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  1. #1
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    Default Journeys End WIP Thread

    Hi all!

    Well, I've been on here a while, poking my nose into threads and being generally needy and/or helpful, so I figured I'd start posting what I'm working on. So without further ado, here it is...

    Journeys End (Short film)

    7 minute animated short based on an original script, a tale of mystery, love and magic, featuring a full cast of heroes, villains and dragons, together with some very unpleasant creatures. A (hopefully) original take on the classic quest story, due for release in early 2012.

    OK, it's pretty ambitious, I admit. Much like Chadam and Lazy Town, I intend to use UDK to create a short film, using all the effects I can muster on a pretty powerful system to be able to run it at 24-30fps as an executable and record it in real-time. For those of you who might have seen my various "I wanna pony" wishlist ramblings for real-time GI, this is why

    Character design is in full swing, so this thread will be updated when I get time with various shots as I get them done. Ultimately I want to release the project, give walkthroughs of shader design if requested, and anything else one might want.

    To whet your appetites, here is the first character, The Ancient Warrior. Crits are expected (and hoped for) since I want this to be as good as I can possibly make it!

    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    Have at it! More images will be posted in the coming hours and days, then the real work will begin.

    ================================
    (P.S. Yes, the lack of apostrophe in "Journeys" is intentional...)
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  2. #2
    Iron Guard
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    ancient warrior indeed, man that guys looks old and awesome.. I'm going to awesome he has equally awesome abilities to match his age?
    ~Ryan Wiancko - Producer
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  3. #3
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    Oh, he's pretty awesome, ability-wise Thanks for the reply and kind words! Here's a quick update, since I forgot to include the low-poly version for reference.

    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    He (like all the main characters) will be a multipart mesh so I can get as much detail as possible on them. Average polycount for heads is 3-4K so I can get good facial animation, plus displacement and wrinkle maps for extra detail.

    Coming up in a couple of hours, the frightful ghast.. Icky little things. < shudders >
    Last edited by DifferenceEngine3D; 09-14-2011 at 08:48 AM.
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  4. #4
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    To go into more detail about what I hope to achieve from a technical standpoint; I intend to use Unreal Engine not simply as a renderer, but also as a complete framework. Cloth will be APEX, possibly with baked wrinkle and displacement maps (as in nVidia's workflow information) for detail. Combat and creatures will be scripted, but not completely pre-animated, using the built-in AI to handle it. The ghasts will be completely AI-driven (they swarm, so perfect for procedurally-based animation, I think!) and so essentially every time the animation is run it will be slightly different (although still following the same story, obviously!)

    Ambitious, yes, but that's why I chose a game engine rather than a GPU renderer.

    Of course, I may be utterly bonkers, but we'll see.
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  5. #5
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    Default Ghast

    OK, pretty happy with this so far.

    They have no eyes, no nose and a poor sense of hearing; instead they operate in pitch darkness by touch. They move in swarms of a hundred or more, are around four feet tall when erect (which they hardly ever are, preferring to scamper around on all fours) and overwhelm their prey by sheer weight of numbers.

    Squirrrrrrmmmmmm...

    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    Enjoy. Full body coming in a bit.
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  6. #6
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    I like the idea of your Eye-less creature there, however...

    he/she/it seems a bit unbelievable that it would have HUGE eye sockets, yet no eyes. I know this would require a significant re-sculpt of the face, but consider putting some 'atrophy' into the areas where this creature has lost it's senses.



    Your sculpting skill is definitely good, better than most the work I see. Keep refining the concepts and this will turn out AWESOME.

  7. #7
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    @KazoeHin: Thanks for the input! Yeah, you're right, I was really playing up the creepy "skull" aspect of the design and, as is often the way in my design process (I prefer to rough out ideas in ZBrush rather than sketch, a throwback to my old "clay-sketching" days as a sculptor!) I got carried away with those aspects and ignored others You should have seen how far I took the old man concept before pulling it back - he looked like he belonged in a museum wrapped in bandages! Fortunately, my process allows for rapid prototyping, so I should be able to rework it pretty quickly.

    From an evolutionary standpoint, of course, there's nothing to prevent large, empty eye-sockets (blind cave cichlids, for example, have large sockets but no eyes; all they did was extend the operculum back over the socket to provide a little extra protection). Eyes are pretty energy-hungry objects, biologically speaking, and they can be lost very quickly in a nutrient-poor environment. Cave cichlids in Africa lost theirs in the last 20,000 years... <defensive justification complete!>

    I'll play with it today and see what I can do with it; the body is coming along nicely, but I have to break the mesh up into segments to get the detail I want (my system currently can't handle 12 million poly objects in ZBrush without sobbing hysterically) so I break it up, sculpt, and play with the maps in PShop.

    Oh, and coming soon... the Young Hero!! Stay tuned
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  8. #8
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    OK, here's another ghast with about 20 minutes of feverish reworking...

    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    Looks a bit more like "Alien" to me, but what do you guys think?

    Validate meeee!!! LOL!

    Edit: Re: the nose, I'm going with "this thing never had nostrils" idea. Call it my "It's maaaagiiiicccc" handwave
    Last edited by DifferenceEngine3D; 09-15-2011 at 09:45 AM.
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  9. #9
    Iron Guard
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    <defensive justification complete!>
    Lol, nice.

    The no eyes one definitely helps convey the blindness in a more typical, recognizable way, nice work

  10. #10
    Deathless
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    Quote Originally Posted by DifferenceEngine3D View Post
    They have no eyes, no nose and a poor sense of hearing; instead they operate in pitch darkness by touch. They move in swarms of a hundred or more,
    ...
    and overwhelm their prey by sheer weight of numbers.
    they almost sound like zombies to me!
    the new model is much better than the new one, definately alot more fitting
    great work so far
    I take it you abandoned your HLSL-messing mission for now?

