JamesMeader's Big Improvement Thread

1
polycounter lvl 4
Offline / Send Message
JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
[------------------------------------------------------------LATEST PROJECT WIP------------------------------------------------------------]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I've experienced some bad stuff in my career this month. I do not want to go into it as I only want to look upwards.

I have problems I need fixing and I've got ambitions that need succeeded.

I've decided to push my hardsurface modeling as well as general 3ds max knowledge. This also includes pushing my understanding with realistic textures, whether thats carrying on with quixel or using substance painter. I will also look into understanding design language and start drawing again. 

My first project is following the Simon Fuchs Turret tutorial

Here is my progress of the Turret:- 



I've found a good way of keeping up with the tutorial though it took a few attempts to get it right.

I can now start the HP. My approach is to watch a section at a time at full speed, then watch a second time half speed and write notes and then the slowest speed and follow. But like with most things this could change however I want to make sure I dont miss any solid advice. 

I have some big goals in mind, one of them being cutting my times in half and becoming more efficient at hardsurface modeling. 

By the end of the year I want to be more confident in my ability and be able to tackle advanced concepts that currently scare the shit out of me.

Any advice, encourage or virtual high fives would be greatly appreciated. If there was any time to have the polycount community around me now is the time.

Thank you. 

Replies

  • Poseidon8734
    Offline / Send Message
    Poseidon8734 polycounter lvl 3
    I like your gumption! It is always good to have a goal and the drive to reach it. Good work so far on the turret. I would encourage you to try to also(at the same time) work on other things off of references.
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    @Poseidon8734 Thank you and yes I plan to do some quick weekend studies/projects that will take what I've learnt from the turret. That will also push me in terms of design as well. 
  • Poseidon8734
    Offline / Send Message
    Poseidon8734 polycounter lvl 3
  • JaySmitt
    Offline / Send Message
    JaySmitt polycounter lvl 8
    Was gonna pick up that tutorial this weekend myself, will be cool seeing your progress. Best of luck man!
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    @JaySmitt really worth it, there's over 4 hours of video just on scripts and workflow alone. Though 3 scripts that are used you have to pay for but personally they are really worth it. 

    Thanks, I hope to post a worthy update by the end of the week. 
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    Here is some progress from the Simon Fuchs Tutorial. I am currently on part 4/8 off the highpoly stage. I did experience some difficultly getting to grips with the mindset of preparing 'cutting' objects but once I did a few I totally understood the method. 

    Pretty happy with the progress so far however once getting into Meshfusion thats when things started to get a bit stressful....

    Maybe I just got the trail at the wrong time with 10.2 coming out so soon. Because I wanted to follow what Fuchs was doing I decided to just go with 10.1.v2. It hasn't been easy and it took me a rather long time to get to grips with Meshfusion mainly the scaling which turned out to be the biggest problem. But as you can see I ended up with a pretty good result for that section being the first of many to go through this process:-

    Blockout->Smoothing Group->Details->Cutting Objects->Modo Meshfusion->ZBrush for Dynamesh and Polish->Decimate 

    I am so pleased with the results, even more so considering I had so many problems at the beginning. This has definitely got me really excited for the rest of the turret and its also definitely already achieved the results and expectations I had taking on this challenge.

    Following the advice and working on something side the turret I found some awesome concepts by David Harrington:-

    After a disastrous weekend trying to make an awesome weapon from Ratchet and Clank I decided to focus on getting blockouts more solid.

    Right now I've noticed that the 3rd one could be a bit more rectanglier and that tells me I still got a while to go but Im feeling more positive about.

    As you can see I took the first two and 'hardsurfaced' them up. 

    Overall and especially with the blockouts it gets me to stretch my fingers with all the shortcuts, scripts and tools used on the turret.
    Some details are missing from the boxes but will be added soon

    Just going to keep pushing, get past any depression that comes my way. I should know by now that I can conquer any problem that comes by my way but sometimes I forget. 

