2014 Q4 Updates

Hey everybody! It’s been a little while! I have been busy and although I haven’t done any one thing that I feel is ‘blogworthy,’ I do have enough small things that are worth an update. If you want more granular updates, I post pretty actively on twitter, it’s generally the same content I post here, just more granular and with horrid compression on images. Plus you can get in contact with me, I’m using it as  This post is just going to jump around a little more then usual, I just want to give an idea of what I’ve been doing without drowning you in transitional text.

knife_kbar_marmoset_small

Most of what I’ve been doing lately has been small props and individual pieces, as well as testing new software for integration into my workflow. Above is an image of a knife I finally finished about a month ago, as rendered in Marmoset using PBR. Hand-done textures here, no Quixel or dDo. I wanted to make sure I haven’t lost my touch. This image illustrates a few new tools that are slowly worming their way into my pipeline – Marmoset obviously, as well as zbrush, which was used to sculpt the high poly for the handle. Learning Marmoset has been my focus for the last month, it’s deeply controllable, previews UE4 ready PBR textures quite well, and produces some damn fine results if you set up your scene properly. Compare the above to my SFM output of the same knife using the same model with the same textures, using equivalent source shaders:

knife_peview_small

Here are some other Marmoset renders using the UE4 PBR texture pipeline, all of which I’d consider works in progress:

40sw_marmoset2

osr_marmoset

steyr_marm

bubbleship_marmoset_2

Although I’m moving away from source at an accelerated rate, I’m still doing some work with it. I released Meryl from Metal Gear Solid 4 for SFM and Gmod. I also fully released the pertinent source files, including the .max (10+) file and .qc/qci for my FACS face setup. If you need resources to look at and compare against when doing your own, I highly recommend you pick up this file.

Release thread (download near bottom)

Sadly, this release was a victim of feature creep, there were a few finishing touches that I needed to do to have finished this in July that I couldn’t find the motivation to do until the last month! Such is the way of things when there’s no deadlines or incentives beyond a sense of completion.

I plan to have the rest of the existing, source ready sci-fi assets out the door before 2015. I released Norad, and I still need to push out the set pieces and clean up the maps for the other portions of the Synthesis project. I’m going to try and lump in a few new model hacks I’ve been working on as well:

workers

nick_clean

Somebody asked for my AO settings in SFM. I tune them per-camera per-scene, but I generally go for sharp cavity shading and boost the radius until I start seeing halos around outer edges of the actors, here’s some examples:

ao_scene

I also wrote up a simple 9-step tutorial for getting realistic chromatic abbreviation in photoshop. It’s a little ‘brute force’ but it works:

chroma

Photoshop wise, I’ve also done some graphic design doodles:

corporate_logos

white_ui

Fun fact: I reused that crimson logo design on the tan spherical ship that I posted a little higher up. The other designs might pop up here and there in other environments in future work, stuff like this goes in a resource library for later use.

Besides the knife, I’ve been doing some brisk modeling work. Nothing has made it to game engine yet, but here are a few beauty shots/wip shots of some computer hardware and other stuff:

A guided missile that’s been on the back burner for a while:

missile_wips

Early WIPs above and a second round dDo pass below.missile_wip5

I’ve been using this model mostly to test custom dynamasks on dDo and new features as updates roll out, so I’m not in a rush to actually finish this. I was thinking of pushing this model to Star Citizen (cryengine) if/when they allow 3rd party mod support. That should happen around the release of HL3, so the model should be good and ready by then.

An Abrams smoke launcher:

smokelauncher

This model was to be commissioned by someone I’ve know for a while, but there was a frankly surprising (and borderline offensive) issue with the amount it was going to cost. This was as far as I got before it hit a dead end.

Computer Hardware:

I’ve been having some fun making some pseudo professional/gamer hybrid computer hardware. I’ve been quite happy with the results so far, take a look:

monitor_back

monitor_ddo

monitor_marmoset

keyboard_wip1

keyboard_wip2

keyboard_marmoset2_small

I’m doing a mutli-texture system on these to squeeze out all the graphical fidelity I can spare. The monitor is using 2048×2048 maps, the screen is split to a ‘anti-glare’ layer that’s using part of the body texture, but the actual display is using a 2048×2048 map that’s mapped to 1920×1080, I mean why not, right? The split means that even if I’m not using textures, I can still reserve it as a UI plane for real time outputs and stuff. The keys on the keyboard are using shared textures and translucent planes for the actual lettering. Besides the self illumination and color variation properties, it means that I have more room on the texture for things that are not keys. Instead of ~100 separately mapped keyheads, I just have the uniquely sized ones and one for the 90 or so standard ones, as well as this easily readable and modifiable texture sheet:

keyboard_keys

Alright, that pretty much wraps up what I’ve done for the latter part of 2014. I’ll be doing a more formal recap of the year in January that goes over what I accomplished in ’14 as well as long term goals for 2015. See you then!

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