tisdag 13 december 2016

Dagger Concepts

Since I already finished my sword, I was advised not to spend more time on it just because, but rather spend the final weeks of the Brushforge class applying what I have learnt on a new weapon. Since repetition is key to learning, I started concepting a dagger.

I went through the journey of coming up with a story, developing it with the help from some feedback, sketching, self doubt, sketching some more, wondering how others manage to create such intricate an gorgeous details, finally coming up with some sketches that do not look like complete trash and finally testing some colur.

Although I thing that my weak spot is still probably mostly in design, I really feel that I have leveled up in regards of colour, which I considered one of my greatest weaknesses before. There is still room for improvements, but if I may say so myself, it is a massive improvement from the coloured sketches I started out with in my last post about the handpainted sword.

Hopefully I will get some more of that awesome feedback that I don't know how I am going to do without and take one of these to the next level and then actually modeling and texturing it!

lördag 3 december 2016

Handpainted Sword

Over the past 7 or 8 weeks I have been taking a class from Brushforge in handpainted weapons, where we have gone through the process from design to finished textured 3D model.

This is where I started out with my first coloured concept sketches:

During the first two weeks, a lot thanks to some really awesome feedback, it developed into this:

It is a sword that belonged to a paladin, ages ago, given to him by the High Lord. Whenever in the presence of danger it would transform and show its true power.

The modeling went pretty fast and most of the time have been spent in 3D Coat painting the textures, and I wish I had discovered a lot earlier how amazing it is for handpainted textures. I especially love the ability to export/import directly to Photoshop. I had a lot of fun painting this, and I think I have learned a lot throughout the process. Compared to the first sketches I made the end result is definitely leveled up. :)

And here it is!

måndag 14 november 2016

Morning Warmup Sketches 14/11-16

My warmup sketches from this morning, can't really say that there is any difference yet. But doing short 30s or 2 minute sketches do help a lot with loosening up the arm and mind.

onsdag 9 november 2016

Practice 9/11-16

New computer and new everything, some practice sketches from trying to get everything right.

måndag 7 november 2016

Warmup Practice 7/11-16

Trying to get into the routine with some more warmup sketches. Think I need to loosen up a bit more and focus on the movement when doing 30s, but that is what the exercise is for. 30s and 2min poses from photos.

tisdag 1 november 2016

Practise Sketches 01-11-16

Some life drawing sketches from today. Think it really feels that I was away last week and did not have any time to practise. It truly does make a difference when you do it daily. But last week I was in Paris for gameconnection to represent my team, so did not have any time at all to draw.

fredag 21 oktober 2016

Warmup Sketches

Its been a long time since my last post, but now that we are back into concepting I have started begin my days with warmup life drawing sketches. Although it is not the same as having a real life model, it is really good practice that I should try and keep up. This is an awesome resource that I use http://artists.pixelovely.com/

Here are some sketches from this morning (hopefully I remember to do this more often and can eventually see some improvement).

30 Second Sketches to just capture the movement
5 Minute Sketches, exploring form and direction

måndag 4 april 2016

Nihteana: Animations

A while ago I finished Nihteana's animations, at least up until a point where I could do no more before I could see all of them implemented correctly in the engine. Fortunately the coders have not found any issues so far.

Nihteana out for a walk, testing the rig and skin in 3Ds Max

I had all my mocap data cleaned since before Christmas and the frames which I was going to use selected. As expected her animations were like a dream to clean up, since I was completely still apart from moving my upper body when doing the shoot and how she always keep her arms apart, there was barely any occlusion. I had hopes that Nihteana's animations would be less of a problem than Tamarrion's had been.

Elbow bone not matching fold in 3Ds Max

 I soon noticed that there was an issue with her arm, as I could not get the elbow to fold properly. It turned out that I had not aligned the fold and the bone well enough, meaning that I had to return to the high poly sculpt to fix it and then readjust the lowpoly and re-skin the model. So Tamarrion taught me how not to make a shoulder and Nihteana how not to make an elbow. This was a setback, but it also gave me a chance to go back to the highpoly and make her hands bigger and have a better-looking bend, pushing their quality further.

