HUZZAH!! Its finished! My good God, it took forever too! I am really happy with how its turned out too, even with the few errors I know are there. There’s one in particular that’s driving me crazy but I’ll get to that later.
The project brief was to make a room of our choice. It could be a room for the spaceship we designed early on in the course or it could be a room of our house. Initially I wanted to make a room for the spaceship but very early on I decided that a room from my house would be the better option as diameters, looks and textures of objects and items were already there. This’d make my job so much easier as I wouldn’t need to source every single item from scratch.
At the beginning when Matt told us about what this project would entail I will admit to having one of those ‘Oh sh*t’ moments and thinking that I’ve only just started and I’m no where near good enough to produce something like this. Nevertheless I dove into it and the first week or so felt like I was just messing around with Maya, not really doing a lot with it. The only experience of it I had was the spaceship creations with my first being horrendous, the second being basic and the third never making it off my computer. I’d had the bright idea of making the Enterprise from Star Trek after Matt suggested I ‘try something more complex’. I don’t think he meant something quite that complex but that’s what I did. It turned out that it was quite invaluable experience and gave me a lot of knowledge of the basics of modelling in Maya.
Things often went wrong and I had to source online tutorials but things also went right and at the end of it I had something that did represent the Enterprise – E, albeit in sections.
The very image I used to recreate it in Maya whilst helping my Maya learning too.
From this I did feel more confident with Maya and attempted my room. I had an object in mind to start with, my bed, that I was trying to create but still not being totally sure how it’d end up I just went with it thinking whatever came out the other end would be a learning experience and at least I’d have some further knowledge should everything go, uh, pear shaped. Something did indeed click with it as I did produce something that looked a lot like I was imagining it. From there I created a few more assets ten I tried attemting UV unwrapping and texturing. This didn’t go particularly well.
I’d only briefly done them once before and I really struggled with how to do it. I watched a UV unwrapping tutorial quite a number of times and even walked through the process as the video went along. I read and re-read Matt’s tutorials on how to apply textures to objects but I still couldn’t get things to work and ended up back onto YouTube again looking for more help and guidance. It took a little while to get there but I did manage to texture successfully. Having a few other objects to texture right after helped immensely as I repeated the process over and over with a successful result every time. Below are the videos I used for extra knowledge and tips.
To make sure my modelling skills, UV unwrapping and texturing skills stayed with me, I’d decided that it’d be best if I modelled a little then textured a little, modelled a little then textured a little. That way I’d be continually doing both and kept up the practice. Before I knew it I was flying and had the whole thing down to a tee.
As the what I was creating became more complex, I learned a lot more about adding vertices and inserting edge loops to be able to increase details and make more complex and realistic models. I’d even learned through a trial and error how to cut into things and make holes using the Multi-cut tool. The speakers on my hi-fi have a section on either side where you can fit your hands in, its part of the design. So for accuracy and my own self learning I decided to have a go and replicate it. I’d found the multi-cut tool and began making slices across the mesh which I’d found I could manipulate in the same way as everything else. Initially I thought that it would cut through the mesh and I’d be stuck but I’d found it only slices the surface and was a really useful tool to create my own edges to manipulate and scale as individual objects needed. I was also able to apply this to other objects in the room, cutting a cylinder to make the bin for example.
After this it just became an issue of filling shelves, creating lamps and walking backwards and forwards with my camera as I kept forgetting to take a photo of this and not realising I’d need a photo of that and at this particular angle. I can’t imaging just how many pictures of my room I’ve taken – and I’m pleased no-one was looking when I was taking pictures of the carpet or walls, who knows what people would’ve thought.
The only other issues I had was with Maya crashing or locking up. I’ve saved my progress at regular intervals and I currently have 43 save files! Then there’s the textures on the bed. I don’t know if its because its made up of three layers, (base, mattress then quilt) but when you look at it in Maya from a certain angle everything is fine. Turn the camera and the quilt texture merges with the texture below it. Fortunately it hasn’t done it with the Sketchfab upload, (link further down), but it is annoying nevertheless.
