Specialization Post Mortem

Positives

Blendspaces

b0c3dbde3d427a177535538938cad71b.gifThroughout this project, I finally managed to enhance my knowledge of blend spaces. Prior to this, I was only capable of “1D” blend spacing. Now, however, I feel confident in my ability to accomplish regular Blendspacing.  This being said, my example didn’t work as well as intended. Doing the whole character pipeline meant that I wasn’t able to accomplish as many animations as I had wanted. A good blend space depends on the quality and quantity of the animations that you plug into it.
I am eager to test this process further in upcoming projects and seeing how fluent my characters movement can become.

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Understanding more about blend space has also really helped me in terms of making things look a lot more natural. For example, I have a decent looking walk cycle that looks and acts natural, however, I have a run cycle on this character that has too much of an arch in his lower back. This resulted in the fact that the animation is borderline unusable. We can, however, fix this using blend spaces. I started by increasing the speed of the broken run cycle.

So Blend Spaces use an axis that runs off of certain values that you can set. The axis that we will be using is speed. You can set the value it costs to transition from one animation to the other and the blend space will try to “blend” between the two. Now if our value can not be reached, meaning the player’s movement speed isn’t fast enough our character is essentially in animation limbo. If we do this we essentially have a blend between walk and run and voilà. Now, this is still a little fast but this just takes a little bit of tweaking in regards to the run cycles speed.

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Materials

Learning how to use Materials was the most relaxing time I have ever spent on anything.  It is such a good way to bring out some amazing and interesting textures to a character or an asset. I would love to delve even further into materials in future projects as I feel like it can really bring out the best in even an average looking asset.  Something that I am particularly fond of is the use of PNG sprites to add animated textures. In this project it was only a small heart beat. I would like to take this to the next level and apply it to more in-depth examples. For instance, we can apply this easily to a Sand Golem. All you would need is to create a looping sand gif and align the UV’s intelligently.

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There are other really cool materials that I have managed to uncover through tutorials and other means throughout this project. However, I know this is just the tip of the iceberg. I hope to learn more material and shaders as I feel as though they will bring a lot more depth and complexity to my character/assets.

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Rigging

Rigging was a really big positive that came out of this project, practicing on the character before moving onto the more organic example. This project essentially became a learning process for our Final Project. Getting a character into a working Engine is something that will be very important in the upcoming months. I feel like this project has helped to fill some gaps in my knowledge.

Negatives

Time management

d6a5145659c7f4574df0be7f087902c0.jpgI believe the big downfall of this project is my time management or lack there of.  Going through this has taught me a lot about what I may want to focus more on in up coming projects. It has also taught me not to have tunnel vision on things that aren’t going to help the projects scope. Much time was wasted with computer freezes and program crashes. I did not factor any fat onto my Gantt chart.

 

What would I do differently

As mentioned earlier my time management is awful. During the upcoming projects, I will be rigorously sticking to a schedule. I will be organising using a Kanbanchi board. Additionally, I will also be documenting all of my work and how much time it spends on each thing. This will help in the future as it will allow me to better communicate to both myself and potential clients how long something should take. I would also like to take the time out just to work on animations.

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