Character pipelines

Spent some time learning a bit more about animation pipelines over the last few days



Post mortem – After the Math

Setting; Gaslight steampunk, London, Warehouse.
Aftermath of an experiment gone wrong.

Our pipeline for this project was simple, first we found the reference material. Generally this was a photo or drawing of a steampunk item, though not always. We would then make a tough concept, and then do a basic model. Once this was done we would run it past everyone else in the team and makesure it was ok, that there was no big issue or ideas. Once the model had been established as ok, we would then make a high polly version and create our normal maps, AO and Lighting maps. The final map to be created was a diffuse map for texturing in Quixel, which was our next step. Making the textures in Quixel, we used a lot of Brass and Copper for the metals, and mahogany and darker woods for the…uh…wood…
Once that was done it was as simple as making sure the mesh had been exported as an .OBJ and all textures had been rendered out for Unreal.
Sadly I floundered a bit at this point, but I did get help from other team members for this. Sadly due to the limitations of Slack I can not go back further to get some pics of the feedback I got, as a lot of it was really good, but I could get this part. which makes me look like a total numpty, but oh well.
The final step was the import everything into unreal, and plug all the textures into a material, adding it to the .OBJ and placing it in the desired spot, or duplicating it as many times as needed.

As I mentioned briefly earlier, the look and style we where going for was a lot of copper and brass with darker woods and large cogs and large rivets. The aesthetic choices behind this are to create a steampunk look, but also to keep it within the gaslit era, meaning everything is run without electricity. As such there is no electrical wiring or light bulbs, nothing modern of the kind. As this was before things where made smaller and refined, we have created a look of larger things keeping it less refined, more clunky.

Our data and asset workflow was a bit shot for this project sadly. it was meant to be a simple naming convention of [item]_[filetype]_[iteration].file
Sadly I think only 2 people followed this, and everyone else just made the names [Item].file.
All of our assets where placed on google drive for sharing, as well as being given to at least 2 people to ensure no items where lost for good.
Items where put into 2 categories. Kit-bash, for models that could be used multiple times to enhance the look of the scene. And Models, which was items that had only one use, such as the control panel. However its levers, cogs and switches where put in the Kit-bash as they could be used on many items multiple times to enhance the overall look of things. One thing we failed to do was have a way for us to work on the project at the same time. I believe there ARE ways to do this, but we never tried to get anything working.
Something else we did not do, was create a backups and iterations as we progressed, which in hindsight was a terrible idea, as due to a lack of communication people made changes that where not agreed upon by the majority. Thus lack of iterations caused us many problems.

The project management we used for this project was, according to the project plan, the agile method. however I saw little of this and feel in the end it was more a scrum method, or a mix of too many things.
Originally the deadline for this project was week 6, but it got pushed back to week 7. Most of us in the group where ready with our assets on time, though the extra time gave us a chance to look into lighting a bit more, and add in a few more particle effects.
Our scope of the project was realistic from the get go, as we achieved everything we had planned, which was nice. a few things did get changed around, but nothing major was changed of moved about.

Much of this project was thought up on the spot, and was instantly liked by most team members as it struck a area they enjoyed a lot. Everyone was on board and keen to get things done and helped with the concepts, story and asset list.




More problems? no problem!

Jokes, there where so many problems. but I found a solution for one or 2. which was nice, but I need to fix a few more things. such as this rig, its not too bad so far, but it needs work. oh yea, I forgot to mention I am not sure what to do with the spine. well, I have a few ideas but I want to run them past my teachers first, I have enough other things to do to keep my occupied until then.