board, the world is much brighter however, I liked the use of dirt and grime placed around the scene.
Mood Board 3:
I found that the top left showcases the 70’s look Tom and Fiona could want.
Like Far Cry Blood Dragon, I also noted the panels designs and floor work. This game uses a more realistic touch than Blood Dragon however.
I decided to go on Pinterest to focus my findings on looking at normal maps and different cyberpunk alphas. As well as the different panels and hard surface materials that we could replicate on the models/ environment.
Thoughts on colour scheme
Within my pinterest board I researched a lot of different parts of cyberpunk art. I looked into colour scheme as well and thought that we could use the dull and dark colours from the 70’s colour scheme and tone them up a little. Add a somewhat neon look to them. Or we could add these colours through the skydome, area and mesh lights later in the project. There needs to be some sort of vibrancy to the environment. Even the bleak landscape that is maniac is very bright, even though the topic of the show is dark.
We where asked to think about lights, textures and materials. We where also asked to have a look at different artists on Artstation or other mediums to find different assets, art work and environments within the cyberpunk genre. Something that we can all agree on.
We already know that Fiona and Tom do not want to see a dark (or too dark) backdrop, reminiscent of the Neo Noir Cyberpunk motif. Instead, they want to go a different route. However, want remains the same is how the world looks. This is why, well why I think they asked us to look at materials and textures.
I first looked at an environment artist named Sooi Cherchye.
Sooi works for a company called Sumo Digital.
Below I have taken a hold of some environment and asset work he did for Unreal Tournament.
I decided to play around with some materials that I had found on the internet. Below is my progress.
I wanted to try out how the different materials fared on these initial models that I had created.
I used a bump map and added the same image into the bump map to get a more realistic appearance.
I kept the sky dome on to see what the colours look like.
This concept has modern day solar panels on them. I decided that I would use this as an opportunity to get used to adding textures in Maya. I do not yet have substance painter, however, I am in the middle of acquiring it.
Below is my material tests for the solar panels.
I kept it very simple. I created my own design for the solar part of it.
I noticed that within Deus Ex there is a lot of hexagonal designs, so I incorporated this into the solar design and thought this would be a great underlining for glass and other materials.
As we talked with Tom and Fiona, they where a bit confused about the scale of my billboards.
This was hard to explain seeing as I know the scale in my head. So I suggested maybe it might be better to show them the scale by putting it into a real life image and scaling it to real life proportions. Below is what I rustled up.
I also asked if Ben would be able to import this design into the environment that he created for the group. Once put into place, I realised that it did not seem to fit the style we had established.
I believe that it would need to be re-vamped.
I trolled the internet for inspiration and came across an architect that I find very intriguing. This architect is Tom Wiscombe.
Artist Influence – Tom Wiscombe
I am fascinated by the way he creates his futuristic buildings, I really like the shapes he uses and the way that he creates concepts as well.
As Wiscombe states on his website about this piece.
“Sunset Spectacular builds on this legacy with an iconic object-billboard that features an unprecedented breadth of commercial, cultural, and interactive media content.” (Wiscombe, 2016)
I like how Wiscombe thinks like this. It shows his research and his knowledge of where billboards are heading.
Wiscombe does other architectural work and his motif is futuristic designs, angular and chromatic.
Find more of his work on his website – https://tomwiscombe.com
Once I saw his work I had a better idea on how to fit the billboard into the world that Taunt are creating.
I re-purposed the angled square and made it a casing to house vents, wires and generators. As seen within the concept below.
Someone say, Materials?
Yes, yes I did.
I discussed with my team the materials that we should maybe focus on.
Using Deus Ex, I found that they used a lot glass, carbon fiber and plastic surfaces. Wood is rarely used for tables or other assets that are not crates or trees.
So I asked the group what materials we should use, I said about metallic surfaces, missing the opportunity to say carbon fiber and glass.
Chloe, said that we could go for a “…futuristic kind of metal that almost looks a bit plastic/carbon fiber-y”
We all seem to really like this path. But now looking at cyberpunk artwork again.
Here is the mood boards we came up with as a group.
We settled on carbon fiber and plastic materials.
Based on these materials I played around with solar panels and wanted to see if I could hand paint them like alphas. They can be used for holograms and solar panels.
Week 4 – Modelling
We gained a sort of 7th member this week as placement student Michael Lilley joined Taunt for a 3 month gig.
He gave them really nice reference. A game called Ruiner.
Tom and Fiona seemed a little confused this week. They said that I should get on to substance painter as soon as I could. It is okay to take a week and a half for it. But they would like to see some texturing progress.
But we also had a chat about portfolios. They said that we should have turntables of models, we need to use the same file, same HDRI set up and the same lighting set up.
They wanna see a colour and ambient occlusion pass in a turntable.
They told us to try and keep poly count low enough.
Michael gave some nice feedback for the future. Make a very rough block pass of an environment and render it, then paint on top of this in any drawing software. This can help concept creation and speeds up time.
I began to look more in depth about the design of the model. I scrapped the old rusted vent for a more rounded one. This was because I found Dyson fans and vents. I initially wanted blades within the little round generator.
Something like ‘Stage 1’.
However, I was told by tutors and friends within the class that this will not be seen and would only add to the poly count. So, I scrapped this idea.
Below is a mood board showcasing what I intend to use as texturing once the model is done and ready.
Patrick Sutton – Environment artist at 343 Industries
I found getting the angles right very tricky, so I created a turnaround. Again, keeping it very simple.
I kept the model simple and made sure to keep the poly count low as asked of.
As you can see I followed the turnaround closely. However, the front seemed empty so I added two different types of frames.
