Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Completing the Alien Workshop

Since the last post I made on the topic, I have now completed the biped project set as a requirement for 'OUDF505'.

Recapping on some of the processes we looked at last year, I unwrapped my model and applied a basic UV texture. This was helpful in reminding me of 'Planar mapping' the 'Cut UV edges' tool and the 'unfold' tool:

Following a series of videos, we eventually rigged, smooth bound, weight painted and animated our Alien model, the goal ultimately to have a turntable created in Unity.

I found the exercise very useful, as the problems faced during the workshop presented a learning curve. Rigging is a very new process in terms of our progression within the course, and having next to no experience with the process, it was important to gain knowledge before attempting our own models to contribute towards our group project. For example, Having seen how certain geometry moves when influenced by a rig, I feel I now have a better understanding of edge flow. Particularly within the face, as you can see from the UV map there wasn't a great deal of thought put into the topology, meaning that the mouth and eyes responded very rigidly when moved. Also, when following the instructions on creating the eyes, a method of smoothing and then adding edge loops was put forward. This gives more control over the tightness of certain geometry when smoothed, giving greater control. Had I known this method, perhaps I would have tightened up the geometry around the eyes, avoiding the gaps which reveal back-face culling in Unity. This is just another small tip of the many I acquired through the process. 

Another important area we gained further experience in, was how exported 'FBX' files act when imported in Unity. For example, I had a problem with a small number of vertices shooting from the mouth at certain points during the animation of my asset. Discussing this with my tutor, we at first considered I had perhaps accidentally deselected the vertices when binding the skin to the rig, meaning the unbound geometry was confusing Unity and causing the vertices to act strangely. However, after rebinding the geometry, I found I was still having the same problem. I eventually discovered that the inside of the mouth had no influence from any of the rig's joints as a result of my weight painting. This meant that the culprit vertices where virtually unbound to the skeleton:

After correcting this, I applied the random animation script in Unity as well as the camera orbit to complete my turntable. Overall, I found this initial assignment very productive and useful. After launching into the process unsure, I gradually began to understand edge flow much better than before, and how geometry acts and moves when attatched to a skeleton. The tutorial videos also touched on naming conventions, grouping objects and working in layers, keeping the maya document tidy and in theory fit to hand over to an animator.

Unity Web Player | Turntable_web

Unity Web Player | Turntable_web

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