Mastery Journal Month Four

The subject I have chosen for my Masters Thesis is “The Importance of Narrative in Video Games.” After watching a documentary on the making of God of War, I was impressed by the amount of effort in developing the connection of Norse mythology and the game’s mythology. I began research on the subject and found various articles for and against the use of nonlinear narrative in video games. Over the past four months, I have gathered multiple sources that will provide defending evidence to my theory that immersive narrative enriches the gaming experience.

There is documentation that nonlinear narrative will bring newcomers to video games. I plan on researching for more supported corroboration that the theory is substantiated.

I am continuing my work on my animated story-based series based in an alternate history, New York. If this show comes fruition, the Nerdz Garage wants to make a video game or board game based on the series.

Next month at Full Sail, hope to pitch a story-based RPG game in my capstone in the style of Dungeons&Dragons.

The two companies that I hope to work, 343 Industries and Larian Studios, have many heavy on the narrative games with multiple player choices. I have always been a creator of stories, and I hope to use that ability at work.

See you next month.

Dylan Smith

Mastery Journal Month Three Project and Team Management

There is a choice of how to be a project manager; you can be versatile or rigid. There is no one methodology to be a good project manager. I learned what worked for to succeed in the current project.
My project was to make a PM Plan to get investors for my animated series, Half Note Bridge.
These guidelines broke down the timeline and feasibility.
I feel like I have started to break ground on an idea that will be a reality.
Let me share about my series, Half Note Bridge.

Sketch of Half Note Bar

Half Note Bridge takes place in the roaring ’20s of the township of New York in a world where the Revolutionary war was lost. The Half Note Bridge is a speakeasy in Brooklyn nestled on the waterfront beneath the Brooklyn bridge. It is an unassuming storefront of old brick that yields a glamorous, marble pillared, velvet-covered chairs and a long mahogany bar. The jazz records are continuously playing until the band hits the stage.
The Half Note Bridge guarantees service and safety.

Two main Characters


The two main characters are:
The owner is a tall and slim man who is disheveled. His skin is pale, and wavy blond hair partially covers his sunglasses that are always worn. A typical twenties style suit with a vast difference; the button shirt is patterned flowers and designs, his bow tie is undone in two strains, his pants fit well but are wrinkled and paint-stained, and lastly, his elegant shoes are muddied. A shiny golden chain of a pocket watch lingers out of his left pocket. His sunglasses are expensive and clean.


The bartender is a tall slim woman with jet black hair pixy cute and a bit messy.  She wears black eye liner and red lipstick. Her suit is well made and pressed. High waisted black suit pants with black suspenders. A crisp white button up shirt long sleeved and a black velvet bow tie.

The bar is long with a polished mahogany top and dark marble front with tall black seats with a high back. Behind the bar is two massive arched pillars, each with five shelves. In the center of the two has two rows, one has wine bottles, and one has liquor. At the end of the bar, there is a coat hanger that hangs the bartender’s black jacket with the inside pocket visible that shows a long blade handle.

This class was instrumental in getting my project from paper to reality.
I look forward to giving Lester updates on every milestone along the way.

Nerdz Garage

https://www.nerdzgarage.com/

Dylan Smith

Month 22 Reflections

I made it!!!

My final class for this degree was, The Project and Portfolio VII: Computer Animation. This course uses progress monitoring to evaluate my discipline topics by reinforcing production deadlines and constraints. The course encouraged me to use higher-order thinking to create quality assets based on compiled reference material for use in their student portfolio.

The DemoReel required three assets. I continued to add textures to the ScyFy hallway scene, and I am pleased with how it turned out.

The CityScape was my most praised scene at the Portfolio VI viewing.

My third scene was a Valley. It received positive comments at the viewing and they thought the scene was reminiscent of, Lord of the Rings. In that scene, I focused on Color Correction.

Below is a link to my Art Station and DemoReel.

Thanks for the support and taking the time to read my stories. Graduation is on Friday at two, and I am number 91 in the walking order.

There is a live stream link on the Full Sail website.

https://nerdzgarage.artstation.com/resume

https://go.fullsail.edu/about-graduation/live-stream

Till Next Month! Dylan


Historical Archetypes and Mythology Reflection Month 18

The Historical Archetypes and Mythology course introduced me to the connections between history, mythology, and iconic archetypes and the influence these relationships have had on classical and contemporary cultures of the world. Color symbolism was also explored to better appreciate folklore, heroes, and monsters of various cultures.

This month was incredibly interesting. I love mythology, and I thought I was versed in the subject; however, this class had about seventy-five percent new material that I did not know. Specifically, the Egyptian mythology I had learned about in high and had done my own, but I never knew it was so censored in high school.

I feel that I have a clear perspective on how to find and describe the Hero’s Journey. In fact, I cannot stop seeing it when I watch TV. I think that my paper on The Magicians was very thought out and my favorite essay I wrote this month. The paper on spiritual creatures was adventure into Japanese folklore. I love everything Japanese so picking a creature was difficult because there are so many to choose from. I ended up writing about the Tengu. He had an interesting evolution going from villain to hero over the centuries of verbal legends. Someday I hope to go to Japan and see the statues of Tengu in front of temples.

