MDU115.1 Research and Development Blog


Pre production

Pre production is the early stages of development of a potential idea. These early stages of planning is considered the most significant within the planning for a potential concept.  Design itself, whichever field a creative is in Pre production is always considered a necessity. Whether you are in the field of advertising, film, visual artistry etc.   The pipeline aids the project/ concept in progressing to the deadline.

In the list below are common practises within the Pre Production timeline

  • Aesthetics (Look and Feel)
  • Style
  • Themes
  • Set-Designs
  • Concept Art
  • Characters
  • Environment Designs
  • Assets
  • Treatments
  • Story-boarding
  • Animatic


3D Modelling:

Revoluanary technology  has now made is possible to create objects, beings, environments, landscapes etc in a 3D environment. There are now a selection of programmes which can make these things possible such as 3DsMax, Mudbox, Maya or sculpted in Z-Brush.

Modelling is used with a 3D mesh. The basic process is comprised of connecting a set of points with various geometric data such as lines and curved surfaces with the goal of creating a model that represents a three-dimensional object.  There are four main methods when constructing a model these methods are:

Primitive modelling:

Simplest way of modelling. Modelling shapes such as spheres, cylinders and squares. Best used for beginners these shapes have been formed with a mathematical approach. A great way to start box modelling techniques.

Polygonal modelling:

consists of 3 parts:

vertices, faces and edges.

NURBS modelling:

modelling of curves and surfaces.

Splines and patches modelling.

creates 3d outlines of an object.

Experimentation using polygonal modelling, using the process of box modelling. Attempting to extrude faces. As seen below the positioning of some edge loops are not correct as I had neglected to use the channel box to correct my mistakes in turin potently creating a more mathematical approach.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 4.18.55 pm



UV mapping

UV mapping (unwrapping) is the process of flatting out a 3D model into a 2D space.

2D textures follow vertexes to help create information for polygonal and sub division surfaces.  Both letters U and V indicate the axes in 2D.

UV mapping is crucial within 3D modelling as it marries with the surface mesh created and is telling of how the image texture is mapped onto the surface text.

In Maya the UV editor is used to first deconstruct the asset in turn re constructing the asset, by using such applications as the edge tool to un sew parts in turn creating more legible design aiding the application of future textures.


Once the unwrapping stage is complete and ensuring that you have creating a UV snap shot that can be easily transferred into photoshop.

Photoshop is key when creating textures for your asset. Textures help create the overall look for your asset. Five key factors to consider are:

  • colour
  • glossiness
  • reflectivity
  • transparency
  • adjust transparency level

Digital Tutors (2011) Maya tutorial: UV edition. Retrieved from:

Below is a quick experimentation regarding Texturing and UV mapping.

By using the “UV snapshot” application I was able to export my image ensuring it was saved as a .targa file to create a simple outline for my texture. Proceeding to use photoshop I created my texture.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 10.18.21 pm

Author, S. J (unknown ). Surfacing 101, Texture mapping  Retrieved from

Maya Entertainment Creation Suite(2015). Maya 2015 [autodesk-help]. Retrieved from


Dilero states ‘Shaders help us define things like color, transparency, shininess and reflectivity in an effort to approximate the look and feel of real life surfaces like plastics, metals, glass, water and so forth’ A shader is a program thats controls polygons and pixels this in turn is how both the polygons and pixels are rendered. The four main shaders used with maya are as follows

  • Anisotrpic
  • Blinn
  • Lambert
  • Phong

(2011) components of a 3D Model retrieved from:

Maya Entertainment Creation Suite(2015). Maya 2015 [autodesk-help]. Retrieved from

Author J. Dilero (2011) components of a 3D Model retrieved from:


Rigging is a 3D skeleton bound to the 3D mesh, rigging is a required step before creating an animation. Just like a real skeleton rigging requires the use of joints and handles to aid movement to the character/ object etc.

  • Joint Hierarchy
  • Forward Kinematics (FK)
  • Inverse Kinematics  (IK)
  • Facial Rigging
  • Degrees of freedom/Constraints
  • Facial Rigging


Animation can come in a verity of mediums the two most common are 2D and 3D. commonly used in games, film etc.

When creating an animation in 3D things to take into account all the steps previously explained in my blog to make a cohesive animation. We have to take into consideration movement and readability of the design/and or model in order to make a working animation.  Within working with the animation side important factors to take into consideration are:

▪ Hierachies

▪ Pivot points

▪ Keyframing

▪ Editting keyframes


Within class we animated an eyeball using all points stated above and gaining a basic understanding of the graph editor which in turn controls each frames movement creating a more fluent animation and giving it more of a realistic quality.



Lighting will boost the assets, environment etc Creating lighting around certain parts of the assets can highlight key features, creates shadowing in turn looking more realistic with greater or little detail (depending on how close or far away your object, background etc is)  There numerous techniques each serving a different purpose in Maya

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 10.56.53 pmScreen Shot 2015-10-23 at 10.57.00 pm

Trying out lighting within maya I have used “two sided lighting”

Author, Olga. (Year: Unknown). How to Light a 3D Scene. Overview of Lighting Techniques. 3D.ACE, Retrieved from


Rendering is the process of creating an image or sequence of images from a scene. These image/s are created based on 3D data with Maya. The difference in rendering within a 3D environment is that scenes being photographed are imaginary and need to be created or re created in a 3d environment.

Rendering processes each pixel in each frame. This can be quite a timely process when animations are highly complex. This is why a polygon count is set for important projects as it could disrupt the final output for a project.

Author, Birn. Jeremy (2002). 3D Rendering (for Dummies.) what is rendering?  Retrieved from


After rendering is completed compositing is the next logical step to completing your project. Compositing is the process of layering two or more images together that have been previously created to form a new image. These type of images include:

rendered computer animation

  • special effects
  • graphics
  • 2D animation
  • live action
  • static background

When compositing an alpha channel is used to determine how the video is mixed. The alpha channel helps recognise the presence and degree of opacity of objects, enhance  lighting, matching blacks and other colour levels. It also helps with determine where the video/image is laid over another.

Image source:



  • Jim Blinn:
Blinn-Phong Shader Model, Bump Mapping

Blinn is consider a pioneer within the 3D community helping shape the future of 3D programming In 1987 Blinn became known for writing the Blinn-Phong shader model which transformed the way in which light cooperated with 3D surfaces within the software and the creation of the Blinn-Phong Shader was a quick way to forming reflection on a 3D model. . This can be attributed to the fact in his prior field of work he was employed by NASA. His main role was developing the visuals for the Voyager mission In addition.

Other accredited notes of  Blinn is that of producing bump mapping which is a technique that creates bumps and wrinkles on 3D objects.

Author Seymour. M, (2014) Founder series: Industry Legends Retrieved from


Author, Unknown (2013)Synthetic image of Saturn, originally made in 1980, re-rendered at high resolution 1994 retrieved from


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