Unity Basics and Lighting


I’ve been trying to familiarize myself with Unity more, glad to see the similarities to Maya but it’s still been tricky trying to set things up. One thing I’ve noticed is Unity gives you a lot more space for creating you’re own scripts and plug-ins, a lot of it comes from peoples ability to share assest and textures which is really cool as well as daunting when trying to figure out how to work with it.

My starting point here has been making a scene in maya and transferring it over, which for the most part has worked pretty well, some of the textures changed slightly and I needed to redo the cloth physics but that wasn’t too hard to figure out.  But it’s all there so I can’t complain too much.

I’m now working on some lighting and it’s been hard trying to find a good starting point to learn how to use them, or more that there are so many different workflows it’s hard to find one for a beginner. As well as there being a difference between cinematic lighting and lighting for games, but Alec showed us the Blog Unity has on how they made Adam, which  is an awesome animation made with Unity, which is there linked at the top, so hopefully I can get a better idea of how to build up cinematic lighting sets a bit better.


First Meeting

Today we had our very first meeting with EnterYes, meeting James and Ross for the first time, a bit nervous but everyone was really friendly.

They we’re explaining how we’ll be working mainly on the pre-production of the project and explained briefly what it was about and how it connected to James, it’s mainly focusing on the relationship instead of making any sort of political statement on war.

They’ve already started in the studio re-doing the storyboards and for nest week they want us to work on creating some concept art and research into styles. We need to work towards the studios style which seems to be leaning towards realistic but so realistic that there’s a danger of becoming uncanny. James mentioned “Paths of Hate” which is an animation I’ve heard of before but has a toon shader I believe it’s called, very stylized lines similar to Telltale games and Borderlands, this exact style would be too much for what the style they want to go for but we need to find a way that can be really expressive of facial emotion.

I’m going to trying out different colour palettes, I’m not sure if a lot of colour would be suitable but muted tones, some of EnterYes projects has used a lot of black and white or heavy shaded areas as well as textures so there’s a lot there to experiment with.

They were also explaining the use of Unity and that James has worked with it before, we need to familiarize ourselves with the software and I’ve been briefly trying to look up examples of facial animations done in Unity, although it’s really something I know nothing about so it may be more something to look at further down the line.

Working With EnterYes

During this semester we’re going to be working alongside a Belfast Studio called EnterYes,

“Enter Yes™ pushes the boundaries of film, virtual reality and animation to create award-winning content. We centre on the interpretation of emotion and creativity in digital media, intersecting new and old media techniques to create a dense rich visual language.”

They’ve created games, animations and motion graphics for TV and virtual reality experiences. They’ve also worked in collaboration with other companies such as Bionaut Films and HBO Europe to create an animated film KINGS OF SUMAVA. They have a variety of styles from cartoony to dark and gritty.

For our time working with them we’ll be working with James Dolton and Ross Morrison on an animated film called Worn, pitched by James Dolton. This project is in it’s begining stages and I think it’ll be great experience to help bring this idea along and see it develop, we’re going to meeting and talking with them today, so hopefully we’ll have a starting point to work from of what ideas they want to put forward and the style we’ll be working with.

This project is going to be run in unity which I’m excited about learning, I’ve only downloaded it this week, but I think some of my maya skills should be able to be transfered across, I’ll need to do more research on the workflow between programmes.


Animation Reflection

I feel like I’ve learnt a lot from this project, it’s been very trying and taking longer than I thought it would. We spent the first few weeks working through storyboards, animistic and a 3D previs which I’ve never really made before which was fun to do, it gave a lot of insight into how much pre-planning projects need and I’m grateful for the iterations we went through, we were pretty torn between including the girl character or not but after working on possible ideas I’m glad that we could include her, I think it brought a bit more heart into our story. Looking back on the storyboards I made I would like to work on making them a lot clearer  and defined, so the ideas are clearly visible, I ‘m aware that I could understand them but it may be more difficult for some others.

A lot of my time on this project was spent on making the model for the dad and creating the Rig’s for both of the characters. I’ve never created a Rig and found it to be a bit daunting, there are so many different ways to approach rigging it’s was hard to know what was right or wrong, though I’m happy with the types of rigs I made, I wish I had had more time to polish them up, creating them seemed a straight forward process but adding controllers and setting everything ready to pass onto an animator was more difficult. Although any problems we found we could eventually fix it again slowed the process down, that’s why I want to try to spend more time learning some rigging techniques and mixing fk/ik handles, I can see how it’s a valuable skill to have.

