Monday, 8 March 2010

Final Thoughts

Overall, I think that both churches looked good and I was pleased with the outcome.
However, we seemed to be constantly battling against deadlines, which could have been improved with more realistic planning, if we could have foreseen how long some of the tasks would take. We did not get off to a good start due to snow preventing us from getting into college and so things were slow to get going.
I enjoyed seeing the way the project developed from our research and photographs of churches. I really liked my role of designing and modelling the old church interior and exterior. I learned to listen to feedback from the other team members when we agreed to give the church a sloping roof, rather than the flat one that I had originally wanted. The church that I was basing the design on actually had a flat roof, but I am glad that I changed it and could see that it was the right decision for the overall look of the exterior.
It was good fun to develop the lighting and I have learned a great deal as it was the first time that I had done this.
However, I found that Maya was very slow on my laptop on several occasions, which caused me some difficulties. I plan to buy a new laptop for next term as I want to make sure that I have everything possible to help me to work faster. I have also found a quicker way to shut down Maya, by locating a Task Manager on the Mac which I had not found before. This would certainly help in the future and has made me realise the importance of trying harder to look for new ways of doing things which could save time.
The group got on quite well generally but there were occasions when stress seemed to negatively affect some team members. It is important to support each other through what ever problems you encounter and try to work together to resolve them. I am not sure that this really happened on the last day when people were stressed and frustrated. I have also learned that for good teamwork it is essential to listen to others and to take on board any feedback and adapt my ideas.
Unfortunately it is not always easy for me to get into college or meet up at a weekend, as I have to rely on Sarah or my parents to be nearby in case I have a seizure. I did not always feel that this was fully appreciated by some members of the team. This has upset me, as I have really worked extremely hard on this assignment and tried to be a good team member. If unable to meet, I was always available on MSN or by phone and made sure to keep in touch, while obviously working at home.
I think that as a group, we felt a bit disappointed that we could have improved our final version that was handed in, if we could have had a couple more days. The problems at the end, rendering with very large files, was hard to have predicted given our limited experience but I am sure that we all feel like we have learned a great deal about how we would do things differently in the future.
Finally, I would say that I don't feel great about the way things ended for my group but I want to try to keep positive, as I always try to do, and to focus on the many things that I have learned from the assignment.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

My Playblast

I am not very pleased with this animation as I do feel that I could have made it a lot better if i had the time. I also feel disappointed as sometimes the speed of the camera changes when it has no need to. I did realise when this animation was made that it wasn't perfect but we agreed to use it like it is because we did not have much time left and we felt that the time needed to be used in other ways.

Learning How to Act

During this assignment I feel that I have learned a lot about teamwork.
I think I need to listen more carefully to other points of view and keep an open mind to other ways of doing things. It also helps to have a clear plan and timing schedule that all the team agree to and can work with. I think it is good to have regular and frequent communication about progress and if problems have occurred - we tried to do this via phone, MSN, meetings etc.
Following this experience I now think that I would be a better team member or leader of the group as I picked up some great points that I have learned from.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Submission Day!

I had problems rendering the end part of our animation for the digital environment assignment today and last night. When I came into college this morning I thought that the problem was just/mainly that my laptop as it is quite old couldn't manage the Maya file. I found out later that the texture files were too big and that we had not cleared some of the items history. Because of this time was spent with Clym's help (which was very much appreciated) trying to quickly sort it all out so that the file could be handled. We also needed to make it so that the lighting took up less memory.
Because of this the "sky clouds and fog" and the "fence" that I created and the "bench" that Guy made and some other items could not be used because they increased the file size. Also the window and some other objects had to have their texture removed.
So over all a lot had to be done to avoid the computers crashing.

Another problem started then, when that was sorted out. Maya was showing messages saying that the file could not be rendered because there were too many render files. So I tried a different computer but the problem was still occurring.
The problem was solved after about five different attempts with the help of Steve. When it was solved I was logged in on Fahren's computer account on a different desktop, but then it was a bit too late to start the render.
I was disappointed as I really wanted to solve the problem for my group. I do think that I have learnt a lot from today though particularly about the importance of downsizing a Maya file and keeping it clean which then makes rendering faster and easier.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Similar Happens Again!

On the way to college I was thinking about the problems that I had yesterday (the file repeatedly crashing and not getting much work finished) and hoped for a better day today. I was hoping that the college computers would manage with the file easily as my laptop kept crashing last night because it is about 3 years old, combined with the file being very big. But no, the college computer could not even open the file so I went back to my laptop- which obviously took me back to square one.
I asked Steve in the end what he would do (as he was sitting about a metre away). He said that he would take some of the items out of the file and put them back at the end of the assignment, as quite a lot of different objects are in the file. Thanks for the suggestion Steve!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Not The Best Days Work!

A tough day - I have'nt been pleased with the amount of work that I have done , especially as it is so close to the submission date. I have also had a lot of trouble with my laptop . For example half way through the day my computer crashed and closed Maya on its own. From this I lost all of my days work! I didnt think I would had lost it all because I did have a saved file from about an hour ago but when I opened it most of the church was missing.
I have also spent a lot of time today trying to clear memory space on my laptop, I am not sure if my computer is not calculating the amount on the hard drive correctly because I have cleared a lot of gbs off of -my drive today and the space has been going again very quickly. Maybe it is because I am using big files on Maya? I'm not sure....

