PDA

View Full Version : Q&A with Unreal 4 Ragnosaur Demo Artist Eric Wilkinson



robertoortiz
04-08-2015, 12:53 PM
This might be interest for the LW community. This is a Q& A I just did.

Hi Guys,
I sat down with artist Eric Wilkinson to talk about his real time Unreal 4 Demo
Ragnosaur.
you can see this amazing Demo here:https://vimeo.com/124148255
And download it here:
dropbox.com/s/kwiz63p9pxh2hkr/Ragnosaur_Unreal_4_Demo.zip?dl=0
And here is his CGSociety page:
http://powerpig.cgsociety.org/


Here is the Q&A

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF:

Ok well let's start at the beginning. My name is Eric Wilkinson and my passion has always been in the arts. I've always had a love for drawing. In fact, one time I drew so much, my parents grounded me and said I couldn't draw for a while! I can attribute a lot of my 3D passion to that very first computer class in high school -- "Commercial Arts 2D and 3D Design" -- all the way back in 1993. Using the incredible Amiga Commodore 3000, I only had 2 megabits of ram to create my early "masterpieces"; not to mention the software, Video Toaster and Deluxe Paint 3, which only housed 16 colors total. It was during this class that I knew I had struck gold; from then on, computer art and design was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. A group of us decided we had it in us to produce an awesome fighting video game. During our game-designing process, a representative from Atari visited our class and became interested enough in our title, to offer us a chance to build more games on the Atari Jaguar 64bit console. After high school, I landed a job creating children's cartoons. It was an amazing experience, but I would still find myself designing game art in my spare time; so my focus started shifting, and I worked with other software like Ray Dream Studios, which later turned into Carrara Studios. I worked with many local businesses designing ads but secretly I've always wanted my "in" with a game studio. After my father passed away, I felt a stronger urge to pursue that passion, knowing that college was the first step toward my dream.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED WITH UNREAL ENGINE?
I first started using Unreal during a college course, in 2009, called "Level Design". It was in this class where I really got my footing and learned, not just the basics of Unreal, but also delved into the way more advanced features. For me, that class only reaffirmed what I had wanted to do all along -- and that was to get into the gaming industry.

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO DEVELOP THE RAGNOSAUR DEMO?
I feel that in order to be a great character artist one should include these three key-components on one's reel: 1) Male, 2) Female, and 3) Creature. For these basics, I paid very close attention to anatomy, industry-standard workflows and pipelines, as well as understanding how to achieve the best final product based on its end-utilization and presentation platform. Ragnosaur is a personal creature design from my own imagination. With the reel I'm currently developing, I wanted to show future employers and potential clients, that I not only can create a fully-fleshed piece from beginning to end, but that I also have a well-rounded understanding of character design and traditional workflow. Ragnosaur started with a collection of references and concept design drawings. From there, I took him all the way through production in Unreal 4, taking roughly three weeks of late-night designing and quick-learning on-the-fly. Did I mention I have a typical 9-5 job? All of this art was created after I came home; basically, becoming my second full-time job. It was a lot of late, late, late-late nights. I've got to say, though, I learned and have gained so much from pushing beyond my own comforts and knowledge-base. It's been awesome!

WHY DID YOU DO IT?
Well, I feel like I've already explained why I made Ragnosaur. He is, essentially, the end-result of a life-long passion for art, the drive to always learn and push past my knowledge-base, and a strong determination to finally break into the gaming industry.
I enjoy video games so much, and because of what I've learned both before and after Ragnosaur, I can appreciate with even more understanding, all of the blood, sweat, and tears that go into making a large game-title. One day, I'd love to see my own name in the end credits of an amazing game that has entranced an audience so much it can't stop talking about it. I figured that If I could show that I know the workflow, maybe a studio might actually notice me, and I might finally get a shot to fulfill my life-long dream.

WHAT 3RD PARTY TOOLS DID YOU USE FOR MODELING/RIGGING AND ANIMATION?
With Ragnosaur, I used Photoshop for the many iterations of concept designs before I was finally happy with the look. Zbrush 4r7 was my 3D sculpting tool; its ZRemesher feature for retopology is, in my opinion, one of its best features. I didn't always get the result I wanted, though, as some edge flow had to be reworked manually for this project. I used Maya and brought in the high-resolution 3D mesh to get a normal map to use on the final game-engine-friendly model. On top of this, I used the Photoshop plugin, Ndo, to get a nice cavity and specular map. All the color work was done in Mudbox. I played around with the cavity and specular maps as Mudbox texure layers for flexibility in achieving that final look I wanted. For the rigging, I went back into Maya and called upon the plugin, Rapid Rig Modular, saving me tons of valuable time. I also used Maya for all of the animation work.

HOW WAS THE INTEGRATION PROCESS BETWEEN THE 3RD PARTY TOOLS AND THE UNREAL ENGINE?
In my opinion, Maya worked very well for exporting Ragnosaur into the Unreal 4 engine, along with all the other 3D objects used to make his platform/base. Materials, animation, and texture information were exported nicely into the FBX format, without any hiccups right out-of-the-box.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE CURRENT STATE OF THE UNREAL ENGINE AND ITS FUTURE?
At my current job, we've utilized Unity Pro for years, due to its capability of online web-play. However, now that I've had a taste of working with Unreal 4 and seeing all that it has to offer -- tools, tutorials and its growing community -- I do believe that Epic has made their mark and carved out an untouchable place via the Unreal 4 engine. Unreal engine has been around a long time, but by granting access to it through the indie community, it's on its way to soon becoming the number-one tool for game designers. In fact, Unreal is pumping out real-time graphics that are currently comparable to the beauty shots that take most render farms hours to construct. It is single-handedly pushing the boundaries of great gaming and even better graphics



-Roberto

Oedo 808
04-08-2015, 02:14 PM
It will be interesting to check this out, cheers. I'll probably do that then give the Q&A a proper read through.

I've been trying to get more into Unreal, I thought I was doing ok with coding but damn when it comes to Unreal I realize how much it sucks.