Welcome to the week one round up of the Hangar 45 student project!
Here you will see some of the progress I have made with this task on a weekly basis and see me talk about some of the challenges and (more importantly) solutions that I deal with.
To start us off I can say that at this stage all main character concepts have been finalized.
Here you can see the changes from rough silhouettes to final concepts –
I always like to start with silhouettes wherever possible. This allows for fast experiments with shape and more importantly “feel” for a design by changing basic shapes and creating a better identity… This step is usually more time consuming as if something doesn’t work on this super early stage… it’s better left alone or changed drastically.
Next it’s time to fill out the shapes with primary details – large shapes that show how the design is broken up and how it works in 3D space along with some ideas on how smaller details are going to factor in. This doesn’t take as much time as step 1 (15-30min per sketch) as it basically filling in or exaggerating some of the shapes you already have.
Next steps would be to come up with more detailed sketches for a 3D artist to read and make a model of… buuuut seeing as how I am also the 3D man for this one I don’t really need to tell my self too much (maybe 1-2 napkin doodles)
Character Engine Test
As a proof of concept I decided to go against my initial schedule of completing all the mechs at the same time towards the final portion of the project and built up one of the more simpler designs as imported it into the engine.
This was useful as it gave a few days to play around with some file optimization options, import settings and accommodate new findings into the development of the other models.
*High-poly model in Keyshot*
*In-Engine Test 1*
In the end this experiment identified
- Some normal-map import issues from Zbrush to UE4, these were resolved by inverting the Green channel on the textures which made the surfaces react to light more accurately.
- Vertex import issues – UE4 would sometime rebuild imported vertexes automatically which would result in issues with lighting and performance, I disabled the feature for better results.
- My tessellation solution is extremely versatile in such that it can produce high quality visuals from meshes with as little as 54 polygons – the final aim is around 100k triagles per model, which gives me the chance to really push some of the details.
- Better UV layouts for smaller meshes
So there you have it all the stuff I’ve nailed down in one week. Overall I feel that I managed to make a solid foundation slightly more solid with some extra RnD at the start while also finalizing the character styles and numbers.