    Any crit is appreciated, thank you. 
  • Ouran
    Offline / Send Message
    Ouran polycounter lvl 4
    Solid progress so far ! I can only agree with the idea of modeling other concepts by yourself on the side of following the tutorial.
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    @Ouran Thank you! Yep, makes total sense and gives me the right confidence booster that I need!
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    So this is what I've done today!

    I'm very tempted to do it all over again as I'm not 100% happy with how smooth the center piece, especially around what should be beveled edges. I'll have a think. I guess its more practice!



    I think I'll be getting back on with the Ratchet and Clank weapon a bit later, I'll post the concept along with an update on that.

    Any crit or suggestions about the bevel in question above then let me know (I could even point it out but i think its pretty obvious. 
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    Ok so made the change that I wanted with the top connector. A bit happier and took less time than I expected.

    Now to get working on the ratchet and clank weapon!
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    Battled a bad case of unmotivated tiredness and spent the morning working on some details around the main connection of the arm. Then I suddenly woke up and felt more motivated at a stupid hour and got most of the meshfusion done on the main arms!

    no Ratchet and Clank weapon tonight, its time to sleep. 
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    Today has been an other good day! A bit more progress! It feels really weird doing the hardsurfacing without a lot of hassle. It seems like all the work was put in getting a solid blockout and thinking the extra steps at the beginning. Again, I think I could be quicker even though I actually have sped up a bit more. I'm never 100% satisfied! 

    Crit is encouraged, thank you. 
  • IxenonI
    Offline / Send Message
    IxenonI polycounter lvl 11
    Hey @JamesMeader, this looks aswesome so far. Great progress, can`t wait to see the finished asset!
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    @lxenoi thank you very much for the compliments! Probably the biggest learning experience I've undertaken.

    So here is todays update, I also finished video 5/8 of the highpoly so my plan now is to drink my livers worth in beer and whisky.

  • Sajeet
    Offline / Send Message
    Sajeet polycounter lvl 3
    Looking really great! Are you going to make a lowpoly aswell or is it just highpoly practice?
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    @Sajeet thank you very much. The challenge is to follow the whole tutorial so will be making the low poly as well! 
  • Sajeet
    Offline / Send Message
    Sajeet polycounter lvl 3
    Nice! looking forward to see it to the bitter end :)
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    Hey, so I had a bit of a weekend off from the turret. Sunday however I decided to mess around in Modo and it actually really helped. I will post some new stuff eventually but my time is mainly taken up with the turret.

    I've started the actual guns now, been really fun especially now I've got into a really good groove with Meshfusion. One thing that hasnt helped and something that has been mentioned in the tutorials is a lack of organisation, its something I should have really considered. Once I started oragnising things more for myself more so in the Modo scenes things became a lot easier.

    So this is everything from Modo now in Zbrush ready for some dynamesh and polish fun fun fun!

    I'll be sure to post an other update later tonight or definitely tomorrow!

    Thanks!
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    Doesnt feel like minor changes but by the looks of things it looks like it....

    I also adjusted and added some pieces to the barrel wing as well as adding more details to the actual barrel.

    I have finished HP video 6/8 which is something i wanted to achieve before the end of my short week.

    Now to drink beer. 

    *disclaimer:- I dont have a drinking problem, yet anyway, we'll see by the end of the challenge*
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    The highpoly is done!

    Its been an interesting 2 ish months I guess.

    Yeah I think it took way too long, but it shouldnt matter whilst learning these lessons.

    I keep thinking maybe making the turret 90% to what Simon is wrong but then again I think 'well the point i guess is too make the turret right?' But yeah maybe I could have changed the design but for me I find it a lot easier following a good set of instructions than watching and trying to apply those techniques to my own exercises. Seeing them in action and applying them to the same actions just makes sense to me. 

    Keyshot was really fun and probably will be my new go-too when it comes to HP renders. 



