Client Related Project: The Tower – Perspectives

In lieu of our contributions to the project, I though it best to evaluate my own personal work and effort towards the final product through the eyes of some of the stakeholders mentioned previously.

The Tower

Tower

General Public – To the perception of the public, those who are technically inclined like myself and my colleagues on this project, may easily be able to differentiate the notable weak points of the buildings architecture and texturing. Although those of whom wI encountered throughout the exhibition on the hour I was there on Thursday and my allotted 3 hour shift on Friday afternoon, did not seem to take note of any inaccuracy with the building or so I am aware of.

Student – As a student I view this building personally as something that I know I could vastly improve on due to its shortcomings and mistakes that I made during the time of construction. From its mishandled architecture all the way to its relatively rushed texturing. Overall I was content to handing this over for use in the exhibition and final product as a means of progressing past the point of trying to perfect the building, to which I am now grateful to the fact that I feel confident that I could revisit this and do an infinitely superior job in less time.

Peers – In terms of my peers/colleagues, I have received minimal feedback on the building other than a single colleague agreeing with my notion that the building could do with some improvements in the texturing department. From their perspective, if any of the general public were to comment on the mistakes made with the model, this could impact the perception of the entire project and thus my peers.

Games Designer – As a Games Designer, I highly doubt that this building would make it into a game level due to those shortcomings. If I were employed by a company within the industry and worked on this model for the amount of time that I did (October – January), I would most likely be fired for taking so long and doing a relatively poor attempt at it.

Client Related Practice: Showing Animations

For a while I’ve been battling with an issue with UDK, in that it wouldn’t show the animation set even after configuring it to how the tutorials showed me how. To solve this I found an alternative tutorial that helps with showing an initial animation upon playing the level within UDK. It’s a useful tutorial for anyone looking for a fix to this problem and/or a look into integrating animations overall into UDK without the necessitated need for Kismet.

Client Related Practice: Moving Objects in UDK

I haven’t as yet attempted to move anything within UDK as the people require a few tweaks in order for final hand-in so that they can go within the level. However, to prepare myself for the installation within UDK, I have found this tutorial that I will be using as reference for moving within UDK when the time comes to install it. It’s a very useful tutorial for those still confused by Kismet and how it works, and I look forward to potentially using it.

Client Related Practice: Stakeholder Perspectives

When it comes to this project, there are several different perspectives that must be considered when moving forward and assessing our goals and intended outcomes in contrast to those that may have a connection to the project in some manner. This could be from a production standpoint, such as the team building the various assets for the final level, or could be from the perspective of the general public merely glancing upon the project for the first time without any prior context or attachment/involvement. For this, we then have to consider shaping various aspects of the project around these stakeholders to best propagate their interest in the project.

Designer

We as designers and constructors of the project itself have to service the project around our own desires to which the project should shape to be. This means that it must be a product that we can collectively as a group collaborate on and agree on a goal to work towards. This project in particular is the 1914 commemorative recreation of the Paragon Station in Hull and the surrounding area upon which we agreed to develop, as designers we mapped an area according to our own collective preference to which would be the basis and setting for the final product that we wanted to achieve. For a while within the group, we wavered between developing the surrounding area and solely the interior of Paragon Station, this thus altered the dynamic of the project and overall shaped its outcome. If for instance we agreed to solely have the project center around the Paragon Station alone, it would have altered a number of other stakeholders within the project and their connection to it. An example would the client, of which would then be the recipient of a vastly different product that has a completely different scope and set of ideals that the client may not want.

Student

As a student our main objective is to maintain a steady workflow within the project to sufficiently satisfy our creative needs and also our academic desires, in relation to the module at hand and its learning outcomes. The module sustains the project by keeping us within the boundaries of it in relation to our own studies and provides sufficient academic stimuli to support personal growth within our respective field. This project is also aimed towards giving us an understanding of the real world practices that occur within the workplace of the aforementioned occupational field and how to navigate it in a professional manner.

Client

The client is one of the more important stakeholders within the project and they are the main recipient and correspondent to the final product. With this particular type of project, the content is generally dictated by us the designers/producers because of our creative license and the clients lack of knowledge in regards to our respective field, although their needs regardless of how minimal they may seem, do take top priority in terms of the construction and design of the project. For example, the client wishes for the level to have people roaming within it, and so as a group we have made it our prerogative to cater to this need, because they may advertise it elsewhere as having this element within it and if the obligation to implement this isn’t met, it may backfire on both parties later on. Their stake within the project is that their reputation as a company is being utilised by us the designers to showcase a product using their social status as a company of renown in the area and other marketing services. If the project were to misrepresent them or cast an ill impression towards the client, it could potentially damage business relations between them and us the designers. If the project were to do sufficiently well in terms of business, it would be bolstering for both parties involved in terms of public relations and renown.

