Nuclear Dawn Showreel & New Character

Speve-O
polycounter lvl 12
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Speve-O polycounter lvl 12
Hey guys

I recently finished another Nuclear Dawn character, the Consortium Exo Trooper. I also created a showreel showcasing all 3 of the Nuclear Dawn characters that I have created so far. I changed the last character slightly based on the crits you guys gave . . thanks for that.

You can download the reel below.

High Quality (64mb)
Divx Movie (Mirror)
Quicktime Movie (Mirror)

Medium Quality (41mb)
Divx Movie (Mirror)
Quicktime Movie (Mirror)

The older characters have received minor updates as well.

Here is a shot of the new character (3988 Triangles, 1x 1024x1024 texture), as well as the wireframe.

ND_Tm1_Exo_Large.jpg

ND_Tm1_Exo_Wire.jpg

For more shots, texture sheets, turntable rotations etc, you can go to my site at www.retro-shinobi.com

Any comments/suggestions are always welcome and I hope you like the work. This is the first showreel I have ever put together, so it was an interesting learning experience.

Note: The Nuclear Dawn mod is always looking for talented people to help out. If you are interested you can e-mail the project leader (David Lyon) at davel@nuclear-dawn.net

Cheers

Steve

Replies

  • MoP
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    MoP polycounter lvl 12
    Excellent models, excellent textures, kickass showreel.

    From my position of vague inexperience I'd say that showreel has everything it needs, and is assembled very well.

    Only thing I didn't really like was when the texture flats for the environments came up, the environment model turnarounds were being cut off at the edges and bottom, which made it harder to look at them. Just a minor thing though.

    The subtle specular on the guys is pretty cool indeed.

    The scratchy-style texturing on the models works well, but seems a bit overdone in places, as if the guys get their battle armour then spend 30 minutes carefully going over it with a penknife, creating uniform scratches everywhere...
    I'd expect to see more bullet impacts, a few slightly wider scratches of exposed metal where heavier things have hit them, and more wear and tear on the "edges" and less on the flat open planes (where stuff tends to scratch less).
    The kinda scratching you have here would only make sense if these guys have been in hundreds of major knife fights with katana-wielding centipedes.

    The environments often seem to have more polys in them than they need, I think you should either optimise (pipes and rubble mainly, it was far too smooth geometrically, the evenly-lit textures were hiding all those polys anyway), or don't bother showing the wireframes for the environments since it seems pretty lazy practise.
    Although I can appreciate that these environments were purely for use in the showreel, I think it'd be more consistent if you optimised EVERYTHING down to a level which it would be used in a game...

    Great work though, anyone would be proud to have that stuff in their portfolio.

    MoP
  • Josh_Singh
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    Josh_Singh polycounter lvl 12
    dang speve 0 this is your first post on the new boards! noice.
    Dude im always so impressed with the nuclear dawn stuff you guys are coming up with. I love how the characters are put in little mini-environments.
    Im in the process of downloading the show-reel right now as i type this. Ill give you a crit as soon as I see it....

    Ok I just saw it, and for the most part TIGHT!! I thought it was very clever how you got the model to have a grey outline as it overlaped the texture (how did you do that?)
    The only thing that bugged me was on the environment section the textures were HUGE! i could barely see the model, plus that section kind of drags. The characters are great. Also I would like to see more of that concept work, you could definitly replace a few seconds of environment with more stills of that sweet sweet concept art.

    I disagree with poop. I think you texturing skills are great as far as this style goes. It looks as though you certainly have a visible technique to making the textures grimy and beat up, but that in no way cheapens the texture. Great work! I look forward to seeing more!
    What would be really neat is for you to put up an sdk for the community to work on, cause these models are SOLID!
  • Irritant
    Kickass model, but give him a little color. Maybe some brown dirt on him in some areas might help. Right now he almost looks greyscale.
  • poopinmymouth
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    poopinmymouth polycounter lvl 13
    I like the overall effect of these guys, will work nicely in the mod. However as a showreel piece, I don't really like it. Mainly it looks like a light bake on the model, with some sort of Global Illumination or a light tracer, then some grunge overlays, and a little bevel and emboss lines in areas. The few areas that do have hand painting (the wrinkles and the straps) are not very well executed. While they work great as a mod piece because the end result is all that matters, if I was looking at this as your application to a company, I would probably pass because It does not show me your texturing skills.

