Sunday, 7 March 2010

The final =(

Thanks to my precious team members: Karen,James, Michelle and Ryan.
The term has now ended, and we've finally finished our Digital Environments project. I would like to thank my team members for our their hard. I honestly had so much fun working with you guys this year!!^^ Was the best experience I had actually working in a team!! Each of us all played a very important role, and seriously without James, our master pieces couldn't have been put together so well so I thank you especially for the rendering job!

Conclusion to the project...
The end result wasn't bad. We aimed to finish everything a week before the deadline to get rendering and editing all done in the last week. However, as I mentioned before the render farm was being a right pain in the B*** so rendering couldn't be done properly. We found errors, corrected them with our tutors advice, but the render farm still refused to work. We all round to the other groups to ask how their projecs were going. ALMOST EVERYONE rendered their projects on their OWN laptops. So we did exactly the same. Out of 5 main layers James and Karen had cleverly split; only 1 and a half managed to render in time for editing, its not as we expected, and half of James efforts in lighting the cave luminously pretty much failed simply because of time.But I guess 1.5 layers is better then nothing right?^^ We're all very disappointed about the render farm. But at least we know how the system works now! -EXPERIENCE!! -
We're all very glad we got the whole footage rendered out, and the fact that we DIDN'T give up even until the very end shows determination! we fought till the VERY end! Its actually a miracle we didn't hand in a playblast, technology was simply dying on us. Fuses breaking, computers overheating, the render farm just not working. Its not as stunning as it should be, and we've already spotted a few errors after it rendered out! So as a team we've decided, as soon as we get back into uni we will sort these out, then render the separate layers again for our personal show reels.
After rendering the missing layers we had, we attempting to start com-positing in after effects. But the software strangely REFUSED to open the layers, so sparks, smoky fog effects and such weren't possible. However, PREMIERE did accept our files! so we composited the rest there. We cutted parts out to make the scene seem more in-tuned with the background music. After adding sound effects and Ryan's and Michelle's Pro opening and credit ending we spotted out one sound effect (the door slamming) was too loud in comparison the the others. But since time was out, and half the group had already run over to the studio for the hand in box. We left it.

I personally think we did very well, considering we're second year students but we never got taught anything on modeling an environment, only characters. There's no point in imitating real life things so much really, it would be easier to pick up a camcorder wouldn't it? We aimed for a realistic look for the cave at first, but that clearly wasn't possible. More time and experience was needed. We're all clearly in the learning process. So its a great start! Being able to work in a caring team, willing the SHARE sources is truly an amazing experience. I would say, I aim had changed during the middle of the term, as modeling and texturing was split between everyone, it became a stylized piece of art. With the luminous lights to give that essence of mysteriousness, the calm yet gentle instrumental, the hard rocky buildings in comparison the the caves shades and forms and the rusty metallic power generator going a bit funky. =D

Heres a few rendered pics^^

Thursday, 4 March 2010


Its been yet another very long day in college.. The Render Farm has FAILED the class, as it seems. The people who HAVE managed to render something had actually rendered most of their work on their own computers. Karen and James have in fact been slaving infront of the render farm for almost a full week.

We asked Jared for advise since all our other tutors wasn't any where to be seen. Even when he had 3 whole year groups to manage, he still had to time to see us, we're so thankful for that moment!!
Anyways, he advised us to :
* Check the size of our texture
*Take out the lighting layer if that doesnt render
*Take out huge parts that could be blocking the rendering from starting
*Optimized the whole project.

I felt realy guilty after hearing the advise, the team seemed very worried, I MAY have modeled too much detail into the cave? Or maybe too much into the power generator?
We were all blaming ourselves as we walked back into the studio.

But HEYYY, after checking! THE PROBLEM WAS THE TEXTURES!! 5000x5000 in size, now that jus explains alot!! for smaller items the textures were 1000x1000! xD After sorting that out the render farm finally worked!!

The render farm decided to reject and FAIL rendering half way through rendering a single layer last night. My members were stressing whilst I was stressing over my other project. I had to rush in to help comfort everyone, things then calmed down. Apparently rendering in sections on our own laptops would be faster and more reliable then the render farm, so we decided to claim the computers in the ICT suite. However, there was a class there for the whole day! As we rendered we sat in to an After Effects class, it was pretty interesting! We all felt all nostalgic sitting in that room. The days we had Dan.. learning our first few steps in maya.. awww xD

We've now left the suite to do its thing, using maya's mental ray to render, its hell, and we MIGHT not make it in time, but if thats the case I've decided we should render 5 seconds of the beginning, 5 seconds of the middle and 5 seconds from the end of the project. Its not the full scene but after compositing it MAY just help us get the grade we've all worked so hard to earn!
Jared HAS advised us to do something similar, but half the group refused. We don't want to submit a playblast alone. its not only going to destroy our success, But also waste away our efforts!!! Before leaving college today we all gathered our " fighting spirits" joked around THEN left! A ype of motivation so we all wont be so down as soon as we get home. We shared this time with our other friends Laura,Harry,Dean and Karl too! so all is good =D

I wish everyone GoodLuck^^ I bet not many of us are going to sleep tonight! but its all going to be worth it^^

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

In reference to past findings...

