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The final development sculpt turned out well, having anatomically correct form and shape whilst keeping logical evolutionary attributes.

Automatic retopology provides optimized edge flow but accuracy and topology can vary due to difficult control. With the use of Guidelines in Zbrush and poly paint, specific areas can be protected.

 

Another method includes Manual Retopology; allows a workflow for optimised results without wasting needless polygons for a mesh. For an armour piece of the character, a free-Forming technique is implemented to achieve a low poly silhouette for the high poly model to be based on. 

DECIMATION

Overall polygon count can be reduced without losing details, unlike other software packages with retopology tools.
This would be an effective technique for retopology, however, UV-mapping becomes extremely difficult due to the triangulation of each polygon.

Retopology 2.png
TEXTURING IN SUBSTANCE PAINTER

Substance Painter is a powerful texturing software that allows 3D painting, directly on to imported models. In comparison to Quixel and other texturing packages such as Mari, Painter is much more powerful and produces refined texture maps which can be imported straight into Unreal Engine.

3D Model CGI Photorelism Head Sculpt Design VFX. Wrinkle maps, high-fidelity details. Micro-level detail pores. Blendshapes. Animation. Rigging. Torso. Anatomy. Game Engine. Game ready character. Unreal Engine. Real-time rendering. Lowpoly modelling character creature. Zbrush, Maya, Substance Painter
3D Model CGI Photorelism Head Sculpt Design VFX. Wrinkle maps, high-fidelity details. Micro-level detail pores. Blendshapes. Animation. Rigging. Torso. Anatomy. Game Engine. Game ready character. Unreal Engine. Real-time rendering. Lowpoly modelling character creature. Zbrush, Maya, Substance Painter
3D Model CGI Photorelism Head Sculpt Design VFX. Wrinkle maps, high-fidelity details. Micro-level detail pores. Blendshapes. Animation. Rigging. Torso. Anatomy. Game Engine. Game ready character. Unreal Engine. Real-time rendering. Lowpoly modelling character creature. Zbrush, Maya, Substance Painter
Final Environment Concept Art.png

To ensure optimisation and that the right steps are taken, a general pipeline is followed which includes industry practices and process.
First implementation stage focuses on the blocking out the low poly character in 3DS max in order to accurately model the proportions and form accurately.

Final Environment Concept Art 2.png
Base Mesh Character Modelling.png
Base Mesh Character Modelling 2.png
Base Mesh Character Modelling 3.png
Base Mesh Character Modelling 4.png
Base Mesh Character Modelling 5.png
Base Mesh Character Modelling 6.png
Base Mesh Character Modelling 7.png

LIZARD GAME CHARACTER AND ENVIRONMENT IN UNREAL ENGINE

For this project, I was given a design brief of developing a game character and environment from concept to completion. 
Initially, I started by gathering reference images and creating my own concept artwork of the character, experimenting with look and proportions, as well as colour and style. 

3D Model CGI Photorelism Head Sculpt Design VFX. Wrinkle maps, high-fidelity details. Micro-level detail pores. Blendshapes. Animation. Rigging. Torso. Anatomy. Game Engine. Game ready character. Unreal Engine. Real-time rendering. Lowpoly modelling character creature. Zbrush, Maya, Substance Painter
3D Model CGI Photorelism Head Sculpt Design VFX. Wrinkle maps, high-fidelity details. Micro-level detail pores. Blendshapes. Animation. Rigging. Torso. Anatomy. Game Engine. Game ready character. Unreal Engine. Real-time rendering. Lowpoly modelling character creature. Zbrush, Maya, Substance Painter
3D Model CGI Photorelism Head Sculpt Design VFX. Wrinkle maps, high-fidelity details. Micro-level detail pores. Blendshapes. Animation. Rigging. Torso. Anatomy. Game Engine. Game ready character. Unreal Engine. Real-time rendering. Lowpoly modelling character creature. Zbrush, Maya, Substance Painter
Character Spider Diagram.png

References are essential for gaining ideas and inspiration which is why a Moodboard was made for the Lizard for scales, form, appearance and colour and Prince of Persia for style, genre, theme and armour as well as the creation of a character trait spider diagram.

