Sunday, July 14, 2013

Furniture animation from The Architecture Academy - Blender Guru

Andrew Price from Blender Guru just made a really nice animation of some of the furniture models I showed on my previous post.

Rob Garlington was the other artist that worked with me on the creation of this model pack. Some of the furniture are his and many (or all) of the trees on the pack. Some of them can be seen on his website.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Models made for The Architecture Academy - Blender Guru

Last year Andrew Price from Blender Guru, hired me to make some models for The Architecture Academy that just opened up this week.

The Architecture Academy is an online training portal packed with training videos, models and texture banks, ebooks and a forum ran by Andrew and is all related to the creation of architectural imaging.  Topics such as modeling, texturing, interior and exterior design principles, scene and cameras setup, artificial and natural lighting and setups for Blender's Cycles rendering engine will be covered.

Below are some of the models I did for this workshop and that the attendees will be able to download and use.

All of the models were done entirely in Blender and the textures were painted in Blender and Gimp. They are both open source software and really capable of doing a professional job.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Human organs - test render from Maya

After finishing the modeling and texture painting in Blender, I imported the model in Maya via .FBX file format. The mesh looks great without flaws, even the materials names and basic settings were imported correctly.

Below is a preliminary test of the materials and lighting done in Maya.The next steps would be:
  • Animate the heart and maybe lungs;
  • Add particles simulation to show the flow of blood and malaria parasites entering the heart and flowing to the liver;
  • Animate the camera.

I haven't figure out yet a few things regarding the particles animation, I could either look for realistic blood flow in sync to the heart beat, but the speed would turn out to be to fast and not really didactic. I could opt for just a steady flow, so its more understandable where the parasites are coming from and where they are heading.

Another issue that I will have to deal with it's the actual scale of the parasites and blood cells  I will have to greatly exaggerate them so the viewer can recognize the liver and the actual parasites in the same shot.

I'll first try to pin down a camera animation with the voice over recording, and from there I'll try different scales for them and see what they look like in the final rendered image.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Human organs - Heart and liver texture painting

After the modeling and sculpting, I painted the textures for the heart and liver. The textures on the lungs, stomach and intestines are just procedural textures that I just made up for this rendering.

Actually in the final animation, only the liver will be visible as a normal shading mode, the other organs will be rendered with transparencies. This project is about the life cycle of Malaria in the human body and in the mosquito. So in this case, with the semi-transparent organs, the camera will be showing the Malaria parasite flowing through the circulatory system into the liver.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Human organs - Modeling stages

This is just a quick post about today's work. About 4 hours of planing, searching for references and modeling in Blender. It is not anatomically correct but it will work for what I need.

The next step will be painting the textures which I'll use Blender again. The materials will have to be made in Maya for the final rendering.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Turma Cósmica - Online multiplayer games.

To finalize the production of the Turma Cósmica series,  I'd like to present some details on the latest games that we produced.

Although they are only mini-games, they can be considered as the latest technology for us at the time. Instead of a physical media these are all played online on a web browser using Unity 3D engine and are multiplayer. For modeling and animation we used Blender, a free opensource graphics software. Many of the textures were painted in Blender as well and finalized in Photoshop.

Next, are some concepts I made before the actual production.

First, I was just exploring the concept of a 3D board game, how it would look like in perspective, trying to find out problems that I could face later on like confused path, or things hidden form the viewer. I had to always keep in mind that these were for young children.

Next I was looking for how much I could push complexity on the path and amount of "houses" (landing places) for the board.  My intention was to also use dices, because that is also part of the math subject that the student would be learning in class at this period. At this stage you can also see that I started to use some type of color identification on each house. These would represent the type of question the student would be asked. 

So here is how the challenge would be presented. Instead of just adding up (math) the amount acquired of the 3 dices, the student would chose the sequence he would use the 3 dices. For example, the student threw the dices and got 3,2 and 2. If he has more ability in sciences, the could chose to use first one of the dices that had the value of 2 if that will help him to land on a house that is represented by the color of sciences. Later he can chose if it will use the dice of 2 again or the 3 and so on. So there is also strategy that will be used during the game play. On the final version of the game, there were also black colored houses that would be a surprise subject.

On the following image I represented the final look and feel of the game. You can see I chose the theme and the color pallet. Sketches like these were not supposed to look exactly like the final game just a general idea. Since I did at least 10 different variations of these in one day, not much care was used in the perspective or texture details, they should be done really fast. The first two images above were done in Blender, although it is a 3D software, it is amazingly fast to model, so for just basic layout, trying out different points of view it is a indispensable tool.

