Some news =)

News / 19 November 2021

Hello there !  


It's been a while and I'm not coming back with fantastic stuff, although projects I'm working on are still evolving in a solid way, but I also wanted to let you know that now you can support me whenever you want through paypal

This helps me doing more creative & personnal art on my spare time :)
(If you're a 3D artist/animator, you may prefer to get some 3D assets in exchange, so don't hesitate to take a look to my store. I'm also regularly participating to ArtStation Sales so keep an eye on it ;))


I don't take the time to express it, but thank you a lot for your support. The big wave of love you showed to Star Wars Redemption, Maewenn, Syblast, e-LysE and many other art posts shows how much it's important to keep going and thrive to achieve always better stuff. While I don't know what the future holds, I want to explore new universes, which means star wars fan arts will take less room. But don't worry : I still want to do a stylized Darth Maul and at least one custom PodRacer with a lot of super cool technical pipes and pannels ;)

Yet, returning to more stylized pieces, probably in fantasy, is what I'm deeply looking for...

About "SWR" (I hope you guess what I'm talking about ;))

The v1.4 of the demo has shown many issues we are fixing since August in addition to little gameplay improvements, yet it will remain a demo, so don't expect an AAA game. The months since release have been once again a one-dev-army time, where I did everything, including Blueprints & Animation. Thomas is no longer able to animate on the project due to personal difficulties, yet he contributed one last time two months ago with a cool idle and a few adjustments on gameplay attacks. Not sure he will be back on the animation until the next & last update. Thibaut has recently jump back on blueprints, this helps me focus back on art stuff (and that's most welcome !)
You can gather a few infos on what's going on by watching out my twitter/twitch posts & videos (simply search for "vexod14"), but I prefer to hold in the dark most of the new stuff incoming ;)

But, well...here's a little wip of one of the many things I'm working on :


The model you see is the final lowpoly asset, I love using parallax heightmap in addition to normal map to restitute highpoly volumes, it works so well in Marmoset Toolbag 4 =)
I didn't put all his little gadget-arms, only those which really impacts gameplay possibilities and global silhouette (he can still hack doors, fly with mini-jetpack-arms or electrify an opponent. Not sure all these will be in the demo ^^")

I'll be streaming soon the texturing process on 3DCoat, and I'll probably make an R2-D2 skin (I have the "canvas" to make it, I won't use it in game because I have litterally nowhere to put R2 and say "it could happen !", but crafting a fan art is always a good way to learn on design part, to impreign more of the art direction you try to follow and express your own way through it later =))



I still do not plan on working more on the demo once this last version will be published, as I think I need to fly on other & preferably smaller projects. Even if I've learn a lot with SWR, it's time to put all these new skills on more personal projects =)

Also, I'm thinking about making a Patreon since probably two years now, but I still need to define what I'll be doing with it, tutorials perhaps ? Or maybe concept art ? Commented making-of videos ? Feel free to tell me what you would like to see, this will surely help !

Des Bisous ♥


- Vexod14 -

Star Wars - Redemption | Frequently Asked Questions

General / 22 September 2021

Hello there !


After seeing tons and tons of similar askings on the Trailer and many other places, I figured out a little problem :  I never made an FAQ, so here it is :3


Q : Why lightsabers are floating, is it a bug ?

A : It's not a bug, but it comes from a software limitation first of all. Back in the days, akeytsu had no "Space-Switching" feature, meaning that you had to choose where the saber hilt will be attached forever. In-hand was problematic, cause making the saber fly on its own implied tracking it frame-by-frame manually. Instead, we choosed to attach it to the character's root, so except if we decide to move the root, the hilt would live freely. What's important then is that you can make wider movements, so you have a greater range of possibilies for Mevenn's animations and I can tell you that Thomas & I really loves that. We do not plan on sticking it to the hand even if that's possible, it would mean a degradation of both Mevenn's powers and what she can offer to us animators.


