Over the last week of so I’ve been working on Tony’s project about making a utopian dystopia vehicle. of the designs I’ve sketched, the feedback I’ve received and looking at which ones I liked, two models stood out – my two favourites incidentally. The police hover bike and the capture drone.
At first I wasn’t sure which one I wanted to choose, I liked them both (still do) but the more I thought about it the more I was drawn to the police hover bike. So I decided that’s be my model of choice.
I began by fleshing the model out, getting the overall shape right before moving into the bike’s detail. I did experiment early on with what would be the best starter object, square or sphere, and initially I chose a sphere. It seemed pretty easy to get the shape I wanted to but once I started to give more of a defined shape, particularly with the bike’s from end and seat, I experienced quite a lot of difficulty. Pulling and moving each vertice proved to be; a) far too time consuming and b) prone to errors that I never saw comings or thought about whenever I tried to extrude surfaces and mould those into shape. Things wouldn’t go right and it became quite clear after a couple of hours I’d started off wrong.
I deleted the model and started again, this time with a cube. I pulled the side to make it to an oblong and pretty much stumbled across my next move through procrastination as I started thinking about how on Earth I was going to make this box look like a hover bike.
I started looking through the menus of Maya and saw ‘Smooth’. “I wonder what that does to this box” I thought as I clicked it and suddenly my box turned into a similar shape that I’d spent nearly two hours playing with just moments before. What’s more, I could see the basics of my bike.
Being happy with this overall shape I began to make more defined areas and points, adding more edge loops and pulling faces to make the curved front, long windscreen, rider seat and curved back end in a folded over style. What I didn’t realise was, that there were problems underneath, even though I kept it in mind to be careful about what I was doing when adding loops, moving vertices and using the multi-cut tool – and I wouldn’t find these out until later.
I’d sculpted the bike and bar a few difficulties with the footing area, and the slanting sides of the bike I was pleased with how it looked. Sides weren’t totally the same as each other and it was driving my OCD nuts since it wasn’t right but I moved on promising to make it right later.
I moved my attention to the rider’s seat, wanting it to be slanted quite a way forward so the rider would be almost lying down (in the same position as a superbike rider but leaning more forwards) and so I selected a face and extruded it a little. The extrusion seemed a little off but I lived with it thinking I’d just alter it manually but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was….off.
The I went back to the face and pulled a few vertices. There were vertice overlaps. And I’m not just talking one or two here, they were four deep. All over the centre of the bike. And I have no idea how they happened. There was welding, many, many welding to get rid of them and to tidy the mesh up. I could practically hear Matt screaming at me for making mistakes like this happen. After I found and fixed those I found others at the rear. It took me about half an hour to sort them out and when I did, I’d practically destroyed the entire back end.
I did try to repair it with entirely new faces and mould them but I couldn’t get the same look as I had before that suited the model. Instead I’d loaded up a previous save file and started to play around with the errors again wondering what I could do.
A glimmer of hope did shine through however. I’d found that all of these errors were just on one side of the model so at least I hadn’t lacked in my carefulness too much. Then I remembered about the mirror tool. I deleted the bad side in its entirely and hit that mirrored button and what I saw was a thing of beauty! I had a bike, a fully working (sort of) bike.
What’s more, it looked so much like what I’d drawn it to be albeit rough around the edges. Very rough. Wondering what I could do to make it look better I began procrastinating again. “I wonder what the shortcut keys are in Maya. I wonder what this one does? That puts a light smooth on it. This one? Wireframe. This one? Holy hell, that’s it! Smooooooth!”
It turned my “eeeh” model into something looking very cool in a heartbeat. Adding some stabilising wings, a steering handlebar and a HUD behind the windscreen I was very happy. Now I had to texture.
Like the concept drawing at the top, I wanted it to be very police looking. Sleek & fast but very easily able to kick ass when needed and hiding all sorts of things that could do just as much bad as good under those panels. I wanted it to look friendly in the way that, in a dystopian universe, it’d be something that the upper classes and rich would be happy to see patrolling making them feel safe while giving the scare factor, fear and threat to the underground/lower class who’d probably been taught and conditioned to be afraid when seeing this thing coming after them, knowing there’s no escape. They would be caught.
For this reason I wanted a sleek, simple colour scheme that would speak to both and I chose the colour scheme the real police use. A mostly white bike with the yellow and blue checker across the front and back. Black leather-ish seating to ride on and a top of the line HUD where information, both friendly and capture would be displayed. Also a second screen would rise from inside the dash, behind the steering if needed.
Unfortunately I wouldn’t be able to quite realise what I was imagining. The mesh wasn’t the greatest to work with after all and for all the colour scheme was simple, picking apart each area to colour meant working with tiny wireframe sections in the UV. Also for whatever reason these wouldn’t unfold so its all well and good I had chosen simple colours as I don’t know what I’d have done otherwise. Anyway, after a few attempts (including the ‘ol transparency bug Maya sometimes throws in and I now know how to fix that thanks to Google, bonus!) I managed to get some colour onto it, but sadly not the yellow and blue checker. I though I might be able to do this inside Mudbox
After I imported this in, it quickly became apparent that my Mudbox skills are very lacking. I tried, did I try, to get some colour onto it, both front and back end but it seems there’s no way to draw a straight line other than with a stencil that didn’t work well or with curves, according to Google. And I couldn’t get those to work either even though various people on various forum posts swear by them.
So in the very end I had to admit defeat. I have my model with a basic coat of paint on it but its fine detail just isn’t there. I don’t know how to make it appear either. I know there’s a thing called Substance Painter that’s supposed to be really good but I’m a skint student and all that.
Below is the model uploaded onto Sketchfab as it stands. I’m hoping that I’ll gain lots of Mudbox knowledge (or a big enough budget to afford something like Substance Painter) to make this model look like how I envisioned it, muddy boot scuffles and all.
After hassling Tony and giving him the biggest headache of his life, I took all of our failed attempts away and cracked on at home. I’ve finally done it and put a police checker on it! It took a little trial and error and me forgetting to paint it onto a separate layer, but I managed to do it inside Mudbox.
Above is the first attempt that didn’t look like it was supposed to until I realised about the layers thing. Once I made on I got this result:
And below is the Sketchfab link to see it in 3D, with boot stains and all! There are a few other details I’d like to put in, mostly around the HUD I was talking about earlier but something isn’t right with the mesh around there – Mudbox doesn’t like it and I keep getting a frozen/not responding program whenever I point my cursor in that region. Something to look at in the future. On a side note, I also don’t know why Sketchfab isn’t embedding the model in the post like it has done previously, a minor annoyance though.