I did watch the required video on The Journey RA and then binged every video they offered. I found them so interesting.

This class had made me curious again. I have been so focused on the art that I have not read or watched anything for just fun on my own. I will remember to take time in the next months to do that because it was good for my mind and soul, like therapy.

This course has helped me delve deeper into the back story or mythology of the series I am writing. I have made myself a goal to write the Hero’s Journey for my show “Half Note Bridge.”

Till next month.

Dylan Smith

Reflections Month 15 Full Sail University

Character Animation
The Character Animation course focused on my animation skills by exploring methods for creating a movement that is entertaining, appealing, and clearly driven by the characters’ emotions and personality. I worked with classmates to act out and analyze methods for creating solid choices that are unique and interesting. Through discussion and analysis, I was introduced to the importance of evaluating my own work as well as the work of my peers. In other words, being critiqued. This month was very different from other classes because, though the critiques could be harsh, there was no information on how to improve the animations. I sought out clarification from lab teachers and fellow students.

The assignment was to animate to the audio clip and add the lip sync to the dialogue. This was my final turn in pass. I thought adding the lip syncing would be very difficult, however it turned out to be much easier compared to the basic walk. This basic walk had about 20 keys and brake downs for this four second animation. Then there is the addition of ears, tail, foot, hands and emotion. I thought it turned much better than the first project of just the walk and emotion. I fell like I have better understanding of animation

This was the first project and it was to animate a basic walk and an action. I am not really pleased with the final result, but there is never enough time….

This was the first brake down of the animated lip sync. This shows where I started.

This month was much more difficult then the other months so far. I am not sure if the teaching didn’t click or the amount of work in the time given.

Moving on. See you next Month!

Dylan Smith

Reflections Month 13

Compositing fundamentals This month was the beginning process of compositing which is incredible. I first put a CG truck over a live scene that was filmed on our Back Lot. I made a 3D scene in Nuke. My final project was a group three projects tracking in geometry nodes in 3D. What was easy for me that it was all node-based projects, which is easy to understand once you know what each node does and how they connect to each other. I had trouble with rotoscoping. It is where a manual green screen where you cut out people or things out of the scene, and it has to be done for each stage. It is tedious, and it must be perfect, or it is very noticeable.

Screen Shot 2018-12-08 at 10.35.38 AM

I had a great conversation with my Compositing teacher the first week about what my discipline would be, and by the third week, I had decided that I love compositing. You can do so much with it, and it is my chosen discipline for my degree in animation.

In my free time, I am working of flushing out the characters for the animated series I am writing. It is called Half Note Bridge and set in otherworldly New York in a time reminiscent of the twenties.

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Fundamentals of Physics My other class this month was fundamentals of physical science and movement This class had online experiments that were interesting. One test was playing Angry Birds to shows physical movement and angles. Each week I had to design a diagram template that showed movement in Inertia, the force of buoyancy, the effect of sound waves and light waves. My favorite was week four when we worked space and dark holes.

Each week you could ask the teacher ANY question, and he would answer it. I asked a question about time travel, and he said that is subjective and not factual… as of yet. My other question was what would happen if two dark holes where in close proximity to each other and his answer was what I suspected, that they would fold into each other. Each month goes at warp speed, and I am learning so much.

These reflections that I am sharing are to help me remember my time at Full Sail University.

Dylan Smith

Reflection Month 12 Visual Development and Rigging

Visual development, which is texturing in high definition in Substance Painter was trying to grasp the first week. Trial and error worked a lot, and the reference key made it more clear. I could not have done it without the references provided. When I got down to scratches dust and grunge maps, that was all me with non-reference assistance. The scraper I made really worked. I was well graded because I was able to hold it in my hand and the look got cleaner because the students were holding it repeatedly. I made it look like the one in my hand (cleaner) rather than the pictures online, and that extra effort was given a high grade. I loved this class and this discipline but, during this month I cracked my toe and was in a boot also adding that I got sick all in the same week. The teachers noticed what I was going through and gave me a chance to rework my models in the final week and adjust my grade. On the pain medicine, I received a 56, and my final grade was a 90. I really connected with that teacher. Every time I work with texturing I love it and hope to work with it in the future.

Rigging, which is adding the bones to a model and creating scripts to the model to make it move. This was what I thought I wanted to be major discipline. This was what I thought I would love, sadly it did not click for me. The scripting of writing the code was not something I enjoyed. Coding is not for me. I know people who really love it, but I did not. What worked for me was making the joints and testing them that they worked and the I-K F-K systems were decent to use. If rigging was just that I would pick that as my discipline.

CHARACTOR RIGGING
Next month I am required to pick my discipline for the rest of my time at Full Sail. I am meeting with a few teachers for guidance, but I am leaning towards Compositing or Look Development.


