Assignment 1 Reflection

Assignment 1 was challenging but highly rewarding and I learned a lot about 3D modelling. At the beginning of the year, I had no knowledge in Maya and only a slight amount of knowledge in Blender (and at that this was very self-taught during the second lockdown in 2021). I am very happy with the progress I have made over 6 weeks this Semester. 

In the beginning of the Semester, I learned about the pipeline of 3D design and modelling, and how it begins with research and ideating. I was initially drawn to Ralph McQuarrie and his iconic sci-fi helmet designs for Star Wars, and this enabled me to push forward with sketching ideas inspired by his designs.

The next stage was inserting these designs (and specifically a “final” concept) into 3D space and adjusting vertices to turn my primitive shape into a more complex form. I was surprised at how complex the helmet form was to make 3D, and it took hours and hours to get to the point where I was happy with the shape (however looking back, this would have taken a shorter amount of time applying what I have now learned). I then began adding details, and this gradually changed from where my initial concept was – resulting in new sketches and a newfound design.

UV mapping was potentially the most challenging part for me as I encountered a lot of overlaps in my polygons. I was able to highlight shaded areas and recognise where this, and I found the solution was to begin again as a Planar map and cut sensibly and precisely (and as limited as possible). I resulted in no overlaps and a successful UV map that was accessible in Substance.

Texturing and rendering was the most enjoyable part for me, as I was able to see the design come to life and apply an artistic, cinematic stance to my work so far. I thought the brighter base helmet really stood out against the dark grey accents, honing in on the sci-fi, Ralph McQuarrie-inspired feel I had aimed for since the beginning. I had never used Substance Painter before this Semester but I have found it enjoyable (despite having to try again with my model approximately 30 times due to UV issues which are now sorted).

Overall, I was pleased with my model. If I was to start again I would think about simplifying my shapes a bit, maintaining constant awareness of the UV mapping to be done later, however having this challenge is what enabled me to learn this and the outcome was successful. I feel much more confident with complex shapes now going forward. 

I am looking forward to starting Assignment 2 and designing other models for other projects.

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