AIE - ACT Training Provider of the Year.

News / 15 September 2020

Hey Everyone just a short post.
Academy of Interactive Entertainment, the campus I teach at here in Canberra just won the ACT Small Training Provider of the year for 2020.
Pretty awesome feeling, to be a part it, alongside everyone else who was involved.

The ACT Training Awards is an annual opportunity to showcase the commitment, innovation, and outstanding achievements of all those involved in the ACT vocational education and training (VET) sector.
Due to Covid-19, the event was live-streamed here, https://youtu.be/iEIvf3Ambl8 I just cut the video to highlight the section we were mentioned.

All n all, huge congratulations to everyone involved, and congratulations to all the finalists and winners tonight.

Photogrammetry Zephyr Pipeline Tests

Work In Progress / 16 December 2019

Doing some quick, photogrammetry pipeline experiments with Zepher.
The objective was to blast through the pipeline, to experiment how quickly can an asset be created using this pipeline.

The Pipeline:

Photos -> Zephyr (Computing) -> Agisoft Delighter (Delighting) -> Maya (Retopo) -> Marmoset (Baking) -> Substance Painter (Cleanup) -> Engine

Using the tutorial video and the images supplied. (https://youtu.be/17UTelgZqBg)
Threw them through Zepher Free Trial, which allows 50 free images. 

Alignment: 5 Minutes
Pointcloud/Meshing: 15-20minutes
Export and Texture: 5 Minutes. 

Dropped the raw scan from Zephr into De-Lighting tool and painted a 20-second mask identifying shadow and lit areas. 

The final results for such a quick job turned out great. The delighting tool works wonders compared to other workflows I've used in the past.
Delighting: 4-5 minutes

Here are some more quick breakdowns. 

I mocked up a low poly model in Maya, which took about 5 minutes. And baked it it marmoset toolbag. 

Stock standard preset settings so far are alright, seeing how much effort is put into the process. 

Finally threw it through. Substance painter to remove the baked grass and other artifacts. (This took another 10 minutes, due to fiddling with some normals from the projected grass). 

Cleaned up the model in substance painter ^ 

Finally, here is the Sketchfab model to check it out. I've chucked it up for free to download. The final texture res is 2k.

Final thoughts:
The pipeline is unbelievably quick, and affordable considering the other options out there. Zephyr, allowing 50 images free, 8k export is amazing. considering the other free alternative 'Meshroom', which is open-source. It takes double the amount of time process and there is a lot of cleanup involved before you can even consider baking.
The Agisoft delighting tool which is free is a game-changer, as the direct sunlight that was present within these tutorial images would have easily been too much effort for what it was worth. 100% introducing this into my pipeline, however, considering the texture did become a tad bit overexposed in this test so it would be good to explore if there are ways tweaking it.
Substance Painter's clone stamp tool was essential in covering up the projected grass on the stump. However, the normals were the most challenging as I ended up painting over a generic normal intensity over problematic areas. So There's probably room for improvement there.  

All n all pretty successful took just under 1.5 hours in total. with some experimentation in-between stages within the pipeline. *coffee etc.

- Finn 

Second Year Student Major Projects - AIE Canberra - 2019

News / 14 December 2019

Another year has wrapped up. and another year of students wrapping up their two years of study. 

For 15 weeks, 2 days a week at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment in Canberra. I have been helping mentor the students for their final year major projects along with Tony Oakden and Rik Lagarto. Students developed pitches that went under multiple culling processes and then pitched it to an Industry panel which the teachers filtered down to four games to be green-lit.

It was great to see these students, improve and overcome the challenges they faced during the 15 weeks, it was a pleasure seeing them evolve and develop these 4 little titles. Be sure to click on the itch.io links as there is more content/screenshots to check out. 

'Flank' 

"A Top-Down, Retro Arcade, Shooter.  Where you can rotate the map to fire upon enemies from different angles".

Credits:
Art: Jonah Bauer & Anna-Rose Barrett 
Design: Jonathan Hosking
Programming: Francisco Romano

Download Flank: https://flank.itch.io/flank

'Child of the Night'

"A casual top-down 3D stealth game where the player - a vampire - must sneak around the town and consume their victims before the sun rises".

Credits: 
Art: Meg Groeneveld, Lani Parker, Molly Trehy & Anna-Rose Barrett
Design: Blayne Cuzner
Programming: Justin Cragg & Callum Burden

Download: https://overlordentertainment.itch.io/childofnight 

'Legion Fall'

“Legion Fall” is a 3rd person, historical-fantasy game, where the player fights barbarians while exploring a mysterious valley to find the Legion’s lost messenger.