    Now to crack on with the lowpoly......fuck. 
  • Sajeet
    Offline / Send Message
    Sajeet polycounter lvl 3
    gogogo lowpoly! :D Nice hp m8! :)
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    @sajeet thank you very much. I've got a very small portion of the lp done but it's going to take a while. I'm aiming to have it done by next weekend. I hope. 
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    So the retopo is going ok. This is a bit of new way of doing things but then also a variation to how I usually go about reopo-ing hardsurface stuff

    So I was going to wait till the end and write a postmortem on the entire project but I thought maybe that was a bit too much to write down and I'm sure even if I cover things in sections over time I still will be writing a lot once I have it all done.

    So here is a list of the many positive and negative things I've come across during this project so far...

    THE POSITIVES:-

    *Using new scripts such as: Rappa Tools, Miau's Script Pack Vol 2, SlideKnit and soulburn scripts to name a few
    *Better understanding with Boolean operations in 3ds max (pro-boolean too)
    *Quicker and more sensible modelling decisions 
    *More 3ds max shortcuts cutting down on time
    *Using Modo/Meshfusion! The ultimate TimeSaver!
    *Zbrush Decimation principles and better understanding
    *Hardsurface detailing in ZBrush (alphas)
    *Select similar in Graphite Modelling (3ds max)
    (very small thing to learn but something thats been hiding in max all this time and I've only just found it)
    *Utilizing hide and unhide in 3ds max a lot more proficiently 
    *Realizing how important orientating and scaling is and how disruptive it can be if not established correctly.
    *Fixing imported obj normal issue
    (I rather annoying problem I had whenever I imported an obj from an other scene and start editing it, the normals would mess up and no matter what smoothing group i'd change it too it wouldnt fix. The way that fixed it was to select all faces and detach them and then I could edit the smoothing group.
    *Utilizing scene explorer
    (I'm still using 3dsmax 2012 and a quick look on scriptspot I found a great copy of the scene explorer)

    THE NEGATIVES

    *Poor understanding with cutting objects to be used in Modo/Meshfusion
    (this is definitely resolved now once through the entire process)
    *Poor Organisation
    *Poor attention to detail (linked to many other issues)
    *Constant failure keeping proper symmetry with assets
    *Complete fuck up in scale and orientating 
    *Took too long to get to grips with Modo, its not hard!

    So thats what I have at the moment, I actually hope to have the lowpoly done by tomorrow. I can then start the unwrap and maybe at the weekend I could play my Playstation for the first time weeks and play Dishonoured 1! 

    Heres hoping. 

  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    All the unwrapping is done and now all thats left is to pack it all.

    I really enjoyed the new method of unwrapping, again finding out this method and discovering alot of the new stuff I've learnt during this period is embarrassing as fuck. But ignore that and just appreciate the fact I am moving forward. 

    This weekend I have been thinking about my current approaches and future prospects.

    I want to put it here seeing as this is an improvement thread afterall and I want to document all my thinking as its all part of my improvement. 

    I plan to delete everything apart from 1 or 2 pieces of work off my portfolio next year. This is because I feel alot of work will suffer against the turret and other new work and also because I'm changing my specialties.

    Handpainted textures will always be close to my heart but I think its time to work on more realistic textures.

    Also I want to organize my weeks better. I have the luxury of spending all my time on my portfolio until I decide to start looking for new work. I reckon working on the turret just 9-5 for now would be great as long as I dont get distracted. I'm actually aiming to have it all done by the 30th November!

    So my plan after 5 is to get back and work on other projects, its something I was doing a few weeks ago but the turret just took over. No more late nights, they are not necessary, I should be able to do everything within a work day. 

    I'm also wanting to update my CV design too as well consider moving my site to SquareSpace, I've spent a lot time making my website from scratch with the same knowledge I've had for 7 years and I think its time to move to something more professional. I know I could use Artstation but I dont want too.  

