Well, this week has been really quite calm. I’ve done a good deal of polishing, revisiting, and modifying. And procrastinating. Everything has gone pretty smoothly. It’s been nice… but what’s this?
Boredom. I’m getting bored.
Just in time for finish, I’m beginning to get bored with this particular diorama. I’m ready for the next diorama, which I begin on Monday. I still have a few bits to do on my current one, but as soon as I hit Sunday evening I will stop and move on, no matter what I’m doing. I will go away from this diorama, and return to it in 10 weeks time, when my other two dioramas are at the same stage. This means I can return to it with fresh eyes and a fresh mind and complete it with enthusiasm (in theory).
So, here it is as it stands;
This week I’ve been making various little assets and additions, as you can probably see. In comparison to my concept, you may also have noticed that I’ve moved around some of the assets. Admittedly, this was partially procrastination, but also it was an effort to achieve more balance in the scene in terms of colour, composition, and general distribution of assets and areas of interest. Here is one of my crazy annotation things to show what I mean (please note I know absolutely zero serious art theory and have no idea what I’m doing, I’m just going off what feels right!);
I don’t really know what I’m trying to accomplish by doing that. But I’ll leave it there to confuse your eyes. My initial concept had a whole load of plants in one corner, but in the actual 3D diorama this just felt too unbalanced, so I moved the large potted plant to the opposite side of the diorama. This mirrored the green of the flowers and plants on the right, and brought more balance to the colour frequencies around the scene. It also added some interesting leafy shapes for the eye to look at when placed in front of the darker window, instead of just the plain up-and-down rectangle of the window alone. Additionally, I had more interesting light falling on the plant than if it was shoved in the corner. I put yellow into the plant pot to mirror the yellow of the newly-added sunflowers on the mantle. I changed the pink flowers in my concept to sunflowers after getting some critique suggesting it, as they reflect the bright and sunny atmosphere of the room better.
I also edited the roof beams, which I had been putting on hold for a while, to create a more rounded frame for the whole scene. I like how it worked out and think it’s a little easier on the eye, with more swooping curves to lead your gaze about the piece. I’ve done a whole plethora of tiny edits in response to my own gut feelings and also crit from tutors, industry guys, and internet people. I’m not sure I can run through them all, so the last thing I’ll mention is that I’ve swapped out a few materials here and there to improve the overall feel of the scene. Namely, I’ve made the window seat wood rather than stone, and added a wood back to the inside of the alcove above the fireplace (though not sure this is a very realistic or suitable material for right above a fire!). This just adds a little more to look at, and creates colour and texture variation that I didn’t initially have. However, I still need to try and create a little more colour variation in the wood/stone (and this came up in crit too).
Speaking at length of critique, I’ve had tooooonnes this week, both verbally from tutors, and in emails, and on forums such as Polycount. Honestly it’s a little overwhelming and I’m not looking forward to dealing with it all. I won’t go too in-depth, but I definitely have a lot to consider for when I come back to polish;
The above is the crit someone very kindly gave me on Polycount. I’ve compiled a check-list of things to deal with, if possible, when it comes to polish time. I’ve appreciated all the feedback I’ve had, and particularly on Friday I had a really really useful chat with Mike Kelly, a tutor at uni who gave me a feedback session. He showed me how to use my normal map to generate a ‘cavity map’ and overlay this in Photoshop, and also how to create some top-down lighting using the green channel of the normal map also over-layed in Photoshop. It’s a similar way to how textures are made by artists at Blizzard for World of Warcraft. It helped to add depth and form to some of my textures, and it’s improved how I feel about the diorama a lot.
For some reason I’m super tired writing this blog, I guess because I’m recovering from a cold, so the last little thing I wanted to quickly mention is that I’ve now played about with Widget Blueprints, and have created a very simple and minimalistic HUD. If you can even call it that. It is displaying the title of the project and diorama, instructions for people having a go at degree show, and options to view other dioramas and quit, etc. I just wanted something very plain that gave the work some context, had my name on it, and made the project feel like more of a full, navigable ‘game’ as opposed to a set of separate maps in UE4. It also means I won’t have to babysit my work at FMP, and for the most part people should be able to work it themselves.
Nothing fancy, but it was something new and interesting to learn, and I’m always totally up for that. You lose the white text a little at the bottom, but grey text looks strange so a bit stuck there.
So on Monday I begin the concept of my next diorama… Yet to decide whether to go with creating the Dragon Garden or the Fool’s Tent next. I can’t say I’m looking forward to starting from scratch aaaall over again, but it’s just that first little hurdle of making a start, and then I’ll be good to go! For my next diorama I think I will try to bring down the workload a little, and make it smaller or just have fewer assets. I think, though, that the Fool’s Room was probably going to be the big one in terms of unique assets and I might have it a little easier on that front now anyway.
We shall see, we shall see.
Oh how wrong I’ll turn out to be.
I’m a poet.
I didn’t know it.
Time for a career change.