Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Spaceship - modelling, texturing and animating

I struggled with coming up with an interesting spaceship concept - all I could think of were the typical flying saucers and the sleek sci-fi stuff that's popular in video games nowadays. 

My alien is a sort of stone-like structure, so I decided to look into old ruins, particularly Aztec ruins, for inspiration. I put together a moodboard of some aspects I liked: 

Here's some concept sketches, and the final concept art I used as modelling reference. I adapted the general pyramid-like shape of the ruins, but experimented with different proportions and shapes. 

There's also a rough floor plan of the interior showing the general shape I'm going for, although it's quite clear that the interior and the alien are far too large for the ship - I'm thinking it's more of a transportation vessel, and the protagonist awakes on a different planet rather than inside the ship itself. 

Due to my lack of inspiration when it came to the spaceship, and resulting delay in finalising an idea, I didn't really leave myself much time to model. I hand-painted a texture using many stone-effect-like custom brushes in Photoshop, and added a bump map, but the geometry is, as you can see, not very intricate at all and doesn't really resemble the concept art. 

I'm not at all experienced in modelling architectural structures such as arches and columns, so I had to leave out a lot of those details. If I'd had more time to spend on the ship, I'd have happily looked into tutorials, but sadly I didn't.

(the UV map messed up a little when I decided to add in a load of bevels after applying the texture... I hope to hide this using clouds/lighting)

However, in the actual film, the bottom of the ship will be all that will be immediately visible to the viewer, so I decided not to worry about it too much (again, comping is the most important part of this module). 

To animate the ship accurately, I created a new camera and imported a screenshot of the relevant film footage as an image plane. Rather than moving the ship itself to fit the perspective of the buildings, I moved and oriented the camera until the image plane was roughly in line. This meant that I could move the ship up, down, left and right without worrying about it's rotational values. 

The animation will be exported as a .TIF to retain transparency values, and then imported into After Effects ready for comping. This will either be done as a single pass or through different layer passes (diffuse, shadow, occlusion, etc.)

Although certainly it would be more beneficial to render my animated footage in different passes so I can manipulate them in After Effects, it really depends on how much time I have left.

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