Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Project update 1: Ken Block's Ford Fiesta RX43

It just so happens it's one month on since my last post on this project, and I've made some good progress in that time. Most of the high poly modelling is now complete with only a few small objects still to add.

A shot of the interior

A shot of the rear showing the work I've done on the radiator and fans in the boot which will be visible through the mesh of the boot lid.

While working on all of the high poly modelling, I was feeling the need for a break at one point, so I decided to texture the wheels and rims. The model for both is optimised where the rim has been smoothed and optimised by removing some of the geometry added.

For the tyre, most of the detail in in the normal map. To make the normal map for the tread, I modelled a section based on a photo, made copies to surround the edges and baked this section to a flat plane. Then in photoshop this section was duplicated to cover each section going around the wheel to save texture space i.e. only 1/8th of the wheel is actually textured and the UVs for the other 7/8th of the wheel is overlapped. For the side wall, I used a black and white image of the side wall detail and converted to a normal map using NDO from the Quixel Suite. Looking forward to getting to try out the new Suite 2.0!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Project restart: Ken Block's Ford Fiesta RX43

This is a project I started about a year ago, and never finished. I've come back to it in the last week or so and took the decision to start over. Even though I made some good progress previously the topology of the model I had was looking a little messy and I was finding it hard to work with.

This is my current progress on the new version which I am already much happier with. The mess flows much better and feels more optimized. So far I have blocked out and worked in all the major details and now working towards some finer details.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

music mini reviews (Mar-Jun 2015)

Adrenaline Rush - Adrenaline RushCheck it out

Stand out track (I think): When We're Gone

The vocal style is going to be a Marmite 'love it or hate it' thing for most I feel, but the music content behind, which feels like a mix of 80's Glam Rock with 00's Pop, is actually quite enjoyable even if it does have a bit of a overly engineered feeling to it.

American Hi-Fi - Blood & LemonadeCheck it out

Stand out tracks: Coma, Killing Time, Armageddon Days, Wake Up

This is an awesome rock album with a range mixing between slower and heavy songs with lots of fun melodies and a pace that keeps the album flowing between the songs. There's reminders of some of the first rock and metal albums that got me into this type of music, so this was a really enjoyable listen and it's been a go to for the past few cars rides with the windows down while the weather's good.

36 Crazyfists - Time and TraumaCheck it out

Stand out tracks: Time And Trauma, Also I Am, Slivers, Swing The Noose

It's nice to see that the band have still plenty of material to put together a quite lengthy album with call backs to the older sound mixed with some new vibes. There are plenty of good songs across the record, but there is a lack a complete stand out songs like "Felt Through a Phone Line" on Rest Inside the Flames which hold it back from immediate classic status that early Crazyfists material holds for me.

Bury Tomorrow - RunesCheck it out

Stand out tracks: Man On Fire, Year Of The Harvest, Garden Of Thorns, Of Glory

With guitar work and a general feel which sounds like early Atreyu during most songs, this is the first Bury Tomorrow record I've heard and it's a bit of a mixed bag. When I saw them at Slam Dunk Festival I overheard somebody say at the end of the band's set "only that final song sounded any different". That song was "Man On Fire" and I kinf of see what he was getting at. There is some great musical content in the album, but there is quite a similar sound to most of it and given the album is quite long, it can feel like the same song in a row a few times.

Beartooth - DisgustingCheck it out

Stand out tracks: Relapsing, I Have A Problem, One More, Me In My Own Head, Beaten In Lips, Body Bag Keep Your American Dream

"The Lines" opens and sets the volume to loud and fast for the rest of the album. The vocal range allows for moments of quite, but can flip back instantly back to loud and brash along with strong lyrical content which drives the music behind it. There's touches of The Used throughout and Punk Rock vibes which come through in the bass playing which sounds like Rise Against riffs as well as some Thrash Metal and plenty of head banging moments throughout. This is an outstanding debut album and offers a lot which should appeal to a wide audience so I think this is a band to look out for in the future.

Cancer Bats - Searching for ZeroCheck it out

Stand out tracks: True Zero, Arsenic In The Year Of The Snake, Devil's Blood, Cursed With A Conscience

When I first heard "Arsenic In The Year Of The Snake" ahead of the full album it made me wonder about the rest of the album, but I can now see it's place and it fits in perfectly. "Beelzebub" slows down the pace with a stoner rock vibe flowing through it after a few heavy hitters to open. It's taken a little while to warm to the album as a whole, but taking each song into consideration it's pretty much everything I want from one of my favourite bands and it doesn't fail to live up to expectations. The worst thing I could say is that the album is a little short, but given Cancer Bat's track record, there's likely to be an extended Special Edition in the near future.