Lizard Mood Board.png
Prince of Persia Mood Board.png

Based off the moodboards created, sketches were developed and the final colour palette resulted in a strong brown town to suit the terrain with a hint of green to provide natural camouflage.

First Initial Concept Designs of Lizard
Final Concept Design.png
3D Model CGI Photorelism Head Sculpt Design VFX. Wrinkle maps, high-fidelity details. Micro-level detail pores. Blendshapes. Animation. Rigging. Torso. Anatomy. Game Engine. Game ready character. Unreal Engine. Real-time rendering. Lowpoly modelling character creature. Zbrush, Maya, Substance Painter
3D Model CGI Photorelism Head Sculpt Design VFX. Wrinkle maps, high-fidelity details. Micro-level detail pores. Blendshapes. Animation. Rigging. Torso. Anatomy. Game Engine. Game ready character. Unreal Engine. Real-time rendering. Lowpoly modelling character creature. Zbrush, Maya, Substance Painter
3D Model CGI Photorelism Head Sculpt Design VFX. Wrinkle maps, high-fidelity details. Micro-level detail pores. Blendshapes. Animation. Rigging. Torso. Anatomy. Game Engine. Game ready character. Unreal Engine. Real-time rendering. Lowpoly modelling character creature. Zbrush, Maya, Substance Painter
3D Model CGI Photorelism Head Sculpt Design VFX. Wrinkle maps, high-fidelity details. Micro-level detail pores. Blendshapes. Animation. Rigging. Torso. Anatomy. Game Engine. Game ready character. Unreal Engine. Real-time rendering. Lowpoly modelling character creature. Zbrush, Maya, Substance Painter
3D Model CGI Photorelism Head Sculpt Design VFX. Wrinkle maps, high-fidelity details. Micro-level detail pores. Blendshapes. Animation. Rigging. Torso. Anatomy. Game Engine. Game ready character. Unreal Engine. Real-time rendering. Lowpoly modelling character creature. Zbrush, Maya, Substance Painter
CHARACTER DESIGN AND CONCEPT

A spider diagram was created, containing research ideas for character development. This narrowed the character ideas to two options: Lizards and Tigers. However, the desired field that should be developed is sculpting so a Lizard character will be the best option for development. New techniques will be required to show realistic scales, texture and form for the final model; testing the ability of the modeller. Apart from Prince of Persia and Gladiator, companies that can be used for references include, Disney/Dreamworks, Puppetworks & Distant Future Studios.

Armour Moodboard.png
Weapons Moodboard .png
Lizard Colour Palette - Wetlands.png
Lizard Colour Palette - Desert.png
Final Lizard Colour Scheme.png
ARMOUR AND WEAPONS CONCEPT

Focusing on the glove, each part was broken down and drawn to understand which materials are used and how the appearance would look like (Appendix N), always relating back to the reference images for accuracy and keeping with the style of my character.

Glove Armour Concept Art.png

From the design sketches made (Appendix M), the original style from Prince of Persia has been developed and armour with minimalistic style is carried forward. The character will be sculpted in detail so that armour that covers him does not need to be overpowering. This fits the character’s personality and trait well (scavenger, light and agile) which is the intended focus. 

Weapons Development Concept Art.png
Armour Concept Art.png
ENVIRONMENT DESIGN AND CONCEPT

Spider diagram looking at possible ideas for the environment was made and it came down to two decisions, Ruins or Caves. After creating moodboards for both types of environment, it was a simple decision to develop the sketches further by combining the two ideas together that fits the style of the character.

LIGHTS

Stationary Lighting:  can be adjusted in real-time. They store light maps and reuses them which allows for good performance while providing the best quality. Errors could appear when viewed under the Stationary Light Overlap where lights are overlapping which will require higher performance cost when rendering. To fix this problem, the light’s type needs to be changed to static or it must be moved away from the attenuation of other Stationary/Dynamic lights.

