Jul 8, 2012

Talk to the Hand

Currently I am trying to both create (and learn whilst doing) how to model a good hand. Things are always more complicated than they seem at this early stage of learning modelling. This is the crude design... I would like to see it look a little more human and a little less goof troop. There is a ton of usage once I get it looking like a real hand... for Neverwinter Nights 2 applications...

  • A standing statue of a hand (for Helm and any other hand symbol based deity)
  • Enhancing Bigby's line of spells visual effects
  • A floating and attacking hand creature
  • A clawed handed
Once the hand is good, I can create an animation skeleton so I can freeze it into various poses, alter the detail level, size, nails, and finger fatness to get various results.

Jun 27, 2012

I'm here, I'm here...

I haven't disappeared or anything just busy between switching a job, buying a car, selling an existing car, fixing a former car.

3d modelling is a lot of work. But I am determined to finish the crocodile now that Elysius has gone to the strain of creating a book on it through his blog. I may lean more towards placeable creation than creatures going forward, but I retain the ability to create a necessary creature if a need should arise. Particularly when you can steal the animations of a similar one. That is a useful skill.

Recently I fleshed out the EXP and area table for my episodic adventure, and completed an area for chapter 1 of the Althea campaign.

Ps you didn't hear it from me, but I processed a few major plot points in a possible Islander 2. But seriously nobody said anything.

Apr 23, 2012

Getting Hammered

Obligatory picture

Well I've just been too busy with a second job so I just wanted to say nothing has happened, but there is reason to believe I can actually complete the crocodile when my time frees up again in about 3 weeks. I had to re-work it again, but I did get to the stage of it having more than just an idle animation (walking will be the hardest), and I also realized from TV that crocodiles walk like a dog, not with its legs spread way out like a spiders.

Until then, get hammered I guess. Those are just some concept weapons I did in 20 minutes.

Apr 6, 2012

Hazaa: video time

Well that picture I put up showed little more than a statue (that's what it was thanks to some flaws in the execution). So let me show a more legitimate prototype:

Eguintir, crocodile hunter.

You gotta switch to 720p and fullscreen to really see the mouth action.

There's some things to hammer out yet, but I think we can all agree that creature is close to legitimate.

Mar 27, 2012

My Babies are alive!

Stay tuned for more updates!

Mar 11, 2012

Cracking the Code With Elysius

Thought I would make a quick update here as it has been a while. I did up the rough mesh for an owlbear. It really pays to have a picture or think about what you are doing first because I screwed around with it for a week because it didn't look quite right. Then I realized bears heads go straight out like a dogs, and not upward like a horse, which is how I had it. Anyway, before I go through all the rest does anyone know if it's somehow available in NWN2 already in a hak and I am wasting my time? I was trying to find a sorely missed but highly common monster that many would use.

As for the crocodile (Shaughn), I was able to contact Elysius now that he's partially temporarily un-retired from his blog, and got some good direction. I'll be able to animate this crocodile or any other model pretty easily as expected, now that I know how. Still working on texturing but I think I have an idea on that as well.

He also made it known how to borrow a skeleton, for the purpose of using brand new models, but existing animations, such as how the hill giant's appear to be done in that hak on the vault. So I guess I can do the flying eyeball at some point after the crocodile, once I give the eyeball actual teeth and wing textures that are more professional.

Any idea what a crocodile's animations should be? I think rather than just a lazy uncreative variation of bites, one of the attacks should be the famous death roll they do once they clamp down. So I guess I do have to pay some attention to the underbelly texturing quality.

Feb 4, 2012

Slow out of the gates...

So this texturing thing is really the big stall in the project. Although I don't know how to store animation sequences yet for NWN2 either. But really, to even make still objects I need to understand the texturing results once you define the "wrapper" for 2d painting.

