Section Plan

There had been several meetings in university with the final year show section plan. Luckily because we’re a group of 4 we got a nice spot with a a large table. You can see below the design Jakub made up for us.

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It allows for equal amounts of personal renders showing off our own individual parts of the project, for me that would be each of my environments. The largest render for myself would be the environment that looks the nicest. We each have a monitor for a personal showreel or a showreel of the work we have done in the project. This could show development of the environments, characters, story plot and other elements of the project. In the centre we have the completed animation on a loop and above that will be out completed project poster. Along with this we will have out own business cards, a cut out of the character for photos, perhaps a 3D print of the character and monster, and possible print outs of the the project. Overall we really want the stand to make an impact and draw people in. Competing against projects that have VR and interactive elements means we really have to push out project to stand out.

Currently we are working towards printing out the cut out, I will hopefully be doing some 3D printing tests as well so we can do some prints of the characters.

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Posters

The final year show is around the corner. With it comes the time to finally show our project to the world. So we have to make some sweet posters. For the moment we have been putting together so rough designs to see what will work best. So far we have landed on the one below, which works best for us.

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This feels the best currently as it shows one of the more tense shots in the project. It has has an 80s vibe with it with the large title on the screen and feels more like The Thing than anything else. We do have some others in the works however this is the most refined and readable. Below will be some others that we have considered.

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This would be the runner up currently. It’s simple and nice, but really shows how pretty the character model is. A real testament to Jakub’s hard work.

Business Cards

As my final year comes to a close, it’s time to look towards the future. As we begin to look at different companies and avenues to go down, we have to start presenting ourselves professionally. One of the best ways to make a great first impression is with a business card. Easy to keep hold off, and easy to get out there. While my knack for graphic design is pretty dire, i do have a few rough designs for a business card however it is still very much undecided. In this post i will show my current designs, along with a few cards that i hope to draw inspiration from in the future. When i comes down to picking a final design, i feel hiring someone may be my best option.

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Above is my front runner for my business card at the moment. I prefer the more minimalist style as well the environment in the background to show off what my art is like. Below is another style however i’m leaning more towards the first style.

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Below you can see a few more designs that i really like. There are a few that i like that are not minimalist however the style is still excellent.

Cavern Rock Tests

I have started to create some rock tests to see the best way to build the environment of the alien. I have found that you can easily create interesting rock shapes in Zbrush and simply rotate and combine them to create large, interesting and unique boulders or rock faces. Next on my agenda is to see how i can make some interesting textures that keep it stylized but have some level or detail. This will however come through with the lighting of the environment as well. Below you can see a few of the tests.

This was the first attempt but i went back and did some others. Here is a shot of a test cavern just to see how far i could go with 3 assets. 1 rock. 1 floor plane and 1 character. Turned out nicely.screenshot035

The Airlock

So the second environment that I began work on was the cargo area, where the character would find the strange portal to the other dimension/monster lair. However after some consideration we began to realise that perhaps building a second large environment may no be a good idea. Both for the feel of the environment as its meant to be a small ship that she just runs by herself and a large cargo bay wouldn’t fit as well. However if we replaced it, it would mean reworking a great shot with the reveal of the tunnel. We’re currently looking at the design of the Airlock, the room which is now going to replace the cargo room. The main design choices of the airlock are the large windows to the left which will show how the alien environment is too large to exist in that space. As well as windows on the circular doors to show through the door. We also thought it could be nice to show a complete juxtaposition of the sci fi environment versus the alien environment with the scale of both beside each other. Also how the lighting of the environments could be interesting when show next to each other. Here you can see the first rendition of the airlock.

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The Control Room

The first room to be completely modelled par a few fine trimmings was the control room. The centre piece of the animation and the one that needs the most attention. Therefore i will be returning to the control room at a later stage to add finishing touches when i texture it. Here you can see the various increments of the control room.

This is the first iteration with some beginning texture tests but with more finalised models. I’m still playing with the idea of keeping the bedroom to the left of the room closed with a shutter over it saying keep out. However since we’re hoping this room will be filled with small pieces that show her personality. Jack has been doing work on the smaller assets so we’re on track. I then did some more work on smaller assets mainly small switches, lights, wires, pipes etc to fill the space a bit more and Jack did some real nice lighting tests that you can see below.

