Reflection Fractals Tests

I did this a while ago for a potential part of a project. I was playing with something I thought was going to be boring but ended up being a lot of fun. I saw this technique first from Duncan Brinsmead but didn't think too much about it. After you get whats going on, its a great lesson in reflective surfaces. I suggest giving it a try. There are example files on Duncan's AREA blog.

I did many more tests but these are just a few selections of ones I liked for various reasons. They kinda clash when put together like this but oh well. hah.

Space Station Blocking

I did this back in march, but this is about how much concept art I'm doing. As for UV'ing I'm using Roadkill, Ninja UV, and 3D Coat. SO I have the tools to UV its just some jobs are still not easy.

UV Nightmare

I felt like I was getting good and fast at UV'ing until I went back to this space station! So freaking hard. A lot of angular cylinders and trying to get a lot of straight lines with edges. Basically needs a lot of hand UV layout and really I could have spent more than a day on it. It sucks when you want something to look great but know that the time invested to get it there isn't worth it. I'd love for all the panels on this space station to be just right, but to get things to the quality level of a production model would take too much time, well, for this project. Auto UV'ing was ok and got me... somewhere, but the other hard thing is large objects to show scale need small details. That means texture space. I'm making this with a 4k texture but bet it will be 2k in game(maybe not) either way it needs optimal UV layout to get the most out of the design. I thought I was getting pretty good and quick and UV's until I took my new understandings and re-applied them to this. Argh...

How many iterations?

I can't believe how many times I've gone over and over each ship! It shouldn't be that many. Mostly its getting a good idea on one ship and that proliferates to many more. One simple example is "I'm going to texture this part this way in Photoshop" simple idea, so what, looks great. But that's b/c the UV's on this ship works in Photoshop. Next ship needs to be re-UV'ed and sometimes that means redoing large portions of the texture. So what seems like one simple idea can have ramifications that become clear with experience. I continue to learn... when will I finally know it all?

It Takes Longer

So the game I've been working on since last September-ish, almost a year. (took time off for Skyrim and Mass Effect) The programmer, Andrew, had been working on the game for 3 (4 now) years. His A.I. and other aspects of the programming were very developed and advanced by comparison to the art which looked like placeholders at best. I said well I can make spaceships easy enough. I imagined it'd take about 3 months. Model, texture... how hard is that? Well there are like 20 ships, at the time a lot of my methods were still old school by comparison to how things are done now. So every time I did a new ship or new texture I learned something I figured out or tried to find a better way to do it, resulting in a better workflow and product. However, doing that made me go back over and over and over all the ships for consistency. Its hard to manage all the notes and things I want to do along with things that need to be done.
Right now I model hard surfaces in Maya, Auto-UV in 3DCoat, fix UV's in Maya, bake lighting in VRay, paint Textures in 3DCoat, touch everything up in Photoshop. Seems easy, but doesn't everything in CG seem easy until you do it? hah. All that and I'm not even doing Normal Maps! I would/will when there are fewer objects/ships or more artists.


I've been blogging on a few different blogs that kinda all relate to the same thing CG. One for Indie Game Dev that was mostly in UDK, one for Unity Dynamics and on another site for Eterium the indie game I've been working on, on the side for almost a year.
Other than Eterium, I've merged all the posts from the other blogs in this one and will only blog here. I'll also double post from Eterium here with a bit more explanation and workflow as I feel like. I'll keep tutorials somewhat organised as Maya, 3DCoat, UDK, and Unity possibly others but thats on the to-do list.
Anyway its all going to be here from now on, more focused and more of what I'm up to.

Story: Getting an Early Start

I was just remembering a funny "new hire" story. At Luma, in maybe 2004, a young guy comes in and says, "um today's my first day..." There was no front desk at the time so we sent him to accounting. Accounting was like "What? Argh they never tell me anything, ok got you in the system. Go to IT and they'll set you up". IT was like "A new guy! Argh they never tell us anything! Ok here's your computer." He goes and sits down and gets assigns a shot (roto/plate reconstruction etc) and gets to work. About a month, the guy who does all the hiring asks me, "Hey who's that guy?" I said, "That's so-n-so. You know, you hired him". "No I don't know who that guy is!" After a little talking we figured out what happened. When Luma called him they said, "Come on in Monday". They meant for an interview, but he thought come in to start. Well luckily he was doing a good job so they just let it go. It's a funny start for a guy who went on to work for one of the biggest video game companies doing really cool work.
That's one way to get your foot in the door. He knows who he is, and knows the story. We still laugh abut it from time to time.