Year 1 contents section

This post is a contents section linking back to previous key submission posts from my first year of the Nextgen course.

Room project

Inside the Box: Final renders submission post

ImAwesome Ident

Original ident: ImAwesome Ident project: Ident submission post

Improved ident: ImAwesome Ident project: Improved animation submission post

Break the Cycle – Walk cycle

Break the cycle: Walk cycle submission post



New character art – Yumea Lorithia, and Lilith

Since I had a university interview lately, I decided that leading up to it, I would re-draw some of my characters. Unfortunately, they didn’t all get a re-draw, however Yumea and Lilith made the cut!

Professional Yumea infoProfessional Yumea fb

Professional Lilith infoProfessional Lilith fb

Overall, no new techniques were used to make these new things. I tried to explore a little with making some profiles for the characters that gives their names and explains a little about them, but no new artistic techniques went into making these. I ADORE how they turned out! I would have liked to try a different pose for Lilith, but I was running out of time to make them in time for the interview, however in the future I might remake and update them! I think I will make similar profile cards for future characters that I make, because I really enjoyed making them!

The Vallake Guide – Project planning

Today was mostly spent setting up the project planning side of this properly, so that it can be kept orderly and regularly updated as the project goes on.

I spent this whole morning arranging everyone’s individual contribution forms, making the asset sheet, starting the production schedule, helping re-order the scrum minutes and helping work out the technical specification overview, and arranging the trello board with some of the necessary checklists and tasks.

This doesn’t look like much written as a post, but it was necessary planning that needed to be set up sooner rather than later. From this point on, as long as everybody updates which tasks have done and keeps their individual contribution sheets updated, we shouldn’t need to do much more work for the project planning. I am going to make sure that everybody has tasks, and keeps all of their files updated and backed up, since so far that is what my job entails.

Everything seems to be running smoothly so far. We are working well as a team, there has been no arguments so far, everyone seems good, and no-one seems to be slacking or wasting time. Hopefully everything will continue to run smoothly for as long as possible.

Synoptic Project Pitch – Week 2

Week 2 has quickly caught up to me, and things don’t feel much different to how they were last week. To be completely honest, I have procrastinated on this project a little, but some progress has been made. I had planned to ask more about the feedback I received last week, but kept being too nervous to ask, and got myself into this horrible cycle of procrastinating everything. However, I have decided to be brave and go for it, because I have some ideas about how to make this better.

I have decided not to present a menu of characters, but rather a character showcase, celebrating a wide range of characters, and showcasing many additional features about those characters, which I have affectionately named “Choose your Fighter”. So far, I have blocked out the slides for my powerpoint, and have created a pretty quick storyboard/playboard in attempt to demonstrate this idea.

Synoptic Project Pitch Playboard.PNG

You start off on a title screen that says “Choose your Fighter – Character Selection Showcase”. You click anywhere on the screen, and it takes you to the character roster that has all of the icons on the left, and a silhouette of the character on the right. Once you select a character, the silhouette turns into actual art of the character, and it takes you to the next selection screen. From this screen, you can take (so far) three different options, you can look at “Skins”, “Bio”, or “Concept art”.

If you look at “Skins”, there is lots of boxes that you can scroll through and select to view alternative colour palettes, armour/outfits, and weapons. If you look at “Bio”, you can see a full bio for the character, featuring things such as backstory, trivia, and general information for the character such as eye colour, hair colour etc. If you look at “Concept art”, you can view all of the concept art for the character, and their items, and all of these things can be looked at and browsed at your own pace.

I also have some sketched out plans for the stretch goals and MVP ideas, which mostly involve expanding the menu to accommodate for people who aren’t concept/2D artists, e.g. adding a 3D screen for people who want to create 3D models for weapons, armour, or trinkets, or an animation screen for animators who want to make idle animations for the characters. I have confidence that this project will look decent for our deadline, and hopefully I won’t wuss out and present too badly this time.

Synoptic Project Pitch – Week 1

We have just been set off on our two weeks of preparation for our synoptic project pitch, and so far I am feeling the pressure. I have one idea, and I am not sure whether I can go ahead with it, because I have been warned that it might not be enough to cover 5 months worth of work.

So far, my idea is to make a character selection screen / roster for a fighting game. The idea is to create something similar to the Super Smash Bros menu, but to give concept / 2D artists a chance to make characters and display them. I like this idea, but after bringing it up and asking for advice, I have been warned that it might not have enough to it for 5 months work. I was also told to make it more like Professor Layton, I am not sure how to go about doing this, but I do love the Professor Layton games, so maybe once I find out what this means, I could do somethings interesting with it.

So far, I don’t have much, but hopefully in the upcoming week, I can make something worthwhile to present.

New year, new art dump!

Over these past few weeks, I have found myself drawing a lot! I wasn’t sure whether to make separate posts for all of them or not, because some of this is fan art, and I wouldn’t usually post fan art, however to make it I used some techniques that are new to me. I’m not sure whether I can justify making a separate post per drawing, so instead I am going to time stamp each one, and talk about any new things I used/tried to make them!