I’m liking the general feel of the desk area however my end goal is to clutter it with wires, boxes, crates and belongings to really make it feel lived in.

Cosmic Echo

“We all make choices but in the end out choices make us” – Andrew Ryan

Finding our Idea

As we started our final year we began to develop our idea by asking the question “what if?”, and the what if that we all loved was what if something lived in a black hole. From here the idea snowballed, we developed further how the monster would be on the ship and if it would affect the interior of the ship, reversing the gravity of water droplets or completely changing the environment. We also looked why our main character would be on this ship and why would it be so close to a black hole? We then looked at how they would interact with the anomaly when they found it. Would they be scared or curious? Would then fight or flee? And on and on we kept developing our idea until we found ourselves enthralled by the idea of a time loop. From here we began to hone the idea and write up a story for it.

“In general relativity, an event horizon is a region in spacetime beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer.”

In the end we had a few points that we knew that we had to have in the plot and ideas that we stuck with because of how fun it would be to play with.

  • Cause and Effect based animation
  • An audio cue to cause the loop to essentially start
  • A character that people can relate to
  • A Lovecraftian monster
  • Based around a black hole that causes time distortions

Building the Plot

“In the abyss of space, an inquisitive pilot seeks answers when her ship chances upon an impossible doorway into a black hole but only discovers that she must escape the monstrosity lurking within”

This is the shortened idea for our story however it took a lot of trial and error to get to this point. A lot. We learned a lot as a team about how hard it is to develop a story around a loop, as technically it doesn’t have a start or an end as they connect to become one in of itself, and because it’s a loop we found that starting the loop was difficult and anything found on the way would have to have a reason for being there in the first place. In one of the iterations we had the main character take a wrench from her room and drop it on the way which would cause the noise for the main character to hear again in the loop, which would be our audio cue. However we found we couldn’t do that because it would mean that every time the wrench dropped to the floor it would cause a pile of infinite wrenches, meaning that the wrench itself would be stuck in its own loop. We also messed around with the idea that what if we had more than one loop going on, and that there were 3 versions of her, one being lured, one being chased and one being caught, each would cause an audio cue whether it be a loud bang of dropping the wrench, or a scream from being grabbed, but it meant there would have to be more than one monster and it got some complicated so we went back to the idea of just one loop.

The Final Iteration

Our last version of the story was simplified enough to allow for a short animation but also push ourselves in terms of creating a fantastic 80’s inspired scene. We found the style called Cassette Furturism, it fit perfectly and was used in many of our references, 2 of the main ones being Alien and Alien Isolation. As the story progressed we found ourselves wondering what the monsters lair could be like, and we threw out the idea of a dungeon and we all loved it. Everyone in the group plays dungeons and dragons so it was a perfect blend of two of our favourite genres. Sci-Fi and Fantasy. We looked at several monsters one of which is called Jubilex, who is a shape shifting entity that appears as a mound of black goo. From here we moved closer to lovecraftian horror for the monsters lair, it just fit so well. “Lovecraftian horror is a sub genre of horror fiction that emphasises the cosmic horror of the unknown”, it was too perfect and the idea that this monster is an entity that lives in a black hole, one of the biggest if not the biggest mystery in the universe, just fit so well. We looked at some lovecraftian monsters and 3 stood out to us. The classic Cthulhu, The Blackness from the Stars and Shogguth. Ill add some descriptions below. But these were out main focus when developing the monster. After this we really had our story put together. We wanted it to start with the main character playing a game (Cosmic Echo), before being distracted by something banging on the door, after investigating further, being drawn further into the ship she finds an impossible hole through to the monsters lair, entering in she finds obelisks and terrible monstrosities that defy all sense of space for this ship, this area could not exist here. As she goes further in she finds a torch on the ground, picking it up she realises its her own, switching it on to reveal a brief shot of the monster, throwing her own flash light and dropping the second, the camera follows the thrown light as it rolls in front of a large pile of torches. As she flees from the monster and reaches the door, she bangs on it and looks through revealing herself, from the start of the animation, as the realisation dawns on her the monster grabs her, making the noise that cues her to leave the room. As it happens we cut to the title of the game Cosmic Echo.