    The model is looking pretty nice, I like the thick feel to him.
  • Daz
    Very nicely presented Steven and really top notch work. Poop may pass, but Id be pretty damn surprised If most companies would.
    Its well within the professional quality, and better then most reels I see. What it lacks is flesh and bones, but I dont know what your intent with the reel is.
    I love the little dioramas you do, but strangely, I really dont like the fact theyre on a neat little cutout circular base. I dunno, I think it looks a bit contrived, and would look better a random shape. Entirely my own personal preference, and not detrimental to the work. Im with MoP in that theres some odd little moments in them where polygon density seems strangely high ( e.g tops of broken pillars ) and that the uniform scratching is a bit too well, uniform. Faces could use some work with realism, but the modeling work is all very sound and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Crash
    Solid model (as far as i can tell), allthough the character textures could use alot of work. as mentioned above it looks like a bad overlay.
  • steady
    stunningly beautiful models you have made. work on the texture painting skills and you'll be golden.
  • cep
    Don't know what the hell alot of you guys are talking about, the texture looks great, very well done.

    Have you guys not seen the concept?
  • Speve-O
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    Speve-O polycounter lvl 12
    Hey guys

    Thanks for all the replies. This reel and characters were a learning experience for me, and I'm always trying to improve.

    Poop: If only putting the characters together was as easy as the process you describe. Sure were not talking overflowing fabric, intricate decorative textures, complex hairstyles, bare flesh, etc, but these characters presented their own set of unique challenges and many lessons were learned. I am sorry you don't think its up to scratch . . all I can do is take your advice and try harder with my next pieces.

    The reason I chose to do the showreel, was well, just because obviously the characters are thematicaly similar, and the music was initially composed with inspiration from the mod, so it just seemed like a good idea to put them all together.

    I think the biggest problem is variation. Everybody asks me, "When are you going to do some hot chick, or just a regular character?" As Daz pointed out, flesh & blood is definately missing, and my next portfolio pieces will definately address this.

    Daz: Initially I experimented with the non-uniform base idea, but when I did the turntable rotations it just looked so 'odd' I decided to go to with a smooth circular base. Maybe I just needed to play around with it more, or maybe my designs were way too uneven? I'll give it a bash with the next character base . . if I do one. smile.gif

    Anyways, once again thanks for all your honest comments and critique. Thats why I love polycount. smile.gif

    ghost_rider: If you want to see more concept stuff by Lim Ri Kai, go visit ukitakumuki.deviantart.com and checkout the gallery. He is truly awesome. If you want to know about the outline thing e-mail me, explanation would take up too much space. smile.gif

    Cheers

    Steve
  • killingpeople
    excellent model and texture, imo.

    here are my thoughts some issues:
    - i like the armor texture. it looks like tough metal/plastic that is brush-washed. seems logical in my mind. sure, more dents grime is cool, that is up to your vision.

    - don't show the wires of your enviroment stand. i think it works well and is useful for presentation, i feel the textures are basic, sure, but well done and it gives a feeling of harmonized value to the actual model, texture wise you are displaying, so they are complimentive. i personally wouldn't spend the time to clean up the enviro model's mesh. it would be good to have it low as well but you could spend the time creating something of more value to your portfolio. you could pan the enviro wires out of view, maybe make their wires a less visable color, or even make them disolve or disappear completely.