In reference to Michelles past findings::

It was THIS video I aimed for. The lighting really bricks out the mysterious atmosphere we're looking for. However, Its just a smooth walk through of a cave, nothing animated except for the fire. I think the team over did it with the flames.. Its amazing and all but a bit too repeatable! ><

I noticed, the walls and floor were VERY flat. Not much effect was put into making the area look cavey enough. Keeping that in mind, trying out MudBox was the best plan!! Made modelling the inner walls more fluent. However, I kind of over did it with the effects. There ground plane was too cavey, the points would either stick out of the buildings or be SEEN through the windows. So to fix this, I had to import the file BACK into mudbox then Export it as an OBJ again. It not only fixed the problem, but also helped james work out where to puut the lighting =D

For now, the project is coming along very well.
Me and Michelle worked out how to use Qube, The render farm stuff. But, much was needed.
We Stumbled upon many problems last tuesday, (wasnt our day to go in, but for the team we must go in extra days!)
**Some members not keeping on track
**James had problems with the lighting it wudnt render properly. So we had to ask Alex for help
**Qube went weird at first for me and Michelle and Alex was weirdly no help. We wanted to TEST rendering on the render farm, but he sasid it was a waste of time.. SOOOOOO we worked it out ourselves.
**Michelle will re-do the camera animation to PERFECTION after we went over the "draft" with Jared.
**We went in PANIC mode for around..30-45min, but after comforting everyone, things were fine again =D

Now that texturing and Lighting has been completed.. OR IS being completed.... all thats left is rendering =D

Half of our group wishes to add more ideas last min, but I have my other project to concentrate on, so im afraid I cant help set their "dreams" comes true. Ive alrady given an extra week to the team, with my our attention set on Digital Environments. Its been a pain having the turn my attention onto other projects. I hope next term wont be as harsh.~

Friday, 19 February 2010

The CAVEE test =D

Since lighting and texturing isnt my job I thought I'd jus slap on a random material, I stuck in directional lights n spot lights to bring out the caves rocky texture. With the real texture its probably gna look wayy better. I thought I'd try out MudBox instead of pulling and smoothing the individual vertexes out. It turned out better then I expected!! I had to.. Export the block out of the cave into a FBX file, then import that into mudbox, remould it, then SAVE. I then had to convert it back into Maya to save as a MB file =D

Learnt alot today from tutorials on mudbox and maya working together. Something I feel the need to learn more in depth after this project has finish.

Monday, 15 February 2010


1)The Original Plan
2)After making the Oil Refinery's and the SUPPORTS for the top.
3) The Main building is complete
with metal fences + Chimneys for the west side of the smaller block.
4)Compressors/ converter looking things plus MORE PIPES! =D
5)The FINAL Power station/Generator. More Gas cylinders, Broken Fences laying around. Broken Supports.

Closer study on structures =O

Friday, 12 February 2010

Blast Furnace!!

Priest of Steels Creation -I jus sketched it out to get the feel of the shapes =D

Battersea power station sketch =O

Battersea Power Station!!


The Power Station was very Squared.
Architectural aspects to not down for my own design:::
*The HUGE chimney pipes.
*The Smokey yet open atmosphere
(Cant use this point for mine, since its gna be in a cave,)
*The Shadows produced.
*How the Windows aren't very necessary for a power station. Only the middle, main section and the blocks on the side had proper windows. It was probably the office part?
*Ladders and Pipes coming out from top to middle.
* Scaffolding looking structures holding up the base of the chimney
*Plain Colour, not very exciting colourwise. Bricks?
[We're gna have a Blue Light coming from the opening anyways. But a mixture of Red Bricks and Blue Lighting PLUS smokey fggy effect = A purple like colour! =O With bring out a nice contrast to the dark police station, and the Bright pretty flowers in the middle of the cave. ]

Blast Furnace!!

William T.Hogan, S.J. -Fordham's Steel Priest

William Thomas Hogan worked at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. During is research for his dissertation on steel productivity. It was the first detailed study on the subject and his methods of productivity measurement were adopted by the U.S department of Labor, releasing his fist book, Productivity in the Blast Furnace and Open Health Segments of the Steel Industry. Published in 1950.

