The lack of updates here is disheartening, isn’t it? I’ve been jumping between several projects a lot over the last couple months, which is good, because who doesn’t like variety, but it also puts a huge dent in personal quality time, so to speak. Not that I’m complaining, though.
One project is AntMe! by my friend Tom Wendel, which, after what feels like a several decades long hiatus, is finally back on the table, and is getting a complete graphical overhaul.
AntMe! is a serious game that playfully teaches coding via ants, whose behavior can be created and modified by the player by writing algorithms for how the ants should react to their environment.
The game will be in an isometric view, sprite based, and the sprites will be fairly small and plentiful, so we’re still tweaking to find a good balance between being pleasant on the eyes, but also not be too confusing in large numbers.
Here’s a small preview.
Before finalizing anything, I wanted to make sure that the inside of BigBird would make at least some sense. I felt really bad about the V8 engine I gave him first. It worked in a rough blockout stage, but it’s not really consistent with the rest of the look, so I replaced it with a Go Kart engine and put in some tubes and wires as well. I hope it doesn’t show too much that I have no clue about engine mechanics (but at least he’s got an oil and gas tank and a battery now).
I also gave him the thumb back. Emus don’t really have those, but I thought it would be fun if he could use his feet to grab and lift objects, so they’re going to be stored in a folded up position during mobility mode, and fold down for manipulation mode.
Besides that, I’ve put in BigDog’s debug terminal, because I really like that dim glow behind the paneling and changed the position and proportions of the legs to be more in line with actual emu anatomy.
I added some more railings and frames to support the silhouette and started working out some of the joints. I also changed the feet to be more in line with actual emu feet, but I think I messed up the leg positions a bit, and he looks a tad off balance now.
I haven’t done too much to the legs yet, because I think I’ll give him those waterproof stockings that Boston Dynamics’ LS3 AlphaDog has (design choice of course, not laziness, ahem). Other than that, I think I’m more or less done with the blockout, I’m pretty satisfied with the silhouette and will start replacing the individual pieces now, and add all the small cables, wires and parts.
I needed a little creative break from humanoid characters, so after watching emus and Boston Dynamics videos on Youtube, I had a bit of an epiphany, and here we go, the Berlin Dynamics BigBird, an all terrain autonomous cargo drone. I’m in the early blockout stage, but I think the overall design comes across.
I thought I’d try a somewhat new retopo approach for me. Usually I just retopologize the entire sculpt. This time however, I did it for individual parts of the sculpt, threw a quick UV layout on the new meshes and made some test bakes.
I’m nowhere near texturing him yet (except for the head, which is a solid starting point, I think), but put some flat colors on the shaders. I haven’t really thought about a color scheme yet, so they are very likely to change.
I also tried another new thing for me. Using ZRemesher for more than just retopologizing sculpting geometry. It seemed tempting to me to let ZRemesher handle the folds, and then touch it up a bit in Maya, but I’m not too happy with how some of the geometry came out. This will require some more testing.
After the head retopo was done, I spent a couple hours trying to improve the head. Here’s the result, along with a first rough color pass.
Edit: I also did a quick test bake and hooked it up to the Autodesk Ubershader. The diffuse is basically just the (somewhat improved) ZBrush polypaint with AO and Cavity on top. The Spec map is just hacked together for the sake of testing. Tesselation is turned on.
I did some rigging and animation stuff for a consultation last week. Here’s the result, after the jump. Unity Webplayer is required. Also, sorry for using IFrames here, I don’t really know how to embed a Unity player into a blog post otherwise.
So it’s been a while since I updated this. The good news is, I finally figured out how to use Insert Multi Mesh, when I took a (way too early) break from retopo today. There’s still a couple errors to fix and I get this nagging feeling that I’ve gone a little overboard with the amount of IMMs. Also, the tools in his belt… thing… are placeholders.
And here’s the retopologized head.
Okay, I’m going full retard with Fibermesh now.
Finally found some motivation to work on the face. And I’m starting to add accessories. Still not quite there yet, but I’m trying.