Catacomb project update

Through the past few days, I have been continuing to work on my models for the Synoptic Project.  Updating the look, textures, and testing them out in Unity before uploading them to the Google Drive so my team mates have them available to put into the game.  My most recent model is a vase that can be used for decoration in some of the rooms.

Vase ss

vase ss 2

Vase wireframe

This is how my vase model looks untextured within Maya. I created the stand with a cube polygon and the rest of the vase was made with the cylinder polygon. I used bevelling and mirror tools. The stand I had connected the edges to form a line in the middle of my model then lined up the vertical edges of the vase so that the middle of both models could meet for mirroring before combining the models together. I deleted half of the model before sorting out the UV’s so that the textures would match both sides whilst not taking up too much space to affect my game.

Vase render 1

Vase render 2

Vase render 3

I have textured the model in Substance Painter and this is one of the ways that I have textured it.  I have two different texture maps for the model to give it a variety in looks. This texture gives it a more new and shiny look to the model.  I have the different textures as two save files to separate them so I can apply the different textures to a version of the  model in game.

Vase 2 render 1

Vase 2 render 2

Vase 2 render 3

This is my second texture for the vase. I have given it a more dirty look for this type of vase.  With it being in the catacombs, I wanted it to have a more dirty and old look to it.  The vase isn’t polished or clean or shiny like the other vase was. It is also darker than the original vase textures. I experimented with this model by adding texture images to smart materials that I apply the model.

Some of the other models I had to re-export the textures from Substance painter and have the it set to export to “Unity 5 (standard metallic)” as I originally had them set to “Arnold 4 (Aistandard)” so it would be easier to apply the textures into Unity.  I had also rendered my models in Substance Painter and sent them to the Google Drive.

Arm render 1

Arm render 3Arm render 2

Lantern lit render 1Lantern lit render 2


Lantern render 2

skull render 1skull render 3

Here are the renders for my models. It was a awkward process since the models didn’t look like they were properly rendered during the process but when I pressed on “save render” the render looked fine and didn’t have the dots like it did during the rendering process. Unity model test

Unity model test 2

Unity model test 3

This is how my models looked when I tested them inside Unity. The textures are working well, I haven’t found any real issues with the models nor the textures. Applying the normal map to the material with the textures on had a rather weird result but it was because it wasn’t classed as a map which could be easily fixed by pressing the “fix now” button nearby the “normal map” section.


Imagined Worlds: Ralph McQuarrie (Star Wars)


Ralph McQuarrie is a much accomplished artist who was born on the 13th of June, 1929 in Gary, Indiana. His influences for being immersed in the world of art came from his parents due to both of them being artists and he had gotten his first taste of painting with water colouring and sketching. He had learned technical drawing during high school after beginning his official art studies when he was 10.  The skills that he had developed had landed him with a job  Kaiser Graphics then shifted to the Boeing Company not long after. He illustrated concept art in air and spacecraft with help from his abilities in mechanical drawing along with creating graphic illustration used for televised coverage of NASA’s Apollo Lunar missions.

Ralph McQuarrie

Ralph McQuarrie

It was in 1975 where Ralph became acquainted with a young director called George Lucas who had been trying to convince  the executives at Fox to fund a science fiction fantasy that he had written called “Star Wars”. Ralph had made concept sketches and paintings for the movie idea and it was presented as a worn and weathered  world that the characters lived in which resulted in the project being a go and ended up being a surprising blockbuster hit.  Ralph was also involved in the two films after that, developing the iconic looks to the characters Darth Vader, R2-D2, sandcrawlers as well as the Stormtrooper armour.

Darth Vader

Darth Vader



Storm trooper


Ralph McQuarrie had also gone on to use his work for other films such as E.T., Back to the Future, Star Trek, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Battlestar Galactica, Cocoon and Close Encounters. He had also done advertising work for companies such as Bud Light, Chevrolet, Pepsi and Panasonic.

RM concept 1

RM concept 2


“Ralph McQuarrie is not only a conceptual artist, but a visionary who has created fantastic otherworldly environments, creatures and technology. His work has a very unique and creative edge to it. Many individuals, from those in cinematography field to those in the scientific community, have been inspired by his artwork and designs.” – (quote from:

This shows how much of an impact that Ralph McQuarrie’s artwork has made. From imagining and designing how environment, characters and technologies would look outside of our planet. Just by seeing how Ralph has been able to create this art allows people to be inspired to create their own environments, characters and technology for their projects. Ralph was unsure if Star Wars would even get funded. ” I didn’t think the film would get made. My impression was it was too expensive. I thought there wouldn’t be enough of an audience. It’s too complicated.” “Since when I started it wasn’t clear that the film would be made. I didn’t have to limit myself.” (quotes from –

