Story Project One (make-up post)

For story project one we had to make our first complete story. We started with brainstorming story ideas. We pitched them and got reviews on pitches. Then we took our favorite pitches and started refining them into stories. We created character sheets, beat boards, scripts, a storyboard, and then finally an animatic. When we were pitching stories, I had not yet had my morning coffee. I decided to do a story about a sad coffee cup that thought he could only be happy if he had his coffee.

This is my final animatic. Overall I am happy enough with how the project turned out. I don’t think it went that great, but I did learn quite a bit about what went wrong. I wanted to write a sad story. What I didn’t realize when writing the story is that sad stories need contrast. While watching sad movies later I realized that the sad moments are only really sad when it’s in contrast to the defeat of a happy moment. I did not know this going into this story, so I made a story that was instead just kind of down throughout. Without any real moments of “up” I didn’t have a lot of room to make an impactfully sad “down” moment. On the flipside, before I even started the animatic I knew the exact music I wanted to use. I wanted to use the main theme from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, my favorite movie. When I started editing I saw that many of the beats in my animatic lined up extremely well with the song, which was a happy surprise.

This was my final storyboard. I feel like it is apparent that I am not an artist. I struggled literally for hours trying to get the small amount of perspective that I have, I even asked an artist friend of mine for guidance. I wanted a side view of coffee mugs inside of a cabinet, and I think that you kind of get that. Aside from my terrible art abilities I am fairly happy with the result.

This is my Beat Board. I feel like I could have realized even from the beat board the lack of contrast in my story. I think the main reason I did not recognize that it was not going well was kind of an issue of sunk cost fallacy. I felt like I had already invested time into doing this story, when in reality it should have been majorly reworked or even just scrapped. However being a busy student it was hard to justify starting the project over from scratch.

This is my character posing Sheet. I feel like I did an okay with the character poses. The biggest issue is that there isn’t really a lot of poses for a character that’s just always sad. This kind of goes back to the core issue of the problem that I had with this project, which was just not having a great story arc to begin with.

This is a flipbook of my script. You can kind of see even here that I didn’t have an extremely strong story arc in mind. I wrote the script with my beatboard in mind, which is very apparent. While I am pretty unhappy with the final result of my script, and a lot of my work, I think the most important thing is that I learned from these mistakes.

Overall, I am pretty disappointed with my final result. It is kind of a flat story, which is flat at a very low level. However, this is college, and the point is to learn. While I feel that this project did not go great for me, at the very least I got to learn a lot of important lessons basically every step of the way. I would rather learn those lessons here than in an environment that is more demanding. So in that regard I would say that while my final result was unsuccessful, the assignment as a learning experience was extremely successful.


Story Project Two

For Story Project Two I had to form a team to go through the whole pre-production process. I teamed up with my friend Tom and we started from scratch. After deciding the story we wanted to do, we got to work. Tom was in charge of the art, and I was in charge of the rest. I wrote the script, did the powerpoint, and the video editing. To ease the process of doing the art for Tom I also set up the photoshop document with all of our shot text and timings. After finding all of our audio I cut together the final animatic with Toms art.

We decided to do a story about a scruffy hedge that is afraid of being trimmed, called The Trimming. We liked this idea because it sounded cute, simple, and fun to make. Due to the simplicity of our story it was easy to come up with cohesive story elements.

The creation of the animatic itself was not too bad. The only real issue that I ran into was finding appropriate sound effects. I don’t have the ability to create sounds myself, so I had to scour the web. Finding sound effects that sounded cohesive and fit the timing of our story well proved to be difficult. Overall I am happy with the final result.

This is the storyboard slideshow. Overall the creation went very smooth. The only real issue was that we struggled to find good timings for each shot. Just playing through the slideshow just didn’t seem like the appropriate way to determine timings. I think in reality the solution to this problem is just to be more experienced. I’m sure somebody that is more experienced in the art of storytelling could more confidently find a starting point for timings. For the time being, we just did what we could.

This is our Character Posing SheetAnd this is our Beat Board

Doing the Character posing sheet proved to be really helpful. Putting a “face” to our characters help us better establish early on “who” they were and how we wanted the story to go. The beat board also did give us a feel for our story. I feel like we had a pretty clearly defined story arc which really helped.

This is a flipsnak of our script. The script was very odd to right since there is no talking between characters. Since it is just the two characters in one scene it also made things a little odd. The script felt almost too easy to write, and really went in line with how we ended up doing our final storyboard.