Being a typical room in your house, there’s far more stuff in it than I’ve modelled and shown. To be honest, I’d like to model much more but time constraints means I can’t, plus I’d be doing it for another couple of months at least learning how to model on other, much more complicated things like those figures which are often scattered around houses. I’d love to be able to say I could model a Super Mario figure but sadly that’s a bit too far ahead of what I can do. A Bullet Bill yes, but Super Mario and Rosalina sitting on top of my hi-fi as well as a Solid Snake Nendoroid and souvenirs from Jamaica on my shelf, no. I digress.
I have added some lighting to give effect to my room too. Said lighting is coming from the lamp which is sitting on the floor. I often on dark nights sit with the main light off and just have the lamp on so the soft lighting and yellowy light that the lamp shade produces is what I’m going for in the below shots which I believe I’ve pulled off well.
I have also uploaded the room to Sketchfab which shows off my work better than a few screen shots do, here’s the link;
Sketchfab hasn’t uploaded it without fault however. It’s decided to fill in the window and in the area where the wall has been cut out for it, it’s applied the wall texture across it which glitches as the camera turns. Its also not rendered the tiger pictures on the wall either but you can see them in the screen shots above and they’re also on the header for this post.
The three objects I’m most proud of;
My bed. Not only because its something I love (who doesn’t love their own bed) but its because it gave me such a headache to create and taught me so much at the same time. I tried to make the UV look like a bed with the quilt overhanging at the corners in a bit of a messy way where something like this would lie unpredictably in the real world. Pulling vertices around got me the look I wanted but it also provided a learning curve to keep your eyes on the mesh and where every vertex is and where its going. Not easy to do when you’re learning. I also didn’t want it to be one whole object, instead its made out of four parts, each modelled and textured individually. This was also my first real attempt at using the bevel tool in Maya and learning the ropes of that.
The wardrobe. What started off as a plain box just didn’t look quite right in my virtual room. In my real room I can’t shut the main doors due to coat hangers being a little too big and me being too stingy to but smaller ones – the big ones work I’m not replacing them. Like everyone has one of those ‘stuff everything in here’ cupboards, the top shelf of my wardrobe is like that and you can just see some of the junk peeking through the open doors. This I wanted to replicate as well but altering the model to create a small opening while placing another board behind it for the inside proves to be quite the challenge.
It took me quite a while to make it happen and it seemed more like trial and error than anything plus many movements of the camera inside the mesh to make sure it looked right but I managed to get the model and effect I was looking for. Tilting the camera above and below shows a peek at the inside although looking at the top angle shows where I’ve messed up a little in the backs of the doors. Something to keep in mind for future models.
The chair. This took a lot of trial and error and a lot of patience to make happen. I know that chair, I sit on it very regularly. I know its dimensions, its colour scheme and its textures. What I didn’t know is just how hard it would be to build in Maya. The back is resting at a slight angle, every corner is smooth and rounded which Maya wouldn’t do, and it rolls on wheels which were a nightmare to accurately get Maya to render. Perseverance paid off through (along with a few other things, coffee, swearing, praying) and eventually I managed to make something that’s very similar to the very chair I’m sitting on now.
There’s an issue with the arms where they’re not quite right, the actual arms have a slight bend in them which I missed in the modelling, but other than that I’m very happy with the final result.
Below is a small PowerPoint presentation detailing some of the textures and UV’s that I’ve used to create my room as well as a few details of the issues that I came across.
I’ve loved Maya and I’ve hated Maya. I’ve loved it when things have worked & went well and I look back at what I’ve made proudly thinking that “I made that, it’s damn good” – something I thought I couldn’t do not too long ago.
And I’ve hated Maya when things have gone wrong from the frequent crashing and loss of progress to the moving of one vertex, face or edge that’s utterly destroyed what I’ve been working on for an hour in an instant to the “yes I’ll texture this but I won’t texture that one even though you’ve repeated the process exactly the same way to the way its freaked me out when I got error messages from my PC saying my graphics card had failed. Twice. Turned out it was Maya’s dodgy rendering style.
But through all that I’ve learned loads of how the program works, how powerful it is even with its bugs and how anything you wish to create can be created with a fair degree of accuracy making what you think isn’t good look good. Its gave me some excellent foundation knowledge about the basics of it which I can only build upon and improve in future projects and challenges.