Star Wars art 1Star Wars art 2Star Wars art 3

Ralph McQuarrie uses water painting for his artwork to make his art look rather realistic due to the shadings and details to capture the life like look. Water painting also allows objects that are far away from where the camera is (in terms of the scene) to look more faded and distant. I like how well the colours blend in with each other to make realistic looking objects and environments.  I also like how the colours that are meant to stand out, do so without looking out of place in the scene. The lighting in the artwork is really well made.  It helps make the objects look even more realistic. The artwork really captures how the scenes could look when made into the movie. There’s a lot of detail put into the concept art and for the amount of detail put into the initial concepts of Star Wars that was rather unsure to be made in the first place, a lot of care and effort is shown in Ralph’s work.

Not all of the artwork looks realistic as some artwork looks a bit odd in my view.  Take the artwork with Darth Vader and the Storm troopers for example.

RM concept 3

Whilst Darth Vader has a rather realistic look to him, the background and parts of the Storm troopers have rather “sketchy” black lines to them which I’m personally not really fond of. Also some of the boxes doesn’t have shadings which makes them feel rather flat with black sketch lines used which also gives me a sense of it being rushed.

mcquarrie speeder chase

The speeder chase scene is also another one of Ralph’s artwork. I’m not to fond with the little detail in the characters face; however, I like the sense of speed that Ralph tried to create by using lines to show that the character is going at a fast pace. The blue in the artwork I find a bit off putting as it doesn’t really work with the environment and seems rather out of place.

The final product of the imagined worlds is pretty faithful to the concept art. There are some changes that are made in the final product such as being night time instead of daytime, the characters looks, what the character is doing (like Chewbacca carrying c3po’s broken body parts in a box rather than just carrying his body), different camera angles, etc.  But besides some small changes, you can still tell that the scene in the final product is off the concept art.  The same thing is happening from the art into the final product but just with some subtle changes.

I feel that the final product was really successful with it still going strong today. After 40 years, 12 movies, 6 TV series’ and 50 games along with the rights currently owned by Disney.  Star Wars still maintains a rather large fan base that continue to purchase and support Star Wars content. It’s still a very successful franchise and will continue for a long time. The amount of support that this franchise that started off unsure if would be funded or if there would be enough of an audience to last ended up being really successful and will last in the memories of many fans of the franchise. I feel like the franchise will only continue to grow and the rights may get passed on to someone else if Disney if they ever feel like they can’t make anymore movies or content which is doubtful with how much money that Star Wars brings.

Update on Synoptic Project

Throughout the past few weeks, I have been  working on the Catacombs Synoptic Project with my group. We are finishing up the preproduction stage which still  has some bits and pieces finishing up.  I have been working on some concept art during the process whilst making some model as creating a research mood board to help me create the artwork.

lantern-concept.pngTorch conceptcatacombs-concept.png


Here are some concept drawings that I had made for the game. This will help me with making the models.  I also made some models that I have UV unwrapped and textured.

Lantern SP render

arm arnold render 1

arm arnold render 2

arm arnold render 3

The current progress of my work is going well as I need to start rigging the arm for animation. I have also currently been assigned the task of modelling the skull which I shall start working on soon.  The current progress of our synoptic project is going rather well as we communicate well, understand the roles that we are taking and know what needs to be done.

Synoptic Project

For my Synoptic Project, I’m working on a game called Catacombs which was my first vote when we were doing the pitches. It’s a walking simulator where you explore the catacombs and try to reach the exit. I’m the 3D artist/animator for the game. My current objective is to make the characters arm carrying a lantern and animate it’s movements. The lantern model is currently completed and I have also UV unwrapped and textured the model.

Lantern old render 1

Lantern old render 2

Here’s the untextured older version of the model. I have mad some small updates such as edit the UV since I had the UV set as multiple texture maps since I had 6 texture maps for the model. I completely redone the UV by selecting the faces and planar mapping the UV’s. The middle part of the lantern with the glass was separated into half, the handles where used automatic to set the UV map out, I cleaned up the model and used the layout to set out all of the UV’s so it looks tidy.

Lantern UVThis is the UV for my lantern model. I used the Layout in my UV editor to make the UVs more organised and neatly laid out. I took a screenshot to make it easier to see than if I saved the image using UV snapshot.

Lantern render

This is the textured version of the lantern. I textured the lantern in Substance Painter using smart materials to give it a more realistic look.  I wanted it to have a rusted look to give it an old look. The main issue I had with texturing the model is the glass paint going onto the ring around the bottom of it. There is no way to get rid of it and when I fill the face, some of the fill goes on the next face. I had to texture the model a couple of times. I wanted to make the light in the lantern render but unfortunately, I don’t know how to make the textures that are transparent in Substance Painter be transparent in Maya. I couldn’t get the lighting to work nor find anything that would help me at this moment.