    - two things that are bothering me with your enviroment stand in this one blush.gif
    1) the top of that pole looks like an exploded trick cigar. i'd go for a pinch, bend or flakey break due to rotted rust.
    2.) totally impulsive here tongue.gif that paint texture .. i have this impluse to tatter the rug. may i .. just .. *turns the man hole clockwise so the line doesn't line up and repaints a newer line*

    - i would go for different music for this reel. it feels way to "fantastic" for my taste - should use something funner, i'd say. it's just my opinion, but it made me feel uneasy. granted it is excellent work *blush* it's just what i thought and i don't know why *hides* so take that for what it's worth.

    pim was hitting on something interesting with what he said. an ideal reel is to visually communicate certain skills. the reel you have shown here is weak in some skill sets that employeers ideally looking for (even if this was not the intent for this reel). i got that pim wanted to remind you that for a final reel, you should address and prove you are able to do said skillsets (painting - and others pointed out some flags with your modelling choices). you are good, you have that spark, you deserve some type of criticism.
  • NoSeRider
    Considering most HR people aren't artists....I think this demo reel is impressive enouph to get work.

    The texturing shows ability to work noise into texture, rather then shading and contrast.

    I like how you alpha channeled out the rotating model as it over lapses the side panel.

    I like the music.
  • MoP
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    MoP polycounter lvl 12
    NoSeRider: You do realise that at most companies, the lead artists usually look at showreels to decide about applicants, right?
    They don't hand the videos to any old random member of staff, you know... The HR people don't usually decide on the quality of the artists they're looking to hire - the art team does.
  • oDD
    the trooper is superb! damn i love it. the stand makes it even more cool, one thing that bothers me a little is that the guy looks too grayish, i would like to see a little more color variation in him on the other hand maybe in game it will look different...

    awesome work!
  • poopinmymouth
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    poopinmymouth polycounter lvl 13
    [ QUOTE ]

    Poop: If only putting the characters together was as easy as the process you describe. Sure were not talking overflowing fabric, intricate decorative textures, complex hairstyles, bare flesh, etc, but these characters presented their own set of unique challenges and many lessons were learned. I am sorry you don't think its up to scratch . . all I can do is take your advice and try harder with my next pieces.


    [/ QUOTE ]

    I think you might have missed the point of my comment, so let me elaborate. I think the piece looks good, and is up to scratch. What I am advising, is that you work on your hand painting skills. There is nothing wrong with using light bakes, or overlays, but you need to make sure that if it has things in it you have to make up, you can match it in quality. I can spot the areas you did, versus the parts that are generated by rendering. The average consumer would not of course, but I was just saying that I think the end result would have come out better if you could match the quality of render with your painted bits.

    Not trying to insult, only help.
  • NoSeRider
    [ QUOTE ]
    The HR people don't usually decide on the quality of the artists they're looking to hire - the art team does.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    My understanding is you have to go thru HR 1st though.
  • MoP
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    MoP polycounter lvl 12
    NoSeRider: My point still stands - generic HR people don't look at the showreel, a professional artist does.

    Speve-O: How much of these battlesuit textures are hand-painted in Photoshop or whatever? Did you use light bakes for the base texture?
  • Speve-O
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    Speve-O polycounter lvl 12
    Mop & Poop: To be honest, all of the lighting on these characters is hand painted. That was one of the biggest challenges for these pieces, and extremely time consuming. I experimented with vertex lighting but the quality just didn't cut it. I did use vertex lighting as a base for the face texture though.

    Poop, perhaps its just that I concentrated most of my effort on getting the armour to look right, and I didn't spend enough time on the other areas. But regardless, I appreciate the crits.

