Final post – Portfolio review, and end of year 1 summary

This morning I presented my portfolio, and overall I feel like it went quite well. The presentation itself was nerve-wracking, however I managed to get through it without being too harsh on my own work, because this is where I fell short last portfolio check.

Portfolio feedback

I received some mixed feedback, because my portfolio was admittedly very biased towards animation and 3D modelling, and therefore received quite a lot of constructive criticism for other things. Hopefully I’m not misquoting any of this, but here is the feedback.

  • My ident animation could still use some improvement, mostly for the lid of the cup, but overall I need to keep animating and improving my existing work to get better at it. My walk cycle can be worked on over the holidays, and I should maybe try animating ballet movements that I am familiar with.
  • I still need to make my VFX project, because ultimately there was nothing to review for this in my portfolio without it, so I need to make something for that ASAP, and submit it in time for the extended deadline.
  • My existing gesture drawings are a good start to this form of art, however I should experiment more with replicating the flowing movements. Focus less on the body, and more on the action lines and overall movement itself.
  • Experiment with new art styles, trying new styles will broaden my horizons and help me develop my own art style. Stray away from what I know for a while, and try new styles.
  • More content based on games design is needed. I should next time add content from either my walking simulator game, my spaceship game, or ideally a game that I have made in my own time.

Overall, I am very happy with this feedback! I completely understand why I need to up my game with VFX and games design, because those sections of my portfolio were really lacking quality content. I am overjoyed with the feedback I received for animation and 3D modelling in particular, because these sections are overwhelmingly positive, and I am also very happy with the concept art feedback, because this was mostly positive too.

Overall progress

My progress over this last year, in my opinion, is amazing. At the start of this year, I knew absolutely nothing about 3D modelling, and I was very new to coding, and now I think that those areas have improved immensely. VFX has always been a tricky part of the course for me, however I think that it is something that I am still gradually improving on. My art style itself has improved a lot since the start of this year, there wasn’t too many examples of this in my portfolio, however I can draw proportions much better now. My animation knowledge at the start of this year was limited to a couple of the principles of animation, however now I have a much better understanding of theory, and have learned how to animate with Maya, which feels like a tremendous improvement.

Chosen discipline

Next year, I would like to specialise in animation mostly, because animation is something I feel very passionate about. I have wanted to be an animator since before I even started the course, and throughout the course I have really enjoyed learning more about animation and actually trying my hand at 3D animation. I realise I still have a long way to go with animation, but it is something I never want to give up on. I have already planned things that I want to animate over the holidays, and planned how I want to develop and improve my existing animations.

Holidays catch-up post

Over the week break, I continued to work on all of my projects. This post is to reflect on the work I have done over this last week so that I don’t lose track and forget what I have done.

22nd and 23rd October: I spent all day researching Japanese mythology to inspire my robots. I looked into legends such as Susano and Yamato no Orochi, Issun Boshi, the Onamazu and Kashima, the Kitsune, and the Enenra to name a few. I still have more to look into, but my research so far has inspired me.

24th, 25th and 26th October: I spent these days fixing code within my Unity project. I fixed code for the radio toggling (which previously didn’t toggle because the game was set to start with the radio playing music). I also added more game features, I added RayCasting and a crosshair to make it easier to know where you are aiming. I also added new dialog to the radio, and worked out how to use ‘if’ and ‘else’ statements to make the highlighter say different things dependant on whether the inventory contains the battery. I also fixed some smaller things, such as the permanent ‘new text’ and the structure of the house, and mathematically placed the walls to try and smooth out any parts of the house that stuck out or looked weird.

27th: I spent this day making the concept art for Matt’s room. I had planned to make a science lab for this project, and I spent a long time visualising and sketching up drawings of the room and the furniture. I alternated between adding different sized boxes in Maya to the scene as a placeholder, and then going back to my sketchbook and drawing in what that placeholder represented. I mostly did this because I struggled to visualise how the room would look in 2D, especially finer details such as the desk clutter.

28th: I spent what I could of Friday prioritising my work. I realised I should prioritise the Walking Simulator, and I knew that I had to make 3D models for that, so I sneakily prioritised various assets from the  science lab scene that could be re-usable. This consisted mostly of small bits of desk clutter , and the books and bookshelves. I had planned to prioritise other small models, but figured it was best to not chose too many or I might not give myself enough time to make bigger models necessary only for the Walking Simulator. I then got to work on making some of the smaller models, and made a cup in Maya by starting off with a cylinder, deleting the top and bottom faces, extruding to make the inside of the cup, then extruding around to underneath the cup. I then added edgeloops to make the areas to extrude for the handle, then used to bridge tool to make the handle itself. I then tidied it up by adding more edgeloops and tweeking various places, then finally hit smooth and added the texture, done. I then switched to Unity and spread a couple around the house as clutter, changing colours occasionally to mix it up.