 

The strong flexibility and manipulation of Dynamic lighting require a huge amount of overall performance, however, it captures accurate and realistic appearance.

Unnecessary light maps waste time as well as file size. To save space, it is important to make sure that a Light Mass Importance Volume wraps around the specified region that requires high-quality static lighting without wasting needless space.

 

Lightshaft occlusion can be turned on, along with the bloom to create a visual effect with the light rays.

Lightshaft to produce God-ray in Unreal
Dynamic Hair Curve.png
Dynamic Hair Curve 2.png
Dynamic Hair Curve 3.png
Dynamic Hair Curve 4.png
ENVIRONMENT DEVELOPMENT
BLOCKOUT

In order to have a full understanding of the environment before the creation process, the concept art was referred to and a quick lowpoly block out was made in Maya.

 

The purpose of the block out gives me a perspective of how the environment might look and provides me with an indication of what assets may be required.

It is important to keep the measurements of the assets proportionate to the character’s units. The transition from different environments and easier transformations and movement are all advantages of keeping an accurate scale of each game asset.

 

Assets were blocked out in Maya and then exported to Zbrush for sculpted detail. The low poly block out was then UV unwrapped in Maya, follow good use of UV space and appropriate size texture maps for optimisation and improved performance. Overlapping textures can save space and reduce performance requirements.

World space to local space allows the assets to be positioned easier. Keeping under the restricted polycount limit was difficult but it was achievable by ensuring no unnecessary faces are removed and consisted of no edge loops.

 

Scroll item will be handled by the character so it needs to be highly detailed. The use of appropriate tools allowed intricate details to be sculpted using Zbrush. The poly paint tool allowed the model to be textured fast, ready to be baked onto the UV map. Even though it is fast and adaptable, it loses detail through poly painting which is why Substance Painter is used in the future.

Project All Tool Zbrush.png
Zbrush Scroll Sculpt.png
Chain Sculpt with xNormal.png
Shrine Development.png
UNREAL ENGINE

Improvement throughout the implementation stages improved the workflow, creating a faster pipeline for game ready assets.

After creating the assets, it can then be placed into the environment to fit the style and theme of the design and colour palette of the design brief.

Environment Development.png
Environment Development 4.png
Environment Development 3.png
Environment Development 2.png
MATERIALS AND PARTICLES

Emissive glow provides an effective way to provide light into a scene through an illusion that uses a material which casts a fake light. To the audience, the material is seen as a bright light source which is incredibly useful in the creation of a game environment since it is very similar to natural light, however it uses less amount of memory and it allows a quicker render of the scene.


With this in mind, dynamic glow materials were tested in the engine as well as materials that blended together, providing a branch of material properties for fast texturing without the need of many texture maps.

Dynamic Rock Glow Material.png
Dynamic Materials in Unreal Engine.png
Dynamic Materials in Unreal Engine 2.png
Environment Spider Diagram.png
Ruins Environment Moodboard.png
Cave Environment Moodboard.png
Environment Concept Art.png

The final environment design is perfect for the character’s purpose since he is trying to scavenge for an item of value which can be found in the ruin. The layout is not too large and does not feel claustrophobic and lighting and colour palette can later be developed during the modelling process.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
Base Mesh Character Modelling 8.png
Character Model Development.png
Character Model Development 2.png
Final Character Model Development.png
ARMOUR DEVELOPMENT

Armour was difficult to sculpt due to hard surface modelling. Problems encountered created challenges that had to be fixed in order to develop the character.

Armour Development.png
Armour Development 2.png
Armour Modelling.png
Armour Modelling 2.png
Armour Modelling 3.png
GLOVE DEVELOPMENT
Glove Armour Development.png
Glove Armour Development 2.png
Glove Armour Development 3.png

Using Nanomesh to produce complex detailed textures in Zbrush,

Nanomesh is useful for creating unique and complicated textures. Though time-consuming, it can produce great results that allow control and flexibility compared to applying texturing maps using texture packages.

