3 May 2022

Unity Essentials Primer Course Completed

 

I completed the first introductory course on the official Unity learning programme. The next one is coding based and will be much more challenging. I have allowed 12 weeks to complete this next qualification.

1 May 2022

Unity Learning Plan for 2022

The Unity Essentials course has a section about planning my objectives and aims. The idea is to make a time managemnet system and to try to stick to it. My initial goal is to know enough Unity to self publish a simple self developed mobile game by the end of the year. To that end I need to complete a considerable portion of the Learning Pathways. I need to commit to 8 hours learning per week. The plan I have come up with for the initial stage is thus:

1. Learn to use Unity - Complete the Unity Essentials Pathway 
by May 1st - 4 weeks 
 
 2. Learn basic coding within Unity - Complete Junior Programmer Pathway 
by 10th July - 12 Weeks. 
This is an Entry level Unity qualification to understand under the hood 
Unity functions and development. This will the most challenging part for me as 
coding is out of my comfort zone and general field of experience. 
 
At the end of this pathway I can attempt the Unity Certified User Programmer Exam -
- which is a certified qualification. 
 
3.  Learn Unity Editor in full - Complete Creative Core Pathway 
by 11th September - 10 weeks. 
This is a full exploration of the Editor and all its functionality 
- creating and editing within the UI without coding. I'm hoping it will all come 
together in this section and start to get really interesting.
 

 
I'm hoping to hit these deadlines early or to start developing the game alongside 
otherwise I wont have time to make the game before xmas!. If thats impossible or 
it takes ages then I will settle on publishing a game by this time next year instead. 
 
I will update this page as I go along to keep track of progress. 

29 Apr 2022

Unity Essentials Project - The Real-time Industry

This section of my course explains the interactive industry standards and conventions. Theres a typical series of production cycles similar to the film and TV linear content production business which I am already familiar with. I can therefore comparethem during this exercise.

Pre-Production

Storyline, planning, design , scheduling, deadlines, maps, UI, look and feel, testing, animatic, storyboard, budget planning, team building. To produce a design document. Pretty similar to film and TV pre-production which would plan out the scripts, shoots, design, post-production, budget and schedules. The film process would culminate in a script, storyboard and production budget and schedule.

Production

Team builds everything planned aiming to hit deadline and avoid 'feature creep' where more detail is added as it goes along. All assets have to be built and assembled - coded and set up so they work. A producer oversees deadlines and progress. 'Version control' is implemented so project can back track if necessary ( version control softwares include Github, Collaborate and PlasticsSCM ). Different from film and TV production which normally only involves the shooting and performance period.

Post-Production

Product is tested and amended until runs smoothly. Alpha Testing is done in house. Beta Testing is a limited release in order to smooth out bugs and receive feedback. This is different to traditional linear film post which normally involves editing, compositing, CGI, grading, exporting movies and alternate versions etc

Operations

Product is released and maintained, distributed, marketed, server support, bug fixes, website maintenance, promoteions etc.

Unity - Essentials of real time 2d - Working with Game Objects

Make and manipulate a Sprite:

2d objects include a library of Sprites. I made a circle shape and applied the 'knob' sprite to it. Then edited shape using the transform tool 'T' on keyboar same as Photoshop for free transform. Shift locks dimensions. Changing colour of the sprite is easy in the Inspector to the right.


Adding Components to 2d game objects:

In the Inspector the circle is given a rigidbody and a circle collider component - (added right at the bottom of the Inspector). A box is added below and also given similar components. Now the circle drops but stops when it hits the box or ground below.

Do NOT make changes whilst the game is running - changes will be lost. 

Sprites and readymade 2d or 3d art can be found at the Unity Asset Store so I grabbed a few to make my next exercise. Sprites tend to be low rez png files with transparency. To load them you go to Window/ package managaer in Unity. if you download them from the asset store you can download into the Unity package manager and then from there import them into the project.

Publishing the game to WebGL so it runs on a browser requires the WebGL Publisher package to be loaded. Instructions are here

click pic to run my Egg Pachinko

 

28 Apr 2022

Unity Essentials Level 2 - Make a 3d scene and publish it to the web

I have worked through a few of the basic tutorials in Unity. I've learned to navigate the UI and build from primitives. I've learned to add components to 3d models and give them physics attributes. I've learned to make prefabs - these are the same as Maya Instances. 

