Reflection – Learning Outcomes

I planned this project in a way that I could learn the whole process of a character creation, from concepting to animating, going through all the in between steps like modeling, UV maping, texturing, shading and rigging as well as setting all the assets in unreal to have them ready to use in an game engine. Doing this, I have been able to get feedback in order to improve my own character designs and models by, for example, trying to avoid hard surfaces like horns or holes on articulations, creating a proper meshes to avoid deformation or taking into account the limbs’ movement in order to design the character body.  It also allow me to improve my skills in programs that I alredy used in my workflow like Zbrush, Maya and Unreal and add  new ones like Topogun, Road kill or xNormals. I also Used new forefront techniques like using Mayas’s Xgen in order to create high quality Hair textures following the workflow of a professional character artist as Adam Skutt who worked in AAA games projects like The Order 1886 or Uncharted 4.

I have also learn a lot by trial and error, like knowing that UDIMs can’t be used in unreal projects by the moment and finding solutions by using different materials and overlaying UVs in order to get more resolution in the textures. I also had to experiment with materials in Unreal for, for example, creating the translucent mask material that I wanted to look like gelatin, having to tweak the settings in order to get a realistic looking of the material.

The project also allowed me to be more aware about the game industry planning and schedule constraints and improve time management of the projects as well as reduce procrastination  and have stress, demotivation and depression under control.

Working as a group also allowed me to experience how would feel working in a real game project and give me opportunities to had good and quick feedback of my work in order to improve it with ease as well as having help if something went wrong or I got stuck in any process. It also allowed me to help others sharing my opinion, resources and ideas in order to improve the overall project.

Finally, I think I have learn a lot during this course as I started knowing very little about game production but, It has been during the last three months where I feel I have learnt the most thanks to tutorial feedback and group support, having enough time to improve and work on a big project and researching about the forefront techniques and apply them to my work improving drastically my workflow and skills.

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Reflection – Creative Decisions

Being at the end of my project I think I can now reflect on how the project has been going and the decisions I made during this process.

I decided to do the alien characters for diferent reasons. First, they allow me bigger freedom and creativity in the conception and design of the characters. Second, my lack of knowledge would be less evident and possible errors could be easier overlooked or considered as part of the alien behavior or design. Finally, I will have plenty of other artist reference to use in my design as is a very usual topic and even animal references can be used on this matter.

I created two different creatures, themore bestial and primitive minion and the more humanoid and intelligent looking leader. Nevertheless, they would have to share different features that would show that they are part of the same race like same number of fingers, similar horns and skin.

I decided to use the following working process as is the most extended workflow in game industry. Starting creating the High poly mesh in Zbrush, then retopologizing the model into a low poly model that can be used inside a game engine like Unreal 4. Texturing the models using substance painter and setting the shaders and assets in unreal. I decided no delegate the rigging and animating process even I am a character artist because in that way I could get a better understanding of the problems and difficulties a rigger and an animator will have to face when they will work with my models. I had to solve this problems during the project process taking me a lot of time to figure out how to solve them, having to create more complex joints and IK handles and being creative in order that the movement of the character didn’t look weird.

During the UVmap creation I have to face a very time consuming correction as I followed Neil’s recommendation of using UDIMs in order to create the characters maps to find after days of work that UDIMs tiled textures can’t be used inside Unreal. This forced me to find another way to get high resolution or control in the quality of the textures. Finally, I decided to use overlapping UVs using different materials in order to have a different texture per material.

As I am still not an expert in Unreal I had to ask for advice to Lee Devonald in order to create the material for the mask as it was a very complex material as well as borrow Ryan’s hair material in order to use it in my own character due to knowdlege and time constraints. This helped me to improve drastically the final look of my characters.

I am happy with the overall result of my part of the project. There are still space to improve the characters like adding SSS materials to improve the realism of the skin but I wanted to do the whole character creation process which take me too much time. In future projects, I will improve my skills with unreal in order to improve the results of my models.