4th January – Persona 5 inspired icons!

So, I’m a big fan of Persona 5, and in the new year had a big urge to make some icons for the characters that I have designed inspired by the text icons from Persona 5! I really wanted to experiment with shading, because in my few years of educated art, I have never been taught anything about shading techniques, and Persona 5 has a heavily western style shaded style, so it has inspired me to try something similar and try adding some dark shadows, because as an art style, I love the heavy shadows and messy lines!

All my persona gal icons transp.png

To make these, I made the box first, by making the lines and filling them with the right colours. This is where my techniques differ, because for Yumea and Lilith (the bottom two icons), I copied the line art for the faces and hair from my previous art, then filled in what I needed to with black and white, then drew the neck down and filled with black, then added the white shading and voila! However, for Mercy (the top icon), I drew her entirely from scratch in scale to the box. I got up reference of a side profile face in another window, and sketched her face in profile. I then filled things with the necessary block colours, added the white shading and jewellery, and that’s all folks! I am very pleased with how these look, I think my favourite icon is definitely Yumea (bottom right) because she just looks the most appealing.

5th January – Lunafreya

Since it has been the holidays, I felt like slacking off a little and making some fanart for my own enjoyment. One of my favourite games at the moment is Final Fantasy XV, and I wanted to make some art inspired by one of the most impactful chapters of the game. I didn’t expect it to turn out so well, and initially hadn’t intended to post it, but I learned a lot from making this, so why not talk about it!

Lunafreya and Tidemother

To make this, I first sketched out the main lines for Lunafreya (the lady with the trident), and Leviathan (as you could probably guess, the dragon creature). I took some time to try and scale their bodies right, which took a lot of re-positioning and re-sketching, and eventually was happy with how it looks! I then made the background by scribbling and blurring the clouds in. Then, I coloured the flat colours in, and then to add tone and depth, I blended in the shadows on the colour layer. This was very scary, because I have previously never done this before, however I think that for a first try it worked out really well! I then set the lines to multiply, and blurred the edges of some of Leviathan’s wings, the trident, and very faintly blurred the shadows on Lunafreya’s left arm, because its the corner of the drawing, and I want to attract the attention as much as possible to Lunafreya. I then added in some white sparkles with the custom freckle brush to represent water droplets made by Leviathan explodes out of the water.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Overall, I am so proud of this! I feel like Leviathan might need some work, because it feels like I need to add more detail to it’s head, and I’m annoyed at myself for forgetting to add the lighting onto Lunafreya, but I’m way too happy with this art to stay mad at myself. Eventually I’ll go back and fix what I don’t like, but currently I love this art! I want to try and use this messy blended colouring style for other art in the future, particularly if I make any environmental art, because it works really well in my opinion!

Imagined Worlds Project: Presentation feedback, and end of project summary

Okay, so lets stop avoiding the elephant in the room, it is time I talked about the feedback given by the lecturers about the project. My last post was before post-production, so I will put the links to the slides and the animation video itself at the bottom of this post.

We spent a lot of time trying to render out our animation on the day of the presentation, which didn’t really look good for us, but it was genuinely the best we could do. We then presented what we had, and overall I feel that the presentation could have gone better, because I was anxious and Ebonny ended up doing most of the talking, and I feel like I put too much responsibility on her there.


~ The Feedback ~

When it came to the feedback itself, I hate to say it, but I’m not surprised that we got the feedback that we received. It hurt a lot to hear, but honest feedback rarely means nice feedback. The only part of the feedback that got to me was the fact that we got a satisfactory for effort, it actually really hurts because we both put a tremendous amount of time into making it the best we could, it just unfortunately doesn’t show. Getting a pass feels fair, any higher grade would have been nice, but if I’m completely honest I am grateful for the pass. To look at our animation from an outside perspective, it doesn’t move great, and I get it.

The more personalised feedback is definitely going to help. Gary said that he didn’t know where the last two weeks of progress went, and that I completely understand, because the final animation doesn’t look too different to the blocking. I did work to my best ability to add as many frames in as I could, but in honesty, life got in the way a lot, and I got burned out after trying to rush everything to get things done in time, so by the time it came to making the animation look better, I was exhausted. This sounds like a terrible excuse, because there was plenty of class time to work on it, but this is just how it turned out. We also received some feedback on the lighting, which to be honest wasn’t rendered quite as we had hoped. The lighting did look nice on the test renders, but I guess we didn’t think about how it would obscure the animation and environment. We maybe should have just stuck with daytime lighting instead of making it dusk for the final render, because the dark lighting not only obscures the animation, but it also takes away from a lot of Ebonny’s hard work on the texturing and environment.


