Change of plan

Our entire set for Black North was optimised and packaged up, which we then handed over to them and they seemed pretty happy with it. At our most recent meeting we were told that a few more blocks of ice were needing modelled and textured…

Below are a few images I looked at to see how ice would react to light (is it transparent, is it solid) and how the surface of the object could look: scratches, cracks etc…

article-0-195225D6000005DC-566_634x422 d4891fe307b7c06300bf6e428653857a ice ucm197598

I then used the tutorial below as a guide/starting point for texturing the ice model, the results were achieved by using a ramp shader and noise map:

Starting off in mud box, I created a rough shape from a cube…

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 00.07.44

I then brought the model into maya, where I started applying the techniques from the link above, but also making a few adjustments of my own to fit the requirements of what Black North were asking for…

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 00.11.35

first render:

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 00.16.03

I felt that the render above was a little plain looking.. there was no colour, nothing interesting about it, so I tried to change that. I duplicated the model and resized it so it would fit inside itself,  then changed the colour of this smaller model to a light blue and gave it a slightly brighter ambient colour, in the hope that the extra light might bounce around a little inside the larger object. The transparency of the object was also adjusted to make it more solid/ visible through the first model.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 00.22.09

I still wasn’t happy with the colour, there was too much blue – no other colours were present, so in an attempt to fix that I placed a cube inside the smaller model, which was less transparent than the others and I gave it a grey colour. Im a bit happier with the render below as now there are a couple of colours bouncing around.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 00.24.21

We then received a message from the guys at Black North to say that the game had been changed and could we create a new level based on the new designs, giving us 4 days to create the level so it was going to be a bit tight with time. The file below is the example we were given…

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 00.32.16

This time our set would be 7 tiles that would join together (we will create one each.) This time the models were to be as low a polycount as possible, this being the main reason the game was changed, and we would still be sticking with the ice environment.

I started off by modelling an environment in mud box…

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 00.35.33

which I then brought into maya and retopologised using the quad draw tool (remembering not to press three to smooth the model as it will be taken into soft image when we pass it on) :

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 00.39.19

Unwrapped the UV’s by firstly unwrapping using the best plane, decided where my seams would be and cut the UV edges before finally using the 3D unwrap tool. These UV’s were obviously a lot easier to unwrap compared to the previous set…

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 00.40.21

This time regarding textures were decided we would go for more ice rather than rock and snow, seeing as the panels looked like they were some sort of cave. Below are some of the textures I experimented with…

13-scratched-ice-texture-free-hi-res 10422269_862539437136109_6774744961511944772_n Chiseled Ice clay_snow1 ice_texture___2_by_agf81-d4p2kkm ice_texture2998-1 ice-texture--1033-1 Ice0021_L snow_texture1550

Before settling with the textures below:


Originally I had ice walls and banks of snow at each side but it just didn’t look right, so I switched it to be snow walls with banks of ice which just in general a lot better.

The ambient occlusion was baked in:

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 00.56.35

And multiplied over the textures in photoshop:

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 00.57.33

A normal map was also created using crazy bump:

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 00.57.49

Then it was onto lighting the scene, I added an ambient light with a rather low intensity to give some basic light. I wanted my light source to be coming form the ice.. as if it was giving off light that was then being reflected by other bits of ice. So to create this I added in a few spot lights, all different in size (penumbria and cone angle) intensity and colour giving the results below.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 00.59.24 Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 00.59.01

Once I (and the rest of the team of course) were happy with the lighting, the light and colour were baked in:

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 01.07.43


Fly through:

Creating rain

After having a class where we concentrated on Maya’s particles and what can be achieved from them: things such as a drip running down the side of a coke can and rain, the particles can be set to streaks to give the effect of rain. I wondered could I create this effect, including having the rain collide with a ground plane so I headed to youtube and found the tutorial below:

After watching the tutorial I then opened maya and had a go…

I then experimented with a turbulence field, to remove the uniform look of the rainfall, but I think I actually prefer the uniform look…

As I liked the uniform look I also experimented with adding an air field…

I also then brought in an object for the rain to collide with…


Over easter while I was working on some animations I decided I wanted to take a break from them and try something else, I fancied doing some modelling but didn’t know what to model, then I realised I was sitting at my desk…


I started off with the desk…

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 16.31.43

Also attached to my desk is a magnetic board and a CD rack, I then modelled these features and added them to the desk:

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 17.05.17

The my monitor and speakers, including the cable coming from the speakers:

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 17.30.57

I then started to fill the CD rack, will something similar to the photo at the beginning of this post, to get the draping of the paper I made the geometry an Ncloth and anything it collides with a collider, I then played the simulation until I found a shape that I liked. While the simulation was paused I duplicated the geometry and then deleted the cloth attributes:

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 17.39.45

Below the cd rack, again I used Maya’s Ncloth to create the realistic shapes of the paper:

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 17.46.23

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 17.49.42

One of the more challenging features was the desk lamp:

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 17.53.17

There’s also a little pot of stationary that sits behind my laptop:

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 17.55.39

my laptop, complete with a USB pen:

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 17.57.23

Also through the use of dynamics I created the object that hangs from my lamp:

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 18.00.34

I also then connected my monitor and laptop by modelling an hdmi cable, all cables were modelled using the tutorial below:

not forgetting my mouse either:

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 18.05.35

Along the top of my desk there is quite a few photo frames:

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 18.06.59

also some other objects, including a candle and lip balm:

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 18.08.39

A rendered image of the whole scene, along with a wireframe render:

Desk AO desk wire

Some close ups, used in my showreel:

Desk AO close 1 desk close wire 1 desk AO close 2 desk close wire 2tif

Lower poly (smoothed) wireframes, used in my showreel:

desk desk_close2 desk_close1


After having a class where we looked at Maya’s 2D and 3D fluid effects, I decided i would experiment with Bifrost, again keeping my showreel in mind…

the first thing I attempted was running water:

The tutorial above showed me how to set up the liquid and also the geometry it would collide with, along with the lighting for the scene. I then decided I didn’t really want the water to be appearing from nowhere, I modelled and textured a tap so that the water had somewhere to come from…

Another render:

I also thought my showreel could do with something a little more exciting than just running water, so I’ve also attempted a splash, which I feel is an improvement on the running water, this time the liquid acts a lot more like water as this time I experimented a lot more with the liquids attributes. The set up for the splash was pretty much the same as the tutorial above, I created a box that would hold the liquid, a box form which the liquid would be emitted and an object to fall into the liquid creating the splash… I found that a long, thin cube created a much more dramatic splash than just a sphere. These objects were then set as colliders and the cube animated to fall into the water…


After having a class on Maya’s particles, I decided to experiment with the N-cloth feature, hoping to created something that I could put into my showreel. I had recently been watching an episode of ABC’s ‘Once Upon A Time’ (when am I not watching that programme…?) where the two clips below appeared (Smash the Mirror 4×08) and I was inspired to try something similar:

I really liked the effect of the particles moving through the air and the cracking effect created within the eye of the actress. Although I was after an effect similar to the clip below, how the particles were controlled:

I decided that I would try something similar to this effect using a head model that I had retopologised so that it would be useable. Using Maya’s Ncloth and a vortex field I created the effect below: