Sunday, 31 January 2010

Working with Maya

Over the past 3-4 days I have been trying hard to get to grips with Maya. Admittedly, it has been awhile since I last used the program and I have never modelled with it before so am finding this quite a challenge. Even some of the simplist tasks are proving far more difficult than need be.
The following tutorial sites have helped me slightly...
(a useful tutorial for creating terrain)
(and this one is going to be a lifesaver for animating the grass in the flower field)

Here are the results of my modelling so far....

Neither really look like what they are supposed to yet.. the first are my attempts at flowers and the second is a bin.. I am already re-making them! This modelling business is much much harder then anticipated but I am going to keep trying of course. I'm having some difficulty with the shortcut buttons in Maya using the MAC but I think I will be able to show some good results by the time I next see my group on Wednesday/Thursday.

Thursday 28/01/10

For our meeting on wednesday, we decided as a group to move onto modelling (although I believe we havent completely left concept art behind, there are always unexpected things that will need to designing i expect). We assigned different parts to the different people in our group and I recieved;
-the flower field and tree
-a bin
-a building (not a main one, to be seen in the background which should help)

We also had Jared come over and discuss our work plans.
He believes that more research is required for the cave setting and suggested some names for us to look into;
'City of Kowloon'
'August Pugin' and gothic architecture
'Cheddar Gorge' (which helpfully i visited over the summer last year and so know a little about already...)
'Edward Burtynsky'
'Bernd and Hilla Becher'
and 'Pueblo Indian Cave'

We have divided these among us to research, and have also decided that sometime next week when we are all free, we will visit the Chislehurst Caves.

I want to start by recapping some of what Jared told us during his lesson...
When we mentioned caves, Jared seemed a bit apprehensive because apparantly at least one group each year attempts it and they rarely come off well!
So, he suggested we look at different methods of making our enviornment dark that would be more interesting than a generic cave.

The 'most dense human habitation in world history'. It was a Chinese military fort in Kowloon, Hong Kong that was destroyed in 1995. Unsurprisingly, it was home to a lot of undesirables and crime was everywhere. The buildings were packed so closely together than often, if you were in the middle of the wall it would be very dark and there was little light (except perhaps at midday when the sun was directly above).

You could say it's an urban cave, and the structure is definately more interesting than a generic cave, however our group was still quite willing to set it completely inside a cave, that way our concept art could still be used and we wouldn't have to completely start from the beginning.

(info and image from

(1762-1832) An architect who was famous for designing a new House of Commons (after the old one burnt down) and a House of Lords. His architecture is very gothic and Jared sees this as a good direction to go in regards to our designs, which I think we all agreed with. I plan to take reference from him when creating bins and a building for the background (my task for this week).

(info from and images from 'bing' search engine)

Luckily enough I visisted this location last year and took plenty of photos which will help, I hope!
Cheddar Gorge is comprised of limestone, and its landscapes are one of those that inspired J.R.R. Tolkein in writing Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. There are two main caves to the gorge - Gough's and Cox's, and it is believed that prehistoric people made cheese in the caves.. this is a practice still carried out today and is one of the things the town of Cheddar is famous for.
I hope this will really help the group with the cave modelling but it will be quite complicated.. am hoping we've got the time to pull it off.

Just looking at these makes you realise how many little detail go into making up a cave, not just the stalagmites and stalatites but the actual rock details and shapes as well as debris that is littered everywhere. I'm sure we'll get a first hand view of this soon enough when we visit Chislehurst Caves!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Flower Field contd.

The group liked my initial flower field idea, and have asked me to expand on it it further detail, showing the surroundings of it and how it would fit into our environment.

Developing the flower field.. sketches;

starting the more detailed concept art;

finished result;

im really not happy with the finished result but after fiddling around with it for so long I don't know what needs improving :(
I showed it to my group via our facebooks and they were pleased with it so it looks like this will be okay to use for the final after all.. If i get time I may continue to edit it but I think I need to start thinking about modelling now!

Friday, 22 January 2010

Wellcome Trust visit and more concept art

Yesterday myself Karen, James and Ryan visited the Wellcome Trust and their '8 Rooms, 9 Lives' exhibition near Euston to gain inspiration and ideas for our project. There were some interesting designs on display (plus some weird ones) but not many of them fit our brief. Most of our ideas came from buildings we found on the way round London and the Underground (which are in Karen's possession).

My favourite part was probably the interactive stuff on the first floor. In one part we drew pictures relating to random words on the back of the supplied blank cards and placed them on display along with other peoples work to describe autism. There was also a big section on dieting.. and a strange model of a very bloated individual. But they didn't help too much!

As well as that, during the day we had a group meeting and decided new jobs for each group member. I'm still working on concept art and my task this time was to draw a beautiful flower field in the middle of our spooky deserted city. I went back to Paul Lasaine's blog and took these pictures as my main inspiration;

Here is what I came out with...


This is just the very first attempt mind.. And I will add more detail and change what I can depending on what the group thinks and wants. For example, maybe a view of the flower field from slightly further back..
Yuki has also helpfully given me a link to creating flowers in Maya!

And while I was in Photoshop I also tried to improve my last Police Station attempt slightly...

I felt my last effort was still too light and not 'evil' looking enough, so voila I darkened a lot of it and on Ryan's recommendation, added a reddish hue to the plants.

Monday, 18 January 2010

concept art

Looking over the concept art I found I tried to create an idea of my own for our project.
Started off with a page of random building sketches...

These are the three main police station pictures I looked at for reference;

Mainly looking at the first one for its shape, the windows of the second and third.

Tried recreating and colouring it on photoshop. Trying out different version with different colours/filters;

I've broken down what I did in steps but right to the last picture I was unsure of the colours so..

I mainly reference this picture for the colour of the caves and plants as it had a nice spooky feel. Except for the white background, I felt it would be a lot darker in the cave environment than this forest.

Finished result;

and a quick birds-eye sketch of my idea;

It's set in a cave of sorts that plants have taken over from lack of human use... it's supposed to be a semi-futuristic city with the police station in the center.
Anyway, need to get some feedback from the rest of my group before I do anymore to make sure I'm going in the right direction. Hope they like it...

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Friday and more concept art

On Friday we were in for PPD and contextual studies lectures but before they began I came in early to do some research in the library.

I took two books out;
"The Art of Game Worlds" by Dave Morris and Leo Hartas
"Creating the Art of the Game" by Matthew Omernick

I've lent the first book to Yuki to share some of the research but they both have very helpful images and tutorials that we may be able to use.
I will scan these in asap.

My group have also found a few more useful links and videos..

Ryan found an amazing concept artist on the deviantArt;

I'll definately be looking at this site over the next few days when I try some concept art.

And since we are considering a 'cave' typed closed in environment.. James has found this video which is another student project;

It would be great if we could do somehting as nicely textured and detailed as this.

And here's another student showreel that James found. Lovely animation and background detail!

Now then... I've done a lot of research for general concept art, but I thought I'd have a section here for the survival-horror game related concept art that would be most useful;

Resident Evil 5;

Perfect examples of what we want to achieve!

By Steve Simmons, from;

He has so many beautiful illustrations, particularly vibrantly colourful ones, but as they're not relevent to survival horror I haven't shown them. They can be found on the above link though.


Our environment is not set underwater like the setting for this game but I still love the style these were done in and use of perspective and detail.

Police stations;

Photos I found using the search engine 'Bing' of random police stations that I could adapt to our town...


I think that's as much as I need for now.. need to start designing!!