Retopology.png
3D Model CGI Photorelism Head Sculpt Design VFX. Wrinkle maps, high-fidelity details. Micro-level detail pores. Blendshapes. Animation. Rigging. Torso. Anatomy. Game Engine. Game ready character. Unreal Engine. Real-time rendering. Lowpoly modelling character creature. Zbrush, Maya, Substance Painter
Texturing in Substance Painter.png
3D Model CGI Photorelism Head Sculpt Design VFX. Wrinkle maps, high-fidelity details. Micro-level detail pores. Blendshapes. Animation. Rigging. Torso. Anatomy. Game Engine. Game ready character. Unreal Engine. Real-time rendering. Lowpoly modelling character creature. Zbrush, Maya, Substance Painter
3D Model CGI Photorelism Head Sculpt Design VFX. Wrinkle maps, high-fidelity details. Micro-level detail pores. Blendshapes. Animation. Rigging. Torso. Anatomy. Game Engine. Game ready character. Unreal Engine. Real-time rendering. Lowpoly modelling character creature. Zbrush, Maya, Substance Painter
RIGGING AND SKINNING

The character needed to be rigged and have the influences of each joint painted evenly across the mesh to avoid deformation.

Problems such as duplicated under-lining mesh and paint weights applied to incorrect areas of the mesh were fixed.


IK Constraints would have been useful for animating skeleton rig, however during the retargeting process, it would corrupt the animation due to locking the location of a specific joint.

MOTION CAPTURE AND ANIMATION

Motion capture data was used for its realistic animation which can be refined using the Anim layer in Maya. It’s quick and efficient and provides an effective process within the workflow.

3D Model CGI Photorelism Head Sculpt Design VFX. Wrinkle maps, high-fidelity details. Micro-level detail pores. Blendshapes. Animation. Rigging. Torso. Anatomy. Game Engine. Game ready character. Unreal Engine. Real-time rendering. Lowpoly modelling character creature. Zbrush, Maya, Substance Painter
Human Retargetting and IK Handles 2.png
TAIL ANIMATION USING DYNAMIC HAIR CURVE

The tail was rigged using bones and joints which were then attached to a curve that was converted to a Dynamic Curve Tool (Appendix Y). This allowed for a fluid, tail-like movement animation, however, there were many implications that occurred during this process. For example, the Dynamic curve uses IK splines which do not work well with motion capture data.
 

The matter was resolved by parenting the constraint to the spine bone, and in order to bind bones to existing characters, the influence of these bones must be manipulated to fit its purpose. 

Environment Blockout.png
MODULAR ASSETS
Dynamic Glow Material in Unreal Engine 2
Dynamic Glow Material in Unreal Engine3.

Dynamic materials tend to be a lot more flexible for changes and become Dynamic material instances; changing the appearance of a material asset using dynamic nodes quickly. Any changes made can be done without too much intensive effort and these materials have the capability to allow the creator to apply many materials that can be changed through values, decreasing time and workload.​

DECALS
Decals for Lava Bubbles in Unreal Engine
VEGETATION DEVELOPMENT
Vegetation Development using Desaturatio
Vegetation Development using Desaturatio
Fire and Smoke Particles in Unreal Engin
LAVA AND GLOWING ROCKS

Lava is introduced into the environment through the use of an animated texture.


Using panner nodes, rotation can be achieved for the specified texture depending on the value. This means that the speed of the movement can be determined if the values are increased or decreased and this method was replicated for the normal map.

Lava Creation in Unreal Engine.png
Lava Creation in Unreal Engine 2.png
Lava Creation in Unreal Engine 3.png
Lava Creation in Unreal Engine 4.png
ENVIRONMENT LOOK DEVELOPMENT

Continuing the Look development, the environment was rendered using different colour ranges in order to compare it to one another.​

Blend nodes using desaturation was created to ensure that the appearance was adjusted to meet the desired theme and overall style of the environment.

Look Colour Development.png
FINAL CHARACTER AND ENVIRONMENT REAL-TIME RENDERS

The final composition sets the right mood as it is comprised of balanced lights that are not too over-powering. The lighting colours are complementary, which works well together.

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Final Environment Colour Style 2.png
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