Danny Baranowsky - Crypt Of The NecroDancerCheck it out

Stand out tracks: Cyrpteque (1-2), Fungal Funk (2-1), Igneous Rock (3-1 Hot), Dance of the Decotous (3-2 Cold), March of the Profane (3-2 Hot)

I have a strong feeling this is going to be my favourite game soundtrack this year and likely to feature high on my top 10 of the whole year. For anybody that knows any of Danny B's previous work you'll pick up on some characteristic trade marks dashed throughout with call backs to familiar Super Meat Boy OST moments. The regular instrumental songs are great, but when the shopkeeper kicks in the alternative version it it adds another layer of amazing and the irregular modulation applied constantly puts a smile on my face which is an odd thing I find for music to do outside of a Tenacious D album. Along with the original soundtrack, FamilyJules7x's Metal version of every song is equally as epic and alone would be an instant recommendation.

Enter Shikari - The MindsweepCheck it out

Stand out tracks: The Last Garrison, Myopia, The Bank Of England, Torn Apart

For me Enter Shikari have always been a go to for something a little different, and as I'm not totally opposed to certain genres like Dub Step as there is a level on enjoyment that can be found in the Electronic, Rock, Metal cross-over that is an Enter Shikari album. It's not going to be something for everybody, but it's a good go-to when you want to subject your ears to something a little different every now and again. In fact, the more I've listened to this album, the more I've wanted to go back over the few Enter Shikari albums I've skipped over in the last couple of years.

Funeral For A Friend - Chapter And VerseCheck it out

Stand out tracks: Pencil Pusher, You Should Be Ashamed Of Yourself, Stand By Me For The Millionth Time

There's been a bit of a gap in my listening to FFAF but Chapter And Verse seems like a direction shift back towards the times of "Hours" which is the classic FFAF era for me, and although it's not the same thing as Hours, I'm quite enjoying this one. We can't expect all our favourite old bands to put out the same type of music over and over because there woudl never be any progression so I'm quite happy to see the band experiment and explore.

Imagine Dragons - Smoke + MirrorsCheck it out

Stand out tracks: I'm So Sorry, Friction, Summer

After first hearing about Imagine Dragons when they preformed at The Game Awards at the end of last year I was interested to hear some more, but wasn't really impressed with what I heard from the previous release. However, I think there's something to Smoke + Mirrors. It does have that mass appeal feeling to it like a Coldplay album, but because of that it is a safe bet to put on in the car when the parents are around.

Upon A Burning Body - The World Is My Enemy NowCheck it out

Stand out tracks: Bring The Rain, The New Breed, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Middle Finger To The World

"The New Breed" is a modern Pantera influenced song with a hard hitting pace, starts out with a Country melody then burst into a head banging session and most of the album thereafter follows on from that. Along with "A Toda Meadrè Ò Un Desmadrè" it clear that there is some influences from local music. There's a killer solo in "I've Earned My Time", but just got pushed out of the stand out tracks by "Middle Finger To The World" because that is such a heavy beast. Hard hitting melodies and strong lyric mixture throughout gives the record a similar feel to a Five Finger Death Punch album.

While She Sleeps - Brainwashed (Deluxe Edition)Check it out

Stand out tracks: New World Torture, Brainwashed, Our Legacy, Four Walls, Life In Tension, Trophies of Violence

As with their debut album, Brainwashed continues with it's complexity in it's song writing, but the band have refined that even further and each song having a different feel to it. A majority of songs contain contenders for Solo Of The Year, but the best of those has to be at the end of "Our Legacy". The short interlude songs of the deluxe edition make it feel like the album is broken down into chapters, and when the next song kicks in it's straight back to to the head banging. Having seen the band live twice since starting this review and listening to the album on average about once per day since release, this has to be a strong contender for my favourite album this year.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Unreal Engine 4 Tip: Setting viewport resolution

When you first get started with Unreal Engine 4 you'll want to get your layout defined so you can get used to where everything is and start to speed up your workflow. During this set up, one thing you may want to do is know the resolution of your main viewport, for example to capture screenshots, and you may only want to capture at a specific resolution. So how do you know what the current viewport size is?

After doing a little googling I was unable to find a way to show the current viewport resolution within the UE4 interface, but it is possible to capture what you can currently see in the viewport, at the resolution you are currently using through the shortcut key F9. You will see a popup detailing the location of where the screenshot was saved to, and clicking the location will automatically open it in Windows Explorer.

By looking at the details of the images you will be able to see the dimensions of the image captured. If it is not to the size you require then adjust the panels surrounding the viewport in UE4 and capture a new screenshot. Repeat this until the screenshot is captured at the resolution you require.

Once you have the layout you desire, it should now be saved for future, but to ensure that your layout is saved go to Window > Save Layout.