Maya Challenge: Disney Weapons – The Little M89 Carbine

As my last post explained I started participating in the occasional Maya challenge with some of my friends to see what sort of weapons we could create based around some of the Disney Princesses.  It was supposed to be a quick challenge but thanks to a bunch of unfortunate circumstances - most notably my PC completely formatting after the Windows 10 update – this post is pretty late.   For this challenge the Disney princess was Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

Final Render

Final Render


Process

So as always I started with a few doodles.  I wasn't very happy with the overall concept but I was struggling to think of ideas so just ended up going for a mix of the sketches below.

To get a better idea of what the finer details of the gun would look like I went to google images and tried to identify a bunch of parts and features I wanted my gun to exhibit.  After collecting these images I mashed them all together to create this monstrosity

Rough photohshoped concept made up of about 6 other photos

Rough photohshoped concept made up of about 6 other photos

Now that I had a basic image to work with, I went to Maya to try and block out the basic shapes of the weapon. 

Basic main gun frame blocked out.

Basic main gun frame blocked out.

Refining shape.  Ignore that texture, that was just me experimenting with something.

Refining shape.  Ignore that texture, that was just me experimenting with something.

Now we are getting somewhere!

Now we are getting somewhere!

After a bit more refining I was quite happy with how the model was coming along.  While the scope and trident's polycount was too high considering their size, I felt the streamlined main body of the gun made up for these shortcomings. 

It was at this point where I realized I only had a few hours left to try and finish my model to meet the deadline of the group’s weekly target.  I rushed out a highly inefficient reel and rope and started to UV map.   

After about half way through UV mapping the object I realized I was never going to finish the full model before the deadline. I decided that for the group deadline I would just try to finish UV mapping the model, then would work on the texturing some other time over the next few days.  I was already planning on exploring a bunch of different texture and material creators that week anyway, so I felt that this could be the perfect model to experiment with.  

I tried to upload all the textures but it was taking far too long so these shall have to do for now.  No idea why I decided to split the gun into so many pieces, it felt easier at the time but only led to more work later on.  All the textures are based of photos from CGtextures and the specs were just created by editing the diffuse maps.  I created the normals with Ndo, a program I had only previously used a few times so they don’t look too great.  On reflection I feel I was too conservative with the normal maps as you can hardly even see half of them.  I also think I went over the top with diffuse and spec maps. The metal is far too dirty in comparison to the wood and leaves the final project result looking strange and uneven.  Despite not being too happy with how the final textures came out, I really enjoyed using Ndo and look forward to messing about with it more.

Final Render

Final Render

Finally I rendered the object out to photoshop, made a few minor adjustments and added a background image.  I always struggle deciding on how to present the final render but I feel this one turned out okay.  Overall I'm happy with what I managed to come up with.  I wish I had made a better job of the texturing but these sorts of things happen when you’re learning new programs and tools. Hopefully I will be able to apply these lessons to my next model.

As I think most of my friends have taken a break from the weekly Maya challenges, over the next few weeks in my spare time I shall be exploring other projects. I want to try and learn gamemaker as well as join a small indiedb development team as a prop artist but we will see what happens.

Maya Challenge: Mulan Weapons – Sword of the Blossom

In an attempt to try and get back into the idea of working to a deadline, several of my friends and I decided to start a weekly Maya challenge.   The idea was inspired through a conversation between Yong and Andrew where Andrew was comparing the colour scheme of one of Yong’s recent gun models to that off Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story series.  The conversation developed and the idea of creating weapons for the Disney Princesses came up, which then turned into a challenge.  Every week in our spare time we would all create a weapon based around a single Disney Princess.  It was decided that Mulan would be selected for the first week.  While the idea of creating weapons for princesses was initially suggested as an almost comedic juxtaposition, this is obviously lost with Mulan who is already a warrior. 

When initially brainstorming concepts I considered the idea of reimagining one of the weapons already featured in Mulan, however, I quickly decided against this after some poor rough sketches.   While I’ve seen and enjoyed the film, my knowledge of Mulan is rather limited so I went to Youtube to research some of the key scenes and themes.  One of the most popular clips I came across was the scene where Mulan’s father is sitting on a bench under a Magnolia liliiflora discussing the blooming of the tree’s flowers.  The scene demonstrates the relationship between Mulan and her father which is ultimately what influences her decision to go to war.  Due to the significance of this tree I felt like it would be a suitable subject for Mulan’s weapon.  I don’t plan to have as thorough reasoning behind these designs in the future, it’s just that this one came quite naturally.  It's been a hectic week so I haven't had the chance to spend as much time working on it as I would of liked, regardless, I'm happy to be back making things again.

Final Render

Final Render


Process

Once  I knew I was basing my weapon of a Magnolia liliiflora tree I knew exactly what I wanted to do.  I didn’t bother concepting and instead quickly scribble down this rubbish doodle so I wouldn’t forget my design.

I then went to Maya and started to block out the tree with a basic cylinder.   It was at this point I realized that I hadn’t modelled anything organic in Maya for years. As this also my first time using Maya 2016 I started off a bit slower than I would of liked.

After refining the tree and sorting out some of the topology of the roots, I quickly added a blade. 

Once I was happy with the basic shape of the tree I moved on to the flowers and created them using a series of flat cylinders, the nonlinear bend tool and the duplicate special function.  

I then placed the flowers around the branches of the tree so I could get a rough idea of what the final object was going to look like.

Now came the part I was least looking forward too, the sculpting.  While I have decent experience with Zbrush, I often get frustrated with the controls and make dumb mistakes.  However, thanks to simplicity of the model this sculpt went surprisingly.  It’s far from perfect but I only had couple hours left until the deadline so had to make do.   

After importing the new tree handle from Zbrush into Maya, I created a basic plain brown material for it and textured the flowers with a simple petal image I found online.  

Now that it was all put together it was ready to render!

Overall I'm pretty happy with how it turned out considering how little time I spent on it. I probably went a bit too ambitious with the model and should have focused more on texturing, materials and rendering but these are all lessons I can take forth with the next challenge.  I didn’t have time to work on the blade as much I wanted too but I think it works for the most part.  


If you’re curious as to how my friends did you can see their weapons here –