Well the first semester has been a bit of a rollercoaster because I certainly underestimated the amount I needed to absorb, yet the more time that progresses the more I am starting to realise it’s not as difficult as it is time consuming. As the first semester year began we were given the task to model a Dalek from the famous Doctor Who show, at the time I was pretty shocked as to how complex this thing was and we only had a week to do it, nothing but a basic tutorial on modelling was what I had to work with. However looking back at it now I understand that that is all I really needed know to model pretty much anything. In 3ds Max it’s not so much how well you know the software but how well you know the subject your modelling, after all its only another tool/software. I learned quite a bit in terms of speeding up the process of modelling this Dalek as I made it multiple times, starting again and again until I got it right.
The week after we were given the task to model our own wheelie bins. This was interesting because this time it involved texturing the model with photographic reference. Looking back at this task I underestimated the modelling part being quite confident after the Dalek, I left it a little late and ended up leaving too little time for the texturing process, which wasn’t very clever at all simply because it was everyone’s first time texturing. I then redid the model, using the tri’s more efficiently and also spent a lot more time on the texturing; I added detail onto the texture sheet in Photoshop in an attempt to surpass my previous, not so good version.
Right, after 3 weeks of the bin project we were given the Architecture project, the tri limit was 1500 tri’s and the texture limit was 8mb which is decent but we were told to be very efficient with what we use. So I began searching for reference and found something in the city centre of Peterborough (my hometown), like a town square building which was very interesting and old. I knew from the start this would be a challenge because it was very tall with old, damaged bricks, we were told to use “tiled textures” where you take a repetitive pattern and loop it around the model for things such as bricks, roof tiles and floor slabs. I really struggled in modelling this accurately because I felt I need more tri’s to get out all the detail, in addition I didn’t like the final outcome so much because my brick textures became too clean thus differentiating too much from the original reference. Though next time I would choose something more simplistic I learned a lot about efficient texturing and modelling architectural assets
The final thing from semester one we were set to do was trees. This time the new thing being taught was “alpha textures” great for grass, leaves, hair, and other finite things that only need to be displayed in a 2D form using planes. I enjoyed this task because it was very simply taught to us so I managed to pick it up very quickly, although If I were to change anything of this project I would use more planes in smaller size to add to the larger branches as this would have made it more realistic.
To conclude this semester I was very pleased with what the course was setting us, the tasks were very challenging and each time I found myself working out how to do things after spending hours on 3ds Max without any teacher or other student to explain it to me, this way as I was half teaching myself I tend to remember things a lot better. Although there are also always other students to help us first years which makes it more reassuring that what we are doing is not impossible.