Unit 51: 3D Modeling

This post is my work for Unit 52 in 3D Modeling, throughout this post you will see all my 3D Models, research, evaluation and much more.

Early Experimentation In 3D Modeling 

3D Model TeapotThis is a screenshot of my first ever model in 3D modeling, it is a teapot and I made it by using very basic techniques and simple polygons. I like to look back at this to see how my 3D Modeling skills have changed and improved.

Research – Examples Of Professional 3D Graphics 

3D Modeling - proffesionsal car modelThis is a 3D model of a sports car, I really like this 3D model because it is very detailed and realistic, I aim to be this good with my work one day!

3D Model - dragonHere is a 3D model of a dragon that I found through research, its not as detailed as the sports car but I really like it.

3d model - faceThis is a 3D model of a human face I found whilst researching, from what I have heard human faces and figures are one of the hardest things to model which is why I admire how much time and effort has been put in to the 3D model.

Six Classic Chess Pieces

Here are six classic chess pieces I made using Maya.

3d model, classic pawnThis is a classic pawn I made using basic techniques and polygons, I made the body by making a cylinder polygon and using the deformation tool which allows me to create a curve through the body which adds to the realism of the chess piece.

3D model - classic rookHere is a classic rook I made, the body of this chess piece was made using the same tools and techniques as the pawn however, I made the blocks at the top of the chess piece by creating a cylinder, adding a subdivision cap at the top and then selecting certain face layers, I would then extrude these 2D faces and extend them outwards a bit to make blocks at the top of the chess piece.

3D Model - Classic BishopThis is a classic bishop I made, the body is made the same way previously on my other chess pieces however, on this chess piece there are noticeably more doughnut shapes than usual I this this just to simply add to the detail of the chess piece. I personally found making the bishop much harder than any other piece and I struggled with it a lot.

3D model - classic queenHere is my classic queen chess piece, I tried to make the top of the queen look like a nice crown, I made the blocks at the top by adding a subdivision cap to a cylinder and extruding out certain 2D faces by extending them at an angle.

3d model - classic kingThis is my classic king chess piece, I made the body and everything by using the same techniques and skills and discussed above however, I made the cross at the top by simply making two cubes and making them wider.

Research – Five Real World Chess Set Themes 

Picture 2Picture 3

Here are screenshots of research I did about real world chess sets, I researched a wide variety of chess sets and I used them as inspiration when in came to making up my own chess set theme.

Research – The Development Of Professional 3D Graphics

Within the industry a lot of hardwork, time and effort is put into developing 3D graphics for films, video games or anything else that uses 3D graphics. Usually when it comes to 3D graphics there is a large group of individuals who put in a lot of time and effort into small parts of a big projects, this is so the 3D graphics can be the best it can possibly be.

However, before all the 3D modeling comes into place there is a lot of planning and developments that gets put in. When it comes to designing characters or models usually hundreds of drawings are made this is because it is much cheaper and quicker than doing it all on on a computer. Also by drawing hundreds of concept pictures you are more likely to find the perfect one which fits the film/picture. For example, Buzz Lightyear in ToyStory which is the first ever fully animated move was drawn hundreds of times before the finals version.

images-4As you can clearly see this version of Buzz Lightyear is the complete opposite to the final version which was shown in the movie.

What i’m trying to say is when it comes to 3D graphics a lot of development and planning is put in before all the 3D modeling starts and the final design of characters and models is completely different to the final design that is put into the game/movie.

My 30 Concept Designs 

These are all my concepts designs of chess pieces for a chess set theme, the theme I chose was robots. I drew 5 designs for each piece which made a total of 30 designs. This is so my ideas/designs can develop and improve. My camera does not have the best quality so some designs may be hard to see, I do apologise about this.

Snapshot_20141010 Snapshot_20141010_5 Snapshot_20141010_4 Snapshot_20141010_3 Snapshot_20141010_2 Snapshot_20141010_1 Snapshot_20141010 Snapshot_20141010_7 Snapshot_20141010_6 Snapshot_20141010_28 Snapshot_20141010_27 Snapshot_20141010_26 Snapshot_20141010_25 Snapshot_20141010_24 Snapshot_20141010_23 Snapshot_20141010_22 Snapshot_20141010_21 Snapshot_20141010_20 Snapshot_20141010_19 Snapshot_20141010_18 Snapshot_20141010_17 Snapshot_20141010_16 Snapshot_20141010_15 Snapshot_20141010_14 Snapshot_20141010_13 Snapshot_20141010_12 Snapshot_20141010_11 Snapshot_20141010_10 Snapshot_20141010_9 Snapshot_20141010_8 Snapshot_20141010_29

Tools and Terminology

Below is a handful of tools and terms used in 3D modeling and the definitions of them.

Boolean – This is an object created by combining two objects. The two objects may be subtracted from one other, merged or intersected to form the new object.

CGI – This stands for Computer Generated Imagery, this is an image created by using a computer specifically for 3D animation.

Extrusion – A way you can make a 2D face duplicate inward or extend it.

Light – This simply lights up an area on a 3D object, there are many types of light within 3D packages like point lights for example.

Mesh – The surface geometry of a 3D model, made up of a series of linked geometry elements such as polygons, patches or NURBS surfaces.