Enough of he brief intro.

I found images of THE STEEL PRIEST at Industrial Economics Research Institute.
...ignoring the steel priest himself..

The Blast Furnaces Behind him where pretty interesting. It reminded me of my days in science.

I did a few sketches from these images. Looking closer into the pictures, if you zoom in, the bars supporting these HUGE pipes have a continuous pattern. Either in a continuous [wwwwwwwwwww] shape or a ladder on its side. There are also many steps connected to the blast furnace, Probably for handling the molten liquids. Or for health and safety? Theres also a few cylinders on top of each building. Stains on the metal plates in the corner of the picture, Plus the Smoky mysterious feel from the heat. Im thinking .. in a cave.. this mysterious smokey fog may cover the top areas.. or even place it between the buildings. As seen in one of Jame's findings, in the video. The light reflects back up the hold from above, reflecting light upon the dust particles. Since its an UNDERGROUND cave, it should be very dusty. With a broken Power Generator, it should be dustier. Im sure a smokey fog effect can be put in using maya.. or after effects even if maya doesnt work out for us.. =D

The Giant Pipes coming from the top of the blast furnaces are pretty cool too, adding them into my design would make them reflect reality more maybe? Even with a made up model of a "power generator" =D

Back to work! ~~

Lotsa things to thing about, so little time! ><

I DID have research on COLOUR!!

I just went throught the DE FB page our group has been using all this time.. and found.. I REALYY DID do colour research!

T____T - got marked down at formative because of this..

Self Improvements::
Blog EVERYTHING I find T_____T

DUDEs!!! I found this blog, this guy has a real SENSE FOR COLOUR!! think he uses painter or sumthin.. i dunno. heres the link =D


Sunday, 7 February 2010

Bridges have KEYS to standing up =O

This was a weird but interesting fining, I knew realised how important this bit of "ancient" design was. THE KEY TO A BRIDGE! Is the middle block =O

As explained on the website i found...


The keystone is the most important stone in an arch bridge, without this stone the arch would collapse. The keystone holds the arch together.

Heres the link I found this useful bit of information from^^

Anddd it has examples of bridges in europe =O Big difference to the stone bridges in asia no?

The Great Wall of CHINA

The Yanmenguan Pass, Daixian County, Shanxi

Since I'm going to have to model the broken bridge. The cracks and broken halves must have a variation of shapes/cuts. Ive been doing some research on bridges. The French bridges, and rest of europe.. all have really narrows pillars as it gets closer to the water. This may be from the erosion from rain.. the river its actually in.. waves.. all natural. However. Im looking for a bridge thats DRY on land. And maybe damaged for natural reason.. other then water. So a thicker base is needed.

I've been looking on the TheGreatWallOfChina Page, its actually quite interesting how painters have portrayed this wall. But im more interested in the decary/danage section of the gallery.
Especially the part at..

"Zhenbiancheng City, Huailaixian County, Hebei"

The damage seen here are pretty interesting. in the arch closest to the right, it seems as though something large, like a boulder has passed through it. and the crumbling crack on the left hand side.

Theres a pile of bricks to support the structure too. That could also be a point to keep in mind? Other bricks or broken pieces of the bridge alone stupporting the whole object??

The Bridge!! =O

I've been meaning to finish this but heyyy! its DONEE! mwuahahahahaa
Time to Model the actual BROKEN bridge!

For these past few days.. Ive been working on my post production project.. not going so well.. but its getting there! Ive also been experimenting on different approaches to capturing the caves inner darkness.. its isolated.. lonely.. damp.. cramp-ness!! Ive figured a Cube.. extruding to my liking.. then playing with the vertexes.. then SMOOTHING SOME areas gives it a natural effect! =O
Not everythings perfect! Playing with vetexes just breaks the perfection! which is all GOOOOOD =P

[I threw on a random material since looked so stupid in boring Grey.. =P]

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The Storyboard^___^

Since I already made the block out, we decided it would be faster to create a camera in the scene to act as the main character Mr.Rat. By using the camera, we wont have to struggle with drawing angles, instead, we would only need to mimic the Rats movement.

Brief annotation:
*Starting point on the Bridge
*MrRat looks around..then up
*Loses balance,
*Butt Slides down the brides
*Lands on ground safely
**Looks up at the arch
**Turns head towards fountain
**Jumps onto fountain
**Take a drink perhaps
*Hears a noice, in shock turns around to the power generator.
**Walks towards Police Station,
**Looks up
*Walks round flower patch, towards Doorway thing
**Goes towards power Generator
*On second thoughts the flowers smell nicer.
*Checks out the Tree
*Hears a Sound again
*Cave ceiling cracks a CHUNK off
*Falls on top of Mr Rat

The Block Out I did the other day.