The navigation is almose the same as Maya. F is the focus hotkey just the same. 

The Inspector is the same as Maya's Attributes and Nukes Properties - it even sits on the right in the same place that those two position it. 

The Project panel at the bottom contains assets and materials etc - the same way as  the Aftereffects Project panel. 

Hierachy panel on the left is the same as Maya's Inspector.

I made a practice 'game' where coloured barrels fall onto slopes and I adjusted the elements until one finally went the whole course and landed in the target area at the end. I then set about making a 'build' of the game scene ( choices are MacOs, Windows or WebGL )

The WebGL build can be seen here - its not super exciting but I have now published my first Unity project.



26 Apr 2022

Hans Pants

 A low poly Maya model of Han Solo's trousers made as a test for wearable NFTs which follow the Decentraland template for wearables. 




21 Apr 2022

Generative X - NFT Project

 Trying out my own take on Cryptopunk NFTs. Using multiple layers of 'attributes' in Illustrator I have a method of creating randomly generated 80's style punks. I have about ten layers of each body type, hairstyle, mouths, eyes, accesories. Mixed and combined they can generate thousands of variations. I have planned a way of combining them using a multilayered compositing 'shuffle' technique. Its not tested yet because I have some issues with not all the artwork being generic enough yet. Its going to take some time and effort to get right. These samples look promising though. I'm inspired by 80s comic  'Love and Rockets' by the Hernandez brothers.


I'd like to actually publish these or something like it. I need to team up with someone(s) who understands the NFT marketing and sales world.

This project is actually something I previously explored way back in 2010 - long before CryptoPunks and the rest of them became a thing .. so dont accuse me of jumping on a bandwagon. Check out my 2010 punks.

9 Apr 2022

Examples of my Architectural 3d Models

 Some 3d environmental / architectural designs I have made whilst at SquareZero Ltd 2005-2013


Virtual set for corporate video 2005

Own architectural design for 3d video screen demo  2009

Own architectural design for 3d video screen demo  2009

Virtual set for TV chat show

Virtual set for HealthZone TV

29 Mar 2022

I'm studying the Unity Foundation Course

 Unity is a 3d real time engine which I was first made aware of around 2008. Our company SquareZero collaborated with a Unity company to create an AR demo of an inhaler for a medical company. We created the 3D model with an animation which they implemented for AR interactivity within Unity. Anyway I want to learn how to use Unity with my 3d assets so I can make interactive environments and possibly games. This comes from my recent interest in NFT land and metaverse spaces which are appearing everywhere and I want to be able to use my 3d skills in these spaces. As I read William Gibson's Neuromancer when it came out I thinks its fun that I could now be one of the architects of Cyberspace which he envisioned back then in the 80's.


 

3 Nov 2021

VFX Tutorials Playlist

 I have a growing collection of VFX tutorials that I have made on my YouTube playlist. These were all made at or for the modules I teach at Greenwich University, London. Some of these were recorded in classes and some were pre-recorded from home. 



5 Sept 2021

Direct Air Capture system 3d model


 I made a detailed model of a DAC system for drawing carbon directly from the air. This was based on photos from the leading Swiss manufacturer of this technology. 3d model and render using Maya.

9 Dec 2020

Bronze Age Warriors

 My latest built from scratch low poly models. These represent Sumerian / Akkadian / Kuti / Mari warriors from Mesopotamia in about 2000 BC. I made a standard warrior and equipped some with axes, bows and javalins. One single texture map for all with some variations in faces and costumes. Each model is about only 2000 polys. There are normal and specular maps to add detail.

I handpainted textures and extended seams in Gimp


ten basic poses and variations multiplied into army




6 Nov 2020

Normans published on Tabletop Simulator

Uploaded the army for use in any online game on Tabletop Simulator.




22 Oct 2020

Normans 1066 !

 I have been modding 3d game characters for a while and really wanted to build some from scratch. With most of the work done during lockdown early summer 2020 I have just got round to finishing these models. They are low poly figures in multiple poses and with many possible variations in colours and costume texture maps. They should be easy to multiply into armies of hundreds without crashing anything. They are pretty historicaly accurate and researched I think. They include image, bump and transparency maps. They were made in Maya and rendered there with Arnold. 







