Friday, 21 May 2010

So REALLY, what have you been doing?

Ok, so part 1 – Adapting Design. I had decided to focus on character design and inspired by Josh’s Tin Robot project, I decided to do some 50s Americana inspired robots for my first set of characters. I sketched and drew out some (admittedly without much thought to developing my ideas – something I focussed on in the other part of my coursework). So I designed them, drew them digitally and modelled them in Maya. While doing that I overheard a conversation about zooming out on your model to see what it would look like ‘actual’ size on a screen e.g. a PSP or a mobile phone. Sounds like a good idea I thought, so I zoomed out and low and behold my lovely little robot almost vanished. Significant features were essentially invisible – like the eyes and mouth. Also, the arms and legs were almost indistinct.

From there I set about adapting the design for use on a smaller screen using my main character Doordle. Firstly enlarging the eyes and mouth so they remained visible when the model was shrunk down, I also made the arms and legs wider – I did not make them ‘larger’ over all because I didn’t want the model to become disproportioned with arms and legs that were too long just make them wider so they could still be seen when the model was shrunk down.

During this process I also considered that systems such as the DS and many mobile phones still make good use of pixel art style graphics (mainly because I have been playing Theme Park on the DS at the time and the characters walking around in my (awesome) theme park were all done in pixel art style. A software download later I was working on a new version of Doordle based on my original design and then an adapted version of that using enlarged features such as eyes and mouth, widening his arms and legs and using darker colours on the joints to make them stand out and widening some of the shading and highlighting to make sure their effects were still visible.

Whilst doing my end-of-semester presentation someone (I forget who now – it came from the direction of Pete and Kaile) asked if I felt I still needed to detailed texture in the bodywork on a model that was going to me small and not seen. I said I suppose not at the time, but I think upon reflection I would probably keep that detail in the texture map. I would maybe do another map instead of the one I had used with less detail, but more emphasised with the scuffing it did have so it would be visible. The level of detail in the original texture was rendered pointless when the model was shrunk down, so I feel that still scuffing up the paintwork would be important, but that a different approach to how it was drawn would be needed.
Overall I’m pretty pleased with this part of my work – I managed to develop my Maya skills and create work that had relevance to real world practices.
Below are some of the other robots I modelled for this project as I didn’t include them on the presentation for people to see.

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