Total Pageviews

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Update: Distribution, Optimisation, Environment modelling and Animation Tests.

This post is an update following up on the ‘next steps’ identified in the blog post which dealt with how I have applied the principles of Environment Design as Cinematography paper. 


  • Distribution & Optimisation : Export API for wider user testing. 
  • Environment Modelling: Complete basic environment. 
  • Character Design : Character Design, Model, Rig and Animate 
  • Animation : In Blender 
  • Cinematography: Cut Scene Training and Development 

Distribution & Optimisation 
I experimented in exporting builds for Android, PC & Mac and webGL to test whether I had successfully optimised my project. I hit blockers as I became more familiar with the different project and player settings for each build. At one point, unity crashed and I was unable to restore the scene which meant losing a number of hours of work. This was a painful but useful lesson.

I am thinking about Optimisation at every turn, I am keeping my poly count down to a minimum, not using transparency material mapping and I have barely used any lights in my scene.


All Rights Reserved Sarra Hornby ©2019
Please see Permissions for use 



All Rights Reserved Sarra Hornby ©2019
Please see Permissions for use 



All Rights Reserved Sarra Hornby ©2019
Please see Permissions for use 


Environment Modelling 
After my user testing, I appreciate the need to provide sufficient interest, tasks and wayfinding methods. This will greatly improve the users experience.

To to this, I am continuing to implement the basic principles of environment Modelling as Cinematographic direction. I have recently added lines from the poem ‘Wheels’ around the upper
Labyrinth. I have done this as a visual queue at the moment but I am concerned about whether the
text language might break the 4th wall. This is of special concern when I export for VR after Christmas, but I will engage more user testing at this time and so will be able to test for this.



Sarra Hornby ©2019
Please see Permissions for use 

The poetry will be reinforced by characters and objects within the scenes at each point throughout the upper maze. Modelling these characters and props will help improve my modelling efficiency.

I am also in the process of adding more lights to the upper Labyrinth and have some sketches and visual references to work to. I am modelling these in blender and baking the light/shadows to try to reduce the cost of lighting my scene. I am unsure whether this will work as the scenes are quite dark but will test for this by checking their effect in the environments. I am not using them to lead the player but as a landmark test.

I have completed the hole drop Environment. I have stripped out the multi-card map as it seemed far too busy, especially for a brief drop through it. I have added the fairground Entrance cards are
currently lit by separate point lights. To reduce the cost of these I intend to bake the lights.



 

All Rights Reserved Sarra Hornby ©2019
Please see Permissions for use 

Too Complex for a brief pass through. 



New Treatment  
All Rights Reserved Sarra Hornby ©2019
Please see Permissions for use 


I remodelled the fairground stall using probuilder but was unhappy with the results. I am finding scale to be a particular issue as well as positioning but I am sure is my inexperience with probuilder rather than the tool itself. To test this I decided to look at how blender (and later maya and 3Ds Max ‘play’ with unity) I have a good foundation with 3DsMax but most studios tent to use maya.
However, as an indie developer, I am likely to use blender.

I am currently modelling the ‘scented night garden’ which will form part of the Rhizome spiral maze.
This began with various photographic references from my experimental work.


All Rights Reserved Sarra Hornby ©2019
Please see Permissions for use 



All Rights Reserved Sarra Hornby ©2019
Please see Permissions for use 



It is intended that, as the player travels down the spiral, the garden will grow around them. As well as being beautiful, it will provide a barrier so that the player can't fall off the stairway.
  

All Rights Reserved Sarra Hornby ©2019
Please see Permissions for use 



This was followed by a number of paper modelling experiments so that I could define the style I was aiming for as well as lighting tests for cross lighting and shadow casting.

All Rights Reserved Sarra Hornby ©2019
Please see Permissions for use 



I have followed the 9 hour blender course which will be posted on linked in when I’ve completed it. This has helped to produce a seedpod head which I was able to export to unity as an .fbx file. I learned that I need to remove camera and lights from the export is this will be imported automatically and gives unwanted results. Also, I have discovered that I can use materials in Unity to cover the mesh but I am unable to remodel it here so have to flick between the two programs.

All Rights Reserved Sarra Hornby ©2019
Please see Permissions for use 


I have tried to follow a couple of videos so that I could apply a door open and close function ta the fairground Entrance. This stalled due to having some build and export issues to deal with but I understand the basics how using an animator ad and animation script which is called when the object is triggered. I have much more work to do here but one applied, this will be useful in introducing much more interactivity to my scenes.

All Rights Reserved Sarra Hornby ©2019
Please see Permissions for use 



I modelled a vine in blender using a YouTube video which has introduced how to use the timeline and keys to produce animation. This is an experimental feature in blender and so it advises that one should use caution however I really want to produce a magical night garden in the spiral maze and so I am currently working on how I can use this ‘growing’ animation to achieve this.


All Rights Reserved Sarra Hornby ©2019
Please see Permissions for use 



Blender Animation : Basic Vine Growth 
© Sarra Hornby 2019  All Rights Reserved




I am also in the process of modelling, rigging and skinning the fairground worker character(I know it doesn't look very impressive at the moment!) . This is the beginning of the process. Here I have modelled the characters body, ready for rigging.


All Rights Reserved Sarra Hornby ©2019
Please see Permissions for use 

I have also changed the skybox to the one which was used for the experimental Helix VR Project.

