Monday, 22 February 2010

Week 6

22/2/10 - After discussions with Abi about the 3D bees, she suggested an alternative method to animation with bones. Because of the iPhone's constraints on 3D (low polygon and bone limit), I was keeping each bee to a sensible restriction of 5 bones; unfortunately this meant that the arms could not bend, which is problematic for the worker bee.

The other method we could try is to make static models of the bees in various poses, swapping them in at the right moment (for example, a soldier bee might have an idle stance and an attack stance). I need to check with the programmers if this is feasible, as I am not sure if swapping would increase the draw count or even work with swarming; but it is a very good alternative to animation if it works. Below are some views of two soldier bee poses I made based on the concept art:

Views of the soldier in different static stances

Hopefully we will be able to test how well it works to swap these models for each other in Unity.

23/2/10 - I spent today refining my case studies in the hope of starting the dissertation this weekend. I also set up a scene in 3DS Max to show turnarounds of my high-poly characters; I managed to render the ant and the worker bee. The video can be seen below:

I will probably look into good lighting techniques for turnarounds, since these models are backlit quite brightly. The 360 angle does a lot for the ant as it's nice to see the full extent of his pose.

24/2/10 - Wednesday was mostly devoted to working with the other members of the show reel group, collecting information from the master questionaire. We don't have everybody's information yet, so we cannot start on a storyboard until we have gathered it all.

25/2/10 - I started modelling the heavy ant enemy. I hope to make good progress with it over the next few days; tomorrow is development day so I might complete the first iteration of the model by the end of the day.

26/2/10 - I was able to spend Friday completing the first stage of the heavy ant model. I wish to work on the model some more this weekend. Here are some progress shots of the model so far:

The model will likely require some refining as I was only going on a concept picture, but hopefully it is along the right lines. Once this has been approved, I will proceed to take the model into ZBrush for smoothing.

27 /2 /10 - This morning I optimised a generic ant to just under 700 triangles. This is in case we opt for 3D characters; we're concerned that 3D bees versus rendered enemies would be inconsistent. Of course it would, so that leaves us with pure renders or low poly 3D. We've yet to come to a decision on this since we still don't know what the limits are for this particular project. In any case I am aiming for around 500 triangles per character, so the ant might need to be reduced a bit more.

In order to get this character anywhere near the polygon limit, his arms, legs and antenna have had to be reduced to flat shapes with no volume. This shouldn't be a problem if the ants do not move in 3D.

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