I’ve also been working a lot on the lighting for our scenes, it’s been fun experimenting with the different settings and types of lights, I’ve not made many light setups before that haven’t been for a still scene and not for a character, this was slightly more challenging as there are a few of our scenes that are in the dark but it still needs to be visible what’s happening. I solved this by using light-linking and for our build-up scenes it wasn’t so much about natural light as it was dramatic lighting that we used to try and build-up tension and try and emanate what you would see almost in horror movies.


Man vs Nature Progress

W’re so close to the end of this project and it’s crazy to now see all our ideas and work coming together. Most of the animation is done now though we still need to import our textures and lighting. Which I think we have time for, there have been more problems than I thought there would have been especially with my rigging, but we’ve all learnt a lot from.

Pinterest Mood Board



As well as artist I looked into different butterfly and moths to base the wings off.

I used Dragon fly wings as I like the veins you can see running though them, and oddly in my own mind Faeries always have translucent wings which is why I didn’t option for more colourful butterfly’s wings .

In texturing I haven’t quite figured it how to make them translucent, at them moment the only way I can think to do this would involve remodeling my wings, which I don’t have time for at the moment.

Image result for dragonfly wings





I was able to model the majority of the base structure of my Model in Maya and then wanted to use Zbrush to add in some details, I realized that in keeping my model close to the original design I wouldn’t need much detail brought it, I know I added rough texture to the dress but I feel it’s be unreasonable to try and model that, give my own skill level and time we have. It would also leave me with less to then retopologize, again saving some time.



Possibly naively I thought it would be pretty simple to transfer meshes between the two programs but apparently if you don’t know what you’re doing it can go quite wrong.


This article helped point me in the right direction of how to do it.

I then found some difficulty in retopologizing,  I found I was either creating too many polygons again, getting odd jutting out lines or losing a majority of my details. So I haven’t quite figured that out yet. I looked at some different methods of retopologizing, with Zbrush having a built in program that can do it for you, I did attempt this but the result was pretty messy, Maya’s quad draw would have to do. Looking back now I think I was focusing too much on having evenly spaced polygons than creating the right form for the detail, hopefully with another few attempts I can get it right.

Research and Sketching

Iris Compiet


This artist was one of the first I thought of when doing thinking of what to possibly sculpt for my project. Their designs are refreshing and have a beautiful vibrancy of colour, I did debate whether or not to recreate on of their designs but I really wanted to strike out with one of my own. This work is from a project of their called “Faeries of the Faultlines”, and is presented as a documentation of these creatures, in that sense you can see how they’ve molded the concepts of faeires and tree spirits into something we might recognize in realife, not quite as attached to fantasy.

Tony DiTerlizzi


The documentation style of Iris Compiet project also resembles the work of Tony Diterlizzi, author and illustrator of the Spiderwick Chronicles along with Holly Black, I own the Spiderwicks Field guide which is filled with these anatomical illustrations of faeries.  Tony spends more time looking into fauna and relating his sprites back to them in shape and form but he as well add in more human-esque features, particularly in the faces which gives it a more magically sense than Iris illustrations.

For my own designs I feel very torn between making it look human or removing human likeness completely and keeping it simply a creatures . There is an appeal in both styles and as I research it’s fascinating to see how different artists have taken on the same magical creatures and made them their own, which again adds pressure to create a design I feel is unique to myself.

I’ve been trying to explore a variety of designs trying to find that right mix between human and creature. How they might change with different environments and even genders.

Personal Project Reflection

This project has been a lot of exploration and experimentation. With other projects working in a team you very quickly get an idea of what you want to have at the end and can start working on this, through with this project the opportunity to do anything was almost counterproductive. I figured out a general theme for my project based on a fairy creature, though I found so many different styles and inspirations it was hard to choose what direction to move in. I was getting stuck a lot on the concept element of the project when I felt I should really be buckling down into the sculpting though with the input of of some friends I choose one of my designs and begun the process of making in zbrush, I learnt about using zspheres and how to better work with the program and started making some progress. Although I still wasn’t completely satisfied with the concept I was working from, despite the work I’d done I wasn’t motivated to keep working at it and was second guessing it a lot. I took a break from working on it and actually found a old maya file from last year where I had tried to model another character I’d drawn (another fairy design as well) I was curious to see if I could update the model and I ended up completing it instead. I brought the model then into zbrush to add details but in retopologizing I think I lost quite a few of those details, working between the programs is an area I need to experiment more, I can see a lot of varying online workflows, so I need to find what best works for me.   Motivating myself to work on personal work can be hard at times and I need to practice that discipline but I think this project has shown that there needs to be a source of excitement or enthusiasm in my own work that pushes me forward.

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