For my final assessment for trimester 1, I had been tasked to design my own hard surfaced 3D asset. From the list of options I initially wanted to create some sort of helicopter or jet-like asset, but ended up deciding to make my own keyblade from the ‘Kingdom Hearts’ franchise.
Before designing my own and looking at reference images I had a go at trying to come up with a keyblade design.
As you can see, it didn’t turn out too well.
After attempting to model my own keyblade from scratch I decided to sketch some designs as well as gather some reference images from the internet. From doing so I came up with a dragon-type design.
Modelling: Modelling my keyblade didn’t prove to be too difficult. I separated the keyblade into lots of different objects so that it was easier for me to create each piece. For the chain I created one chain link and duplicated it so that each of the other links were identical. Similarly, with the wings, I modelled one side and then duplicated the entire thing. I did end up having an issue where I accidentally used the wrong axis when modelling the mickey mouse medal, causing lighting problems. This was later fixed.
After I modelled all of the different pieces and unwrapped them, I attached all of the objects together, making the keyblade one object to bring in Quixel.
UV Unwrapping: Unwrapping the model proved to be quite frustrating. The first time I unwrapped my model, I went through each separate object and unwrapped them. I also placed each objects UVS to a particular spot in the UV editor, so that when I combined them altogether, I could easily determine which object was what.
After Unwrapping all of the objects, I noticed that parts of my keyblade weren’t unwrapped properly and the checkered images weren’t coming out as perfect squares. I went back and re-mapped some parts, but failed to perfectly unwrap the entire object the way I wanted.
I used the scale tool to keep most of my UVs the same, and scaled down the sides that wouldn’t be seen in the final model. I packed them all in and scaled up the more visible UVs with the room I had left over.
Texturing: To texture my keyblade asset I used 3DO. This meant I could experiment with different designs and have a high quality texture without spending hours in Photoshop making my own. For my final presentation I used three different types of textures. One being my final model in mint condition, and the other two being well worn and post battle. I also added different types of weathering to the keyblade to enhance the overall look. I Used blood splatter and dirt, and using the paint tool I coloured over and on certain sections to achieve a better look.
Animation: When I first began animating my keyblade for my presentation I had used the turntable feature in 3DO. I later decided against this and instead used a number of different panning techniques. I had earlier planned on animating in 3ds max but I couldn’t replicate the textures and lighting from 3DO. I wanted the quality of 3DO so I stuck to using the limited animation in that.
Lighting: Because I used 3DO to render out my final presentation, I used preset lighting from 3DO. I also played around with lens flares and adjusted the lighting to suite the different shots for my presentation, adjusting the position of the light when necessary.
When I first textured my model, I noticed a lighting issue with my mickey mouse medal, which later turned out to be vertices out of place.
Rendering: Initially, I was going to render out my animation in 3DS max, but after texturing issues I decided to use 3DO. This was achieved be using the animation tools in 3DO (as limited as they were), and setting up different angles and creating short camera pan movements. I then rendered these out for my presentation.
When I rendered each shot I got pretty lazy with sorting out my files and ended up having a bunch of different folders for all my shots. (Not the best of ideas).
Compositing and Editing: Using premier, I combined all of my shots together with an audio track. I changed the lengths of the shots and adjusted the timings to fit with the beat of the song. I also added in text, created in after effects, to my presentation, overlaying the shots of my keyblade. Some of the shots in my presentation ended up being too short, which meant going back and re-rendering out animations.
- Crashing in 3ds max – This mostly occurred when unwrapping. Usually after trying to relax a set of polygons, my 3ds max would crash. As I forget to save often, this proved to be pretty frustrating and made me lose a lot of time.
- UV Unwrapping – Even after going through and trying to unwrap some of the polygons on my model twice, I still found areas on my model that weren’t perfectly unwrapped. As much as I tried to fix up certain areas, I was unable to perfectly unwrap my entire model.
- Slow response using Quixel – Because 3DO would use so much memory, it was a long and painful process trying to texture my model. The material tab would take several seconds to respond and it would take an unnecessary amount of time to apply each texture to the model.
- Textures from 3DO to 3ds Max -After texturing my model I wanted to bring those textures into 3ds max so that I could animate my model. After spending a lot of time trying to work out how to apply all of my textures to the model, the quality just wasn’t as good as it was in 3DO. I eventually decided to stick with animating in 3DO
- Turntable in 3DO – When I first began animating in 3DO I was using the turntable feature. However, it didn’t seem to be turning in the centre of the model, meaning that it swayed from left to right whenever I tried to animate. Because of this I decided to use camera panning to animate my presentation.
- Lighting Issues due to model – After I had first textured my model, I noticed several lighting issues that were showing up on my model. The model would be showing up separate polygons rather than having one flat texture for the element of the model. I eventually figured out that this was due to some of my vertices being slightly off their axis.
- Uploading to Sketchfab – After finishing the textures for my model I wanted to upload the files to Sketchfab, however I ran into a few issues multiple times. My textures would not be showing up on the model. After attempting to troubleshoot the problem I eventually gave up.
Below is the final still image of my textured Keyblade model. I also uploaded my presentation video (Below) to YouTube so my friends could easily view it.
Polygons and game use: My completed model ended up having a total of 3891 polygons. It was hard to find specific examples of other keyblades with polygon counts, but for games using the ‘source’ engine, most of their polygon counts seemed to be at around the 1500 mark for average models, with a couple using up to 4500 polygons. For games using unreal’s engine from the past couple of years, models seemed to average between 5-10k polygons for characters or weapons.
Because my keyblade asset it a ‘Hero weapon’ it would generally have more polys than other weapons.