Q : Is this a game ? 

A : Yes, but not only. This project could derivate in a film, a serie, whatever as it serve the main purpose of telling a cool story =)



Q : Which engine is used to make the demo ?

A : Unreal Engine 4



Q : Do you plan on porting it to Unreal Engine 5 ?

A : Maybe, but currently there's some issues with a few things.That said I'd love to see the demo running with Lumen ;)


Q : Is this a movie ?

A : No (or perhaps not yet). I wanted to make the trailer to see how far I could push akeytsu and train my personnal animator's skills (which are still not good enough I think), it was also a quite better way to express Mevenn's personnality throughout pure animation, without any game constraints


Q : Is this official ?

A : No, it's fully fan-made


Q : Will this be on PS4/PS5/Android/XBoxOne/...etc ?

A : Not for the demo, but probably for the game (if the game is a thing one day of course). Also, you have to understand that making a game for PC is not like making a game for mobile phones. Not the same hardware, not the same capabilities, not the same limits. Devs and especially artists often rather work on PC titles than mobile/console versions, since on PC, it's open-bar on ressources compared to others. 


Q : Will this be on MacOS ?

A : Potentially not. I will need to find a Mac to build the project. So, seriously...dev on Mac is a pain guys. You can play the demo and a lot of games either on a dual boot (get a win10 license on websites like instant gaming for a few bucks) or using bottle apps like CiderGames


Q : I saw a warning about the required hardware, am I able to run this on a poor laptop ?

A : As for any software, there's always potential issues. When you launch an app, you have to prepare yourself to react efficiently to any possible problem. Yet the game has been tested on really, really poor hardware (not a chromebook, but quite close) and it ran nicely without crashes, in low graphics mode of course. By default, the game should set the best quality mode depending on your PC hardware, but if you're unsure you can change quality settings (and launch a level to apply changes). One single guy apparently destroyed his PC by launching the demo, I do not made it to achieve such curious goal, and I hope this guy was just a stupid troll. 


In any case, if you feel your computer acts strangely, don't wait : hit Ctrl+Shift+Esc or Ctrl+Alt+Suppr and manualy shutdown the game process. If this doesn't work, a good old manual power off is legit to prevent any hardware overheat damage. Keep in mind that this should not happen, that's just common rules that apply, like training in case of a fireplace


Q : I don't have a 1070 GTX or equivalent, can I run the demo ?

A : Yes. The 1070 GTX is a good one if you want to experience the game with Epic quality settings, but the demo will try to find the best way to run fine on your PC, so if it's lower, the game will use lower settings. I tested it on a 660m GTX (the reduced version of a desktop Graphic card. This one was a good one back in 2012 ;)) and the demo runs quite fine =) Yet, there's a DirectX compatibility issue that prevents the current version (1.4) to start if you don't have a quite recent PC (not necessarily good but recent). This will be fixed in next version



Q : Is ultra widescreen supported ?

A : not yet, currently it's optimized for 16/9 resolutions display, but we're working on thisto support more screen ratio in the future


Q : I want to give money to the project, is there a patreon/teepee or anything else ?

A : Thanks and no, your love for the demo is already more than what we expected and we can only thank you a lot for that


Q : How many peoples works on this ?

A : most of the time, only one (me)


I receive more or less important help from Thomas Chaumel (Animation), Thibaut Hunckler (Blueprint/Game Design)


 Alexandre Cheremetieff helped in 2020 (Blueprint/Game Design), and before Fantin Gislette (Blueprint/Game design from early 2017 to mid 2019). Steven Menager brought some help on Mevenn's animations back in 2019 for a few months, Anthony Daneluzzi helped me on a few technical art points

 

 Each one of them are friends before all. You can find all these details in the game credits, and even if the actual demo is made by Thomas, Thibaut & I, the work done by others helped the project evolve & reach its actual state


Q : Are you affraid about Disney ?

A : Always. And it would be stupid to ignore it. But I think this project respects their franchise, characters, worlds. And, well, we do not aim to make a game so no competing here. I think it's safe to say we're not enough devs, we have other professionnal objectives than making this project and honestly it's miraculous that we are still working together on it, cause often projects like this one doesn't last this long (I already got a few kind of these in my backpack ^^"). Finally, when making a fan project, if you constantly worry about "will I be striked or not", you're putting on yourself a silent but consistent pressure everyday, that's bad for your mental health and your motivation. So I keep it in mind, but worry more about enjoying what I do & learn everyday ;)


Q : I think you could add...[name what ever you think of]

A : Thanks for your ideas. But we do not make the game players want. Doing so would bring an unwanted pressure on our shoulders and we simply would stop developping the project. Instead, we make the game we would love to play, hopefully it will sound as good once in players hands. It's really important for creative freedom


Q : Do you plan on making a full game in the future ?

A : No. As I never planned on making a demo in 2012/2013 when I first drew Mevenn. To me, planning also adds pressure the same way it does when you promise to make what players wants (previous question)


Q : I'm a voice actor/musician/artist/programmer...etc and I want to join your project, is it possible ?

A : Thanks for your willing to help. Yet it would extend the time required to manage team members and reduce time available for other fileds. As I manage the team, and make most of the project myself, this would simply reduce final potential of the project (as a demo). Of course, if the demo becomes a full game project, with a team, there will be a need to build a team.


Q : Why Mevenn has this haircut ? I don't like it

A : That's your point. I didn't make it to please everyone, but to stay true to Mevenn's character design


Q : Why Mevenn doesn't speak ?

A : Because it would require to recruit a voice actor that fits perfectly to Mevenn in French (yep, on this project, dubbing in French version will come first. Cause I love our artists since my childhood and I would definitely love to give them the true lead of voicing on the project). Also, no voice means worldwide language compatibility at some point ;)


Q : What's the main character's name ?

A : Mevenn. M e v e n n . Not Mavene/Meven/Maveen/Meveen


Q : And does she have a last name ?

A : Yes. As stated in the lightsaber artwork, her last name is "Lum-Sodren". So you have "Obi-Wan Kenobi" or "Qui-Gon Jinn", her is "Mevenn Lum-Sodren"


Q : Do you have a storyline ?

A : Yes. But as it's the core part of the project that contains a lot of spoilers I keep it secret. Also, it's still evolving on many points and I want to keep the ability of doing so until I release anything


Q : Will this be open world ?

A : No. Open worlds are cool, but on different projects, not sure it suits well to 3D platformers. Also, focusing on details when you are alone wouldn't be possible if I aimed to do an open world, at least not like I do on straght forward levels ;)


Q : Will there be any customization ?

A : Not in the demo. Customization is a great way for artists to express themselves several times on a character, yet it demands a lot of development time. Take a game like overwatch for example : customization wasn't really there at launch, look at it now, with dozens of skins everywhere. They built the game first, and then added what we call "cosmetics". Cosmetics should never pass first, so when I take the time to make a few armor variants, it's for precise reasons (storytelling/lore most of the time), not just to add customization. I also like to think Mevenn as a unique character, so I don't want to create costumes that doesn't fit her own lifestyle/spirit


Q : There's no combat mode. Why ?

A : Because it wasn't ready when we pushed the first version of the demo. It's still under works and should be ther on next update (it's stated in ReadMe.txt file)


Q : I can't fly. Why put spacecrafts then ?

A : Because they have always been a strong part of a space hangar. Space combat is planned, not in dev yet. What you've seen on Eckstoo's channel was an old version of the project where space flying mode was really, really early in development. We plan on making something a bit better in the future, be sure that space combat are one of my top favourite things in a Star Wars game, so much that I wouldn't consider the Demo finished as long as this mode won't be part of it.


Q : Any release date so ?

A : Nope. First because this would put unnecessary pressure over the team, second because we don't know how far we would be able to go. Remember : we do this project on our freetime, and I'm behind most parts of the project, it kinda depends on how much time I will have but it's surely hard to estimate


Q : Can I make a 3D print for a tabletop game ? Or Cosplays ?

A : You can as long as you don't extract any model/texture out of any asset that belongs to the project (this also includes separate assets you can get through my different stores). In other words, you can recreate the designs on your own (and don't hesitate to share what you've been up to with us, we're always curious to see how far you can be inspired by this project !)


Q : Can I stream on the demo ?

A : Yep. Spread the word and enjoy the ride !


Q : Can I ripp the assets and make mods or any kind of content with them ?

A : If you were right there with me, you'll get a free solid slap in your face. Well, internet prevents me to do this, but this doesn't makes me happy when I see random peoples doing this. It's disrespectful, discouraging, not to mention it's completely wrong with the EULA you've accepted when getting this demo. Because it's free does not grant you rights to do any kind of rip. It just grants you the right to play a demo that involved years of personnal hard work for free, its value usually forces users to be respectful


That's all folks ! Hope this answers most of your askings. Don't hesitate to tell me down below in the comment section if you have more questions =)

Des Bisous ♥

Star Wars - Redemption | 1st week update

News / 05 August 2021

Hi everyone !

As mentionned before, I'm on holidays. That does not mean I'm not taking a look at how the demo is accessible and, unfortunately, we run through several issues. This started with Dropbox, which I paid for several years, when they suspended the link just cause there were a high traffic. Then, Google drive reached a share quota rapidly, so I ask you to calm down a little on using the google drive link. Then Mega link, which I simply shared badly (link was correct, but not easy to understand with "decryption" key). And recently, artstation simply suppressed the product from their marketplace due to a crash that happened on one user's PC (and I don't know how this can happen, I mean, I never ever had a crash with the demo nor with any app that can "destroy" my computer...but things happen and I understand Artstation had to take measures against it, please don't blame them)


So, first of all my apologies for all these troubles, I didn't thought sharing a link to a simple game demo would be this difficult. Then, as stated in the EULA.txt file "The artist is not responsible of any damage encountered by the User", so, if you don't have a decent PC rig, don't run the demo. It's as simple as that. And even if you have a good PC, you have to understand that running any kind of app can be tricky (while 99,99% of you had no issue, some can still encounter it so be careful, you launch & play it at your own risks) All that happens to your computer is under your own responsibility, I do not force you to get it and run it.


So, I decided to change all the steps needed to get the demo, here are the links for those who still wants to get it : https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1eS6btMa3auCl6K0WnNIphKCG8S4oOYZ2?usp=sharing (Google drive's quota is reached regularly, so please refrain from using it, and instead go for Mega link) Just in case Google drive fails (I hope not but who knows), here's a MEGA link : https://mega.nz/folder/oZhiBIYC (Decryption Key : "Z7-yduK3c63H5i1LjBFBSg" , don't copy the "" ;))  If you see someone asking for the product somewhere, please redirect him/her to these links since I can't watch the whole internet


Thank you for your time, sorry (once again) for inconvenience, we're really really impressed by how much the project is well received by the community while it's still a super small project if we look at what it has to humbly offer, and in the name of our little team, I want to thank you a lot for trying this out and being so kind with us. We try to read all the messages you post everywhere on the internet (with a focus on issues of course), we try to answer when we can, and be sure your love is really well received ♥  

A lot of you gave us tips for the demo, while we never asked for it (as it's fully free), we really thank you for that kindness of heart

Des Bisous ♥

Star Wars - Redemption | Demo Release v1.0

News / 01 August 2021

So, here we are. The demo is finally available in its very first public version !

Please take the time to read the following lines :

- The demo is given for free, all you need to do is to register here on artstation, go to my store here : https://artstn.co/m/y138n and pick the demo. If you want to share the demo to a friend, please share the link to the free product instead of copying files on a USB key, it helps me having an idea of how many players tested it (it should also help reporting bugs later on, tracking who gets what...etc. Thanks in advance)

I wish you will enjoy exploring this little project !

- Since it's "inspired by" star wars (but not only), you may reckognize environments, starfighters, destroyers...etc. Yet I didn't want to stick to existing designs at a "fanatic"-precision, so you may notice differences between official designs and those from Redemption

- The demo comes in a v1.0, meaning we plan to add some more stuff to it in the near future. Yet a demo is a demo, not a AAA game. We will polish unfinished things, fix as many bugs as we can, add what's missing today regarding our ToDo-List, but it will stop there. Please refrain from making feature requests, we won't add them. Bugs can be reported here and we will see how many we could fix for a last version.

- The game should run fine on most configs, if you experience any lag, please go in options, set a different game quality ("screenpercentage" doesn't work yet) and launch a level (this will apply new settings). The game runs smoothly on a 2080 RTX with a i7 9th Gen & 8GB of RAM so if you've got this (or better) it's good ! By default game quality is set to Epic, the "Ultra" mode is here for "Cinematic" quality, but is visually not this better, only sharp trained eyes will seea difference.

- At the moment, the game only offers to explore levels & collect little flying creatures called "ForceGhosts". To finish a level, you need to find them all and reach the end trigger box.

-Trigger boxes aren't always placed at the end of a level, since some levels have a "loop" flow, but every time the box is on the biggest "Exit door" of the level (not necessary a door visually...but I guess you've got it ;))


This first public release is here to thank all of the fans of the project who have been waiting patiently for this, as well as a simple tribute to the fantastic & inspiring StarWars universe.

I don't know what I would be today if this Far far away Galaxy didn't exist. It's something that is part of me, of a lot of people, and I wish this addition will serve at its best the most of us !

Here is the game cover, you have the file amongst some more in the final folder if you want to change for fresh wallpapers =)


  Also it's funny but here's the Cover in akeytsu ^^ Yep. It's a great tool to do a lot of things +D



Also, what a better opportunity than this one to refresh some old artworks?

 








With the release of this demo, we've made a Trailer. And it's almost as heavy as making the game, it involves especially a different approach of animation, since you're making shots and not realtime game cycles, it's okay to have a bad pose when you turn around, the superior rule  is to take care or arcs, posings, motion through frames. Bend your characters if you need to make them follow strong arcs, don't be affraid of breaking their arms & legs. Well. Here's that trailer:



That's all for today, now I'll go take some sleep before well deserved holidays

Des Bisous ♥

Star Wars - Redemption | Work in Progress #17

Work In Progress / 29 July 2021

Hi everyone !
Last year have been a quite huge one for me, and in the end, for the project. I wanted to leave it somewhere in the (already big) unfinished project stack, because I was feeling overwhelmed. And there comes a guy from the EcksToo youtube channel willing to promote the project on their youtube channel...


Honnestly, you can thank him/them, because this gives us a huge shot of motivation. After this video, a lot of users wanted to know if the project had been stopped/shut down, and they were so sad this project was about being abandonned that we decided to focus back on it with Thomas Chaumel (known as Akeyblack), Alexandre Cheremetiev and recently Thibaut Hunckler

Since then, we decided to make another video to explain at which state of development the project was, and, of course, to bring answers to most asked questions about the project


I definitely want to salute the outstanding work of mount & editing, and voicing (Your enthusiasm & energy is still really motivating us @Charlie McShane !) that has been done over these videos. If you have some time, don't hesitate to visit EcksToo's channel : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoZgb1Z-TB24berQsHvbQJA

Then, I wanted to explain a bit more things about animating these characters, since we use Akeytsu for the project since 2016, I think it was time to show of some serious stuff. For this reason, I try to regularly make livestream session where I animate a cycle with this brilliant software, and I more than encourage you to take a deep look at it

Here is also some level art on Unreal Engine. I rarely start with blockout (I don't really love this way to build stuff when I already have finished blocks & colors to play with)


Also, here is a reshot of the demo published in february (2020), with better FPS. I found that OBS can't record properly if it's running on a screen which has different fps than the screen you want to record...curious stuff, always =)




For those who still wonder what I am doing on it, here are my roles :
- Concept art ; basically drawing to imagine shapes of everything before diving into 3D/texture/tadvanced technical stuff
- Character design ; modeling modeling modeling ! And sculpting from time to time =) Also involves UVs, Bake...etc
- Environment art ; same as for character, with slightly more technical stuff involved to manage tiles, decalmeshes, assembling once in UE4
- VFX ; cause it's cool to relax with magic sparks and burn everything in your scene when you feel mad =D
- TechArt ; making shaders, R&D on technical problems (and solving them of course, else project stays forever still)
- Level design ; making these blocs forming an interesting path, hiding secret rooms, make danger zones...etc. This part stays quite OldSchool (I like to think about Rayman 2 & 3 when making levels paths)
- Level art ; adding nice assets over previous cubes, so you don't see cubes =) Also adding easter eggs anywhere I can ^^
- Texturing ; Ohooo...Tiling textures, characters, props...StarDestroyers, Clones and Lightsabers ♥ A cool part =) This involves a lot of time on 3DCoat to paint each texture by hand. I like smartmaterials, but only as long as they stay just a starting point. Brushing takes look to the next level, as one of my teachers said : never let the computer do art for yourself. You're the artist, not the computer. Or something like that.
- Shading ; make materials in Toolbag, UE4, assign textures to the good slots. It's fairly simple, once I've defined what my materials actually does (I love making VFX ones =))
- Art direction ; Decide how to do "art" in Star Wars Redemption. It's partly clone-warsy, partly overwatchy, a cool mix of both looks with my own touch over it. This takes care also on the animation part, how Mevenn has to move and how she shouldn't.
- Rigging ; Adding joints, making hierarchies for characters/props to be used then in animation. Not to mention this is fully done in akeytsu
- Skinning ; Once joints are laid out, adding weight to them on the mesh so you can control and animate it using joints. Also done in akeytsu
- Animation ; Creating poses, then animation. I didn't use to really work on this part a few years ago but the more it goes, the more I take time to add takes to the project. It's awesome to animate something, it's like giving life to objects, super exciting ! Done in akeytsu too
- Integration ; import and make sure everything looks good in UE4/MarmosetToolbag. This is crucial to ensure assets will behave well with others (like sahders, skeletons, blueprints...etc)
- Lighting ; put lights on characters, make some parts popping more than others to get the player's/viewer's attention...etc
- Rendering ; make heavy shots of assets so you can make wallpapers with it or later print an artbook =)
- Cinematic setup : mostly on UE4 and regularly on Marmoset Toolbag 4, assemble cinematic animation, VFX, animate lighting and make a good use of the Sequencer =)
- Compositing ; quite rare since I rather doing this in realtime, this part consists mostly of adding missing post effects and finetuning the overal look of content.

Pfew. That's...quite some stuff I guess, but it seems fine as long as I enjoy each part of this big cake ^^"

I've recently done phase II clone troopers with some well known skins (501st & Shock Troopers). At the moment there's no ARC trooper or armor variants since I can go where I want with only these guys, but I admit that I'd love to mess with ARC troopers too so, maybe they'll come one day ;) 


 

After some small steps, I've brought them to (still) life with some posings using Akeytsu & Marmoset Toolbag 4 : 

Then I brought them to the core of the project (UE4), so they can look like a fantastic team !