Credits:
Art: Sarah Staley, RJ O'Sullivan, Robert Dickson, Aaron Lalor & Chris O'Neill
Design: Saxon Hutchinson
Programming: Thomas Wooster 

Download: https://legionfall.itch.io/legionfall 

'Mellowmares'

"A 2.5D puzzle platformer where you play as a marshmallow trying to escape the appetite of humans"

Credits:
Art: Jaymie Sibree, Alyssa Barry &  Cassandra Zanin
Design: James Wilson & Jackson Lello 
Programming: Sean McCarthy & Reece McIntyre 

Download: https://mellowmares.itch.io/mellowmares 

Benjamin Roach - [Q&A] (Level Design & Founder, Upsurge Studios)

Article / 22 August 2019

Hey Everyone, 

AIE had their open day last weekend. I was in doing two Animation workshop's for the general public. But Benjamin Roach was our Industry Speaker for the general public and shared some advice of his career pathways and how he got into the Japanese games Industry with Square Enix, Sega and FromSoftware.  

Craig Brown organized, interviewed and edited the video and Tom Magill who was in charge of capturing the event on camera. Without these two, this video wouldn't exist!

Make sure to check out Benjamin Roach's Artstation and check out the great stuff he has been working on.  

Hope its handy for any prospecting peeps. 

- Finn

James Lucas - [Q&A] Interview & Experiences within the VFX Industry.

Article / 22 May 2019

Hey Everyone,
James Lucas was in town last weekend, to do an interview with Craig Brown at the AIE Canberra Open day. The Q&A, was mainly about James experiences he has had within the Australian VFX industry and advice for prospecting students who are eager to enter the industry.  And what it was like to work as a Texture/Environment artist.

James has worked on Aquaman, John Wick 3, Men In Black International, IT Chapter 2 and now is currently working at Quixel.

It was an absolute pleasure to finally meet James in person. I've known him for a while, but only in the digital form. I helped teach the AIE Online courses back when James was a student. And I was luckily enough to have had James in a few of my classes. Though the sheer credit to his successes is himself, with dedication and commitment he has put to his craft. :)

If you are reading this James, keep up the stellar work! I look forward checking out the adventures you embark on next. Especially that which involves with sweet sweet... Megascans and other awesome texture goodness! haha

Make sure to check out James Artstation, it has lots of pretty artworks to check out and goggle at.

I also want to shout out, Craig Brown who organized, interviewed and edited the video and Tom Magill who was in charge of capturing the event on camera. Without these two, this video wouldn't exist!

- Finn 

Flashback Friday: First Teaching Gig (2012)

General / 29 March 2019

I thought to share a flashback to one of my first teaching gigs. Back in 2012.

It was the first time teaching Maya and I was responsible for teaching Certificate 2 in Creative industries at Lake Tuggeranong. Every Wednesday for 10 weeks for a duration of 3 hours, I would travel down to their school and teach them the basics of 3d Modelling and animation.

The last week of the course, instead of me traveling to their school. They would come to the AIE campus for a full week (10am-4pm) and develop their final production. Which they ended creating a cyberpunk car chase set in a not so distant dystopian future all within a week!

From memory, I think it was rendered in with Maya Software or Mental Ray.  But they had a blast. and we had a lot of fun together over the 10 weeks. Especially as none of them at the time have touched a 3d application before in the past. And the assessment requirements and qualification didn't demand a whole lot. But they went far and beyond with this animation and made something great.

It was also a great learning experience for me as well, my first real teaching gig besides doing mini-workshops during odd parts of the year when school holidays are on.

What I find interesting reflecting about it now, is that about ½ of the students continued studying. Completed their advance diploma, formed or joined existing mini indie studios and now have shipped games under their belts. While the other half have moved onto other industries doing things not related to 3d or games etc. (From what I am currently aware of)

Although I have lost contact over the years with the students in this class. If you are reading this. I would love to know how you are doing, and what you are up to regardless of the situation you are in now. Love to catch up!

Student Credits:

  • Nick Williams
  • Jordan Prasomsouk
  • Banjo Ward
  • Miles Sale
  • Kyle Nash
  • Nick Silec
  • Caitlin Davis
  • Cody Brook
  • Partick Collins

Music Credit: Power Glove - Streets of 2043

That's, all for today.

Catch you all next week. 

Finn 

Michael Norback - Interview and Presentation - Advice for Aspiring Students

Article / 28 March 2019

Michael Norback was in town a month ago and did a presentation on how he entered the industry. The recording has just been uploaded and thought it would be useful for aspiring students looking to enter the industry.

Michael has worked at Method Studios, SlateVFX and The Mill within an assortment of roles. The video covers his personal journey, and the evolution of his portfolio and how he got his first job. Additionally, also giving a list of advice to other inspiring artists who are looking to enter the industry, the do's and don'ts etc. Overall great talk!

It was absolutely wonderful to have Michael drop in and conduct this interview/presentation here on the campus. And hang around with the students afterwards to answer questions and do a live demo in the class. The students and teachers appreciated the time he spent with us and look forward to hunting down his name within the credits of past and present projects he has worked on.

If you want to check out more about Michael you can find him on linkedin. :)

I also want to shout out, Craig Brown who organized, interviewed and edited the video and Tom Magill who was in charge of capturing the event on camera.

