Updates to my Portfolio Site

Over the last few days I’ve taken time to update my portfolio site from its previous version. The most dramatic change I made was a complete overhaul of my work page, from what was originally a simplistic descriptive display of my work to what is now a highly functional grid layout using the jQuery plugin MixItUp to provide animated filters to sort through the work, based on categories.

Cleaner and more functional.
Cleaner and more functional.

In addition to this I have brought my biographic pages up to date and made several design changes, such as the fonts, cleaned up the display of icons used on the home page and changed the link to this blog so that it now opens in a new tab (keeping the website open for use). Overall the site is now more functional and modern with greater usability on a variety of displays.

Blender – “Temple” Project, Outcome & Review.

Below is my animated fly-through of the low-poly temple environment I have recently been creating in Blender.

Blender – Low-Poly Shrine from Joe White on Vimeo.

(720p is available on the Vimeo page)

Creating this animation was extremely useful for my skills in Blender. I’ve now got a much better understanding of the way lighting functions in the Blender Render mode and how to create low-poly models quickly and effectively. Stylistically, I opted to differ from the previous 2 low-poly renders posted on my blog and create a render in a different time of day and lighting scheme, to develop variety in what I can do with Blender.

In terms of text and audience, 3D renders in this style could be used as illustrations for another work or could be developed and animated further to be created with the level of detail and intricacy of professional films, done in a l0w-poly style. Due to the cartoon-esque appearance of this rendering style, the text produced would likely be done in a similar manner to animated Disney and Pixar films, with the target audience of (generally) children. Depending on the content of the actual text, however, this could change dramatically – low-poly is a style, not a genre.

In my future use of Blender I will likely look into more complex animations than what is done here, looking to animate the scene itself rather than just the camera. I will also aim to expand my scope beyond just environments, and look to create characters and other objects to use in possible scenes. I also would like to experiment with particle systems more in future to see what can be produced in a variety of styles.

Blender – “Temple” Project, Part 3

I have now completed and rendered the low-poly temple environment I have been working on in Blender, which has gone through some significant changes in its realisation.

My main changes were to the lighting and the environment since my last post. I experimented with ways to get the torches I had modelled to emit light, and was successful by placing lamp light sources in each one of the models and turning off cast shadows (so it would glow through the objects, making it look like they produced the light). I did a similar thing in this previous render when I was originally introduced to blender.

Doing this made me realise the effectiveness of lighting the scene like this and the potential, so I turned down the original light sources – the sun and the ambient world lighting – so that the scene was largely lit by the objects of the scene, making it look natural with a greater range. Now, it is presented as if at night time.

The temple scene lit by the torches.

Following this I created a path for a camera fly-through to survey the scene and output as a video. To facilitate this, as well as using keyframes to animate the camera and create a smooth motion through the environment, I also had to add greater detail to the environment so the sudden end of the world’s model was not visible. This resulted in me producing a more detailed environment than I originally planned which I am now quite pleased with. I expanded the modelled environment to include an additional building in the back of the shrine with a larger light source at the centre, and made the mountain ranges much larger through modelling to keep the background looking complete. I also added some stone areas among the grass material, to add variety. Although the scene was done in a low-poly style, this did not mean it had to be all low-detail.

The fully modelled environment at night.
The fully modelled environment at night.

The video of the camera fly-through is currently uploading to vimeo, and will be posted in my next post with a personal review of this small project.

Blender – “Temple” Project, Part 2

Since my last post I have furthered my render of the temple somewhat. I have spent time manually modelling objects for the scene, including trees, torches as well as the temple itself.

Creating a model through multiple meshes.

As I am creating a low-poly scene modelling these was mostly made up of using simpler shapes, such as cubes and cylinders, and manipulating them then joining them together to create the objects I wanted. Next I will spend time perfecting the lighting of the scene through both the world’s settings and adding sources to the scene, as well as looking into adding camera motion to create an animated fly-through of the completed scene.

The first of my Asian-Style architecture completed.
The main building of the scene.


Blender – “Temple” Project, Part 1

Having used Blender for a while now, I felt it was time to spend more time on an individual project in it to produce a more complex and detailed environment in the low-poly style, going on the knowledge and skills I have developed in it recently to produce either a series of rendered images or a short animation by tracking the camera through the environment.

The style of environment I decided to produce was an asian-style temple in a hilled/mountainous environment, late in the day, so it would require a different approach to the objects and lighting from my previous renders. These are some of the images I took inspiration from when creating this render, in regards to the layout and architecture’s design:

Asian Temple by Howi3 on DeviantArt
Asian Temple on Wallpaperswide.com

I am currently partway through producing this render. So far, I have modelled the ground (by subdividing and triangulating a plane) and a set of stairs to lead up to the temple, as well as defining the basic materials for these:

Setting up the environment.

Following this I worked on basic lighting to get a feel for the scene, including the world settings for the sky:

Trying to recreate a late afternoon/evening feeling with the sky.

Following this I manually adjusted some of the vertices to give the ground a more natural, bumpy look. Next up is for me to manually model props for the environment, such as the trees, and architecture, as well as setting materials for them and placing them in the environment.

Blender – Low Poly Environments

Furthering my learning of Blender recently has involved how to create environments, specifically in a low-poly style. I’ve also developed a deeper understanding of lighting as in this case I used a sun object for lighting with an out-of-frame black plane polygon to keep the lighting directed to one side.

low poly environment
My result, being guided through Blender.

This was a result of my take on this low-poly tutorial, which has greatly furthered my understanding of Blender and its interface. I kept my take on it to an even lower poly ratio than used in the tutorial, to result in a simplistic and minimalist looking environment.