Arm render

This is my current progress on the arm model, I imported the lantern model first so I could model the hand around the lantern.

Arm render 2

This is how the hand model actually looks when making the model. The hand model above it is the smoothed version that happens when you press 3 with the model selected. I’m still working on modelling the full arm so the lantern is further away from the camera and makes the environment easier to see where the character is going.


Synoptic Project pitch

During college, I am currently working on the synoptic project with my group. But before we started working on the project, each of us had to create a pitch to try to convince people to work on our game idea. My game idea was a Virtual Reality horror walking simulator called The Flooding Fear. My game was targeted toward teenagers and adults that enjoy the horror game experience. The game was more focused on environmental horror as being attacked by the monster would only occur at the end so there would be water dripping from the pipes, boxes falling over, tables being smashed in half, water foot print and puddles.

Alex Short Synoptic Project

I had made a PowerPoint that included what may game idea was, reference images for what the game and the monster could look like as well as concepts for the level, the monster and even drew a map, and what roles that is required for my game idea. I forgotten to include a section explaining the minimal viable product which would have helped improve my presentation; although, I did explain what rooms in the map where necessary to the game and which rooms could just be locked doors with nothing behind them.

Doing digital drawings may have helped the presentation of my artwork; however, I still find doing digital art difficult so I will have to try to make my drawings darker to make them easier to see. I should have also try to have practised more on my presentation so I could explain my game idea clearer and be more confident in showing it off. I had forgotten to include some components into my pitch so next time, I should go back and check what needs to be included into my presentation to be sure that my presentation has the requirements necessary.



Synoptic Project Pitch

Currently, I am working on a pitch for my Synoptic project idea. My current idea is a Virtual Reality horror walking simulator. The name of my game idea is called The Flooding Fear. You play as a character that is investigating an abandoned power plant that was originally made to purify water, taking out the pollution out it so water would be a safer living environment for animals that live under water. The place was turned into a power plant and uses water to produce electricity. A woman had been reported missing within the facility resulting in a police investigation. The woman’s body wasn’t found and the investigation failed since no one knew where she was nor if she was still alive or not. The player is a relative that believes that the police were either lazy during this investigation or may be hiding something and decides to go into the power plant to search for the woman’s body. The intent is to be sure if the body is around and confirm if she is still alive or not. After entering the building, the main character starts looking around the building, collecting keys to unlock the doors. Whilst exploring,  boxes fall and water drips from the pipes. Puddles of water on the floor and the walls are wet from the leaking pipes. A loud crash comes from one of the offices resulting with player deciding to have a check to see what caused it and finds that one of the tables is broken in half along with a flashlight nearby. The player picks up the flashlight which results in all of the building lights turning off. The player turns on the flashlight and has a look around then notices a shadow moving to the main generator room. The player follows the shadow into the main generator room and notices a figure which then sees the player and catches them resulting in a black screen which ends the demo.

Synoptic storyboard

The main theme around my game is water.  It is the main aspect of my game since it is used to power the building, water runs in the pipes, and water is leaking around the building. With it either being water footprints, leaking pipes or large puddles. The monster is also water themed since the person went “missing” in the building, her soul has bonded with the water surrounding the place.

Horror monster concept 1

Horror monster concept 2

Here are some of my concepts for the monster of my game. The cut mouth I was inspired by Alice Angel from Bendy and the Ink Machine. I included cuts on her body to make her more creepy but has water pouring out instead of blood. The second design I replaced a standard flesh arm and had it made from water instead. For my idea, I’ll need 3D artists/animators, programmers and sound designers to make my game work. 3D artists will create the models for the games’ environment as well as the character and monsters model. The main character won’t need much detail in the model since the game will be in first person so the player will only see the arms and possibly legs when moving. The monster will be seen for a small amount of time near the end of the game so she may not need too much detail especially since it will be a bit dark.


Non-diegetic sounds

Non diegetic sounds are sounds that don’t naturally come from that scene. Examples of these sounds can be music that is playing but doesn’t have a source or a narrator talking. The sounds aren’t caused by anything happening in the scene. They aren’t something that you would hear in a particular scene such as the narrator talking or music playing with no source that it comes from.environment

Looking at the image above. There is no people around in the image so hearing someone’s voice talking would be a non-diegetic sound since there is nothing that would make that particular  sound. Music can be another example of non-diegetic sounds since there is no radio or cars around in the scene so there is no source for it.

Movies tend to use non-diegetic sounds at the starting credits to try to get viewers into the movie before it properly starts and in some action scenes like preparing for battle or a competition. It keeps the viewers interested listening to music or narration helps the audience get an idea of what is going on/or help set the audience up for the events that are going to take place.