    I know all the UV stuff is boring but I want to keep this thread alive, so anytime I'm moving forward I want to document it. 
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    UV's are packed, maybe adjust some spacing as some islands look a little close to one an other.
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    Continued....as soon as I thought I was done with the UV I made a massive cock-up and had to fix a lot of problems. I will never trust the select similar function again. 
  • Nuclear Angel
    Online / Send Message
    Nuclear Angel polycounter lvl 6
    As you mentioned, you should up the distance between some of your UV islands, as you got no area to pad between for your textures. Otherwise it is looking solid! Keep it up.
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    @Nuclear Angel Thanks, I've gone round this morning and just moved and rescaled some pieces so all i can do now is hope my bake goes well!
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    All baked and ready to texture!
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    Its been quite the journey, I'm a drama queen, but yeah I cant believe after some of the challenges I went through that I'm posting the final outcome.

    I cant wait to apply all of what I've learnt to the next project that I'll start on Monday.

    Its a shame I haven't done anything else but the turret but I think it just proved how much more I need to learn.

    So here are the final shots:-


    Lastly, big up Simon ( @IxenonI ) for the awesome tutorial. I really encourage anyone who feels like they could improve on speeding up when it comes to hardsurfacing as well many other techniques to improve overall work to give the tutorial a go.  

    Thanks for the support throughout the first of many improvement projects from me. Expect bigger and better things, this is just the beginning. 
  • IxenonI
    Offline / Send Message
    IxenonI polycounter lvl 11
    Nice work @JamesMeader  - Looking forward to your next projects using the new skills! Thanks for the kind words about my tutorial...
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    So I started my next project on monday and its going well.

    I plan to make this Mech concepted by Kris Thaler

    So far I have a fairly solid blockout and from the lessons I learnt from the last project I wanted to push my blockout a lot further than I have in the past. To add, I wanted to also pay more attention since the added complexity of making sure I can have the cockpit too. This is something I have yet to do (exterior with an interior) 


    I've had to figure out for myself what the back of the mech could look like. The side profile does give some indication. I am using some titanfall reference but dont want to add unnecessary complexity.

    Also some proportions are slightly out compared to the concept especially around the cockpit opening, maybe something I can fix but I doubt it because it does work.  

    I'm also making a pistol from Titanfall in the evenings and at least one day of the weekend. I've only worked on it for a few hours so not much to show.

    The ratchet and clank gun Ive mentioned in the past is dead. 

    I hope to have the highpoly mech done by christmas (21st dec) and ideally have the pistol finished, however for the pistol I really want to use substance painter. 

    I really enjoy DDO however the more and more I look around it seems like substance is the biggest player now for games companies. I think maybe the only thing that could make DDO more desirable is making a standalone app and normal map baking, maybe, maybe not. I also fancy using Knald just see if it offers anything better than xnormal (I have aboslutely no complaints with xnormal)

    I encourage any crit so dont hesitate. 

    oh and lastly the Turret is now on artstation with a marmoset viewer, the textures are slightly updated 

    Thanks. 
  • Kid.in.the.Dark
    Offline / Send Message
    Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 2
    Very solid blockout, I'd adjust the arm length though... the arms seem longer from the perspective view in the concept in comparison to your model. The concept has that dynamic lanky look to the arms as yours has more of a stubby look.

    Keep going though, I look forward to seeing the progression :)
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    @kid.in.the.dark Thanks for the advice I will adjust that for sure. 

  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    Update on the mech.

    highrez

    I plan to add the absent detail with stamped normals in NDO2. 

    Instead of using ZBrush I opted to use some floaters where I could and wanted. I always have mixed feelings about floaters, i think maybe just because you notice them when you do HP renders, but I mean if the greats can do it why cant I? 

    I notice some problems with some of the details as well as its left hand (a bit long) and these will all be fixed once I do all the final renders.

    I was really happy with how MTB3 handled the highpoly too.

    Now to start the retopo. 
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    I got so much more done to what I originally had planned before Christmas.

    Every step ended up going a lot more smoother than I anticipated.

    I have a few days before I go on holiday for Christmas and I plan to have some fun and make a bit of diorama for the mech just to make it a bit more interesting than what I have right now. Christmas will also give me time to rest my eyes and I can add the changes I need to the mech texture if needed. Maybe I could add some more decals around.

