Monday, 12 March 2012

Evaluation: Virtual Environment Project

To sum up this project in three words, I'd use: creative, frustrating and rewarding. Overall I am very pleased with my progress throughout the five weeks, looking back I can finally see a difference and a change as I have progressed. At the beginning of my five weeks I had no idea how to use 3Dsmax or where to start, but several weeks later and I have a finished project, complete with textures, lights and a camera. I have managed to plan, develop, create and finalise my project .

For me, planning and developing is a very big part of my project, exploring different ideas. At first I struggled to think about what way I would proceed. I knew that it was important for me to build something which was related to me as a person. The brief states: 'that best represents your secret alter ego'.  At first I could not relate anything about me to being 'super', this is when I deciding to take a step back and look at it on a different level. I have lots of various interests and thought I could pull on this to make something which is secretive and interesting. Vintage, architecture, books and looking at interiors are all interests of mine, this is how I began to think about creating a character to match this. Over Christmas I watched an adaptation of Great Expectations and was compelled by the character 'Miss Havisham' there is something fantastically haunting about her. This is where my idea stemmed from, I also looked at other influential female villains, such as wonder woman, Miss Adler from the Sherlock Holmes films and Constantine from Underworld. Each of these character possess dark traits in the their personality. Based on my interests I began to develop a character which had once been jilted at the alter, she uses persuasion to persuade grooms to leave their brides.

After developing my character, I had to think about how I want the environment to look, I explored different ideas and themes, from Egyptian pyramids to English churches. After developing for some time I decided on creating a lair which would be based in the back of a church. I have four rooms and one corridor which has a set of stairs. My main theme is gothic, so it was really important for me to convey this,  I chose to have stone walls and floors to really emphasise how it is underneath a church. When I have visited churches before I immediately feel cold, I think that is because of the how so much of the space is made out of stone, this is something I wanted to visually transfer into my four rooms. From the feedback and comments people have given me , I have achieved that goal; most people have told me how it reminds them of a church without it be directly obvious. To convey the theme further I added a shrine, this has been lit in a way which makes it the focal point of the room and also pinpoints the connection with the church and gives the audience a little more insight into the villains character.

Using my online blog and my project book has helped me greatly through the journey of this project. I use my project book like an sketchbook, it helps me manufacture my ideas and make sense of them in an ordered and chronological manner. Looking at my finished project leads me to think about what areas I could improve, I have talked about this previously in my project and I definitely would consider adding a couple more rooms, although my space was intentionally quite compact, I think if I had extended and added a dungeon it would portrayed an obvious evil dimension to my character. Another improvement I'd like to make would be  to add an outside presence, so that it could be visible through the windows.

Leading onto the software: 3Ds max. When I first saw the interface I found it daunting, however as Andy spoke us through different parts I began to familiarise myself with different commands. I wish that I could have had another week, as I would have used it to simply play around and practice with building different structures. At the same time as building the environment I was still getting to grips with how to use it. This caused me to make silly mistakes, which I could have avoided if doing the project again, for example; the camera path. However looking at it from a different perspective I feel that I have achieved and learnt a lot about virtual environments and I have grown interested in modelling and creating realistic spaces.

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