See you after month thirteen.
Dylan

Reflections Month Eleven Character Modeling Fundamentals

Character Modeling Fundamentals

The best advise I received at Full Sail was, to take a breather if you need it. Knowing how in involved this month was to be, I took last month off and studied and prepared for this month. That being said, it was still a very difficult month. The work load was everyday from when I woke up till late at night and I made it. It was arduous, but so fulfilling.

What did not work well for me was  reference for Modera. It worked the first week, but not all at after that. It was not symmetrical and I had to utilize cannon pictures which were not T Posed.

What worked well this month was making armor in Mya. I really wanted to make a prop scythe for my character, not knowing if I had the time to finish it. I ended up making the chain link for the scythe using a Z Brush tool saved me about two hours work and I was pleased with the look of it.

What I would do differently next time would be to pick two models that I really liked instead of one I that was suggested and one I truly liked. Working on a character I love is much easier and I can work through the night on it without getting frustrated or over tired.  Putting in the extra time on the character I liked did not even feel like work.

There were multiple stumbling blocks for me this month, too many to count. A few major frustrations came from Z Brush constantly crashing and there is nothing I can do to fix that. The faces were very difficult and I eventually had to get help from a tutor, which was beneficial.

In the end, I would of liked to have an extra twenty hours for this month, but I am satisfied with my end product that I turned in.

I looked forward to every lecture this month. The teachers were amazing, funny and answered all billions of my questions.

This month involved:

  • Selecting character reference
  • Adjusting and correcting reference images for character modeling
  • Identifying primary forms in your character reference
  • Identifying secondary forms in your character reference
  • Identifying proportions and landmarks on your character model
  • Breaking down character reference for the modeling process
  • Base level human anatomy
  • Planes of the face
  • Landmarks for the facial features of a character
  • Creating primary forms and structures of a character model
  • Creating the secondary forms and structures of a character model
  • Creating higher level secondary forms and structures of a character model
  • Creating accessories and props for a character model
  • Modeling and sculpting hair for a character model
  • Good topology practices for character modeling
  • Resurfacing for organic surfaces
  • Laying out UVs for a character model
  • Creating and applying normal maps for a character model
  • Adjusting and troubleshooting normal maps for a character model

 

Dylan Smith

Nerdz Garage

September 2018

Intelligence Check Episode ONE Dungeons and Dragons

Welcome to the continent of Aldernostru! Our heroes begin their adventure traveling between cities and catacombs, but things soon go wrong! Welcome to the continent of Aldernostrum this oppression when victory was uphold by 4 mystic sages that slew Aldar, forcing his army to retreat. Present day. our party, a…questionable band of adventurers, gather in a little town of Durin, on the southern side of the peninsula. They had heard about a nearby catacomb where travelers had been mysteriously disappearing into. Upon investigating, they met a purple skinned stranger with black bat wings, who disappeared before she was questioned. Back at the village, they found that the lady in question was a fallen apprentice of one of the mages from the great war, who became corrupted and turned to necromancy. Follow. A quant peninsula surrounded by mountains and oceans with one connecting land mass to the south. A war ravaged the land 100 years ago, where a Black Dragon by the name of Aldar crossed planes with an army of darkness to plague the land. With much diligence and hardship, the men and women fought backing this path, they took this information to the nearby city of Kunia, where they wished to speak to the lord in hope to contact the king about this troubling woman. Lord Terence, the lord of Kunia, exclaimed that his connection to the King has faltered ever since the death of his wife, Lady Sylvia, who was the king’s daughter, and in order to get back with his good graces, he would need to retrieve Lady Sylvia’s broach that was stolen 3 months ago from her grave. Now the party sets out for Rorikstein in hopes of following the Silver Leaf, a band of nefarious bandits, who were last known to know the location of the broach.

Featuring Adam Malick as Dungeon Master. Dylan Smith, Damien Engelmann, Derek Elgarten, Kenneth Allen, Noah Webster.

Reflection Month Nine

This month was College Mathematics. It was……… math…

If you know me, you how I felt about this month. I actually did pretty good

no_math1

To keep my sanity, I decided that our Sunday game Group needed Nerf guns!

My Sundays for the last six months have been dedicated to Dungeons and Dragons. There are six of us, Full Sail students, who meet at my house to work on homework and play D&D. We have started recorded them and they can be found on my YouTube page and subscribe because we will be Live Streaming the D&D when we get back from our long one-week summer break.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn_U3LxXCz4SzMhk94_UMNQ

DYLAN SMITH

I thought I would throw some Nerf Battles into the mix.

We mixed the game Resistance with Nerf for some Live action Nerf Trouble in Terrorist Town and Gmod Murder. Serious battles with only a few injuries. Fun was had.

Another break was Land Party Minecraft with all six of us.  I have wanted to play land party since I lived in Wilmington.

These Sundays are the prize at the end of a difficult week.

I am so fortunate for the group I have found.

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