General Public

In terms of the general public, their stake in the project is that they are the main audience. They are generally approaching this project for the first time and seeing it from a fresh perspective that the we the designers may not see. For instance, if something within the final product is seen from the designers as acceptable but could be misconstrued by the audience as offensive, it could call into question the ethical boundaries of our work, and this is thus something we have to consider when approaching all aspects of the project to justify if they are suitable to be implemented into the final product for viewing in the general public. In terms of what the projects needs to be for them, it needs to be informative to the point in which they know what the project is about from the perspective of the designers but also what the client wishes the product to be displaying.

Tutor’s Perspective

From the perspective of the tutors, their role in things is that they are one of the guiding stakeholders aiding us the designers in the proper direction and professional practice that we should be aiming to strive towards using when in contact with other stakeholders. In doing so they thus enforce academic protocol and encourage us to learn and interact within the medium in order to achieve our learning outcomes. Their stake in things is ensuring that we as students acquire or academic goals whilst maintaining progress on the project.

Academic Institution

Aside from the tutors that are an aspect of the academic institution, the institution itself is a stakeholder within the project as they are represented by the designers and students creating the product and govern their students academic progress, anything the students/designers do or produce is reflective of the university and so is a factor that must need to be analysed when approaching any other external stakeholder that isn’t primarily attached to the institution. A positive outlook and reception on the project could benefit the institution in terms of potential marketing and surges in interest into the institution as a place of learning.

Client Related Practice & Self Initiated Project: People Progress #10 – Animating

After achieving a reasonable weight to the character that didn’t produce too many deformations, the thought shifted towards animating the character in 3DS Max to be used in UDK (And Unity, in relation to the Self Initiated Project). To do this I would have to mimic basic human actions that would be required by the populace of the level, i.e walking and being idle/standing still. Going forward from this I looked for tutorials primarily that based around the walk cycle, solely because I’d had no prior experience with walk cycles and it has peaked my interest previously to experiment with animations of this caliber. Below are two tutorials explaining the basics of a walk cycle.

The above tutorial wasn’t particularly helpful for me seeing as it’s a tutorial using Maya and I was using 3DS Max, seeing that they are two different pieces of software, the instructions didn’t translate well into one another. But it was interesting witnessing the smoothness of the animation, achieved by the instructor.

This particular tutorial helped me a lot with understanding how to get the best out of 3DS Max when creating a walk cycle. As a visual learner that tends to learn more from being visually taught things through the use of seeing someone do something and I mimic it, this was very useful in catering to that learning style.

Client Related Project (Content not related to the Self Initiated Project)

Moving on from this after attaining a walk cycle, I started looking into how to get the character model and animations into UDK as a precaution to prepare myself for implementation, even though I had yet to do the idle animation. For this I again looked for a suitable tutorial (or three)

As the first tutorial on the subject, this one was fairly informative for a newcomer to the topic of animations within UDK. It was relatively basic but did cover an array of topics, such as; animations sets and animation trees, things I had not had experience with prior.

In particular, this tutorial went through a relatively basic outlook on Kismet within UDK and how that is used to govern animations and movement within the level. It was helpful to me as I’ve had very limited experience with Kismet before and it was somewhat

This tutorial went through a more in-depth look into Kismet, but I had difficulty in following this at times and couldn’t get my animations to work in accordance to that what had been shown.

In terms of the work I have produced, there’s a couple of images and a brief preview of the walk cycle below that shows the result of following the previous tutorials. I think this experience in terms of animation and character creation overall has given me the inspiration to look and delve further into this subject as a potential career pursuit.

The screenshots and preview:

 

Client Related Practice & Self Initiated Project: People Progress #9 – Template Texturing

After ‘completing’ the animations for the model, I went about texturing the model to make it look like it was intended to, human. To do this I used various images sources I had found to appropriate the; head, hands, torso, legs and feet.

Using the above sources, I created these textures below. Along with that, using the NormalMap filter within Photoshop I created a normal map to add detail to the model once placed in UDK/Unity.

References

Foro3d.com, (2014). [online] Available at: http://www.foro3d.com/attachments/99343d1238604304-ayuda-zbrush-head_texture_sample.jpg [Accessed 27 April. 2014].

Media.jitsites.com, (2014). [online] Available at: http://media.jitsites.com/files/archive/psBeyond/textures/leather.jpg [Accessed 27 April. 2014].

1hdwallpapers.com, (2014). [online] Available at: http://1hdwallpapers.com/suit-wallpaper.html %5BAccessed 27 April. 2014].

Client Related Practice & Self Initiated Project: People Progress #8 – Rigging & Weight-Mapping

So having no prior experience with rigging and weight-mapping, it was obvious that I needed to find a tutorial to help me achieve this. The tutorial covers a basic overview of the concepts of rigging and weight-mapping within 3DS Max. It doesn’t however provide a step by step as it’s just an individual rigging their own model, instead it’s more to be used as reference for things within rigging to do. The tutorial below:

I found this to be a highly useful and informative tutorial and gives a lot of personal insight into what can be done towards character rigging. The only downside to this tutorial is the authors constant skipping towards a more finished version, that leaves a big gap logic gap between the model and the finished version in regards to mistakes and errors that could arise. Below are the results of using this tutorial in regards to my own personal work, including; rigging, weight mapping and testing the deformation of limbs using the skin modifier.