Wednesday, July 23, 2008


This was a quick proof-of-concept thing that I had to do last weekend. Can't really say what it's for yet (heck, even I'm not sure of all the details - only met with the client for a coupla minutes). This isn't the final design that's gonna be used, so I can put it up (the original sketch is the tiny one in the corner).

Modeled, textured and rigged all in one Sunday evening while sitting in the living room watching my housemate go through Heavenly Sword on the PS3 (and dammit - that is one of the most beautiful games I've ever seen in my life). Kind of a sloppy piece of work (that's what happens when you gotta do something for someone real quick... but you're not getting paid for it! :p).

Polycount is not economical at all, and the rigging was just enough to pose it, but certainly not good for animation. The rendering was done in that simple Pocoyo-like style (where you just render a light occlusion pass multiplied over a flat colour pass).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Billboard Baggins

My housemate was on the way to work when he caught one of my billboard ads that I did a while back. Figured I might as well post it up and show a bit about the process of making it (since I haven't posted up anything for a while).

*thanks to Booyaking Hilmy for taking the pic!*

Anyway, this was a job I got quite a while back, in April. Streamyx was doing a whole bunch of ads for music, gaming, learning, etc - the one I got stuck with was the one for gaming. It's not a piece of work which I have fond memories of (it came at a busy time, really short working period, and not really happy with the end result) but hey, a job's a job - and if you sign up for it, you do what you can without excuses. Aaanyway, here's the final look:

Since they were gonna stick it in a bunch of places, I had to come up with several different sizes/ratios and compositions because apparently it was going to be on billboards, posters, LRT tunnels and stuff. Strange thing is, I haven't come across any of 'em - then again, I'm not the kind of person who goes out much :p

The elements, colour scheme and composition were all decided by the client. I was pretty much the guy who just made the stuff and put 'em all together. This was the first time that I've had to work with such high resolutions (rendering at 12000 pixels made my poor old computer cough up blood). Anyway, on to the making!

The first time I did a layout for the background it was in full 3D (I thought it would give me better control over lighting direction, shadows, and intensity). Turned out to not be worth the effort (rendering would be too crazy and texture sizes would kill my RAM) - in the end I just painted the background, mish-mashing photos together and stuff. Took around 2 hours, and was a lot kinder to my PC and Photoshop.

The sky element went through lots of changes. The client wasn't really sure whether it should be evening/morning/sunset colours so I basically did all of them, letting them choose. The clouds were a bit of issue too since they were very picky about the shape and direction of the clouds. Anyway, the end result was done with a combination of clouds rendered in Maya, and a bit of Photoshopping here and there.

The boy was shot in a studio. The body was then cut into several pieces, dumped under a bridge and... wait hold on, that was another project ahahahha *sorry guys, just went through a whole jug of grape juice, feeling a bit high* ...anyway, the boy in the photo just wasn't exciting enough, so it had to be distorted here and there. The picture on the left is the original, and the one on the right is after it was transmogrified.

The clients weren't too particular about the tiny characters that were going to be in the background - they just wanted some generic looking fantasy-like characters. They were going to be such a tiiiiinnnyyy part of the picture so I didn't spend too much time detailing them. Up there is the basic Maya models I started from (planned to put most of the detail through textures).

Up on the left is the model detail without textures, next to it is the textured and rendered version. I'm kinda glad that they were such tiny background characters (really really didn't wanna go into modeling all the tiny tiny costume and facial details). Still, I couldn't slack off too much - these guys were gonna be pretty huge on a billboard so I sorta had to make sure they didn't look too crappy when scrutinized closely. Took about a day just to work on these guys.

This is the Maya wiremesh for the dragon used in the picture (I posted up an earlier version of the dragon in a previous post). The reason they didn't go for the first one was that it was too big, drew too much attention and wasn't as sleek as they wanted it to be. So I went back and went for a smaller, more wormy-like dragon. This model was done in a super duper rush in about 1 and a half hours. I remember it was about 4am at that time, my stomach was aching like nuts, and the clients were expecting an update in their email by the time they walked in the office (my panic meter was on full).

So this was the first version of the dragon. Grey shade on left, non-rendered textured on right (no time for a proper render at that time). They didn't like the colour scheme and texture details too much (I don't blame them). However, they liked the new design of the dragon, and altered the overall composition a bit (this time, they wanted me to turn it around, re-pose it, and spew some fire at the boy).

So, after a good rest, went back to the dragon, turned it around, bent the wings back and changed the head angle a bit. Since they didn't like the original colours (it didn't go well with the other colours in the composition) I completely re-textured and added some lighting effects to highlight it against the background. Left, greyshade; right, rendered. The fire was just done as a particle render in Maya.

And done! Looking back on this project, I still have horrible memories of it - wish everything wasn't so rushed and that everything went smoother... but what to do. It's over and done with. Plenty of other stuff to worry about at the moment :p