While having our group meeting, we were discussing changes design wise to our map. As the discussion went on, I quickly made a block out according to the members suggestions. I surprised myself that day. The speed of modeling was definitely an improvement. =D

Heres the result.

The Front

The Back

THE CAVE!! Part 2

The Tutorial I found on modeling caves =O

Its really detailed. I'm hoping its not too hard of a struggle. Theres much much more to model and research on =D


Our group has decided.. since our environment is set in a cave, it should hold thee realistic damp..rough and gloomy feel. Since we have NO IDEA how we're going to do this, we've set ourselves a task. RESEARCH ON CAVES.

We've even planned a small field trip to our local chislehurst cave^^ ..But sadly I cant go ..because of personal reasons... So I'm just going to have to stick to secondary information, PHOTOS =D

Luckily I've experienced going into caves a few times in my life already.. from random holidays abroad, as a kid I liked exploring! and ended up getting lost a few times.. but i lived^^

I remember going to this cave in thailand, we had to sit on a boat for a good 20-45mins until we got there. It kind of felt like I was in one of thoses scooby-doo episodes where the gang accidentally find a hidden passage to god knows where. ANYWHO, we had to jump off the boat, and got to explore for a bit^^ in this case.. the cave was kinda.. cracking?.. all crumbled down.. kinda.. felt cramped, the place was damp, mysterious. and it actually felt like the place was falling down..O_O" Was banned from screaming too.. no idea why.. maybe the place really was falling down =P

But yea.. since I was young.. I didnt own a camera..
I have no evidence.. so.. GOOGLE TO THE RESCUE.

The Limestone hills of malaysia.
Amongst the most famous caves in the world are the caves in MULU National Park.

I love how the contrast of lighting brings out the detailed shape and texture of the rocks. Its clear enough for me to see the layers!! Reminds me of one of Ryan's concept pieces, was truly amazing. The use of texture and lighting was excellently planned^^ It's a good thing hes our texture man!

However, even with a pro texture man I must fairly play my part as modeler, and get these organic shapes planned out. I had a faint idea of the construction of the cave. Using a poly sphere, But clearly that has become a problem. Its very hard to model the..dunes?.. lumps. xD As I did more research, Ive stumbled upon a tutorial explaining the technical layouts using a poly CUBE. What was I thinking.. of course it would be a cube..would make life so much easier!

So now I have the task of....
*Collecting more CAVE images
*Analise the elements needed
*Test Model
*Redesign my own version to fit our "script" =D

My job after this will be to work on the Bridge, PowerPlant..Generator..thing and a smexy fountain =D

[More Cave images + annotated comments on the elements COMING SOON =P ]

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The schedule I posted up on our Facebook Group last night=)

Ok dudes, Heres a link with..
c)Summary of OUR group brief
Its saved in a PDF format, so everyone should be able to open it.
This is for our GROUP, Its best if you make a more detailed checklist for
yourself, so there's a guide line for you to work along. =D

......Oh and Im drawing the map out tomorrow, hopefully finished with annotated parts of where our bits of concept work would go. I'm aiming to lay out the possible buildings/structures in maya roughly to give us a full on feel of the map =D
If theres any changes needed then we'll sort it out on Thursday together!^^

The MAP!!

Ive finally combined our concept ideas together to produced a fairly good looking map.

Which Includes::
-An energy generator
-Water supply, drips of water from the surface gets collected in one area, then supplied to the survivors.
-A green area (The underground city has ONE source of light from the outside world,however, its too dangerous to attempt to crack open and escape, therefore, it is left alone. )
-Lights spreaded around the city from the power generator.
-The main Police Station
-New houses the survivors build/ re-use out of the ruins.
-Metal scraps.

[Map to be scanned in]

Monday, 25 January 2010

Concept work?^^

Since.. all the concept work Ive done so far for this project is on paper.. I thought I'd photoshop one of the designs =O I have no scanner atm.. its currently at another location.. so.. =S

Since I havent used photoshop for some time now.. its turn out alright I suppose =D Getting familiar with the software after so long felt pretty good^^

I should spend more time acquiring more digital skills, its quite enjoyable^^

Friday, 22 January 2010

had one really weird dream..

Random 2hrs of Maya..and some how learnt something out of it..

