Building modules

The city “Worn” is taking place in will have to look busy and half-wrecked. After having looked at numerous pictures and videos documenting buildings in the aftermath of war, I believe we can build a lot of background buildings with very little. I made a few window modules that can easily be assembled into different looking apartment blocks to populate the horizon.

I built this as an example of what can be achieved with these modules.




I started the process of lighting with simple spot lights that I’ve been moving around. Following instructions I found on forums and YouTube tutorials, I was able to create a night time skybox that I was happy with.

Because we used the aesthetics of the short “Adam” as inspiration, I’ve been looking at how the team achieved the animation’s incredible visuals:

“All lights should cast shadows and those should be fully opaque” […]

“Always remember that light quality equals soft shadow and wide specular.”

When I get all the assets together with the rest of my group, I plan to incorporate some emissive planes as well to help with lighting up the textured details.

Since we haven’t reached the stage of having textured scenes to work with, I wasn’t able to properly experiment with lightmapping on different textures yet. I aim to do that before the final hand in, as I’ve found the process of lighting up a scene in Unity to be very enjoyable and would like to get good at it.


To learn: shot-by-shot lighting

For lighting tests and scene assembly exercises:


Useful genral tips for lighting environments:




I continued experimenting with lights and camera effects in Unity and I’m starting to get the hang of it. I created a slightly desaturated environment with contrasting blue(cold) and yellow(warm) lights that I feel would fit the atmosphere of the project. I added lens dirt and camera focus and gave several different settings to post processing options until I was happy with the way the room looked. These are still not the final assets but it should give an idea of how it would look.


Project Assets


I created these assets based on the images I’ve come across in my research. I tried my best to keep the elements as realistic as possible and within the same style without pointing at one culture in particular. The umbrella took the longest to make as I tried using ncloth simulation on it. After trying different settings on the simulation, it still didn’t look the way I wanted it to, so in the end it had to be modelled from a flat circular mesh.


Using basic human meshes, I created a custom man for the scene to use as scale reference and also to add to the atmosphere of my scene. I used standard Maya materials with the same purpose. I intended to use ncloth on the umbrella top, as I did with the tshirts, but ended up modelling it as it gave me more control over the final shape.

nCloth simulation guide:




After modelling a lot of hard surfaced objects, I wanted to work on something a little more organic. Something that would bring a bit of life into our “Worn” environment. I made the T-shirts below from planes and simulated ncloth in Maya. I then fixed any geometry that wasn’t sitting right and increased the poly count for a smoother look. I intend to animate it for Unity.tshirt



Instead of animating the T-shirts, I decided to bring them straight into Unity and see what I can do with them. I didn’t bake the simulation on them so whenever I imported the assets, they simply hovered above the bar in the position they were before the Maya ncloth simulation. Following tutorials, I was able to create a similar simulation using only Unity tools. On the T-shirt in the middle I painted some weights and used the equivalent of a collision/constraint tool on the painted area to make it look as if it’s hanging from pegs. I believe I must have gotten a bit too bold experimenting with the settings as I managed to create an insanely windy effect that cannot be removed.



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Inspired by all the character concepts we came up with as a group, I put together default meshes of male body parts and altered them to fit the description of a young boy.

I built this character to be used for futher concept art and framing, scale and atmospheric references.


10th April

Using what I’ve learnt from storyboarding tips about framing, layout and shape contrast, I made this exercise in Maya and rendered in Arnold. The gun asset was something I downloaded for free since none of us built any yet and this is just a test. Depending on how tall the building is, there could be a streetlight giving off direct light. At the same time, I’m also considering the fact that there may not be any power, in which case the room would be much darker and possibly more candles would have to be lit in order for anything to be visible.

I believe it will all come down to personal preference but in the meantime I’m using this scene as a point of reference for further Unity work.

Also looking at how shadows and strips of light can help add depth to the environment.

Cinematic storytelling

“Like a painting, the static image of the frame presents inherent storytelling opportunities.” (Sijll, 2010)

“Screen direction can suggest antagonism, individualism, and conflict, for example. A moving frame might be used to represent change, similarity or dissimilarity, or its opposite, stasis.” (Sijll, 2010)

“As Westerners we read left-to-right. If you rented fifty studio-made movies, there’s a good chance that the ‘good guy’ will enter screen left every time. When the ‘good guy’ moves left-to-right our eyes move comfortably. Subconsciously, we begin to make positive inferences.

Conversely, the antagonist usually enters from the right. Since our eyes aren’t used to moving from right-to-left, the antagonist’s entrance makes usuncomfortable.” (Sijll, 2010)

Having read the book Cinematic Storytelling, I feel like it had a big impact in the way I read the project’s storyboard. The storyboards given to us had good flow and were easily readable. That being said, referring back to the book, I believe some shots could be slightly altered to highlight character traits or emotions and add depth to the environment. Below are a few suggestions from my sketchbook:


Brower, K. (2007). Review: Cinematic Storytelling: The 100 Most Powerful Film Conventions Every Filmmaker Must Know by Jennifer Sijll Van. Film Quarterly, [online] 60(3), pp.95-96. Available at: [Accessed 2 Apr. 2018].

Sijll, J. (2010). Cinematic storytelling. Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese Productions.



Apropos of storyboarding, I found the third edition of Animation Artist to be very enlighting.

“The orientation of the face towards the camera can determine the level of empathy the audience feels” (Jones, 2018)

“Overlaps help create depth. […] Characters advancing to or receding from the camera also give the illusion of 3D” (Jones, 2018)

I used the principles and side tips presented in this issue to inform my process of making and putting together assets for the project.

Jones, M. (2018). The Art of Storyboarding. Animation Artist, (Third Edition), pp.116-121.

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