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1 year of Howest DAE

1 year of Howest DAE

Grati Petru
by EinMeister on 30 May 2023 for Rookie Awards 2023

Showing some of my work from my first year in Howest DAE, a school that I found thanks to TheRookies platform.

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Best of my work in the first year of the Howest Digital Arts and Entertainment Game Graphics Production course

This was my exam piece for my 3D1 course in Howest DAE GGP. We were expected to have 0 prior experience and got introduced to Maya. The goal of the course was creating a low poly diorama in one of the given themes, I picked "By the ocean". We could only use Maya for modeling and Photoshop for texturing color maps, PBR was not allowed. 

My diorama depicts an old Brazilian motel that currently hosts a family, a guy with a midlife crisis that spent a lot of money on a classic shiny muscle car, some crabs and capybaras (which were the reason I picked Brazil in the first place).

I received feedback on the setting from a fellow student Daniel Santas de Miranda, who lived in Brazil prior to his studies in Howest DAE, he helped me create an authentic scene.

Despite already knowing how to model prior to this course I have learnt a lot of things, such as texturing in Photoshop, the classic experience game developers had in the past. I believe it is important to know the roots. I have also learned how to properly present a piece on Sketchfab and its importance, I have always rushed that part in my work beforehand, having good projects presented badly without much engagement. I have been introduced to taking silhouette from multiple angles into consideration whenever designing an artwork and setting the right background contrast for readability, which involved creating several blockouts and iterating until I have a few to pick the best option from. I have done something similar on the side in my Preproduction 1 course in the same semester which influenced my work too. The Visual Language course (also semester 1) set up important roots in color and camera theory.

I have the honor to have been added to the reference collection one of my teachers made on Sketchfab for future students to learn from:
My work was also showcased on the DAE website:

I would like to thank TheRookies for rating schools, as I have made my decision on studying in this university based on their awards.

Those are two of my total three Game Art assignments, a second semester course for my major. I have not uploaded my final (exam) assignment yet, which I will make a separate post for after the deadline for The Rookie Awards sadly.

This course is meant to teach design iteration rather than hard skills, most of the theory and lab lessons were dedicated on creating different styles of weapons and updating on a set concept. I have gotten more comfortable in using 2D for my concepts, having only done it in 3D in the past, which takes a lot more time.  

Besides the design part, the goal of those assignments is creating game-ready models with hand-painted textures, which took me out of my comfort zone as I have never painted textures before. It strengthened my color understanding in textures. Even though I will probably not work on games that use this kind of assets, the skills it helped me develop will definitely benefit my artwork.

I have created a scene with mannequins and the weapons created by my colleagues at Howest DAE, all credits in the Sketchfab description.

This is one of my assignments for Procedural Introduction, a second year course that continued on the bases of the Applied Math and Physics course that I had in my first semester, both of those are related to Houdini, although AMPF was a lot more technical. 

I have created a procedural gazebo with sliders and check boxes and made sure that the shape would not bug out with proportion limits. The goal of this project was creating a structure whose shape could be easily modified dramatically. This is my first procedural 3D model, I am very happy that my school introduced me to this technical side of art, if I continued being a self taught artist I could have not possibly split my focus on several subjects at the same time, so I would have probably not gotten into Houdini and continued manual hard surface modeling.

Added some fast pixel art in the nodes made out of notepads, copied that cat from the internet, it does not belong to me, but a user nicknamed "Devipriya11" on a png website.

This was my exam assignment. Our task was to create a tool for creating either a wooden watch tower, a boat or a car. It was very challenging simply due to the little amount of time that we had. I am not afraid of spending lots of time on my projects to make them as good as possible, but in this case I could not dedicate more time on it. I definitely spent less time on this one than on my first assignment, the gazebo. 

This is a little assignment I had for my 3D2 course, we had to model a retro kitchen device using the subdivision modeling workflow. 

I have already had lots of personal subdivision modeling experience, my first post on TheRookies two years ago was created using subdivision modeling:

I was required to do it using full quads, which I have never done before, had lots of N-gons or triangles on my previous models, mostly on flat surfaces, and was fine with it as long as it did not badly influence the shading.

I was introduced to Arnold, having only rendered in Blender Cycles and Marmoset Toolbag in the past. 

Below I attached my Perspective Tower and Cannon assignments (both from my Preproduction 2 course), as well as my QWeek Bulgarian Village Diorama and Skywars assignments (both Preproduction 1).

Preproduction is a concept art course that took me from 0 and taught me how to draw in perspective, apply composition, iterate through lots of thumbnails and apply color theory. The Bulgarian Village Diorama and Skywars assignments were my first serious tries in learning how to draw. I did my best, although they still have some shaky lines. It is the only course I had this year that I disliked, but after all nothing worthwhile is easy and I do believe that it developed my iteration skills tremendously, which will play an important role in my future artwork.


So far I have showcased the results of 6 of my courses out of 10. Unfortunately I cannot present anything for Programming 1&2 (eased down version for artists), Applied Maths and Physics and Visual Technologies (Art History, Art Theory, Game History), as they are more tied to theory and problem solving exercises rather than art. I have used what I learned in AMPF and VisLang in other courses, and will use programming in scripting tools for art software in my next academic year. 

My exam assignments for Preproduction 2, 3D2 and Game Art 2 surpass the deadline for entering The Rookie Awards, the following images are work-in-progress screenshots of my 3D2 and Game Art exam. 

For my 3D2 exam I am modeling a Mazda Miata 1989 MX-5 (NA), fully made out of quads. I still have to make the roof, the mirrors, the cover of the front vent, the interior pieces that are visible from the front of the car, materials and a light setup in Maya, then render. 

This is the "Bazaar" exam assignment for Game Art. Our task is to create a store similar to the ones from the videogame "Albion Online". We could have chosen between Steampunk, African Tribe and Middle Eastern 1001 Nights themes, from which I have chosen the latter. I have researched hundreds of reference pictures from various countries and cultures and settled for a Tea Place. The players will be able to buy tea (possible buffing items), drink tea locally (roleplay) or smoke out of a Hookah on the balcony from the second floor, which offers a nice view of the marketplace the store is located in and decreases your stamina by 40%. 

I have been iterating on the design of the store both with 2D sketches and 3D blockouts.

As an addition to all of the work that I have done for school this academic year there has still been time and motivation for this personal project. I have started working on it at the end of June 2022, right after I graduated high school and passed my exams at maths, romanian literature and biology, and took a break at the beginning of September when I started studying in Howest.
It was modeled in Fusion 360, then polished in Zbrush. I have made the low poly in Blender, baked the textures in Marmoset Toolbag and will texture it in Substance Painter.
The screenshots from Fusion 360 are attachment pieces and longer barrels that I have done during my inter-semestrial break, besides some other non-school projects that I was working on at the time.
I have picked this (real) model, the B&T SPC9, when there has been no other 3D model of it on the internet, because I wanted to test my ability of modeling something as accurately as possible using a very limited amount of reference. I will be continuing work on it after I finish my exams.

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