  11. #11
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    @Spoondog: Thanks for the props! Yeah, the no-eyes one has grown on me in a big way, so deepest thanks go to KazeoHin for his input there. This is why I wanted some community input here; I've usually worked on stuff as part of a team with feedback, since the unrestrained artist tends to get carried away.

    @Chosker: They're kind of zombie-like, but when I release the full-body model you'll see that's only really a behavioral resemblance rather than a physical one. And thank you, sir, for the props, too

    As for the HLSL-bashing, no it's not abandoned; I've got some good stuff on the boil with that and I'm learning UnrealScript so I can apply full-screen Canvas effects as ambershee and others suggested with my SSII/SSDO/SSCB effects. I'm also working on a skin shader based on the mental-ray misss_fast_skin coupled with the mia_material (arch and design) shader. It's a combination of Oren-Nayar diffuse and Ashikhmin-Shirley specular with texture-space diffuse subsurface-scatter fake and screen-space SSS for good measure. I'm looking to create something with 3-6 layers of scattering, plus separable transmission on the ears and thin tissues, inspired by the shader created for Benjamin Button by Digital Domain.

    Today will be mainly spent kit-bashing the ghast so that I can show an action pose turntable rather than the standard T-pose model, since it's proportions are very weird and it looks "wrong" in that position. Hopefully I'll have something "proper" to show in that regard soon.

    However, to whet your appetites, here is a rough sketch of the hand, which might give you some idea of how it walks...

    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version
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  12. #12
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    Well, here's a little update on the Ghast; I spent about an hour doing a rough sculpt of the full body yesterday to give some idea about how it looks and moves.

    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    Let me know if you guys think I'm on the right track!

    P.S. Is it just me, or did it get all posh in here? Love what they've done with the place..
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  13. #13
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    His legs seem a bit short to me, in comparison to the rest of body. Also, not sure if hoofs are the way to go.
    Otherwise really like where your style is heading
    UE 4 / UDK Environment artist.
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  14. #14
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    Thanks for the quick reply! The proportions are based more on an ape, which gives him a sort of skittering gait, so his legs are fairly short, and his arms are grotesquely long. I was aiming for something pretty unlike anything alive on this planet right now The hooves, yeah, I might lose them on the hind legs and go for something more froglike, but I experimented with a ferw looks like that before and wasn't 100% on it. I'll repost in a little while with an update if possible.

    Thanks!
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  15. #15
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    Wow I just watched Chadam on youtube. What. The. Hell man. It looks like you're got the art side of this creation down pat, you obviously know what you're doing. Will be interesting to see what comes out of this, do you have a storyboard or any concept art done?

  16. #16
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    @Black_Stormy: Thanks so much for the props; if I could get a tenth as good as Chadam turned out, I'll be over the moon With all the new DX11 and lighting stuff in the latest builds, I think, visually at least, Unreal can get up there with decent-quality pre-rendered stuff, perhaps even better. That's why I'm working as hard on shaders as on the models. I have storyboarded the movie, but I'm going to wait until release to show them, since I don't want to spoil it Concept-wise, I have some very rough sketches, but I prefer to rough and block out in ZBrush after basic modelling is done, since I can see the flow of the ideas in 3D immediately, rather than try and transfer what looks good in 2D to 3D and realize it doesn't work quite so well!

    I've got the Ghast reworked with different feet now, and I'm pleased with it. Of course, now I have to re-pose and re-colour and detail it in ZBrush, so hopefully you'll see a finished turntable by the end of the day (Saturdays aren't the greatest day for me to work full-tilt on something, but I'll get what I can done soon!)

    Thanks again, all, and stay tuned!
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  17. #17
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    Well, here's the Ghast with his brand new feet. You're right, merc_ai, much better!
    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    Sorry for the lack of detail modelling on the left arm and a few other spots; just wanted to get this one out quick, then I'll work on the T-pose for detail maps. I don't like spending hours on replicating work... lazy bugger that I am

    Cheers!
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  18. #18
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    OK, T-pose Ghast done, ready for final texturing (updates to follow), but, being the dilettante that I am, I will now switch gears and move on to the young hero of our piece (fittingly nameless...)

    Still to come, our damsel in distress and a evil sorcerer (and a dragon. There must always be a dragon).

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  19. #19
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    You're possessing mad organic sculpting skills, mate!
    Love the new ghast look, and good start on the hero!
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  20. #20
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    Thanks, merc_ai! I'm going to spend time today on the hero, then get started blocking out the dragon. I tend to jump from project to project when I work on something big, because it keeps me fresh and when I come back to it, I see it in a new light, including all the problems!

    I'll post more soon!
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  21. #21
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    Ah, what a wonderful day; it's raining outside, I'm warm at home, sipping hot coffee and listening to orchestral Nyan Cats while noodling on ZBrush. And here's what all that has got me in the last couple hours.

    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    The body is hidden for now, since it's just a placeholder for me to loft off with the retopo tools. On to the legs!

    Excelsior!

    Nyanaynayannyannyan.....
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  22. #22
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    I've been way too quiet recently, working on other things and generally looking at all the stuff I'm going to need to do to make this work. From this point on, the thread will become a general code/material/problems/Q&A/images forum. I've also started a dev blog at blogger.com HERE where I will ramble even more than I do here.

    Don't worry, it's not dead, not even resting... it's coming back, but with 75% more muchness!
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  23. #23
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    OK, so I spent some time this weekend looking at various techniques for GI and SVO creation. I'll post something more in-depth on my blog in the next couple of days, so for now consider this an update/unnecessary bump
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