These sketches now are for the sand tracks race.  Since these were all 3d games, I used Blender again to try out how the track would look in a perspective, its width, how the user would perceive it all.

This sketch I called something like high tech track, who knows, maybe this classic game here in Brazil should look more futuristic... how would kids from the future play this on a Space Station ? Maybe they could even have Storm Troopers uniforms for school? :-)

Actually the test was for trying out if I could just model some basic building blocks and make many different tracks from these. Who knows? Maybe even a procedural build track, that a new one could be generated on every game play?

Then I got melodramatic and decided to go back to the old sand box style track. Remember, the time to get crazy idea is now, when you're just doing concepts. It is better to try something silly and then give up on it now than later on the production process when there is not a whole team working in it. Specially if there are programmers involved, they hate changes :-).

Now I went to sketches in Photoshop where I'm starting to define color pallets and some basic GUI  (graphical user interface ) layout.

The more refined and revised GUI layout. You can see on this one that I had also checked to see how the GUI would adjust to different screen aspect ratios, that is what the subtle darker bands are for on each side of the image. The smaller area is a 4:3 (letter box) aspect ratio found on older TVs and computer monitors and the wider one is 16:9 (HD video standard) found on more modern LCD monitors or some smart phones and tablets.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Turma Cósmica Portal

The final part of the Turma Cósmica Project (loosely translated as Cosmic Bunch), was the development of the educational portal.

The idea is an aggregation center of educational content with a system backbone that can be either used as a web portal or integrated to a school intranet / extranet.

The system has three different profiles: 

  • student / child login
  • parent / teacher login
  • administrator login
The screens below are a view of the student / child login.

For the stundent / child profile, the feeling of the portal is of a social network, but great care was taken to guarantee the safety of the youngsters.

First the parent or teacher is the one responsible for creating the account of the young ones, that could be either a father creating the account his children or a teacher creating a new class.  If is for a public portal, nicknames can be used for these.

Instead of uploading pictures, the children are only allowed to create and customize their own avatars, choosing gender, physical characteristics, clothing and accessories and a background set.

Another part of this profile is a "News" center where the children receive and send news from their contacts and can also interact with each other making comments on these news.  On a school environment, news from the school or teacher can also be received and commented.

Parents and teachers can access and monitor logs of all the students activities throughout the whole system. Messages sent and received or time of login and logout.

Another tool used by the children is the Agenda, they can write down about home works, exams or any other school activity. The teacher can also write a note on each of their respective student, for example "Don't forget to bring your coloring pencils for school tomorrow."

On a environment outside the school a children could use the agenda as a diary or a calendar to mark birthdays.

Probably the most used area by the children is the games area. All the educational games that were once produced for the Turma Cósmica in the past and previously distributed in physical media format now are rewritten for the web using Unity 3d Game Engine. May aspects of the game play is logged for the teachers to follow what games each student likes the most or has the highest scores. Since they are all base on the school curriculum, an analysis can be made to spot overall difficulties in the given subject for each student or the whole class in general.

There is also a trophy system on the games, so each child can see a raking of the best players on his class or social circle.

Accompanying each game, there is also it's corresponding text to the game's subject. New content can added or available one can be edited by a teacher or administrator in this area.

Besides producing the graphics for the games, I also made the graphic design and was part of the over all concept team.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Turma Cósmica volumes 3 and 4

Before writing in-depth about my current works, I'd like to post here some images from our last two games that were produced for Windows and Linux (under wine).

Turma Cósimica Vol. 3

- Rumo ao planeta Antiqua - 
(Heading to planet Antiqua)


Turma Cósimica Vol. 4

- Reconquistando o Brasil - 
(Reconquering Brazil)

Trailer and Game Play

These games were produced almost 4 years ago with Torque Game Engine. The 2D elements were done in Adobe Photoshop and the 3D was done in Autodesk 3DS Max.

Another tool that I used indirectly on Volume 4 was Adobe Flash. I did many animated concepts, game play development and even some coding in Action Script and presented them to the programming team to be implemented in Torque.

Since hardware and software progresses at an amazing rate, the game play and graphics quality in these games are a bit outdated already specially Volume 3, but I still consider them to be of great value to be used in schools or at home following the same curriculum used in a normal class room. These two games were developed for kids in 3rd and 4th grades.