Today I have produced the main part of my robot and created a nice silhouette for the top half. I used simple extrusions to create the bulk of my design and began to angle the vertices down for the head. I then extruded to create a back and engine. Here I did not find any problems but now how new issues and needed to chose how I would connect other parts such as the arms and legs.
This was a good test for me because after a few attempts I had shown how I can create a design I was after with out next to no references from simple excursions. I also began to make the design simple; I figured that having faces and vertices that where spun out and stretched all over the place would make other processes hard to complete so which is why I kept this in mind from the start.
This next part was to create the arms and guns for the robot. I had a few ideas in mind such as giving the arms movability and where or not the guns should be complex or not. As I began modelling the design bought it self to life: Where my struggles through the design actually turned into a success. For example, when extruding from the body to the arms I was left with hardly any space which is what made me extrude upward and another error made me come to this sort of vacuum design to the guns that you can see on the image above. I figure to again go with an accidental error which has given me a fairly original idea for the gun mechanism. My plan is to give the vacuum some motion by filming a piece of cloth wavering which will shown when ever the guns fire.
This again was good because it is making me search to other methods of 3D modelling and animating which helps me explore deeper into my SSI project.
Today I finished the vacuum design by making more loop cuts to define the texture and made a solid face for the gun to fit. Again learning as I went along I figured out a nice way of angling shapes to come up with a nice curvature to a shape. After this point I was becoming quite comfortable with knowing which vertices to select to get the right shape to my model.
I stuck with a simplistic design after giving thought to my project; I came to the conclusion that a simple simulation would not need to inherit a robot with large cannons and instead something in the mid range level.
I began to give the guns life by making loop cuts to define edges and excursions that brought shape and purpose to the design. The circles on the side could almost be used as a join for the robot so it can move it’s guns vertically. A space extruded into the top could suggest a space to show the settings and ammo of the weaponry.
A problem that I quickly encountered was how to keep the four barrels equal and it took me a while to come to the process of making space for four extrusions and extruding at the same time.
Before modelling the legs I thought it would a good idea to begin to separate pieces; this would make them easier to work with and prepare them for other processes: The guns, the body, the vacuum, legs, nhees, tibia, feet were all separated. I now would start work on the legs and had next to know idea of how I would go about doing this; my attempt of making wires turned into the frae where the leg would attach the hip which still needs work on. I came up with a design for a plate to move in between both of these points to give flexibility but the design has been left for the time being. I moved on with creating a leg design.
After some time experimenting with the leg design I came up with this original cog design. I had seen on other robots where the back part of the leg would work on a hydraulic mechanism and would move instead of the front part. I created a cog in the foreleg which would later attach to the back – giving this sort of rotating leg that would fire from the back each time the robot would take a step. Again lots of corrections with the cog; I realised that there needed to be a space cut out of it to fit in the connections and the base of the hind leg would need a art for the feet to connect onto.
This was all very good because my confidence with the programme is making me more eager to to explore other methods such as mechanics inside the programme. My research shows that it is possible to make this design but will happen at a later stage of the investigation. If I indeed crack this then it will open up many doors for me in terms of what I can create in Blender and the purpose for 3D models and animation. I.e. If I figure out the mechanics and how to use it I will be able to make such things like cranes and vehicles that I may want to put into future films and promotion videos. The more I learn with this programme the more I can do with it and the idea of having confidence with the programme is comforting toward work for the future.
This image above was a test for materials; I selected individual faces to give this colour scheme. I plan to have my robot in neutral colours as it is a simulation bot and owned by the army base meaning it would not need to have camo as it is practise for the soldiers attending the simulation.
This image above is more like the colour sceme im looking for. I inserted a grey camouflage to give it it’s neutral colour and began to black out certain elements like the cogs and bolts of the machine. I plan to make the glass head more transparent with the ‘Simulation Soldiers’ logo printed on it.
