Thursday, December 6, 2012

Working in Unity

After completing the texturing and animating of all our game assets, it was time to transfer everything into Unity and start focussing on the cinematographic elements. I ended up doing this part of the project, which I was fine with as I enjoy figuring out lighting effects, camera angles, etc. to compliment a certain atmosphere.

We exported our Maya files in sections as .FBX files (so the cabin, warehouse, Tabitha and Albus were all separately exported). The first thing I realised, to my horror, was that when I imported Tabitha into Unity, some vertices on her hands had gone completely awry:


This happened in Maya, and is an issue with the weight painting, where if a vertex has no joint influence it seems to stick out at strange angles. I managed to solve it within Maya but unfortunately in Unity it's still there - after trying a handful of different solutions with my tutor, including adding a transparency mask on the texture so that it might be invisible for those vertices, and using Maya's weight hammer tool, I decided there wasn't enough time to go through and solve the issue for each scene's model, so we've had to leave it as it is.

Another issue was with the texture of her skirt - the normals were facing the wrong way, which I should have reversed whilst modelling, but instead I ended up using a self-illuminating shader in Unity (one that's generally used for leaves drawn on flat planes) and tweaking it so that it didn't appear to glow so much. This was an adequate solution but meant that light had no effect on the skirt, so it looks a little off, but should hopefully not be too noticeable.

We knew it was very important to get the right lighting and atmosphere in the warehouse room where Tabitha comes across the robot - we wanted shafts of light coming through the window like a spotlight, casting dramatic shadows. We spent some time experimenting with bloom camera effects to really emphasise the mystical quality of that moment. We were also hoping to add particle effects such as floating specks of dust and smoke, which we couldn't do in time for the deadline but still hope to achieve for the exhibition next week.


(it doesn't look nearly as good on my non-pro edition - there's no shadows or effects - but just to get an idea...)

I also had to work on some scripts and animations to control camera switching, texture switching (for Tabitha's changing expressions), and camera movement. These took me a while to grasp, but I'd just about got it before my Unity started playing up, and I ran out of time to finish the cinematic before hand-in. I always say it, but next project, I definitely need to be more realistic with on time management.



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