Model – This is used as a verb, to models means build a 3D object. Used as a noun, it.means the 3D object created as the end product of the modeling process. A variety of different methods are used in 3D modeling, including polygonal, NURBS, Sub-D and meatball techniques.

Object – A generic term describing any item that can be inserted into and manipulated within a 3D scene. Models, lights, particle emitters and cameras are all objects.

Primitive – A simple three-dimensional form used as the basis for constructive solid geometry modeling techniques. Typical primitives include the plane, the cube, the sphere, the cone and the torus.

Rendering – The process of converting the 3D date stored in a software package into the two-dimensional image seen by the camera within the scene.

Wireframe – A shading method in which a simple grid of lines is used to represent the basic contours of the underlying model. For many 3D artists, this is a favoured mode to work in, since it permits them to see faces and surfaces that would otherwise be hidden by overlying geometry.

My 3D Robot Chess Pieces 

I chose the theme robots because all though human figures are very hard to do robots are much easier as they are made up of lot of small shapes unlike a human where its one big thing. I was inspired by the movie robots and other things I found on the internet as well as video games I have played in the past like Ratchet and Clank.

3D Model - Robot pawnThis is my robot pawn, I tried to make it very basic and make it look small and weak compared to the other pieces as it is only a pawn. Its hard to see but the pawn also has a headset which I made by using two spheres and a torus.

3D model - robot castleHere is my robot rook, Its made out of basic polygons however, the wheels at the bottom were very difficult to model, I made them with a torus believe it or not and made it really wide and flat until the point it was in the shape you can see on the picture above. Inside the torus I put in a lot of spheres to act as the wheels.

3D Model - Robot knightThis is my robot knight which is probably the most complicated chess piece I have made so far and the one I put the most time into, before I even started I knew the horse would be incredibly difficult to make but the fact it is a robot horse allowed me to use my imagination a bit more and it also means it doesn’t have to be as realistic. The horse is only made up of spheres and cylinders believe it or not. Also I put a pawn on top of the horse just to make it that little bit better.

3D model - Robot BishopHere is my robot bishop, I aimed to make the bishop a dark mysterious wizard like robot, I made the body of the bishop by extruding out 2D faces on the chess piece base, I also made the indent on the hood buy extruding certain faces on the sphere inwards.

3D Model - robot queenThis is my robot queen, I made the hair by simply using a torus and putting it in the right size/shape. Also I made the sword with cylinders and a pyramid. The curve on the body was done by using the deformation flare tool on a cylinder which allowed me to create a curve through the body.

3D Model - Robot kingHere is my robot king, the body was made with a sphere and resized to the perfect size, I aimed to make the king look big and greedy. The arms are both one big torus that goes through the whole body. The head is a big cube with another cube on the inside with the top sticking out to create the crown. I created the beard by selecting certain 2D faces on the head and using the fur tool to create hair sticking out. I then used the settings within the fur tool to change the length and thickness of the hair.

My Final Render

This is my final render where I have out all the chess pieces on one big chess board and added a few other things to improve it.

3D Model - robot chess set 1Here I simply imported all my chess pieces onto the chess board

3D Model - Robot chess set 2As you can see I added a marble texture to all my chess pieces one side is bright white and the other side is dark grey, I did this to make the chess set more realistic.

3d Model - point lightI inserted a point light, I mention this tool in the terminology and tools part to this post, I did this as it automatically give the chess pieces shadows depending on where the point light is.

3D Model - robot chess set 3As you can now see the point light has allowed shadows to automatically be put into the scene. This adds to the realism and detail of the chess set.

3d model - robot chess set 4I have now added lights and shadows to my scene and final render which has improved the quality of the my chess set a lot and im really pleased about it.

My Evaluation

Overall I feel my 3D models have been good and improved a lot, however there are a lot of weaknesses as well as strength but i’ll talk about the strengths first. I feel what’s good about my 3D models are that they look like what they do on the concept designs however, I feel thats because the theme robots was not too difficult. Another strength is that I feel I use some of the tools very well for example the flare tool in the deformation section is something that I used in almost every single one of my chess pieces. Another strength is that I feel I used my imagination quite a lot which helped me a lot when it came to the 3D modeling it allowed me to use lots of different shapes and tools.

On the other hand, there are a lot of weakness with my 3D models. For example, I could have used some other tools like the boolean tool which could’ve been really helpful to some chess pieces, I mentioned this tool earlier in the post on the terminology and tools chapter. Another weakness is that I should’ve recored my development of all my chess pieces this would allow me to see how I have improved making it easier to evaluate my work, I can improve this next by taking screenshots every so often of my work but at least I now know to do this for future projects. Another weakness is that I it difficult to extrude shapes to make another shape, instead I always make more polygons then add on to it which is a bad thing but I feel its not as skillful.

If I compare my 3D Models to professional 3D Models of course they are not going to be as good however, I feel it is very important and useful to compare and contrast your work to other so you can see how to improve and what they have done which you haven’t. By using the research that I posted earlier in the post about three examples of professional 3D graphics I have compared some of my chess pieces to those picture I posted. And I can clearly see they their work is much more detailed than mine of course, they have been doing this much longer than I have but if I want to learn what they have done and the tools they use so I can improve my own work as well!

By Scott Willoughby 


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