And finally, this is the story assignment that we started with. I think that due to the very clearly defined and straightforward nature of our original pitch for the story we were about to hit exactly what we were aiming for almost exactly. We didn’t run into any significant problems, and Tom was a great teammate to work with. We communicated regularly on what was going on and pretty much always got things done on time. We both provided input for each others tasks on the assignment and I feel like we both did our fair share of work.

Final Game Scene Post

For this weeks post I’ll be posting the final work for the game scene. First we have Zacharys work, with the buildings and decorations.

Houses and Props for 373 Final
by Zachary Coon
on Sketchfab

Next up we have Joshs Gun. I only included the high poly version of the gun but it looks great.


Lastly I have my work. First I have my “decorations”, which include my barrels, mailbox, and trash can. This is actually not a completely honest picture of those models. My actual textures have opacity painted in to accomplish some of the things that I worked on throughout the semester and I have detailed in other posts. For the sake of this screenshot I added a nice blue color just so they would be visible in the screenshot.


This is my car. I am kind of dissapointed with how my car ended up, but that seems to be the nature of this high stress class projects. I am happy that I got my glass and interior working fine on the car. I was pretty happy with the final textures. I was very worried throughout texturing that it was “too dirty” but I had to keep reminding myself that it was fallout.


This is the wireframe for my car. There is also a full interior that you cannot see in this screenshot, but you can see above. The front bumper of the car was definitely the hardest part for me. Near the end throughout the car my topology got pretty messy. the back left of the car looks pretty bad, but that was me fixing N-gons manually. The line that is coming in by the window I believe is just some artifacting from z-fighting with the interior.


theses are my final maps for the car. I did not need a high/low poly version so I didn’t get a lot of baked in detail. But to be honest my polycount seemed so generous I’m not sure how much I would have actually gained visually from having a high poly version.

carMaps.pngAll of my models were made in Maya and baked/textured in Substance Painter 2. I did not use any other software. I did eventually use Substance Designer just a bit for my unity material, but that was more of a touch up extra than a necessary step.

Here’s an example of my car in scene. The dirtiness of my car is way more justified in an environment like this one. ss+(2017-05-14+at+11.05.16).png

Here’s some of my props next to one of Zachary’s buildings. ss+(2017-05-14+at+11.05.41).png

Overall I’m pretty happy with how the project turned out. I didn’t have any major hiccups in the project aside from the usual. I had life an other classes get in the way, which challenged my time management skills, on top of getting sick which I’m still struggling with. But technically the project went well. The car proved to be a bit more of a challenge than I expected. It had a lot of odd rounding to it on top of some other sharp edges. UVing also ended up being  a very intimidating task with my car. With all of these school projects, I feel like I could do much better now that I’ve done it before, but I guess that’s the point of taking classes.

Detail Mask Update

While my car is coming along nicely, I have an update on the detail layer that I was working on a few weeks ago. I asked for some help and found the “right” way to do what I was trying to do. Instead of doing odd workarounds with Unity’s Standard shader, the right way to go about a detail mask is with a custom built substance shader. Luckily, a shader that places a texture on top of a color is pretty simple, and served as a great introduction to substance designer for me.

This is the tree that I made with the help of one of my instructors, Justin. ss+(2017-05-08+at+12.32.41).png

This tree takes a color, a texture, and a mask as parameters. blends the color and texture into one color map, and then sends the mask to blend with a secondary mask. These things then combine together in the final node, to make a masked and combined albedo. Something important to note, however, is the load time. This entire tree is adding about ~14ms of load time to the game. While this isn’t much, if I had multiple versions of this texture, and it was on lots of objects, it could add up. But it’s not for nothing. ss+(2017-05-08+at+12.31.06).jpg

The final result was basically a much better version of what I was trying to do with Unitys shader. The downside is slightly longer loading, where as Unity’s standard shader is undoubtedly faster, but I think that an argument for using the substance method could definitely be made. Luckily, while texturing the object the workflow that you use doesn’t really change at all, this just seems to be the more advanced version of implementing to the game engine. Compared to the way I did this in my previous post, there is no bleed

Where as the way that I did it previously did have a pretty significant amount of bleed through. I’m not sure if there’s some way around this or not using Unity’s shader, but it seems the substance shader is the superior option if you aren’t worried about min maxing load times. Either way, this seems like a great method for making a variance of asserts without taking up more texture space.