A Mech For The Road
This week on Machine Making, a new robot, and our first time building a mech.
This robot was a redesign from an early Mech that was made a couple of months ago. This initial design was built for a game engine, Gamemaker Studio 2. Unfortunately the design was not square, so as the robot moved through the world it actually crashed into wall and broke the collider scripts.
For the new design I wanted to add some detail to the legs and the main section. For this robot to work in a game engine the width of the robot needed the same as the length so when it turns it does not collide into walls, or objects.
This robot was pretty fun to make, please let us know if you have any questions!
Four legs are better than Two
This week I built a multi role strike robot. Download the model and rig from Gumroad.
Below is the making of and the animation test.
Design and Concept
The main focus of the concept phase was the leg mechanics. I wanted to build something with a longer leg, almost how a dog paw, might look.
Leaving Blender Render Behind
Until now every episode of Machine Making was rendered in the Blender Internal Render Engine.
I really liked using the Freestyle option in this render engine, and I found that the toon shading was easy to use and quick to render. But unfortunately the Internal Blender Render is being stripped out for Blender version 2.8.
I do think this is the right choice for future development of Blender. As Eevee is already looking like a powerful render engine.
I have tried toon in cycles before, but I found it extremely difficult to achieve the quality I was after while rendering .I found this product called Toon Kit on the Blender Market, and this was a life saver.
I'd like to do a full review on the package and maybe even a tutorial. There are some kinks to work out with this add-on, but for the most part it worked very well.
I hope you enjoyed this episode and let me know if you have any questions in the comments!
A very sleepy robot.
This week I built a fun little floating robot. Download this model and rig on Gumroad. Here is the making of and the final animation test.
Design and Concept
This bot started out as a simple cube. I wanted to keep everything fairly square and rigid. I really wanted to test out some new shaders I made for creating a cartoony look.
Next Step For Toon Shaders
While I did finish this robot, and my animation test was somewhat successful, I did veer away from my initial goal for this project. I wanted use a new shader I built in cycles to create a toony look. Here was what I wanted to achieve:
This was created by EJ Hassenfratz at eyedesyn.com using cinema 4D. I wanted to replicate these shaders in Blender. This caused me to play around In Cinema 4D for far too long one weekend.
But as always I made my way back to blender and I attempted to make the same shader in Cycles. Here was my initial test.
Now not a complete replica of the original shader, but my goal was to just get close.
Once I started modeling the floating robot though I quickly found my way back to Blender Internal Render. I really enjoy how clean the lines are and how quick it viewport renders.
A New Tool
My search for a nice toon shader in Cycles was coming to an end. I was about to give up hope and either learn Cinema 4D, or transition everything to the Eevee Render. Then a new product appeared on Blender Market. The Toonkit for Cycles!
For my next video I'll be trying out this product and these shaders. I'll probably do a little review video as well.
As always thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions.
Here is episode 6, a full humanoid robot!
Design and Concept
For this week I wanted to build a full robot. The goal was to model, rig and animate a full robot in a couple of days.
The design phase was pretty fun for this bot. I wanted something fairly boxy with a strong silhouette. Here is the original concept:
Model and Rig
Lately I've been combining the rigging and modeling process. I find this allows me to answer design questions and pose the character very early in the process.
The most challenging part of this rig was the legs. There were two main problems I had to solve. First was the three chain reverse ankle IK. The second was the rotation of the hip bone.
Three chain reverse IK
While I have built these before I always find them fun and challenging to make. First I had to ensure all the pivots were working correctly. I then had to build the pole vector parent mechanic. For this I built a small constraint set up using a bone that always stays in the middle of the hip and the foot.
This bone requires two more bones as well, one that parents to the hip and one that parents to the foot. The axis of these bones must match the middle bone. The middle bone is then damp tracked to the foot.
Lastly I parent the pole vector to this bone. This puts the pole vector in a great location (for the most part).
Here is an simple example of the functionality.
Hip Pivot IK issue.
For the hip pivot the main problem was in the design. There was a secondary pivot that had to work with the IK structure. I tried a couple of different techniques for this and I found that making the IK chain 4 bones long and adjusting the locking mechanics was the best solution.
To learn more about my modeling and rigging process watch the making of below.
For the animation I wanted to keep it fairly simple. I wanted the bot to take a step forward, grab the gun and shoot the gun.
In the future I want to spend more time on the vfx, although I'm still trying to work out how the vfx will look with this style. The Lego movies seem to have a pretty good handle of cartoony VFX. I'll probably use them as reference in the future.
Composition and Render
The compositing was fairly straight forward. The focus was on bringing color back into the image and to use the lights in the scene as compositional elements. I also tried a duel tone technique for the shadows but I decided against this.
The render was about 3 minutes a frame, the composition pass was about 40 second seconds.
Let me know if you have and questions I. The comments below!
Here is Episode 5, A classic Ford Cougar with tank treads!
What is Machine Making?
Each episode of Machine Making is a small project that I try to complete within one week.
Why are you making these videos?
I’m making these videos to learn about filmmaking, 3D art and story telling. As I go through my process I want to broadcast my experience, as maybe it will help others create something amazing.
What is your process?
Here is a breakdown of my process:
First I’ll write a little script, sometimes this is just a sentence. For this episode it was: A car with tank treads hits a small robotic creature.
Second is the concept stage where most of the creative decisions are made. Here are the concept images from this episode:
Depending on the complexity of the concept a short previz may be required. This is a quick 3D video to establish timing, the mood and define all the pieces that are needed. I might try out some lighting ideas here as well. The previz should be quick to make, almost a 3D sketch. If things are not working in Previz and the composition feels off it means something is wrong with the concept, and it is time to go back to the concept phase and maybe even the script phase.
If the previz is working out well and the timing feels right I move into production. First the assets and rigs are made. This stage can take the longest, depending on the complexity of the design. Although with a solid previz this can be the best part (I find). With a solid previz all the creative questions are answered, now it is just a matter of increasing the detail.
Final Car Model