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:

 

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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.

Client Related Practice & Self Initiated Project: People Progress #7 – Model Pre-Rig

Thus far after going through the various tutorials to model; the face, the ears, the torso, the legs, the feet and the hands. I’ve reached the point in which the model is relatively complete and ready for rigging. But before I delve into the animation, as a progress update it’s relatively important to see the model as a whole before pressing on towards potential changes that may occur with the weight mapping of the model.

As noted previously, the geometry sacrificed for the bottom half of the model will look relatively rough up until the texture is applied and it will appear smoother.

Client Related Practice & Self Initiated Project: People Progress #6 – Hands

In order to accurately model the hands, similar to the ears, instead of opting for mere squares or anything that would diminish the geometrical integrity of the mesh, I decided to follow a relatively simple tutorial on modelling the human hand. Of which the hand within 3DS Max would be mirrored, thus only one needs to be modeled. Here is the tutorial below:

I relatively enjoyed the tutorial because it showed me a simple yet effective way of modeling the human hand that is a useful thing to use as a base model. Unfortunately again, due to polygonal restraint, I didn’t go into too much detail but considering the size of the human hand and distance, it’s highly improbable within the level that anyone would notice too much, especially if it is textured correctly. Below are my results when modeling in accordance to this tutorial:

Client Related Practice & Self Initiated Project: People Progress #5 – Legs & Feet

Using the reference material within this post, I did the same thing as that post and modelled the legs and feet from the reference images. The only downside to this is that I purposefully avoided a lot of detail on the legs and feet in order to maintain the low amount of polygons on the mesh. This gives the model a very rough look that I’m not all too content with the final result but it will suffice until I can potentially, if at all, add more geometry to the model. Hopefully most of the rough shape will be lost in the texturing. Here below is how they look:

Client Related Practice & Self Initiated Project: People Progress #4 – Torso & Arms

I didn’t quite need a tutorial for this aspect of the model because of how I was approaching the polygon count on this model, in that I didn’t need it to be extensively detailed, just to have the basic shape of a torso. For this, instead I lined up reference images with the model of another 3D model and aligned the torso in regards to that specific reference image, allowing for variance in image size and preference of the size of the model in question.

Reference images in question:

Results of this process:

I think for the sake of practicality this was fairly effective in producing the arms and torso. The only negative factor about them is how low the polygonal count is for the character, if anything later on it will be a factor in some if not most deformations when it comes to rigging this character. But seeing as these characters are potentially being implemented into a level of which is being strained on resources as it is and will be implemented in a large amount, the only alternative is to settle for the polygon count and have these slight deformations.

References

Conceptart.org, (2009). male figure in T-Pose. [online] Available at: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php/161408-male-figure-in-T-Pose?p=2314173 [Accessed 15 April. 2014].

Client Related Practice & Self Initiated Project: People Progress #3 – Ear Tutorial

Instead of simply having the ears as a texture as my colleague Adam would have suggested I do, I opted to model them solely on the principle that I had yet to model them before and it would be beneficial to have this as a template piece for any future projects I may undertake involving character modelling.

I found the tutorial to be very useful in helping me understand a quick and easy way to model the human ear. One of the few downsides to the tutorial is that it’s done using a different piece of software than 3DS Max, the other being that the individual recording this tutorial appropriates their 3D model by their own reference material of which won’t be accessible to the viewer, so you have to locate a replacement that won’t follow the same geometry as the tutorial and can distort results. Below are the results that I came up with once completing the tutorial, also including the updated mesh of the face that is constantly undergoing improvement, there are geometry issues that show more with smoothing applied but are generally unnoticeable in this low polygonal state.