Hello world!

Hello World!

This is probably the 5th portfolio website I’ve made and I’m finally happy with the layout.

I wanted something simple, unlike some of my previous website endeavours. I’d previously had a static site, a site purely built with jQuery and even a site where I had built my own content management system in PHP. This time, I’d opted for WordPress. I’m very happy with the feature-set and plugins that are available for this CMS which will help this site look a lot more professional. This isn’t to say I doubt my experience developing for the web, after all I did create this theme based on the twenty-fifteen default wordpress theme myself, but this way it’s far easier to maintain and get support. The main reason is that web design isn’t my primary focus for creating a portfolio website, my expertise is of course with realtime 3D creation, programming is my secondary role.

I guess I should talk a little about myself in my first blog post. I’m a Game-Art graduate, but I prefer to call myself a 3D artist, as the trade is vast. Most of my content has been created with 3ds Max, which I am very proficient at, I have a few models viewable in the Artwork section of the website. I would primarily call myself a modeller, but I’ve spent a long time making my UV process efficient, it’s definitely one of my strong points in 3D. My texturing process, compared to some of my peers needs some work but is coming along well. I have a long history with working in Photoshop from my 2d design days, some of which I may consider posting here but is very much not the direction I wish to go in. So Photoshop has been my main texturing tool for the past few years, but it had come to my attention in recent days that there are better software for workflows out there such as Substance’s products, Mari and even Krita has come a long way now with an OpenGL viewer. My focus in 3D is mostly realism, I have very few “stylised” pieces, I don’t have anything against it and it’s just a preference that I prefer to make things that look as close as possible to real life.

I recognise that I have shortcomings with a lot of my work, a lot of the time I will look at a piece that I have created and think “I can do that better”. In a way, this is driving my workflow and tools to make me stay on top of my game. As of yet, I haven’t created a single piece of artwork that I can be wholly proud of, only a few pieces that I can say are my best, this doesn’t dissuade me because I’m sure I’m not far away from producing some of my best work. Over the next few days I will be creating some posts about some of my old artwork and describing my processes and where I will improve.

These days I am moving on to a new style of workflow involving Substance Designer and Painter, a lot of the work I have previously produced and that I will be talking about will be compared to how I could have done it better using these tools. That’s not to say that I find the tools to blame, I just find that my particular methods aren’t suited to my previous toolset. You’ll by now realise that I’m very serious about improving the texturing side of my works because I realise that’s where they’re falling short a lot of the time. Even my latest (and perhaps greatest) work, the Elysium Grenade challenge piece, falls short for me. It was done using only Substance Designer as I was getting used to the software, the textures are great individually but together don’t quite mesh, it doesn’t look “creative” enough and there’s no flow or sense of direction in the textures positions on the model. I’ll talk about this in detail at a later stage.

On the programming side of things, I’m progressing somewhat nicely, I’m fairly confident in my ability to program JavaScript but I am aware of the language’s shortcomings in game development. It’s only truly useful in Unity as UnityScript and even then C# is a better alternative. I’ve decided to step my programming up a notch by venturing into areas of game development I would not otherwise consider by trying to develop some technical artist tools. I’ve taken to scripting in Photoshop JavaScript but I’ve also learnt Python for Maya and Maxscript (as Maxscript is based around Python). I had even made a simple tool for 3ds Max 2015’s extension introducing OpenSubDiv, allowing people to control the OSD modifier scene-wide, it was going to implement the crease-manager but help make it a bit more robust, unfortunately Autodesk hadn’t made this part of their program available in the API and I’m not used to working with hooks (or whatever it is you would do in this instance to “steal” callbacks in an interface with no external access). This aside, my main goal is to learn C++ to an adequate level in order to begin developing with DirectX or OpenGL. I’ve been working through a book called C++ Primer, one of the bigger books dedicated to learning the language, it’s been a very fun but slow progress as I learn as much as I can about each and every single aspect of the program. I’m not so much in a hurry to learn this though, as DirectX 12 and Vulkan are coming at an undisclosed date and will undoubtedly change the way many graphics programs will be written, while I love the idea of being the first to use these new technologies my programming skills are not up to scratch with the existing technologies but I will get there.

That about sums up my situation where it comes to game development. I could talk more about my work with the latest Unreal Engine but I haven’t got much together to present just yet, but I will be trying to create an interesting tool for UE4 inspired by a proprietary engine’s demo on YouTube, hopefully I can pull it off.

Blogging is a completely new thing for me, I’ve tried to start one in the past but I’ve never had the drive to go through with it, now though, things are different and are looking up for me in terms of productivity. I hope anyone reading this in the future will have thought “Oh-Hey! This guy released something awesome! let’s read through his blog.” only to see how far I’ve come from this moment, I hope I get there too, if that person reading this is you, thank you.

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