Directed Study - Week 3

This week I spent a lot of time adding edges to my keyboard in Maya. I built the basics of the keyboard in Modo to familiarize myself with Modo’s modeling tools, but eventually I just wanted the keyboard done and, since I couldn’t figure out beveling in Modo, I exported it to Maya to finish my work on it. Unfortunately, when I beveled the edges of the keys Maya created tris in the corners where the bevels met on the surface of the keys and n-gons down between the keys. In order to fix these topology issues and keep the whole thing quads I used the split polygon tool over and over and over again to turn the tris and n-gons into quads around each and every one of the 104 keys on the keyboard. It was A LOT of edges to create by hand…

When I went into my GDS class on Tuesday Tareq brought up an excellent point that I hadn’t thought of during all of the time that I was building the keyboard and adding edges: I didn’t need to make it all one piece. It doesn’t have to deform (bend or stretch) at all, so the model doesn’t have to be watertight. It can just appear to be one piece and be perfectly fine. (Forehead: meet Palm) If I had thought of that earlier I could have fixed my bevel issues once and duplicated and resized the one key as many times as I needed to. I also wouldn’t have needed to spend the time that I did dividing the board as evenly as possible to create the grid from which I extruded the keys in the first place: I would have had one consistent sized key that I could duplicate and/or widen at need. Instead, I ended up with a lot of extra geometry to create the uneven “grid” of keyboard keys (because the edge loops that I created to define the boundaries of each key had to flow through every other key in its path regardless of the other keys’ boundaries to keep quadrilateral topology) and a lot of extra time spent using “Split Polygon”… Here’s the resulting model:

My Creature Design work this week has gone rather well. Our assignment was to create a fully rendered color illustration of our creature design. I took the most recent silhouettes that I liked from last week and refined a few into clearer designs. I eventually found, to my own surprise, that the design I liked best actually stemmed from one of the last two silhouettes that my instructor had chosen, without the luminescent tail that I’d really wanted to include. I had been surprised that he had chosen the silhouettes that he did because they seemed to be among the more conservative designs on the page – I thought that many of the others had much more interesting forms to them. When I started refining the designs, however, I changed some of the proportions of the initial silhouette and voila! It worked! I had created a creature with a built-in hood hiding his face as I’d wanted, but with more interesting proportions as the instructor had requested. I took the new design and drew a few different versions of it with different surface forms to create a similar kind of silhouette and eventually came up with the idea of a form like a fleshy cape billowing down his back the match his built-in hood. I am very pleased with it.

I emailed the various designs to Micah and he approved the one that I wanted, so I continued on with the digital color version:

Then I did some hue adjustments to try for some other color combinations, but I think I still like the original best. 

After seeing the finished illustration in class, Micah asked me to take some of the yellow bioluminescence from inside the hood of color creature #2 and add it to creature #1, and also to work on the hind leg proportions a bit more.

 Last but not least, for my Photo-Real Rendering class this week I created a few different textures on a material ball provided by the instructor. We were supposed to create 2 materials primarily defined by each of the following surface properties: Diffuse, Specularity/Reflectivity (which is, surprisingly, the same thing), Transparency, and Subsurface Scattering. I spent an entire day rendering a number of materials, but I’m only marginally satisfied with the results - and it’s not Modo’s fault - it’s my own ineptitude at defining materials that’s the problem. I need a lot more practice with this.