Friday, 5 March 2010


In the project I was tasked as the castle exterior creator, rather then having one main modeler, one animator etc, we ended up sharing the work load between the group. I believe this did not work because members were not having to rely on each other or have the pressure of someone needing their piece, this meant a lot of the work was left for the last week or 2. Personally I believe we should have had specific roles as it would have been more like a production team in the industry.

With this project I felt that it started well, everyone was enthusiastic, everyone was bouncing ideas of each other. We had a rough production plan which gave us roughly a week or 2 for everything and in theory it would all time nicely and slot together, although nothing was solid. I had modeled and texture my section of the project by the third week (not including the 3 weeks of bad weather) and felt that I ended up waiting for the majority of other group members to catch up.

In this project the ideas had changed so much it felt like we were going in circles, when someone would suggest an idea and the group would say "yeah I like that." This happened too regularly for another 2 weeks until we ended up with the same idea that we started with. As for bringing the idea to life we never even had finished concepts or storyboards from our chosen artist (who I felt sorry for because he never asked to do it he was nominated, I asked but I was ignored because our group was a democracy and they had voted) this was another reason I felt our project wasn't as good as it should have been.

Overall I feel that this project was a failure, its not a piece of footage I will be putting in my showreel. The final camera moves were rigid and dull, showed no creativity and didn't convey the story at all, not to mention being full of continuity errors. I also felt that the textures and models were inconsistent. Personally it felt like some of other members of the group weren't very passionate about what we were doing and I don't think I would work with them again.

What should have happened
First of all I shouldn't have been nervous about attempting to take control or make bold suggestion because I joined the group late. We definitely needed a director/leader just to give the group a more professional feel, definitive idea and more accurate schedule. The whole project should have been handled differently.

Working Process 5 - Last week

Unfortunately this was our last week in which we had to put all our files together, create our camera moves, animate, render, composite and edit. This was extremely tight but doable as we agreed to come in everyday of the week, also I like to think very competent when it comes to compositing and editing.

As members of the group didn't turn up everything was put back by a day. so the rest of us had started to looked up some tutorials online to create what we were missing as we were getting desperate and it need to be done. I also continued with my other project as there was little else to do.

Some members didn't turn up again and some were still working on they're models so we couldn't combine them. Although our replacement animation was looking good so I incorporated it with our files and we started doing some test renders

Although this renders were looking pretty cool when I got back home something had happen to the file and it had become corrupt and i lost the file with fire

Due to a fire near London Bridge I was unable to get into uni which set the group back another day and I felt like kicking my self.

For the first time in weeks the whole group was in Uni. The first thing we needed to do was combine the files and start making camera moves then all render out a couple of camera moves that night. In the end the the group decided to just make they're own camera moves individually and render out what they feel, personally i disagreed and belived it should have been done together as a group.

Friday - hand in day
With the editing of the second section I was told that change it so that someones section was included although i felt this did not work and my edit flowed better i could not change a group decision or risk starting a arguement. Below you can see the 2 edits just so it can be seen how i think it should look. once i gave the second half of the edit to my group as i had to get the train home and i trusted them to create the other half in time.

Changed edit

My Preferred edit

Working Process 4 - 2 weeks left

This week I wasn't able to do much as hayley had a weeks work placement and we were waiting for the animation she had done so that we could create the camera moves, unfortunately the files were  too big to email. When we were discussing ideas early on in the project, one of our possible animation sequences was a collapsing wall so i decided to have a play with the Maya dynamics, i did this by using a tutorial involving lego on the internet.

Here is my end result from playing with dynamics

Maya Dynamics Test from Samuel McGuire on Vimeo.

This week gave me a chance to do some more work on my industry exercise

Working Process 3 - 3 Weeks Left

At this point we had about 3 weeks left and should have been compiling all the work so we can animate the cameras and get ready to render. but only Lydia and I had turned up to all lesson, Andi hadn't modeled anything, Hayley had done a fair bit of animation but but just never seemed to turn up although i do know that the second to last week she had a placement at the Mill which wasn't her fault. We were also waiting for character concepts, Final Environment Concepts and a storyboards from Matt as he had been nominated as the Artist/2D Animate and didn't have to touch Maya. I'm not saying that I was perfect in this project but I cant think off any major mistake I made ,I mean I'm perfectly open to criticism in fact I love it because I can improve myself. Personally I was feeling like I would only ever work with Lydia from this group again.

At this point I started playing with the lights while I waited for the others to prepare/make their models for combining. I spent a good a day or 2 just experimenting with different lights for the castle exterior. The lights are based on highlights from the moon which is why they don't light up the whole castle.

UV Mapping and Texturing

UV Mapping

For castle I had quite a bit of work to do because it was the most complex model had built so far. My usual method with simpler models is use automatic mapping and shift about items in the UV Editor but i could thell that wasn't going to work with this model.
For this I decided to ask our technical tutor Alex he told me the best way to create the UVs was to select the main wall Faces for one side and use the planar UV projection tool then move the UV out the way and repeat for the other side. I then did this for the remain faces in turn till I had a neat looking UV Layout
Next I had to create the UV Map for stairs which was relatively quick as I used a similar technique to the one which I used for the castle wall the only difference was that I used automatic mapping then planar mapped the sides of the stair
With the UV Mapping for the Island I didn't have to worry about anything as all the UVs and textures carried over from Mudbox


With textures I personally prefer to create my own as it gives it a slightly more personal look and also has a more artistic feel about it. also with our project we wanted to go with a simpler artist look so the textures weren't overly complex. My textures were fairly simple I used a brick texture Photoshop brush that I have. otherwise the rest of the textures were grey with a dirt brush applied to give a slight hint of detail. I have to admit at this point I would of liked to done more texturing and modeling as we were only 3 weeks into the porject and still had about 3 or 4 weeks left. But seeing as only Lydia and I had turned up to most lesson and actually started modeling on this project when I offered to help people seemed reluctant to admit what little they had done.


At this stage in the project i started work on the island for this i decided to use Mudbox as i had recently purchased it in a software package and wanted to experiment with it. Admittedly towards the end this wasnt practical as it made the scenes take longer to render, Although this wouldn't have been a problem had the majority of my group turned up or done the work by when we planned to.
As for using Mudbox it was great fun its extremely flexible as the level of detail is unbelievable, although this can also create problems as it can get very hard to limit yourself at a sensible level of detail. Once i had made my island at a sensible level of detail I exported it too a .ma file then imported it into Maya along with its texture. Once in Maya all the polygons edges had sharpened and I didn't have a clue how to fix it. When it came to fixing this issue i struggled to find a solution on the internet but it happened that one of my class mates had the same issue and it ended up being something as simple as softening the edges.

Below you can see some screen shots of the model in Mudbox as well as the import version into maya with the hard edges

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Working Process 2

After some group discussion we decided we wanted a specific arch style put into the castle luckily this didnt require to much remodeling. Although now that i had worked out a system for creating the wall it had become much easier. all i had to was create a plane in the shape off the open wall the extrude it out to the thickness needed then add the bend deformer.