Also, as we've been busy, something gentle is about to come. Stay tunned
  

Star Wars - Redemption on FlippedNormals ♥

News / 15 September 2020

Assets are also available on flippednormals, following the same licensing rules as what's provided with sketchfab version. Note that once artstation will provide the same I'll fully enjoy sharing these with you here =)

https://flippednormals.com/downloads/mevenn-full-rig/
https://flippednormals.com/downloads/clone-trooper-full-rig-2-skins/
https://flippednormals.com/downloads/battle-droid-b1-full-rig-5-skins/
https://flippednormals.com/downloads/droideka-full-rig/
https://flippednormals.com/downloads/speederbike-74-z-full-rig/
https://flippednormals.com/downloads/starfighter-arc-170-full-rig/
https://flippednormals.com/downloads/mevenns-starfighter-eta-2-actis-full-rig/
https://flippednormals.com/downloads/vulture-droid-full-rig/

Here are a few previews of what can be done with these characters (as well as with any you can get from me). This help bringing your animation takes being pushed to the next level (I highly recommend rendering with real-time engines such as Marmoset Toolbag, Unreal Engine, Unity...etc. I do mine mostly with MarmosetToolbag or UnrealEngine (for levelart))





Each of these assets contains :

+AKT files ready-to-animate on akeytsu

+FBX files with and without skeleton

+PBR stylized textures, in 4K

+animation samples into each Akeytsu file


Don't forget to credit me or the project and if you want to share what you've animated, feel free to post it below =) (I don't want to miss it ;))


These are sold under the "Personal Use License" of flippednormals, more info here : https://help.flippednormals.com/article/47-licenses

I simply want to allow users of akeytsu to play with all of these wonderful characters & starfighters. This does not mean I'm stopping the project.
Rigs are made to work well with Akeytsu, and while you can completely bring them on Maya or Blender or whatever else, I strongly encourage you to take a look at this animation software (no matter if you're an experienced rigger/animator or a 3D newcomer). Akeytsu helps on :

-animating
-time & rhythm managing

-skinning with sharp precision
-rigging complex controls with ease
-learning animation principles

-posing your characters/props for your portfolio

-boost prototyping animation workflow

...or simply having fun animating anything =) 


Des Bisous ! ♥


- Vexod14 -



Star Wars - Redemption on Sketchfab ♥

News / 16 July 2020


Each of these assets contains :

+AKT files ready-to-animate on akeytsu
+FBX files with and without skeleton
+PBR stylized textures, in 4K
+animation samples on Akeytsu file

Don't forget to credit me or the project and if you want to share what you've animated, feel free to post it below =) (I don't want to miss it ;))

These are sold under the "Editorial License" of sketchfab, more infos here : https://help.sketchfab.com/hc/en-us/articles/115004276346-Licenses
I simply want to allow users of akeytsu to play with all of these wonderful characters & starfighters. This does not mean I'm stopping the project

Des Bisous ! ♥

- Vexod14 -

Some cool news about star wars stuff I make =)

News / 25 June 2020

Sooooo. I just want to tell you about something I have in mind since a few weeks now : what If you could get Mevenn, some clone troopers & battledroids to make your own stories within akeytsu ?

Okay. Calm down. That's just an idea...

Ow and, of course this is not made in behalf of Nukeygara/Akeytsu. I made rigs and uses them on this software, and as always I would recommend against trying to reconstruct rigs anywhere else since akeytsu is...well. Good for your health. I won't write down a novel again, I'm sure you got this ;)

An important update is incoming about Akeytsu, in case you didn't notice it will contain a lot of cool features including cameras.

Link > https://www.nukeygara.com/blog/dev-roadmap-2020

So yeah ! Cool news !
It will soon be possible to animate a lot more things than what we've been used to while using the well made UI & ergonomy of akeytsu toolset =D

I'm not teasing anything here, since the roadmap has been published some months ago. But damn. It will be incredible and I can't wait to have this, as well as seing what peoples will do with it. And at some point I dream of reusing everything I created for Redemption to make a cinematic instead of a game (with the help of Thomas Chaumel of course, since I also dream of having his animator's level and I guess framing will add something big to (re)learn...pfiewh !)