Texturing Research with Jon Holmes
In today session I have been sat with my tutor who has been advising me as best he can with his take on texturing. We covered such things as UV Mapping; HDR Images for background used in blender and .TGA files.
I had learned two methods on texturing today; one being very simple and the other being more complex with the use of programmes such as photoshop. Firstly, my tutor showed me that texturing would rely on something called UV Mapping which was basically a computers way of attaching a cover to a model that fit over without any affect done to the model in terms of it’s size / mass.
He also explained that texturing would be a long process and in order to have a good texture painted onto you model you would need the use of ‘titled HD images’. The reason behind this is if you want an image to look whole you would need to ensure that every textured picture that was uploaded would need to have a symmetrical beginning and end from the start of the face to the end. There were certain sites we went through CGTextures.com being one of them.
The method of UV Wrapping would give you acces to creating a clean texture as a UV template will grant you a more accurate texture as it is best used to fit a texture round a chosen location getting rid of any creases and anomalies to you model. It will act as a god send maximising any affect a titled image will grant you. It is best to ensure that all faces have a well fitted template as this is what will make your textures stand out.
Next we would explore ‘nodes’ which made it possible to work with the uploaded textures. Nodes made it possible to pin point on certain areas of a texture to either disguise them or make their appearance more visible; such things like a RGB to BW would increase your black and white values and a Mix Shader would let you bring multiple nodes in to create a mix of affects. All professionals will go with the use of nodes rather than trying a less visual method.
We worked with a few of the gun barrels to my model to try and create a ‘gun metal’ look with the use of nodes to pin point pieces of rust and intensify the shine to the metallics. Also the use of a gloss node and glass modifier would give my bot the realistic look I was craving.
Next was the use of Cycles Render which was a more advanced render than I was use to: Here we could see the model as it would in the final render while working on the model. I found this process extremely pleasing as it gave some insight in how my finished product was going to look like. From the Cycles Render it was advised not to go back and forth from the previous render option as data would be lost and textures would be reset and deteriorate.
From cycles the use of HDRI files would fall into practise. The use of working with high quality images to light and act as a set for a model would give even more insight into how the final product would look. The HDRI files would be uploaded into the ‘world’ option on blender and would affect the model in terms of the light it was admitting and the reflections that would come off of the model creating a better understanding of how the product may be used towards a product.
We would then go onto uploading a custom built texture with the use of .TGA files and photoshop. The purpose of this was to bring a more personal touch and an increase of detail for the use of nodes. For instance, you would manually create bits of rust, dirt and scrapes you would want to include to your model and be able to place them where ever it suited.
Once a .TGA file was finished it was then uploaded into blender and used as a texture just the same as the previous uploaded titled – textures. It would then face the same processes as other textures being wrapped; placed and customised.
I found what I was learning was extremely interesting but also knew that these processes would not be learn over night and would need some serious commitment if I was able to bring my model to the standard I am looking for. Usually the process of modelling and texturing would be shared and completed by a team of professionals. Although I do not have a team at my disposal I will go on to all of these processes because it will make me a better and more capable individual for the future; which is also why I chose this project in the first place and although I may find myself going into only one of these processing an all round understanding is better than not knowing.
From yesterdays session I now began to UV unwrap my model. Some things were not clear about the process but I went along with what I knew. Firstly, I know now that a clean UV wrap will depend how it is placed on the model so today I will start to create UV template that will help me size off faces and create a simple base to work with.
I had encountered many issues regarding the process and at this point still unsure if my method is the correct way of doing things. So far I have successfully put my separated pieces onto a UV mesh and began to resize and rotate them to fit a title like quality with each pattern being symmetrical so it runs smoothly into the naboring faces.
Some faces were proving difficult to match and tame into my mesh: I used a mixture of scaling each of the different axis (Y,X & Z) and stretch the sides of the faces over the mesh to best make a fit. This is what my end result was starting to look like: