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A Journey of Learning

A Journey of Learning

Charmaine Riverlynn
by aethiuchus on 15 May 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

I've been taught 3D from scratch once I started going to university in September 2018. It's been quite a journey, and there's still a lot left to learn- But least to say, I am eager to keep improving my 3D work and keep growing for many more years to come.

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After my first year at university, learning 3D asset creation from the start, we were tasked to create a simple game prototype as the final project.

My project was called 'Cat Bean Adventure', a simple little platformer in which a little cat with a bean sprout on its head, has to find and save their siblings. This was my first time working with Unreal Engine 4 and Blueprint, implementing simple lowpoly models to make a prototype out of it.

The full gameplay for Cat Bean Adventure, approximately 6 minutes. Everything was done by myself only and finished in roughly two months, from asset creation to UI graphics to the coding done in UE4 Blueprint.

A selection of WIP screenshots.

The road to the finish line wasn't of course easy. I came across bugs while testing and had to adjust properly- This ranged from some edits in BP to simply moving a frog off the rock just so it would stop rotating at light speed.

After submission, my prototype was picked as one of the best ones out of first year. It ended up being featured at Norwich Games Festival in 2019 at the university booth!

And now, one year later, I contributed as a 3D artist to a game collaboration as the final project for 2nd year in university. I've learned a lot in the two years I've been studying this course, but of course there's plenty left to learn.

This character was supposed to be the protagonist, along with their companion polar bear. The quick character sketch and design was done by me. Our team referred to this character as simply 'the Survivor'. However, due to unforeseen circumstances this year, we weren't able to finish the project. I decided to finish this model and part of another asset for the sake of my portfolio, and least to say it was completely worth it.

This seal was supposed to be part of a seal roast spit. From March 2020, we had to work from home and unfortunately we didn't have access to all the necessary tools to work on our projects. Had Marmoset not ran out of its trial, I would've been able to finish the other assets that would've come with the roast spit.

And here are some progress pictures of an NPC variation I'd done of the survivor character. This NPC was meant to function as enemy AI in the small arcade-y game we were planning to make.

And above, progress pictures of the Survivor, as well as renders from Substance Painter. I had to go through some 'quick decisions' so I was able to texture this model once Spring break started- An example of this was using Decimation Master in ZBrush for a messy retopology of the leaves. I ended up having to do some manual fixes in Photoshop for the textures.

Since second year started, I've gained experience working with ZBrush and Substance Painter, besides working more with Maya and Marmoset. I feel confident that the use of these programs will keep improving my work, and I'm looking forward to many more future developments as I keep expanding my knowledge on 3D!

But, as with any newly-taught skill, we must start somewhere small and simple, and build up from there. There's still a lot left to learn, and I'm not done learning and improving quite yet!

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