    I obviously didn't stay 100% to the texture wear and tear from the concept but I wanted to expand but not go too overboard.  

    This will be my last post of 2016, thanks for the support. 

    Expect bigger and better things from me in 2017, no holds barred next year. 

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 
  • Nerf Bat Ninja
    Offline / Send Message
    Nerf Bat Ninja polycounter lvl 7
    This mech is looking great, but I wish the renders were a bit bigger so we can get a look at all those details you worked so hard on.  
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    @Nerf Bat Ninja Here is the hires  ! Thank you very much. 
  • Christian Nordgren
    Offline / Send Message
    Christian Nordgren polycounter lvl 5
    That blue light on the yellowish metal is just great. Maybe you can push that contrast even more, everything is maybe a bit to shiney!
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    @Christian Nordgren thank you for the compliment. I bloody love that contrast too, shame those are the only luminations from the concept. Yeah I was thinking maybe it was alll a bit too shiny. I could reduce maybe the orange paint just to add more contrast. 
  • Ged
    Online / Send Message
    Ged polycounter lvl 10
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    @Ged thank you very much. Started the diorama which is the first time in a while I'm designing something so look forward to that in the new year! 
  • Tzur_H
    Offline / Send Message
    Tzur_H polycounter lvl 3
    great work on the mech! 
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    @Tzur_H Thank you so much
  • Ootrick
    Offline / Send Message
    Ootrick polycounter lvl 4
    Great work! I'm going to revamp my hard surface skills with that tutorial over the break as well, been sitting on it for a while haven't had the time, excellent results man! Keep it up, would love you see you tackle a HS environment. 
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    @Ootrick sounds like a good plan. Have fun with the tutorial, best thing I would recommend is watch 20 minutes or so at a time and write notes. Once you get a lot deeper into it your'll get into a groove. 

    Thanks alot, I am making a sort of HS environment with doing the diorama for the mech, and it's something original too! pressure! But no 3d till the 3rd January! 
  • Moltar
    Offline / Send Message
    Moltar polycounter lvl 3
    Very inspiring, James.  Great job.
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    @Moltar Thank you very much, very anxious to get back to it!
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    Happy New year.

    Back into the swing of things with depression, anxiety, positivity, eagerness, cockiness and negativity. So basically a lovely cocktail of emotions rattling through my brain. Feels good. 

    I've started blocking out the diorama for the mech. I'm struggling with trying to keep similar consistency between the diorama and mech so hence why I'm posting it at this particular phase. I will warn you its still very blocky with a lot of meshes with smoothing but definitely room for added complexity. 


    A few floating things and holes but I guess you will just have to use your imagination, the floor will have a lot of bolts, grooves and details but I guess I want more. I keep getting reminded I have as much time I want and I think I need to if I want what I want out of this piece. I think I'm also looking at very conflicting influences int Firefall's HS style as well as Paul Pepera's old scifi studies. But maybe I can find a really nice balance between both influences.

    So I've decided I cant do 2 projects at the same time. I've failed too many times but its important to take breaks from the main project. So I'm planning to do HS studies once a week to stretch my muscles more. 

    I found the concept on a thread on here and will link the ref here
    And here is the result 

    Thanks for checking out the thread, its set to get even doozey-er than ever!
  • JamesMeader
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesMeader polycounter lvl 4
    The diorama is going alright I guess but I'm not 100% convinced. Always end up with these problems when making something original. I still think I could have it all done by the end of the month.

    In the mean time I have been carrying on with my studies, this time I've worked on the motion tracker from Alien. A lot of what I plan to make in my spare time are from the 'hardsurface weekly challenge

    So here is the ref, I was actually looking at multiple ref's and some details were on one piece and some were not so I just chose what I thought looked cool and challenging. 



    Still love MTB3 and how I can just use it to render out these studies so easily with no lagging. 
1
Sign In or Register to comment.