29th October: I spent this day making a 3D models of books to go with the bookshelf I planned to make. I spent the best part of the day making the book models in Maya, which I did by extruding half of the spine out of the bottom of the cover, then extruding half of the pages out of the bottom of the cover, then using ‘duplicate special’ to mirror it and merge it into one. I then UV unwrapped the book, and added 3 different lamberts, all saved as different FBX files to make a blue, green and red book.

30th October: I spent this day adding some of my newly created 3D models into Unity. I started off by making an extremely simple bookshelf model, and exporteing it into an FBX file. I then hopped over to Unity and loaded the bookshelf model, gave it a dark brown, wood-like material, and gave it a fitted box collider so that the player can’t walk into it. I then fitted books into the shelves in complete random order, and listed this under an empty child called ‘complete bookshelf’ so that everything could be moved together. I then duplicated that a couple of times and spread the completed bookshelves around the house to fill space.

31st October: I spent some of today working out how to make a 3D model of a bed, to use in the bedroom in my Walking Simulator game. Honestly, I didn’t finish it because I struggled to work out how to do it, so I haven’t finished it because I’m a little unsure what I’m doing. I started by making a simple bed frame, and then I planned to make a mattress but it kept misbehaving and not working properly, so I took some time to relax and UV unwrap the bed frame. I think I left off with the mattress half finished, so tomorrow lunch I plan to fix that up and finish that. I also spent some time today making a little bit of concept art for a character for Chris’s task that he set us over the holiday, to create a character and a scenario for a 2D platformer. My character is a cute little astronaut lady, who currently doesn’t have a name, but she is inspired by classic 60’s cartoons, so her art style looks very classic cartoon, and her posing and outfit look very 60’s with a couple of small futuristic additions.

Hallowe’en Town

haloween-scene

Today I made a Halloween themed town in Flash. Firstly I made a selection of silhouette shapes with curves and bends. I then converted them to symbols so that they were stored in the library. I then made land, gates, houses, and trees out of those shapes. And finally, I added a background to make it look more presentable.

I didn’t have many issues, except Flash did crash and I lost a small amount of work. Otherwise, everything worked out ok.

I have to be honest and say that I don’t think it looks amazing, however I do like the houses. I’m not so fond of how the tree turned out, I don’t think that looks very good, and I think the colour choice for the sky could be better too.

 

bits-and-bobs

Flash images

Today I used flash to create shapes and make a cartoony drawing of me. Today I have learned how to bend lines and also how to create layers. My current flash skills consist mainly of morphing shapes into what I need them to be, for example to create my hair I made lots of stars and bent the lines and corners to there I wanted them. I also learned how to create layers, which made it easier to make everything on the face be behind the hair.

It this point I think my strengths are in morphing shapes because I spent a lot of time on that to create the hair, and I think I need to improve on implementing the grouping tool, because that would’ve made keeping the hair separate from things easier, so next time around I will make better use of that.

cartoon-me-flash

 

shapes-png

 

My presentation

While I was researching Square Enix, a lot of my research was from Did You Know Gaming’s video on Kingdom Hearts and Extra Play’s: The Animation of Kingdom Hearts. While I was researching, most of the things I learned were purely about character design and small bits of trivia about how Square Enix partnered with Disney. My research was too focused on one game, whereas other people focused on other games as well. Lots of my research was cut from the power point before hand because I was worried I’d over run the time limit, but some other interesting points include unused and untextured character models in the Kingdom Hearts game files, as well as entire unused worlds.

My delivery of my presentation was a bit of a shambles. I panicked before hand and cut half of my slides, but the biggest problem was how I focused on one game. I was trying to use that game to link Square Enix and Disney, but I ended up rambling about the character and level design, instead of drawing clear links. Another problem was that I decided to explain why I was inspired by Square Enix unscripted, so lots of this was rambling and even though it was from the heart, it wasn’t what I was supposed to do.

Below is the link to my presentation

square-enix

 

First blog post

Hi, this is my introductory post to this blog. I am Rachael Wingate, a NextGen student who is studying animation, 3D modelling, games design, programming, concept art and VFX. My main areas of interest are animation and 3D modelling, because it is my dream to become an animator, and my ultimate career goal would be to become a professional 3D animator. I expect that this course is really going to challenge me, I am completely new to all of the software and I know that the standards are really high and industry driven, however I am excited to take on this challenge and learn along the way. I love to be challenged, and I can’t wait to learn more about all of the above subjects.