Simple Character Modeling in Maya

 I wrote an earlier post showing basic steps to make a basic 3d character. I then made a movie tutorial ( my first one ever) . Unfortunately I put a music soundtrack on it and it was kicked off Youtube. I just found the edit files so went in and removed the music .. and here it is .. again ! This makes clean topology ready to rig mesh bipeds. Can be used for cartoony or much more realistic style characters. Click here to see the tutorial movie. The text based step by step instructions are here.




10 Jun 2020

L'Art de Guerre on Tabletop Simulator Tutorials

https://youtu.be/W5JhWL_s6SM

I made a set of simple tutorials on the basics of setting up the wargame L'Art de la Guerre on Tabletop simulator.  You can go to the first one by clicking here or the on the picture above.

The other two tutorials are here:

Terrain Deployment
Army Deployment

Wargaming with Miniatures - with Tabletop Simulator

I've discovered during Lockdown that my favourite tabletop wargame 'L'art de la Guerre' has been turned into a 3d online game. Tabletop Simulator ( TTS ) is a 3d gaming platform which allows you to recreate your favourite games and play them in real time against real opponants.


You can simulate 'bases' of army units for use in the game. Here are some classical Greek Spartans lined up.



You can construct all the boards, parts, cards etc needed and they move with simple controls. Its problably based on Unity or something but it has a simple interface and is customisable by adding simple 3d models as .objs r .fbx. Flat art can be put onto cards etc as jpegs and pngs.

A medieval battle showing some of the simulated game props and terrain plus the TTS interface



The L'Art de la Guerre game board and miniature armies have been put together for TTS by Massimo Gamberi - an Italian wargamer. Since I discovered it I have figured out how the mods work and added four or five armies myself.


Low poly hordes of Dacian barbarians in Maya

The base figures are taken from existing 3d computer games such as Field of Glory or Rome Total War. Then the models are file converted using Blender and adapted and posed in Maya. They can then be imported into TTS and saved as 'Workshops' in whole army groups which people can access and bring to their own games.

Adapted texture maps - to give more variations of paint jobs to miniatures

When I edit the models in Maya I am looking to make two or three poses to mix up and then up to four different texture varaiations ( to make over 16 combinations of shield design, clothing, heads etc) . I can also mix up the horses and positions / facing directions to make them look a bit less uniform.

figure in Maya - showing the low poly mesh. Fairly easy to pose - but needs attention at shoulders.

Once I have a selection of individuals I can group them into bases of units - some mixed and random lik ethe barbarians. Some will be close ranked and uniform like this Roman army I put together.

Middle Imperial Romans - Auxhileries and Legionaries

Still from a battle I lost - my Spartans were defeated by the Carthaginians around 250BC
Heres a Youtube video I made just showing a medieval army selection I put together.

There's a Facebook group for ADG with TTS here

6 Apr 2020

08 Tutorial to make a breakdown of your Nuke composite


This tutorial shows a simple way to make a labelled breakdown of your composited sequence. This would be useful if you are making a showreel and want to show how you made a visual effect or alterations to original filmed footage. Made for my students at Greenwich University to make breakdowns of their projects during the Coronavirus term extension allowed through April.

Grading Principles

Comping Multipass CG renders in Nuke



Breaking down and comping a single 3d render using Nuke. The multipass 3d render is separated out into the various constituent passes - diffuse, specular, shadows, ambient occlusion. Then they are layered up one at a time over the background footage. This tutorial uses Maya with Arnold and NukeX

Planar tracking tutorial using Nuke X



Video tutorial on planar tracking using NukeX . Part of a series of basic skills for VFX work. This video is an english language version of a video made in Hindi by learning lab. The free to download footage is from Hollywood camerawork


Nuke Chroma key tutorial / exercise using two keys


This tutorial was recorded at Greenwich University in 2020. This lesson was to demonstrate a VFX method for making a good chromakey combining a good subtle key for edge details and hair plus a hard key for keeping interior details. Learn to get a good edge key using Keylight. Also using Keylight you can make and add an InMatte . Using a Roto shape you can make an OutMatte garbage matte.


Roto-splining the Flying Carrots




This tutorial was recorded at Greenwich University in 2020. This lesson was to demonstrate a VFX method for making a magic flying bowl of carrots. This is a basic lesson covering ROTOSCOPING, CLEAN PLATE use and MERGING to remove unwanted elements in the footage.


Herd Immunity