Monday, 1 March 2010

The Lighting for The Outside of The Church

The Lighting for the outside of the old church was the part that I was responsible for. Here are some screen shots that I took of it.

I do think that the moon creates a good effect that creates a gothic feel. I wanted to make sure that the trees behind the church had shadows which add to the eerie mood. I also chose the windows to have area lights in front of them to make it look like the lights were all on inside the church, as the camera goes inside the old church afterwards.

Here is a picture showing close up how I made the tree shadows look.

This is a picture I took while I was doing the lighting. I do quite like some of the lighting from this picture below but I think it is too bright and reduces the gothic look that we were hoping for.

Sky and Clouds

I created some sky and clouds to give a dark and gothic feel to the outside of the church. I am very pleased with how they look as it does work well with the scene and they look just how I wanted them to.

Here below is a picture of the sky and clouds in the scene that I am using at the moment

This is a picture of the clouds from high up. This position is being used in the animation that I am doing for the assignment. A clip is shown on the section called 'My Playblast'

Here is the gothic look created (but lighting isn't added yet)

Sky and cloud in the file that I created.


I wanted to add a moon as it adds an eerie feel to the scene. To make some light come down from the moon i turned the incandescence up to make light shine out of it -as you can see in the image below.I am pleased with this and think it looks very effective.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Grass Merging

Today I had to merge the grasss in quite a lot of places. This is because the maya file that I used was made on a different version and lots of big box shapes appeared on the grass (as seen below). As well as having to merge the grass, I had to clean it up with control vertex as parts had gone higher than they should be, some pointed parts were sticking out at the edges and also the edge lines were not sraight anymore. On the right is a screen shot showing how the file looked on both versions of Maya that I have (8.5 and 2008)

Wednesday, 24 February 2010


Here is a picture of some of the tiles that I created. This was formed by extruding off of a thin cube I filled most of the church's floor with them.

The church tiles were created by:

Extruding face that was in a church floor's tile shape

Selecting the top four vertex points from the extruded section of the floor


Move them inwards with the scale tool and then shorten it with the move tool

So I carried out the above instructions to fill the plane and then gave it a simple example texture for my team to see and duplicated it the number of times needed to fill the church floor on the parts needed.

Church Tower Windows

I wanted to create some windows for my church tower as I thought that some varied designs would be much better to include than just traditional glass windows.
I am very pleased with this over all and I feel that it does look very like ones from the period of time that my group are covering (around the 12th century).

Tuesday, 23 February 2010


I have made a lot of archs during the modeling of this assignment and spent a lot of time on it as you can see below

Helping with Windows

I added edge frames on the inside and outside of the building (two separate files) so that it was easy for my team mates to delete the hole using the face tool and add the windows into the building. I also wanted them to be able to now how many windows were in my church design and where I planned for them to be.

Creating the Fence

we debated whether to have a perimeter fence or not in the church garden, I offered to create one.
I wanted the fence to look quite old starting to fall apart. A good decision!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Changing Design

I have just decided to change my design of the church slightly from a flat roofed 11th/12th century church to one with a pointed roof with a partly Gothic look. The reasons are because from research I found out that flat roofs were not used often.
I discussed this with the group and they all agreed that this would achieve a much better look and they said that they would have chosen a spire roof but if I want to stick with the flat roof I can.


When I was deciding how I wanted the grass to be outside the church I decided that I wanted to create it as a bumpy garden as I felt that that added and fitted in with they mood that we are aiming to create for that church.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Progress Update: Modeling Church Exteriour

Here is a close up of the fence that I have just made to go around the garden of the church

Here you can see how I changed the shape design from how it was at the beginning. When I look back at the original (bottom pictures) I feel quite pleased at how it has progressed.

Here in this picture (left) is a screen shot of the new roof that I made for the church. I wanted it to look like it has changed shape over time and was not built as perfect as it would be now.

I have now added more lines onto the church building (interior and exterior) so that its easy for my team to add cut out gaps in the building and add in the windows

I have now decided to make the the church tower go higher and I have now started to add a roof.

I have now made the church like it is in my original design (the texture will not get used)
When I have been looking at it I am not been very pleased with how it looks. I think it is too much like a block and I also think that the tower part looks too wide and also it is not high enough.

Here (left) as you can see I wanted to make it a cross from birds eye view.

I have now started to create the castellated edge for the church tower.

Here as you can see on the left I have now made the basic shape of the church

Progress Update: Modelling Church Exteriour

Here are my beams so far. I think that they will look good in the church when they are finished.

At last! I am happy with these arches. I am not sure about the ones at the sides at the moment, I would prefer them to be a bit wider.

I have now started to create the tiles for the
church floor, so far I am happy with them.

I definitely prefer these to my previous arches but I'm still not happy with them.

I'm not very pleased with how these arches look. They look more suited to a house to me.


I have started to design and create a gargoyle for the church. However I am not very satisfied with my character so far therefore I am not sure whether it will be included.

Below are some gargoyles that I have seen on the internet and like, from the period we are looking at.