    Cheers

    Steve
  • MoP
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    MoP polycounter lvl 12
    I thought you might have painted it all. I got that impression.
    Poop: Heh, that must be a compliment then, if you can spot the areas he's rendered the texture in, when he hand painted it all! smile.gif
  • poopinmymouth
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    poopinmymouth polycounter lvl 13
    Kudos then, the volume looks very realistic. Next time work a bit more on color variation, and changing up the materials. It all has that very dry look, that comes from light bakes. Even though it was hand painted, it still comes across as if it was a barebones lightbake with some overlays. Try to get all the elements integrated together, without haveing them all seemingly the same material.
    Keep up the good work!
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 12
    The design and meshflow of the character is great. You've been producing some top-notch stuff lately. My only beef is with the skin, its high res but very bland. Doesn't seem like you're taking full advantage of the resolution you're working with. Also I think it might seem this way due to the skins lack of colour/depth. I'm sure the same look could of been pulled off with a lower resolution. If you're going from some concept art and it looks like the art, thats cool (and good for you for pulling it off if this is the case) otherwise some more colour couldn't hurt. laugh.gif

    So yah, great model. Can't wait to see him in-game laugh.gif
  • FunkaDelicDass
    Considering that these models are for a HL2 mod, I'd worry less about your texture fidelity, Speve-O, and start thinking about how you're going to use some DX9 shaders on these guys. Aside from character faces, HL2's texture work is pretty basic; there aren't many texutures in the game that stand out on their own. It's how they all work together and use the shader support for a veriety of reflections that makes the art so cohesive. Your mod has a lot of characters with fancy armor, so take full advantage of that Source engine. You reel looks nice but I'd rather see how these guys look in-game.

    -Funk
  • HotRod2K5
    nice, looks like one of the baddies from Killzone.
  • vahl
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    vahl polycounter lvl 12
    good one man, really good one

    tis nothing but I just love the little environment sample, really make the model more "living"

    as for the shaders, yah a good spec map will really do justice to these badass models smile.gif looking forward to this
  • rollin
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    rollin polycounter lvl 13
    ok now i have to post too

    the texture style is one i like realy much but i also agree that there could be a lot more depth at some areas..
    i love all these ND models from you and i love the concepts too

    i also think some color variations can help a lot but for this style you should keep it low. it should help you to differ the different parts of his armor.. even some brighnes changes could help

    the enviroment parts a very well done and i personaly like these round bases.. i also think your themes aren´t bad
    but well. i´m no one who will offer you a job wink.gif so i can´t say what they want to see

    about the musik.. i think it fit in very well but i can understand if someone think it is too "fantastic".. maybe make it a little bit more silent .. .. or use the packman sounds wink.gif

    i would suggest to try to bring your painting style to the point.. improve it but don´t change it smile.gif

    ohh .. and what does light bakes mean?
  • Thermidor
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    Thermidor polycounter lvl 11
    i think it looks great , the point of veiw that you should use more detail in your textures is valid , but i think this is why normaly futureistic soldiers always look the same ...
  • spacemonkey
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    spacemonkey polycounter lvl 11
    Hey man nice work, all the character are good representations of the concept art. I think they will be good additions to your portfolio, its nice to show consitency of style.
    As for constructive crits I would say that the models would have a better feel if you had exagerated the boots ever so slightly. With there being so much weight on the top of the characters bodies (big chunky armour) the legs immediately feel a little slender - its a visual thing and you may have done what would be anatomically correct but imo what looks right always takes precedence.
    The skins seem very scratchy - but I think they work and your going to use specular and bump maps too right ? which will obviosuly make a big difference. From a portfolio perspective I would like to see some more human anatomny on display and perhaps a model or two with various clothes/material to showcase your skills and versatility.
    Very fun video and I would be surprised if dont find work in the next few months.
    wink.gif
  • JordanW
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    JordanW sublime tool
    the video looks nice, i have one major problem with pretty much everything in it... technically its great, your skills are really good, you form nice meshes, and good textures. However...the 'art' is really boring to me. I dont think it's so much the models as it is the textures. They're EXTREMELY monotone and just plain. The guy without the mask is also pretty much just a generic white guy. There's nothing really interesting or intiguing here.

    I hope you dont take this personal or anything, you did a really good job creating these, it's just that...they're boring in my oppinion.
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