Frame one shows the a stand of sorts covering/ protecting the opening in the glass.
Frame 2 does the same but protrudes the ground inside of the billboard.
I also added a metallic plate that it will sit on. This will secure it in place. It also adds to the over all piece in my piece.
This time around the team were using the same male body to show the height of the object.
Week 5 – Object Finalisation, UV Mapping and The Start of Substance
This week they where not happy with the progress all around.
For me especially they weren’t getting the whole picture, they wanted to see textures. They want me to start UV’ing and texturing.
So, leaving Taunt feeling defeated and discussed my concerns with the group about substance and where to start. Chloe was kind enough to make a post with resources on it to help myself and the others. You can find her blog post here.
Resources I used
Experiments with Substance Painter
I could not seem to get the glass to work with the sides and front of this object. I asked Gianni Francesco to help with this, however, the way we ended up doing it was confusing.
I quickly made some low poly versions of the objects as Gianni said that some of them are far to high poly. After I Uv’d them they took up too much UV space. This will lower my resolution.
Therefore, I had to bake the high poly onto the low poly which I did within this experiment with substance.
Once this was done, I began to add textures onto the asset.
I began to use hard surface stamps on the base. I put a base metal down and followed the video by Pixel Fondue. In which layers are used allowing me to create my own look for the asset.
On this version, I textured it as one asset and this was difficult as there was bleeding effects and what I meant was that if I put the hard surface cage look (as seen on the metal plate at the bottom of the model) on the bottom, it would appear everywhere on the model. To get around this I just had to erase.
Within this image I abandoned the right idea of doing it all on one and decided to do it all individually. Although, I kept in mind that this was not an effective way to texture, as Gianni and others told me. I saw it as more of a chance to help me learn substance.
The start of this can be seen on the right hand image. In this you can see me add in little finishing touches like wielding marks.
After this I textured them individually.
What I did through out the texturing of these assets was keeping in mind dirt, environmental weathering, cracks and ageing.
Still a continuing learning curve. I took this week to UV and to learn substance. Once I show Taunt maybe they can point me in the right direction.
Week 6 – The Continuation of Texturing and UV mapping
So. The comments about my piece was similar than last. They can’t really see my piece come together at the moment for a couple of reasons.
- The workflow isn’t very ideal
- The texturing as well needs to follow the same path as the concepts and ideas
The comments I made about these was that I was finding the layer system a little challenging. Although, I was slowly getting the hang of it, there is still some pitfalls with knowing this.
I added an ambient occlusion pass onto this.
What is different is that I took away the block as I do not like the design. I was overly picky and decided to replace it with a more believable representation of a billboard.
I also separated the glass on the sides, and placed them on little holders so that I would be going back to my original design of having the glass on the sides. The Feed back for this week was to continue with texturing. I admittedly went over board with some of the texturing done last week, but that is what happens when you get a shiny new software to play around in. You get a little….carried away.
This deviated from the path.
Learning about Object ID
Progress made on Object ID
I combined some of the information found in these videos and pieced them together to help me best figure out how to do object ID correctly.
I failed a few times and decided to only keep the items that I needed. Resulting in a far easier to handle UV space with better quality.
Once done I ended up with these guys.
I saved them in 2K because at the time, my laptop handled it quite well.
I went into Belfast and took a variety of first hand references focusing on the similar materials we are focusing like metal.
I was interested in the way dirt and general wearing looked on different objects.
After this I felt confident in what I have to do. Learning Object ID was extremely helpful as know I can apply textures to assets, without affecting the entire object.
For the glass I used Mike Hermes’ video on glass.
Putting the textures into Maya
I followed these two tutorials to help me put the textures into the right boxes in Maya.
Below is what it looked like whenever I input the textures.
Here is another view to show off both sides.
This one was me messing around with the emission. Just for fun.
Week 7 – TurnTables and final touches
Aimee and Michael took us for this meeting. They really did like how I got the look of the concept down to a T and they liked that I went out and got first hand references.
Their comments where to add more scuffing to it. Make it look a bit more battered.
I said about having trouble with the opacity of the glass. Michael said I would have to do that manually.
They gave us advice on how to proceed with the turntables. They said use the same file, set it up the same, use a HDRI and create a turntable. They also want an orthographic rendered still.
As a group we came together to create the scene Chloe added in the HDRI and did the initial set up. I came in and added in lights and cameras that where easy to catch the model in a better light so we can see the detail in the texturing.
We sent in similar how to videos to help with rendering different passes.
This video helped heaps.
I then looked into different show reels and found one by Kevin Van Den Berg. I liked how he set up his lights and I tried to capture something similar.
Final Bill Board
Still Render in orthographic view
Turntable that is edited to contain a Colour version and a Ambient Occlusion version.
Fixing the glass problem. I fiddled around with the transmission and in this drop down menu the depth of it. This gave me a nice opacity to the objects.
Taunt where very happy with the outcomes. They said that it fully came together in the end. They especially liked that as a group we worked well with each other and that our pieces are in the same style and use the same, if not similar textures.
My experience on this project has been great. I have had high and low moments. I learnt a great deal about working fora company and what they not only expect of the you as a person, but the work that you do. I could not have asked for a better team, and a better company to work for.
I have had the best fun texturing and I find myself everyday staring and some sort of texture wondering how it got there and how can I replicate it.
I also learnt that if it is not seen, get rid of it and to keep things low poly, especially for games.
I am glad to say, that I had a good time. In hindsight, more could have been done, but I had two learning curves, working for a client and working a different. Both fun.
Look forward to more of it.