gamebarcode tutorial

•18/05/2012 • Leave a Comment

This post is inspired by the moviebarcode blog and reminds me a little of Ji Lee’s abstractor.

Recently the interactive experience/game Dear Esther went on sale. While playing I thought this would be a good opportunity to try it out. I think the results were quite interesting. (best viewed full screen)

I took regular screen shots using AutoScreenCap using the settings below. The game has to be in windowed mode for this tool to work, I believe FRAPs is an alternative. If you’re on Mac or Linux, feel free to share alternatives in the comments. It’s worth considering the duration of the game/section you want to play when deciding how often a screenshot will be taken. Also be careful with the gamma, sometimes these tools don’t give accurate reproduction.

Then using XNView processed these all to be 3 pixels wide strips. Be careful not to overwrite the originals at this stage.

Finally I used ImageMagick to combine them all back together (be careful of the file naming if using other tools) using the following code in the directory:

montage -geometry +0+0 -tile x1 *.jpg barcode.png

Overall Dear Esther was quite conducive to barcoding because it was short, it was set in a first person view and it was a fairly passive experience in terms of interaction. This allowed me to focus on framing the view as if I were filming the experience. Longer games could work, perhaps you could try doing just a short section, a favourite level or taking screens much less regularly. It would be interesting to see the results, please share them with me here or on Twitter #gamebarcode.

Thanks to Mr. Reid for the useful guide.

a composite

•08/05/2012 • Leave a Comment

I took a light probe (below) and photographed the background, integrated the CG which I shaded and rendered. Then composited the passes. I have done more complex composites before but the CG wasn’t well shaded which left a painterly result even if my integration was believable.

I used Andrew Whitehurst’s tutorial as a reference.

team roomba

•10/04/2012 • Leave a Comment

rendered this for a well known vacuum manufacturer. probably gonna comp it into a photograph and dirty it up a bit. they provided the CAD model and I rendered it.

sorry about the tacky watermark

Maya, Mental Ray, Photoshop.

Been working on a character for a Unity game in recent times and an independent historial animation. More to come.

sculpting update

•02/12/2011 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been working on learning ZBrush’s weird interface, and I’m getting the hang of it. I had heard horror stories about the way you get maps from ZBrush to Maya but with the GoZ plugin that seems to be quite streamlined. I can work between Zbrush, Maya and Mudbox (for texturing).

Moving forward my aim is to understand what ZBrush does to my UVs as I notice some artifacts. Refine the anatomy and overhaul the cloth drapery. Get more familiar with the brushes and alphas in ZBrush and lastly, hone in my experiments to be in line with the original style.

Cloth update

•26/09/2011 • Leave a Comment

Quite basic stress test. Lawrence Bennett a good mate gave me some tips so I’m working on refining the quality and integrating the cloth well. I expect the jacket to be a bigger challenge. I’ll post the tips he gave me and how they influenced my workflow when I get to it.

Texture update

•25/09/2011 • Leave a Comment

I unwrapped the UVs on the model and have begun texturing, this is the first time I’ve textured a character so I’m learning a lot about the pipeline between 2D and 3D space. The UVs have been good so it’s just down to me creating good maps and networks. I’ve been making use of Photoshop blending options and layers to create files that I can go back to once I get feedback.

An area that is quite alien to me is poly painting and I feel like I should be doing that soon, I’m going to look into it and see where I can benefit and improve results using those tools.

Still investigating what to do about bump maps. Now the tie is textured I’m looking at testing nCloth to make it dynamic. The jacket, hands and shoes are untextured in the below shot, aiming to finish them soon.

Model update

•15/09/2011 • Leave a Comment

Haven’t posted in a while, been working on a few bits. Including my lighthouse composite which I’ll post about as soon as I have some more competent textures. I’m kind of a firm believer of not posting stuff until it’s done to a good standard, I’d appreciate any feedback you have, but I’m not expecting any.

Here’s the model I’ve been working on. Current plan is to take it to a sculpting application and add further details, and then generate normal or displacement maps for the character. Then I’ll be learning about current workflow techniques for texturing and shading. I plan to start the head soon too, as it’s my first time fully realising a character I’m going for a bolder style. Future characters will probably have a greater level of detail as I get more familiar with the tools. I’m really enjoying this so far, been listening to a bunch of new music while working now I have free time to find new records to listen to. (Arcade Fire’s Suburbs and Nobukazu Takemura’s Child’s View at the moment)

I’m hoping to collaborate with an illustrator to refine small details like cloth folds as it’s not my area of expertise. Additionally my good friend Lawrence has offered a bunch of advice on using cloth simulation for the jacket and tie which is something I’m keen to make use of. I’ve been kind of working out my own way of working for this, drawing over the work in progress mesh, it’s been quite an amorphous process and I imagine it’s taken slightly longer than if I just banged out the drawings and then┬ámodelled. However it’s gotten me to the desired result a lot easier.