Channel spell animation, before animating fingers

The experience of animating hands which I had had before was that it was not that big of an issue. The difference between Tamarrion and Nihteana is that Tamarrion always has one hand firm on her sword and the other slightly closed, all fingers moving simultaneously while Nihteana's animations are all about the movement of her long fingers. I hoped that they just might not be a problem although I had a feeling deep inside that I could be terribly wrong. That feeling was right. The fingers turned out to be a complete pain, and it was seriously tricky to figure out how they would move in relation to each other. What I did was film my own hands, trying to move them as I wanted her fingers to move and then take keyframe screenshots to see how the fingers should be positioned at different stages of the animations. This was something that I had to redo several times with various animations, since they did not want to cooperate. I had to be really really careful in which order I applied the poses on the fingers.

Screenshot used for her finger animations

Motionbuilder was not always cooperating either, causing additional issues with the key frame animations for the fingers. Apart from the fingers, my biggest problem, which I have never come across before, which occurred in almost every single animation was that there was twitching in the upper body flowing all the way through the arms and hands. This meant that I had to go and look at the fcurves of every single bone to find and attempt to fix the problem. It took me a great deal of time and I am still not completely sure of why I had this issue. Sometimes the animation had seemed fine while working on it and then all of a sudden there it was. I believe that it might have something to do with which frames you select when you choose your looping sequence, but I had been really careful to make sure that the first and last frames matched as close as possible in position.

Trying to fix the fcurves

I also got this weird bug in Motionbuilder (2015) it took me days to find no answer at all until I finally found someone with the same problem. The problem I had was that the bones were invisible even though the xray mode was activated. I tried sending the file to a friend and he could see the rig, so I knew it was not the file but the program. To fixed this I did a complete reinstall of the software, which worked, for a day or so. This is when I finally found the answer, it seems as if Motionbuilder remembers this "setting" for the file, so you have to open Motionbuilder by opening an uncorrupted file and from that open up the file you want to work with.

Skinning below belt is not perfect, but it does not matter since we use cloth physics

Animating the shoulder pads was another challenge, which I had to redo a couple of times. I needed to readjust the rig slightly to get a better pivot point, but I believe this is something that can still be improved. This was also an attempt to fix an issue with the feathers which seemed to have a life of their own. Somehow the feathers moved from there position in the keyframes when I added new ones. Since I had to move the shoulder pads with the arms my greatest fear was that they would twitch between animations since I was unable to use poses on them for some reason. The programmer who is working with her has not noticed any problem with them so far though.

Feathers no longer wanting to follow their bones

There was another great issue with the shoulder pads however, which caused a great deal of stress. Once I had redone all their animations, since they would not follow when I transferred the animations to an updated version of the model, everything was working fine in Motionbuilder so I sent it to my colleague to test in the engine. Everything seemed to be working fine, apart from the small detail of the shoulder pads and skulls hanging from the belt were flying around in a complete mess somewhere in the vicinity of the character model. I went back to Motionbuilder to find what could be wrong, but did not find anything. I tried creating a clean take and import the animations to a new character but there was no difference. It was only the .fbx from Motionbuilder, one that was rigged and skinned but not animated from 3Ds Max was perfect. I tried to find an answer if it could have anything to do with the character extensions but found nothing. To test if it might be something with Unity I opened the .fbx in Unreal and all animations worked perfectly.

Dance dance, Underground Rave test in Unreal


This meant that whatever the issue was it was something that only Unity reacted on. The solution turned out to be removing the skinning of the shoulder pads and skulls, luckily they were skinned as separate objects, reset the xform and re-skin them. This time when I imported the animations, expecting to have to redo the shoulder pad animations, everything seemed to follow and I could send it to test in Unity again. This time there were no problems that we could find before seeing how the animations blend between each other when she behaves in the way she is supposed to in the game, meaning that my work was done for this time.

torsdag 3 mars 2016

Nihteana UV-Mapping

Before moving on to the rigging and skinning of Nihteana, the character I have been working on, I UV-mapped her. Doing this I encountered something which I have not before. Max just did not seem to want to relax the pieces properly, even though there should be no problem with the seams and all the pieces would just shrink and shrink until manually stopped.


Eventually I managed to get the pieces to where I wanted them but Max thought otherwise and rearranged some parts of a few pieces when packing them into the UV space. Meaning that I had to re-relax some pieces and try again.