I woke with a really kwl design in my head!! =O so.. instead of drawing my vision out I thought I'd give maya a try! =D

Ive been doing random tutorials these days, so it didnt seem very hard..
I ended up adding random bits.. extruding he odd faces.. and kind of ruined my idea from before.. the centre of the "wheel" thing looks pretty kwl, kind of like a fan! I should find a tutorial on modeling a fan - fit for animating!

Im pretty satisfied from the outcome, considering I did no planning.. and it was straight from my imagination in the morning.. I just decided to be extra den spoiled the whole design. But it was good practice I must admit. From this random 2hours in maya.. I have learnt to....
a) Plan ahead
b) study more on different architectures..IN MORE DEPTH and
c)should really do more tutorials for more techniques =D

Concept decided?

My group known as : S.T.A.R.S!

Has come up with several ideas for our concept. From The Police Station from resident evil to caves.. to lost underground cities (my idea=P)

And have come up to the conclusion.. we shall COMBINE our visions together!!

So.. our main theme will be..
- The Lost Underground City
- with a RUN down Police Station
-The scene shall start from the entrance of a cave
-and finally... Mr.Rat, who will be our main tour guide for the scene
(my idea also... has a choice between a rat or firefly)

We've also allocated roles... "positions" even.. as a team.. we want to have equal "power" over the project. But since everyone wants to do abit of everything .. we've decided on the following:

Yuki(me) - Lead the members. - In charge of MODELING & ANIMATING
- Will be in charge of putting together concept work from the other members
- Will then storyboard the work.
- Model
- Animate

Karen - Lead the members. - In charge of MODELING & ANIMATING
-Drawing concept work
- Draw more detailed images of parts of the storyboard

Michelle - In charge of COMPOSITING
- Drawing Concept work
- Draw more detailed images of parts of the storyboard
-Model (small items)
- Composite

Ryan - In charge of TEXTURES
-Concept work
-TEXTURED drawings for storyboard
-Model(small parts)
-Lighting (small parts)

James - In charge of LIGHTING
-Textures (small parts)
-Model (small parts)
- Lighting
-Composite (small parts)

Everyone has a fair amount of POWER they wish to have within the group, Me and Karen will share the part as leader since its a big amount of pressure on one person alone. Makes like easier like this. However, even with these positions the other members have agreed to helping with the modeling since we all have a very complicated idea. =D

research in progress...

Whilst hunting for some originally concept work, I stumbled upon...


The creators (mainly talking about the winners) all have an amazing sense of colour. Also brilliant light sources. the atmospheres are expressed very well. So Im thinking of going towards that kind of style.

Its given me and my group an idea of what we really want to aim for, with an aim that high standard Im sure our final product would turn out least half as good =D

but.. WE AIM FOR THE TOP!! so.. yeaa.. with our great facebookin" skills, we have devised a plan by brainstorming through millions of posts on our facebook group. By having a group on facebook its made life much easier.. discuss, sharing and praising, all that stuff have become easier to manage then blogging alone.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Digital Environments =D

Since its the start of a new term, we've recieved a NEW brief^^ Fresh starts! New project plans!!


atm, I've been doing research on different things.. from illustrators to architects!
I was thinking.. maybe create some kind of underground city. The camera shots could start from above the ground.. follows a molerat or something to this massive hidden city! =)

Three things I found pretty interesting..n could help develop this new world:

*Tom Kidd - an American science fiction/fantasy illustrator for kids books

*IM.PEI - AmericanBornChinese architect (designed some RELI KWL outstanding buildings worldwide =O)

*Lost City of Petra - Jordan
or Nabataean Kingdom - Egyptian/ Roman Takeover)
The architectural elements shows influence from the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilisations..
so its quite a bit mixture!

I remember seeing the Lost City of Petra in Transformers:Revenge of the Fallen, thought it was a pretty kwl place =P

I was thinking of a more historical approach, I remember watching the odd documentaries and random films on TV about lost cities..
... cities found UNDERGROUND..
...something about cities being wiped out in a night?

.....illusionists hiding the cities..

... immortals stealing cities for themselves...

....or like the forbidden city in china!! in Full Metal Alchemist the anime! The story is based on alot of german theories which is kinda interesting for a Japanese animation =]

Theres also.. the feature animation, Agito.
It was about mankind VS nature. Creating a Utopia of PURENESS. But with humans destroying mother natures creations. Pollution got so bad, nature fought back... which resulted in a war between the HEAVY machinery's and mysterious plants/creatures.
The people living IN-BETWEEN the conflict gets affected differently depending on which side of the world they lived closer too.
Political conflict + MotherNature? Got a bit nutz in the end xD

but yeaa.. alot of ideas are going through my head.. I'll update once i get it all clear ^^