Although I was merely a participant to the talk, you can hear me asking questions for the students at the end. And if Michael is reading this... Thanks again and stay in contact! Drop in anytime if your in town, Always welcome!

Have a great weekend everyone, Enjoy the video!

- Finn

Digital Commercial - Soul Cartel (Mentoring)

General / 22 February 2019

As some of you might already know,
I have been working at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment for a few years now.
And from time to time I will share some of their work they have been working on.

In 2018, I had the pleasure of mentoring a new batch of first years, through the ropes. :)

These students were new to 3D. Learning Maya, Renderman, Substance suite and Nuke for the first time.

A portion of VFX students within class had to group up and work on a client project to put their knowledge to the test. Soul Cartel were kind enough to work along side, the teachers, and students and give them a chance to create a short advertisement for their business.
The brief was that they were to complete a 15 second advertisement for soul cartel, which is a southern themed burger restaurant that has multiple locations around Canberra, Australia. They created storyboards and concepts/documentation and pitched them to Soul Cartel which they green-lit two concepts. (Below is their final advertisements back to back of what they completed under 2 months working 2.5 days a week on it).

Should also mention that, along side teaching them I had the support of Dan Miller, Thomas Magill, Ryan Ware.

Artists Responsible (Check out their Artstations!): 

Overall, for the first time working with each other, and using source control to manage a mini production. They did really well.
I was fun to see them work together as a team and overcome hiccups throughout production. Great to see they all evolved together as a team and learn't a lot of lessons with this production that they can take onto the next.

I look forward seeing what they end up creating in their second year of study when they specialize in a specific skill or trade they end up choosing within the Visual effects industry. 

Thanks for reading,

Finn 

Personal Development Diary 001 - Nuke

General / 18 July 2018

I wanted to get the Artstation blog up and running with a consistent flow of regular updates.
It seems silly to have a Artstation pro account and not use its features as intended.

So the objective is to post updates on projects that I am currently working on, while also on the side documenting additional learning tips and tricks I learn along the way that might seem useful. (as well as sharing existing knowledge that I am passionate about).

I will still be posting the usual portfolio updates and work in progress shots here n there.

but today's post is going to be briefly about NUKE.

Notes that I have been taking of the fundamental hotkeys/functions of Nuke

Nuke is a node-based digital composting application developed by The Foundary, and is used for television and film post production.

With my background in independent games development and studying media back in my college days I only really came into contact with After Effects by Adobe Systems. After effects has been an effective means to creating compelling game user interfaces, effects and explosions with its powerful robust compositing workflow. 

Back in 2007 I remember watching video copilot tutorials and discovering new ways to improve the films we had to shoot for media class. It was pretty straight forward to add blood/explosion effects on our footage and exposed us to this weird a wacky universe untouched to our eyes. But it did spark that interest within this industry and a passion to pursue it so I am pretty grateful for the opportunities I have been given and where I have ended up in my career so far. 

So it brings me back to Nuke, and why I am re-learning from scratch. and blogging about it. 

Nuke basically at the moment is a section of a road that I want to upgrade as its gotten a little dusty and worn since I last drove over it. I have a clear understanding for rendering within Maya and composting in After Effects, just not as much with the pipelines incorporating nuke. And my main objective is that I want to diversify my knowledge within various software packages to stay ahead of the curve. Nuke just so happens to be the next thing I want to tackle.

I have quite a few things lined up that I want to pursue but that will have to be another post for the future.

Having a blast at the moment, got much ground to cover, Nuke is pretty straightforward so far. 

Finn 

Dennis Turbeni, England 1937 (FireTruck) - WIP

Work In Progress / 19 June 2018

Hey All,

Just posting up a work in progress, that I am currently working on for a personal project.

It's a firetruck I saw a few years back, in Malacca, Malaysia. I was fascinated by its design and took a ton of photos during the trip. I modeled some pipes at the back of the vehicle back in 2016 for a class demonstration but nothing really more after that point.

Only about 2 months ago I picked up the project and started modelling again. I have been squeezing it in during my spare time after work. The main objective is to practice my hard surface skills and go through the entire pipeline. So I am looking forward to tackling the texturing for this truck and then rendering after that.

Below are some reference images I am using within PureRef to support the modelling/texturing process. I kinda wish I took more photos of the vehicle as there are certain parts I don't have a lot to go on. 

Picture from the front

Picture from the back

If you wanted to see the high res images up close you can check out my Flickr album which have all the originals available to download for free if you are looking for similar hard surface references. 

Below is what I have so far, 

I have a few things to finish but its approximately 80% complete on the modelling side of things, with the unwrapping only at 25%

I aim to have modelling/unwrapping complete early July 2018 (Next month).
I have got to take into consideration of other side projects and work/life that usually eats into my time I can put towards the project.

I am really excited to be calling modelling side done soon,
Let me know if you have any suggestions or ideas,  Always keen to hear other people's thoughts. 

- Finn