It took me some time and a lot of fitting the pieces together in order to have similar pieces close to each other while leaving as little space as possible. Another issue that I faced was where to place the seam on the arm. There did not seem to be an obvious place for it. Based on the character's behaviour, where she will always strive to be facing the player character and hovering above the ground, I decided to take a risk in its placement and put it on the top back of her arm. After discussing possible solutions this seemed like the lesser of evils as it is the angle which will be seen the least by the camera, although it will most likely be seen.


I have to be very aware of this in the texturing process and be careful when I paint around the seam so that it will be as invisible as possible. Working on Tamarrion I managed to make her seams hardly visible at all, but that was probably largely due to the fact that I had polypaint as a base and tried to avoid colour shifts on the seams themselves. I know that it might become a problem, but being aware of it will hopefully help me make the seams look barely visible.

torsdag 4 februari 2016

Nihteana High Poly Armour

Last week I finished the high poly model of Nihteana, the first thing I did was to complete the shoulder pads. These skulls were also used to hang from her belt, but without the decorations.

I had a basic skull/shoulder pad that I made in 3ds Max, from that I dug out the shapes more and sharpened the details. Then I added the decorations by drawing the on by hand. I would have used a pattern to do this but I did not know a way of doing this on a surface that curves on several axes, or curves at all.

This was also a problem when creating the bracers, I had the shapes and edges complete in order to maintain the hard edges. To solve this I tried adding a sketch that I had made to test the placement of the pattern in 3ds Max through adding the texture as polypaint. There were some issues getting it right, but in the end I used spotlight to paint it on and get a general idea of the placement.

When I had it placed I used the pattern as a guide to carve the decorations into the bracers by hand. As I mentioned I could not find a way to draw the larger patterns onto the curved surface but the flowers were small enough to use the image as a brush. Since the bracer is not completely symmetrical I was also unable to use the mirror brush, meaning I had to carve the entire thing by hand.

onsdag 3 februari 2016

Back to ZBrush

Since we finally got our release out I have been able to get back to working on Nihteana. There were a few things that needed fixing but most of the work was to create the missing pieces, such as armour and belt. I had not prioritised them earlier since I wanted to test the main body in animation before completing her. In case there were any problems it would be easier to adjust before adding details. Once I got to that point however, I had to switch tasks and work on environment assets and the release that was made in early January.

My greatest issue with the model was the elbow, I had problems trying to figure out exactly were the muscles should go and how the skinny dead arms would look. I figured out that I had thought right but executed it wrong, meaning that I needed to move the muscles on the lower arm to match the "elbow bone" better and create more of a crease. This meant that I had to go back to ZBrush to adjust the Highpoly model.

This is how it looked before, the elbow bone is at the back side on the bottom of the arm, while the fold is on the front side of the arm.

When fixing it I moved the fold to the upper part of the arm, so that it would be in a straight line from the bone of the elbow.

I had also decided to enlarge her hands, to achieve a more stylised and creepy look, again this meant making adjustments in the Highpoly. The hands were also a bit flat so I rounded the hand, lowering the sides with the pinky and thumb and raising it around the middle finger. Even though I thought I had adjusted where the fingers start on the hand (they do not start from a straight line) it was also looking too straight so I pushed it towards the hand between the pinky and ring finger and away from it between the ring and middle fingers to make the silhouette more interesting.

Because of making these adjustments I destroyed some of the details, meaning that I had to re-enforce the knuckles and sinews. As I had to to this I tried to emphasise them even more than I ad before.


I was planning on showing the armour pieces and belt that I have been working on, but this turned out pretty long so I will save that for the next post. :)

söndag 17 januari 2016

Nihteana Timelapse

I had a go at rendering a timelapse video of the concept art painting I created for Nihteana. I had not thought of taking screens until I had already started and painted in base colours, but I had not spent much time on it until then.

Anyway here it is!

onsdag 6 januari 2016


We have been working hard both before Christmas and over the last few days, but now we are impatiently sitting at school waiting to make the release that is required for the course we are currently taking.

We have a build that is complete and we are just now starting to upload everything and getting ready to send it out! We are super excited and hope that you will like it! :)