Monday, 9 April 2018

Megacity Skyline and Structures

  Getting back into design I had the incentive to look at a few building ideas. Although for experimentation I might try something more...familiar. Artstation has a new challenge going on so I might try that, get some practice looking to the days of the Old West.

  It'll be far less monolithic than this weekend's drawing, far less colossal but as a period before the kind of construction we know today it's also an avenue for more characterful architecture.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Personal: Monsters Misfits and Serpents

  I promised myself I'd try something a little more alien and out there and for the most part I think I'm on the right track.some of these still have that dinosaur DNA but others (my particular favourites of this being 3, 5 and 9) are more bizarre, more something unknown.

  I believe there is enough character in each of these to tell a story for each one. What they are like to speak with, what their tastes are, maybe even what they consider to be artful or in good taste. I've grown to like turning rough shapes into creatures, a few of these I had a clear picture in mind but others started off quite vague and abstract. 9 I believe was quite random to begin with and some unexpected things came out of 5's outline.

At a pinch, it is possible that all or most of these could exist within the same universe, perhaps under the same banner.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Personal: Signing off an Old Design

  Circumstances on my end has calmed down a little, as March was a very busy and unexpected month. So as way of an unwinding I went back to an old favourite of mine. The way I keep drawing something similar suggests one of two things: Either I have run out of ideas for modifications, or I have hit upon a final design, long time coming this is true. But that means one part is out of the way for something potentially more fun and creative to explore:


  The other good sign is I've shown this pose to a few friends and they said it looked "noble," "majestic" and "regal" which is what I'm largely going for. With the icons out of the way, I can approach something more out-there or alien with a clear head and a confident approach now that one of the more major designs in my head feels settled. I need ot get my head out of this one design and into the more weird and wonderful world of other aliens and monsters .

It should be a more wild endeavour from here on out.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Personal: Heart of an Empire

  I've wanted to get back into creating with Maya now that I am in a more confident place at home. It was a surprising lesson these past couple of months how your environment can influence your motivation. Bygones are bygones now, and I want to get back into my A-game. 

  I've been tweaking and polishing this planet today, making the city lights appear more convincing and giving substance to the ring around it (a discussion session online suggested to me their old distance might risk exposing visitors and occupants to highly lethal levels of radiation. I suppose high-tech science fiction shielding could protect them, and there was even a suggestion the ring-builders could have found a way to clear the radiation belts, but that distance was also impractical for ferrying freight and commerce, which benefits from a low-hanging belt. Shorter transit distances and all that.

  I thought about adding more than one ring because the engineers would not be limited to one orbital structure, and could hang more off the first (maybe even, fur, five, or ten!) And even this massive ring might have its limits for a civilisation connected to millions of other planets. So like any ground project, the infrastructure could have been expanded in times past to meet increasing demand.

 If I ever get this animated, it could be fun to surround the planet with dancing particles that represent hundreds to thousands of incoming and outgoing starships. Watching The Expanse lately I've been enamored with the introduction sequence, particularly the streaks of light that represent 100 years of interplanetary shipping and the timelapses showing urban growth and the great projects undergone in the series' backstory.

   I believe the Expanse has been one of my major influences regarding this project. Studying satellite photographs of the Earth at night helped a lot in building a convincing night-time illumination.A place can be as much a character as a person or an object, it's all about knowing how to convey that story without words.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Mosquitro Redesign: The Needle

  I spent some time today modifying the head of my mosquito model. After adjusting the lenses so the pole would be pointing outward, the whole shape appeared to nestle more smoothly into the gap designed for it.There was some adjustment needed but these were only a few tweaks. There does appear to be a fair amount more flow, however as the geometry for the eyes runs more in line with the cavity for the head..

  The next big challenge was the port for the mosquito's proboscis, which in the mechanical model would function like a powerful injector. I had a stroke of inspiration that the port would open up like a flower. The mechanisms for this however, might require some thinking as the needle would either push these petals out or they'd open out in preparation for the needle extending..

  The model is quite detailed, so I am planning to look into making a normal map for a simplified model for more full-body shots of the vehicle.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Mosquito Redesign: Working Legs

  I didn't have much success implementing an IK nor getting it to compress, but they say the simplest solution is often the most effective. In the case of my piston the simple solution was to parent each of the pistons with each other, tie them to 'aim' themselves at the opposing hinge and create a few driven keys to mimic the pistons extending and compressing.

  After that it was a simple matter of constraining each of the hinges. and the pistons so they stop at a fixed instance into and out of their sockets. By adding a fifth segment to the leg I am able to extend its reach to a motion window of between 92 and 168 degrees (any more open and the piston will collide with the knee hinge). Which might be one of them ore complicated elements of the model out of the way.

From what has been assembled so far, I think I can easily fit six of the legs into the main body with plenty of room to spare.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Mosquito Redesign: Leg Hydraulics and Industrial Fun

  Much of this afternoon has been spent reworking the leg to make it something more industrial. I've looked into completely redesigning the limb using the hydraulic system idea to give the legs weight and balance. What I've got so far appears to work to a decent degree, even if the geometry might be a little heavy. I'll look into fixing the UVs before the leg is repeated.

  The piston that would appear to keep the leg unbent will use some manner of spline to adjust itself. I'll need to perform some experiments to get a system that can extend the segments - what is on display is the furthest the leg can bend with this but with some clever re-positioning I might be able to extend the leg further. I can also use the freedoms presented by the digital medium to make it easier for the base to compress into the pivot it's connected to, allowing the sections to fold in and extend automatically and the pivots to rotate appropriately. This further tweaking might also allow the lower leg to more easily fold in.

  That still leaves how to fit six of these inside the body. The folding in isn't the most efficient use of space, it could be the legs are arranged diagonally and drop through hatches in the mosquito's underside (which will be fun to build and set up). Only one leg will be worked on until the UVs, bones and controls are set up, which will be reproduced five times.

  Overall, it appears to be quite a flexible setup. The leg bends in the right place, the lower joint provides most of the positional mobility and the foot has full free rotation so it can plant itself flat in a large variety of poses. An IK/FK system could be used for deployment, positioning and resting as one thing that could be implemented are shock-absorbers at the ankle - a simple tube that compresses into the body to give the feeling the machine is bearing weight when its turns its engines off.

It's about ready for the UVs