The next step was to insert wreckage from previous levels into our ice environment, the wreckage was sent to us by Blacknorth along with the textures, all we needed to do was place the geometry into our set, reapply all of the textures in the scene and then bake the light and colour, doing this meant that the wreckage would now cast shadows. Making sure that we ships had a separate texture map to that of the landscape, they stressed that we keep them separate. We’ve also been told not to go crazy with the wreckage, they don’t want it absolutely everywhere…

I decided to use the wreckage to cover up areas where my textures were stretching, mainly in the mountains at the beginning…


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When placed in the scene I then deleted faces and parts of the geometry to make it look like it had crashed into the set, remembering to change the ship material from a phong to a lambert or else it will reflect the set around it…

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Then the lights were brought in and the set was baked:

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Link to an updated turntable with the wreckage:

A playblast of a run through of my set…

A couple of playblasts of the entire group environment, showing our progression throughout the assignment, the curves still need a bit of tweaking and some textures are still being adjusted. The quality of the playblast has also been lowered due to time restrictions, we didn’t have enough time to render out a high quality curve, this was only to get a general feeling of the environment…


My textures

Before jumping into creating my textures I decided to do a little bit of research…

Digital Tutors had a great little explanation of how to fake high levels of detail without the extra geometry…

I think normal maps, tiling textures and decals will be the most helpful to our work, below are some notes of what the website covered along with the link…

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The CG society also had their top ten tips to texturing…


I’ve also found some good examples of texturing on objects that we will be texturing throughout our own sets:

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Some of the websites I took my textures from, making sure to download the highest resolution possible to reduce the chances of stretching…



Before starting any baking, I decided to have a go at some texturing, just with a couple of rocks and a bit of lighting…

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I also have applied bump maps following the tutorial below…

I saved my UV’s as a UV snapshot meaning i could then bring it into photoshop where I would apply my texture, remembering to hide the UV layer when saving so that it would appear as part of the texture…


For repetitive objects such as rocks and icicles I have used two textures, making sure that they are well dispersed across the scene so it is not noticed that the textures are the same. On larger surfaces I have tiled the same texture across it’s body but used a snow layer as a decal to break up the pattern along with the use of various brushes to interrupt the pattern.

Once the textures were complete in photoshop before saving we also had to multiply the AO maps on top of the corresponding section. Below are my textures…

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When loading the textures into maya we made sure to make the necessary changes to make sure that we were still working within a linear workflow. Before baking we also created normal maps to apply to the models to increase the detail, this was done using crazy bump, where we loaded in our AO_colour (texture files) and selected the shape to the left…

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I found that an intensity of 6 and a sharpness of 6 gave a good result.

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A lighting set up had been created by Aidan and then shared around the group, once imported all that was left to do was bake the light and texture, this was done the same way as the Occlusion the only setting that needed changed was what was being baked: light and colour! After baking, the lighting was deleted and gamma correction was enabled (render tab beside cameras, option box for viewport 2.0) Also in render settings> common tab> enable colour management, srgb was selected in the bottom option and linear srgb selected in the top. One final thing to check was that no incandescence was connected to the scene.

A couple of Renders of the set:

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Link to the turntable:

Link to group playblast:

I’m relatively happy with how the textures turned out but I am definitely going to improve them for next week, it was pointed out that the arch should be something other than snow… possibly ice? something that suggests there is a background story to the landscape. Overall there is room for everything to be improved and I feel I could do a much better job.

Ice Environments…

After another meeting with the guys at Black North it was decided that we would all be working on the ice level together as they really liked Emma’s concept below which is really interesting to look at!


It was nice to have a change and to get away from the sci fi style of work, although there’s only so long that a person can stare at shades of blue and white for! The next week was spent creating concept art for the level which we would then piece together to create one environment (the level) which we would then go on to model.

While researching I came across ‘Chasing Ice’ a documentary that shows the changes of our planet over a period of three years.. http://www.chasingice.com/about-the-film/synopsis/ some of the photographs these guys managed to capture are just stunning, along with the film’s cinematography, it can even be said to be haunting how the videos show the changing of the environment in just seconds!

I also looked into concept art from a few films.. X-men:days of future past, Oblivion and even Frozen and Harry Potter, to gain an idea and understanding of the landscape, how other people have approached the idea…


The image above would make an interesting environment, seeing the open and vast landscape before diving down into the crevice to dodge obstacles and race through, although the vastness of the image below is also works, the atmosphere created by the light is interesting, the use of the light would create a focal point/ destination point for the player.

Below are concepts from Frozen and Harry Potter… In particular I find the use of light really interesting with the images below and how it draws the viewers eye.. e.g. with the image of the shrieking shack, the light reveals to the audience where the characters are heading to next, the next part of the story…

Frozen-Concept-Art-of-Arendelle-frozen-34496741-5000-2331 FROZEN The_Shrieking_Shack_(Concept_Artwork_for_the_HP3_movie_01) Hogsmeade

The technique we have been using to create our concept art…

My first concept for the ice level was created from the an image of the view from behind a frozen waterfall and a snow wall texture that was then duplicated down the left side of the image.

ice environment

With this concept I was trying to draw the player into the action happening on screen, by creating the shape of a tunnel I was trying to make it seem as if they are being lead around the back of the waterfall. The tunnel also acted as the focal point of the image, somewhere for the player to aim for.

