My way into three-dimensional space.
In the summer of 2017, I thought about how I could make it easier to work on the background images for my comic stories. I remembered a great open source project: Blender.org. 10 years ago I had tried this software once, but then during my training at the Air Force I didn't find the time to get more involved.
Back in 2007, the program was still very compact and difficult to get through. The optics scared me off and it seemed terribly complex. I understood the basics, that 3D objects can be created there and you can move them in space. But I didn't even get to move vertices or understand the Edit Mode.
But I thought to myself: "Hey, even if the program is still so dense today, I can still make simple backgrounds so that I don't always have to draw new skies and rooms."
But... Wow. I saw Blender 2.7x and I was amazed.
And now with Blender 2.8x I am totally overwhelmed.
I began to read the manual and understood what a powerful and wonderfully thought-out tool Blender actually is. And with each new knowledge I enjoyed the precision and the clear line with which this software was created.
My first project, after pushing a lot of monkeys and cubes around, was a pike. I remember sitting in front of an empty screen and feeling pretty stupid because I thought it would be foolhardy for a newbie like me to want to do something as complicated as this. Well, it was complicated and I often lost my motivation. But from sculpting to painting texture and finally baking the details I had a lot of fun. It was only my feeling that stood in my way from time to time. I first had to learn to believe in myself.
And in the end, when the model was finished, I started rigging him.
It worked well and I had proved to myself that I could finish such a complex project myself.
That was supposed to be my door opener.
A little insight into my world...
Today I mainly make characters and objects for games. But I also do the scenery for my comic stories almost exclusively with Blender. Generating natural looking fur was a challenge for me. After a lot of reading and trying, I finally found a workflow. That's how the mascot of our game development studio came into being.
A nice sweet agouti.
Making assets is a nice varied job. It's so beautifully multi-faceted. You know... every project has its charm, its aura. And when you let the ideas become real, touchable, it's a great feeling. These moments when someone says: "hey, there should be such an evil tree stump that bites your foot when you pass by" and you scribble a few lines on paper, everyone is thrilled and one day later you can present a first prototype that makes all your ideas come true.
You make landscapes, you create worlds. You can find or arrange a style. There are no limits. It's also quicker than the tedious drawing by hand. That has its charm, but it's another world. I love drawing on paper. How it feels and how it sounds. But I actually feel a lot freer and more light-hearted while working on 3D objects.
In the beginning I had some problems to get used to the design of game environments. I actually always had the feeling that I had to create things the way they are created in the real world. Really strange. Then later did I memorize the saying: If it looks correct, then it's correct.
I can't say which part of the job I like best. I like sculping because it feels like working with real clay. But I also like to draw the texture. But animating the movements is also a lot of fun.
Maybe it's easier to describe the more annoying work. Rigging can be very tedious. It's not that bad, but it takes a lot of detail work, especially the weighting of the individual vertices, to make the deformation look good.
Static objects that do not move are of course an advantage. Like such a house. Here you can devote yourself completely to the details and perfect the model so that it runs well in the game engine and does not need too much memory space.
Chests, rocks, trees, guns, vehicles... that's what I mean:
You always have something else to do, it's never exactly the same.
You can be creative over and over again.
And make your employees happy... perfect.
Many games require completely different styles. You suddenly have to be able to work with isometry and crazy angles. A lot of things have to be tileable so that you don't see any transitions when creating the maps. It still has to look varied and interesting. Maybe even natural and organic.
You must be able to create hexagonal tiles and arrange them, combine them and somehow find a system so that you can work efficiently and quickly. It's all really hard, especially in the beginning.
But that's also the challenge I love so much. Every time it's something new and every time I have to find a solution. Often I think at the beginning: You'll never make it. And then, after a few hours of thinking and pondering, the flash of inspiration comes and it really starts.
... it is of course also a lot of work. These objects don't make themselves. You don't just click on three buttons and you have a finished forest. There are many hours of hard and sometimes monotonous work involved.
Some prototypes end up in the archive and there they wait for another project. Some ideas you had were really good, but they just didn't lead to the result you wanted. That's not a mistake, it's not wrong, because you can't make mistakes - it's a natural process. Still not very pleasant, of course, when it happens.
Where's the trip going?
I will be working on some other small games that will also serve as a demonstration. There are currently some really funny ideas.
Of course I'll continue to draw and write my stories and for that I have to create landscapes, buildings, interiors and much more.
I'm still planning a short film. Something where I can use the little jaguar I modelled and rigged.
I am also spellbound by the fascinating world of Blender's GreasePencil. I am absolutely enchanted by it and would like to start some experiments with it soon. It would be a dream come true for me if I could draw a little animation this way.
As you can see, I have a lot to do.
But there is always time for a nice conversation, a few pleasant hours. If you want to know something, seek inspiration or advice, just want to find someone to talk to or have an idea that I can make real for you, just contact me.