I was a little busy switching jobs, and now I'm done so I'm back at it. I decided to recreate a ridiculous little monster I saw in cracked magazine some time in the 80s. I did this only because I thought I could quickly make a model, and see how textures show up on the model based on how I set the "seams" of the texturing boundaries. I've spent literally 3 days adjusting seams on this crocodile so I figured I should learn how they work through a quicker, less laborious prototype.

With all smoothing, detail, polish aside (and a mouse cursor drawn mouth to boot) it's not pretty but it doesn't have to be. At least I can see that a texture can be done and I have a better idea of what I am doing now. So back to it I go.

PS Been play testing for The Wizard's Apprentice 2. It's a far throw ahead from the original, much broader in scope and ambition. I actually was dissapointed I had to stop for a while while we tackle a bug in the progress of the plot.

Jan 15, 2012

So here's where it's at

So here is the stage of modelling that trumped me in the past, and just about did again this weekend, until I figured it out. The stage where you designate your texturing borders, and export them for 2d imaging. Well really it's 2 parts, but I never properly accomplished part 1 before and I have now. Essentially you are trying to unfold the 3d model into 2d parts that can then be painted in the stencil you see here.

A checker pattern is usually applied, as on above, to make sure that your texture resolution is consistent. As you can see, the arms appear as long rectangular checkers similar in size to the main body. That is ideal.

The reason this is necessary is because you actually have to size the body parts in the stencil, and you can actually end up making some body parts different resolutions if you don't keep the proportion. Any piece you see on the stencil can be completely resized and throw everything off. They have all been manually adjusted by me after the program did it's horrible guessing on generation.

For those interested in how close I am to a viable output for this crocodile (and future animated models) I think I have broken it down as a work flow:

1 - 3d Modelling - done
2 - Texture mapping - done
3 - 2d Texturing - Next
4 - Defining bones and "rigging" - wtf (ok I kinda know what it is)
5 - Animation sequences
6 - Importing using engine recognized methods

So physical work wise, once you have 1 and 2, you've done most of the actual time consuming work. The rest comes to knowing the engine and how to import to it, which I imagine will be a huge pain but not necessarily a long time once I've done it once.

Animation may be a day or two, but I find it a rather fun and fluid process... everything's already made, and is not being altered, you just move parts around and try to do it in a life like fashion. I look forward to it.

Jan 6, 2012

The early Shaughn gets the Croc

Well sometimes it pays to be one of my four readers. For reasons unknown, my fatso model is now a corrupt file and will have to be started from scratch. But since I have a request for a crocodile, I thought now that I have no project, why not try that first. I took a gamble and decided to apply my cube modelling technique to a cylinder, in the thought that it would better suit the initial shape. Modelling this way is basically manipulation from a rough shape; the closer that shape is the less adjustment you have to do later, so it made sense).

From a humble, shapeless beginning. . .

... I soon gained confidence that I made the right choice, and had the skill to manipulate the extra vertices on a 12 sided cylinder...

... I wasn't going to do the head at first, as obviously it will take more skill and need to be split into two halves (as I'm assuming Shaughn wants this crocodile to attack by biting as opposed to nose spearing the player). But I gained a little comfort with the concept of "cutting" polygon faces in half, and was able to make a distinct mouth extend from the flat cylinder end that was his neck:

So there you have it, using only shaping with no texture at all, it does actually somewhat resemble a quadruple-amputee crocodile. The real detail comes in the texturing, as that's where the bumpiness, texture and colour realism comes from. And to be honest, I think I will have less trouble animating than texturing as I've stated. Particularly since I have no 2d software knowledge at all. I think I'll try GIMP as it seems to be the way to go.

My Next update will certainly include some legs if nothing else.

Update: seems like either 3ds or my computer is borked because I lost my crocodile work in the same fashion. Colour me pissy. I redid it all.

Jan 1, 2012

Big Fat Update

Turns out that foot was destined to become a fatso after all.

There's unlimited potential to create other biped's once you have a model done, and it looks like fatso is about at the 2/3 torso mark, so I'll keep this updated.