However the colours of the water may be too harsh when placed against the softness of the snow texture.. the colour is possibly a little too bright.

Again with the concept below I wanted to create a sense of action happening within the scene – Creating this by placing an ‘overhanging icicle’ to make it feel as though the ships are moving through the image at speed – having to tilt to avoid colliding with the landscape and creating  a sense of depth by placing an image of mountains in the background, the overhanging icicle was also to placed to hide some of the image from viewers to draw them in… they should want to know what is behind it, what will meet the ship as enters out into the open sky?

ice concept 2

With this final concept I was trying to create more of an ‘open’ image, the previous concepts all had something enclosing the ship into a small space. I decided that an ice wall was a good place to start, the image was duplicated across, at a slight angle to add a bit of drama and blended together. Also to give the player a destination/ focal point of the level – something for them to travel towards – I added a cave, giving the image an element of mystery, the player is going from a wide open space to an enclosed tunnel, also adding to this are the mountains in the background, meaning the player has to travel through the cave, will they be travelling through the mountains? and how long for? The ship was then added and placed at angle opposing to the background and in the foreground a slightly blurred (to convey the speed the ship is travelling at) ice/rock formation… has the player just left a cave/enclosed space which will create a contrast to the open ice field they are entering?

ice evironment 3

The next stage will be to model our environments – not concentrating on detail as this is still just pre-vis – to get an idea of layout and what assets will be needed throughout, there will be at least 7 parts to the level as we each will model a section and then bring them together to form one.

We decided to print off some of the concept work we had created and stick it up on the wall, give each image a number and from there we could connect the images to help us visualise the different sections that were going to be modelled, this also allowed us to make sure that no-one’s would be following a similar path.

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Some other concept art I used as inspiration…

Feng Zhu environment concepts: The vastness evident in the two images below is what stood out to me and what I tried to create within my own concepts.

feng_zhu_07 winter_travellers_by_andreasrocha-d4ij92a

Ice Age concept art: This work was an example as how light would bounce around the inside of a cave.

images Ice-Age-4-Characters-design-by-Peter-DeSeve-7 adIA3__0002_treeCave3


Before I start into the assets that have been created, we did make a slight change in our scenario that will cause the collisions, it would no longer be in first person perspective, there will no gun in the lower part of the frame as it is no longer needed. A car was modelled and also rigged so this gave us the ability to use the car as the object that will cause the destruction to start. The car also gives us the opportunity to experiment with a few different scenarios, such as:

The car travelling along a piece of road, skidding out of control and hitting a fence/wall that will then cause the telephone wires to snap and spark. We could have the car crash into the house causing an explosion which everything else in the scene would have to react to. (We did consider putting the penguin into the driver’s seat and having the character as a drunk driver with the zombie walking out into the middle of the road causing the penguin to have to swerve to avoid him… but it’s still undecided…)

So really the car gives us more options as to how we want to approach this scenario, plus a team member actually rigged it so the wheels would rotate when moved so why would we just let it sit there in the set!

Before I started modelling anything in maya, I looked for some visuals already existing of the objects deciding first that metal/ oil barrels would be better suited to our style than wooden ones..

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Some references from Call of Duty…

BarrelsDOA barrel_cod_4 Red_Barrel_BO

A quick sketch before starting to modelling the barrels, the undamaged barrel seemed to look a little too ‘perfect’ so I’ll also attempt some dented/damaged ones too…


My models, based off of the references and drawings…

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The one below was created to be set alight…

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Firstly I watched a tutorial on creating fire in maya and then applied this to my barrel:

We can then have it burn for as long as we want (base resolution is currently only 60 but we can increase that later…)

A few rendered images:

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Telephone/electricity poles…

Again I started by finding some reference images:




Then a quick sketch of my own:


and the models, in the end we only used one of them:

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The poles were connected by a cylinder, which would act as the wires:

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To the wires an ncloth was applied and then connected to the poles using a nconstraint transform at specific points, the poles were then changed to rigid bodies to prevent the wires falling through them when a gravity field was applied… the gravity field allowed for the wires to become slack:

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allowing them to bounce around:

Seeing as they were going to be destroyed in some way, I experimented with adding sparks to the scene by having a wire pushed upwards, ripping it away from where it was being held by the poles.

This was achieved by having a hidden object (another ncloth) pulled upwards through the wire by a gravity field of it’s own, it does appear for a briefly in the video above, causing it to be ripped from the rigid bodied poles. Then where I had earlier applied nconstraints between the poles and the wire I placed emitters and animated the rate of the particles to increase form 0 as the wires start to move, this eventually increases to 300. The particle render type changed to streak and then adjusted the tail size to control the size of the streaks. The particles start off red and then as they age change to yellow.

Some rendered images:

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I also modelled a wall that can be incorporated into the scene if we need it, maybe have some things crash into in…

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Some smoke for the sense was also created following a tutorial in an issue of 3D artist that can then be added anywhere that needs it…

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