All Rights Reserved Sarra Hornby ©2019
Please see Permissions for use 


Next steps:


  • Storyboard Pitch Video 
  • Timeline & Cinemachine Training 
  • Consolidate Theme Park VR Research 
  • Complete pitch video for 12th December 








Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Scale: Unity/Stop Motion

Scale 

Does scale in Unity matter? 

In everyday life, a person can detect whether an object is full size or miniature. How do we know if we are looking at a miniature compared to a full size object (even if the modelling itself is exceptional). 

This question can be examined by comparing the stopmotion animation process with games and video produced in the unity game engine. In stop motion scale varies, but producing stop motion puppets at ‘full scale’ would mean that a real life 6 foot person will produce a character that is 12 inches high. This can be referred to as full scale is equal to a scale of  1 unit = 2 inches. When converted to metric this would be 1 unit = 5 centimetres. This makes 100:5 centimetres or 20:1 scale. 

Unity Scales automatically to1 unit = 1 metre. If one was to apply stop motion scale to unity as an experiment, it would be reasonable to say that a unity object of 1 unit (100cm) should be reduced 20:1 (divided by 5) if made equivalent to a stop motion puppet. 

I am not so interested in photorealistic environments in my current project, as I am striving for a papery like world but I think it would be an interesting experiment to apply stopmotion scale to unity. This might help me to understand how physical measurement and effects are taken from the real world and applied in a game world. It could potentially help me to reproduce my physical paper models more accurately in Unity (or not). I am not sure whether it will help the processing load problem I have at the moment or whether this is purely down to my heavy use of transparency mapping (most likely) 

Scale experiment
I’m going to compare the exact models side by side at scale. 

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Smart Goal update

Top 5


  • Unity Cinematography for Animated Films and Games. 
  • Immersive Environment Design Practice 
  • Immersive Environment Design Research
  • Immersive Design Network 
  • Character Design 


Unity Immersive Cinematography for Animated Film and Games. 

To transfer skills from Animation to Games and expand my portfolio and skillset,  I need to explore how Unity can be used to create animated film and games. To do this, I will follow LinkedIn tutorials on Timeline and Cinemachine so that I can create cutscenes. I will do this by December 2019. 



Immersive Environment Design (Practice) 

To become a specialist in immersive environment design for Animated Film and Games, I need to apply research from GDC to my environment design process. I will produce 10 examples of environment design for my portfolio. I will do this by March 2020.


Immersive Environment Design (Theory) 

To become a specialist in immersive environment design for Animated Film and Games, I need to apply research from Academia to my environment design process. To do this I need to locate one paper each week that focuses on Environment design and reconfigure my own personal ‘nature’ environment research. I will then be able to write a new research proposal if I wish to apply to complete my PhD. I will do this by March 2020.



Immersive Environment Design (Network) 

To become a specialist in immersive environment design for Animated Film and Games, I need to identify professionals working in immersive design and animation studios to develop my professional network. To do this I will begin to publish details of my projects on linked In and twitter to encourage conversations.  I will do this by March 2020.


Character Design 

To improve my digital character development, I need to design, model, rig and skin a character using Maya or Blender. To do this I need to watch 15 hours of character development tutorials and produce one character to include in my current project, Wheels. I will do this by December 2019.



Modify Upper Level Labyrinth in response to User Testing 03

I have modified the upper Level Labyrinth to account for feedback from users in User Testing 03.

The maze is now small, has areas of restriction and will have a couple of interactive rooms. I have also increased the speed of the Player.

I can now use this as the basis to continue to apply the principles of environment design as raised in the GDC paper on Environment design as Cinematic .

I have already applied some insights and the most recent one was to raise the starting position so that the player has a primary viewpoint from with to survey the maze and see the landmark for which they are aiming (to increase motivation).



UI 
(In Development) 


Start 

Secondary Prospect and Refuge 
(Further Prospect and refuge visible from this vantage point)




Upper Labyrinth
(Enclosed Space) 




Upper Labyrinth Room
(For Interactive Game) 



Fairground Entrance 
(Animated Cards & Character InteractionIn Production) 





Fairground 
(Game Stall Interaction In Production) 




Fairground Paper Grass Asset 
(Transition between regions) 




Top Tent Entrance 
(Conditional upon collecting set number of silver coins) 



 

Hole Appears after Cut Scene. 





 Hole Interior  
(Gravity needs editing) 




Spiral Maze 
(Tunnels and Barriers In Production) 




Mystic Tent 
(pay the mystic to get home) 





  
Next Steps: 

  • Export API for wider user testing. 
  • Complete basic environment. 
  • Character Design, Model, Rig and Animate 
  • Cut Scene Training and Development 









Monday, 25 November 2019

Paper cut material maps

Although much more work needs to be done, the cards are looking more paper like. Time spent adding drop shadows and textured grain effects in photoshop will reduce the chance of having to add high cost visual effects in Unity.




Hole

New material maps have been designed for the hole drop. I am also altering the player gravity to slow the drop so that the player can look around (similar to Alice).



It would nice to have more animation in the cards passing the player. This may come later, following further character development.

User Test Session 03

User testing revealed that the mazes were very boring to navigate without interesting games or interactions. They may also be far too long. 

Solution: 
Alter map to a shorter route and add poetry fragments together with some sketches of each line.These could represent each line and be acted out. It might be interesting to present these as black paper cutouts with tracing paper background similar to Lotte Reinigers work. 

Shorter route