This is a solo piece. I've been doing 3D animation for the past 20 years. For most of those years I mainly worked on commercials and marketing related productions. I was never very happy with that sort of work though and have been trying to get out of it for a while now. I got into 3D animation for planetarium production about 6 years ago which evolved into VR work. I've wanted to get into real sci-fi animation for many years, but never seem to get a chance to do my own concepts. This challenge seemed to be a perfect opportunity to push myself into finally doing the sort of work I've always wanted to do and see where it might take me. When I started working on this projects my ambitions were a bit to high for the sort of time that I had, so I focused on making a handful of robot models that had a bit of polish.
I'm currently freelancing, and any connections I can make through this challenge is welcome.
The main concept with this scene, is that in VR you can go inside these gigantic ship sized robots and operate them from the inside out. Their biomech robo world is supposed to be in a different dimension where there is much less difference in scale between sentient creatures that can interact with one another. Robots inside of robots inside of robots... . When you enter their world you become part of a mechanical organism. You can occupy any sub organism within range and leap from body to body. As a sub organism of one of these giant biomech bots you have to survive in a ecosystem not just interfacing with weapons, but with controlling and maintaining the systems that keep the bots running. No matter what scale you exist on you are always host to smaller biomech organisms. There's more to the story I want to tell about this universe, but this is a start.
I started the project by making concept art in Tilt Brush. I ended up using the sketches I did in Tilt Brush as a starting point for building voxel models in 3D-Coat. I really enjoyed that process and intend to push that further in my future work. Hopefully I'll get a chance to put up some videos about that process and share what I've learned from it. The design of all the robot's and environment was mine from scratch and I'm pretty happy how things turned out. Although this for me is a starting point to flesh out this bio mechanical alternate dimension in the coming months.
I ended up using Timeline, and Cinemachine much more that I expected. I hadn't used Timeline before working on this and I'm really impressed with it. It is really amazing. Besides the character IK work, I ended up using Timeline for all the rest of the animation. It makes it so easy to create cut scene type animations. Really most all the animation I did for this video was done in a day with Timeline and Cinemachine. It probably would have taken me a week to do any other way. I'm really glad I did this challenge because it introduced me to how powerful using Timeline, Cinemachine and Post Processing Stack used in conjunction is.
Post Processing Stack is my new favorite tool. It makes everything look so, so much better than I thought things could look in Unity.
Assets, Tools, Plugins
The robot characters were all designed and modeled by myself as well as most of the rocks and buildings.
Post Processing Stack V2
3D-Coat to Unity
Adam Interior Environment
Free Boulder Pack 1.0
Inferno VFX 2.5.0
Pipes Kit 1.0
Sky FX Pack 1
Snow Mountains 1
Tilt Brush Toolkit
Unity To Sketchfab Exporter 2.1.1
Concrete Blocks (Pack) 1.1
Things are finally coming together.
I had to simplify the scene a bit in order to get things done on time. The models and scene have come a bit further too. I'm pretty happy with the robots design so I'm going to finish all the rest of the final models.
I'll be posting up some models as I complete them. Here's another head.
Updated sketch with atmospheric effects and some more models added.
I posted up the Tilt Brush sketch that I created for the challenge. I was pretty amazed how much stuff you can pack into a Tilt Brush sketch. And how it makes mocking up something like this so fast. https://poly.google.com/view/bYWw8ZU3VdU
I have been working on some robot concepts of my own the past few months so I decided to integrate them into a scene with the sort of mood established in the Adam concept images. I’ve mainly been using Unity to create VR projects for the past couple years, so I decide to do the whole thing in VR.
The main idea with the robot models I’ve been building, is that in VR you can go inside these gigantic ship sized robots and operate them from the inside out. Their biomech robo world is supposed to be in a different dimension where there is much less difference in scale between sentient creatures that can interact with one another. Robots inside of robots inside of robots... . When you enter their world you become part of a mechanical organism. You can occupy any sub organism within range and leap from body to body. As a sub organism of one of these giant biomech bots you have to survive in a ecosystem not just interfacing with weapons, but with controlling and maintaining the systems that keep the bots running. No matter what scale you exist on you are always host to smaller biomech organisms.
The scene I'm creating includes a huge scavenger robot that you can go inside of and explore. Outside the robot there is a scene in the distant background of a robot the size of a skyscraper destroying another giant robot and throwing it's head to the ground. The viewer is at a scale of an cockroach compared to the mega robots. The player is part of a scavenging team who have just come across a real prize find, and have to race to retrieve the spoils. Other scavenger robots are swarming in too.
For the scene I’m creating for the challenge, I decided to sketch out the whole thing in VR. This is something I'm working on my own so I need to make the most of everything I work on. I choose to use Tilt Brush to create the sketch, since I was pretty familiar with it and Google provides a toolset for bringing Tilt Brush sketches into Unity. It’s not a process I had done before but I decided to dive into it and see how it goes. One of the benefits of this approach would be that I have a 3D representation of all the assets I would need to create to build the scene with my other 3d tools.
Fleshing out the inside and outside of a gigantic robot in a short time frame is definitely a challenge. I decided to use the toon brush in Tilt Brush so that I could import the basic framework to directly reference where all the parts go. Sketching in VR for a VR project seems ideal especially for this project, since I can put myself inside the robot and work on the design of the interior as if I was actually inside the robot.
For the landscape I’m doing a modular approach. Creating chucks that can be arranged similar to the Tilt Brush sketch.I will be using free assets from the asset store where I can, as well as assets I’ve used in other projects, but I don't expect to use many paid assets. Most custom assets will likely be created in 3d Coat for this project.
The scale of these robots is something that I hope comes across well in VR. Scaling the player is what got me into this idea of Controlling robots of different sizes, from car sized to the size of a cruise ship or bigger.
At this point I'm going to start replacing all the Tilt Brush sketches with fully sculpted assets.
Here are some videos of my sketch. Looks a lot better in VR.
I've never made anything quite like this so if anyone has any feedback...
And here's an extended fly around of the set, going in and around the scavenger robot some more.
Here's a wip of the giant robot head.
Here's a render of what one of the human sized robots might look like. This isn't textured yet.