~ What I have learned ~

It is now time for some positivity, because I have learned an awful lot from this project. One of the biggest things that I have learned is probably to work in a bigger team, because in a small team there is still the same amount of jobs, its just that each member has more jobs. This sounds manageable in theory, but in practice it means that everyone gets burned out very quickly, and it makes it hard to recover. I’m probably the worst example of this, because I took on way too many jobs for someone who doesn’t really know how to do any of them, and ended up burning myself out on tasks that I wouldn’t even have chosen to otherwise do / be graded on. Another important thing that I have learned is that it is not as easy as it sounds to catch up on missed work time at home. If I’m honest, I occasionally wasted time at college, and it became hard to catch it up at home, and I ended up pulling a lot of all nighters. Not only is this kinda unhealthy, it also meant that my productivity became worse at college because it made a viscous cycle of having no energy or motivation, then having to catch up fast and burn more energy. This is a selfish work ethic, and it ended up being unfair on Ebonny, and she didn’t deserve that.


~ What I would do differently next time ~

For the synoptic project, I definitely want to work in a bigger team. Working with Ebonny was a pleasure, but if we had more members, there would be a more diverse skill range, and that is really what we were lacking. It meant that we both had to spend a lot of time trying to do things that we weren’t good at, and if someone with more knowledge and skill had done those things, it might not have taken so long. This sounds a tad defeatist, but I think for the synoptic project I might chose not to do animation, because I’m not sure its where my talent lies after all, and I think that its currently the wrong time to push myself at something that I don’t enjoy. It seems like a better idea to focus more on areas that I want to do, and I’d rather change my specialism to concept art, because currently I just find that way more enjoyable, and I’m less likely to get annoyed or stressed/burned out doing that. Lastly, this sounds bad, but next time I definitely need to spend more of my in college time on work. I got easily distracted during this project, and that contributed to things taking longer than they needed to, so next time, I will definitely be more focused in college time, because pulling all nighters to catch up on the missed time created a terrible cycle of making more work for everyone, and was ultimately kinda selfish. I think I was a bad team mate.


Important links:

The Google Slides Presentation

The Animated Short on Youtube

Creative and Technical Model Submission

After many weeks working on my Creative and Technical model, it is finally time to submit the final product.

Lilith Yunalesca – Creative and technical model

If the Powerpoint isn’t working, you can view the Google Slides here

Overall, a lot of things went well. The process of designing the character was perhaps my favourite part, because I really enjoy designing characters, and collecting research images was really fun once I had settled on a theme. I feel that mostly making the low and high poly models worked out well too, but at the time it didn’t feel like it because it was a super slow process, however in hindsight it was one of the more enjoyable parts of this project, and I didn’t run into any technical issues with this. A more recent thing that went well was baking ambient occlusion, I’m not sure exactly how successful this was, but it feels like a victory because it’s something that I sought out knowledge for.

There were many obstacles throughout this project, most of which I had never encountered before. One big example was baking the textures from high poly to low poly. The big issue was that the textures just wouldn’t bake right because the way that I constructed the models made it so that it the silhouette of the high poly model was quite different to the shape of the low poly one after smoothing. This meant that the textures baked super weird, and the model looked awful. The only way that I thought to overcome this was to just use the high poly model as my final model, and add the textures onto it, however, this linked into my next big problem, which was that the textures didn’t export right because I was missing the necessary maps. However, I overcame both obstacles with the same solution! In the bake settings for my model, I selected the “use low poly as high poly” option, and baked the missing maps. It was then just a case of plugging in the right models in the right places, and boom, it was fixed! This is technically my first success at baking with my own model, so overcoming those problems felt amazing, and it meant that the baking part of the pipeline wasn’t missed out after all! The last big obstacle felt the worst, because it was that I had to re-do most of my renders after failing to realise the textures hadn’t exported properly. This probably could have been easily avoided had I just paid more attention, but I didn’t realise that it hadn’t worked right until someone pointed out that the detail in my substance file look different to my renders. However, I overcame this problem by firstly, overcoming the first two obstacles mentioned above, then secondly, re-rendering and replacing what didn’t look right. I ended up learning how to render directly through substance painter, and this makes the renders look way nicer than rendering in Maya did, so this felt like a win win! I then just applied the fixed texture maps to my Sketchfab model and turnaround model in Maya, then batch rendered the file again and re-compiled it in Adobe Premiere, and everything looked much better than it did before.

If I was to do this again, I think that I would do everything differently, because way too much went wrong, and it ended up making everything behind schedule and harder to get done. One of the biggest problems was taking too long to make the low poly model, and not devoting enough time to the rest of the pipeline, because had I given everything an equal amount of time, the last tasks wouldn’t have been so rushed, and I probably would have payed more attention to the small little things that I did wrong, for example, the high poly model having a pipeline-breakingly different silhouette, or the textures having been exported wrong and wasting an important day’s worth of rendering. I had planned to get a nice set of action renders of the model in all its glory, however with everything else that had gone wrong, I couldn’t chance rigging the high poly model to the existing character rig, and so the posed renders that I got were all of the low poly model. It would have been nice to compile them together as I had planned, but I did not leave enough time, so if I was to repeat this project, I would definitely like to at least change that!

Useful links to things from the powerpoint:

The Google Slides document

The model turnaround Youtube video

The model in Sketchfab