We are all actually very busy on our own jobs and can't really spend time working on the game, but we found that making short clips was easier to do and at some point : funnier. The (little) team we are is still willing to put this project to and end and, if possible, share it with all the supercool peoples who supported us with lovely comments (this REALLY means a lot to developers ♥ So..thank you again for that, you're the best !)

So. If I were to share such cool character rigs, then the only way to go would be...sketchfab.

They provide exactly the license for such case, the "Editorial" one. This allows me to share some of my star wars assets I made patiently, carefully, with my own modeler/texture artist vision, in a cool way for everyone.

I'm not willing to share absolutely everything I made, since a lot of assets require understanding of my own workflow to make the best use of them inside of UE4. But I think some characters may stand as great "puppets" for your animator reels, or for things like "animchallenge" ;)

You could make something like this for example :




That's how I would expect them to be used. But I also want your feedback on this point : Would you like to pay for these akeytsu rigs since their use would be limited by the Editorial License ?

I let you read exactly/carefully what this license can offer here : https://help.sketchfab.com/hc/en-us/articles/115004276346-Licenses#editorial


Some models under editorial license can be bought, I've changed their background to a "Dark Blue" so you can quickly see them ;) (And yeah. You don't dream. Obi wan's lighstsaber I've made a few years ago, the Blaster of Mevenn/troopers and the ARC-170 starfighter are available now =))


So, again, feel free to answer to the highlighted question and I'll see if it's a good thing to proceed to a cool release of a few characters =)

All the best !

Des Bisous ! ♥


  

Creating a new character...

Making Of / 22 April 2020

Hello there !

This post won't be about Star Wars Redemption (sorry !), but about the new project I've been working on last weeks. If you've followed my twitch streams you may already know this new character, named "Maewenn". I want to go back on the very first steps of her creation, it's mostly about concept art and Akeytsu =)



So first of all, this character was meant to be just a skin variant of Mevenn from Star Wars Redemption that could be used anywhere I want to promote Akeytsu, but the more time I spent on drawing/doodling pieces of this new skin, the more it turned to be a new character. it was the opportunity to rework drastically the face, I always had issues with Mevenn, even after all these years of improvements I still needed to "fix" it once I was animating her face, same goes for her body. While Akeytsu offered me a quick way to test new proportions using the existing Mevenn, ZBrush was the final step to separate Maewenn from her big sister, the idea was to have a more dynamic character, taller, thinner, with more "matching" shapes and from a different universe, more about sorcerers, knights, potions, magic !


Here are a few doodles I made from time to time to capture ideas of designs for the new skin :





TIPS : Draw with pencil+paper any idea you may have, and at anytime (I always keep a sketchbook and a criterium with me ;)) 

So once a few of these ideas has been laid out, take your favorite app (akeytsu ;)) and open a cool rig, close to your design if possible (so here it was obviously Mevenn), and simply reshape the character rig up to your proportions needs, if the rig/skin are pretty well done it's fairly simple and fun to do, but the best part is that you can choose posings that are perfect in terms of perspective, and they will also give good clues and an overall idea of shape and anatomy on which you can base your character later on ;)
Here are the two main poses I made with Mevenn, for the wand object I simply used a few boxes as a landmark :


 Then I simply drew my armor designs over these various screenshots in Photoshop, at this step the idea was more to block out materials and shapes than anything, it's not meant to be definitive. 


The first one is not my favorite one at all, since it was a warm-up one, but there's still a few shapes that starts to comes together pretty well, I especially liked the left leather glove balanced with heavy metal claws, I think it adds both elegance and strength to this sorceress hand.



At the conceptart step : Iterate a lot and try to find matching shapes, here you don't see every steps of every parts, but I test a lot of lines to get something that have a cool flow to start with at the modeling step. I know this won't be final final final, but this helps finding the good shape in the end. At this step, feel free to imagine whatever you want. Place yourself into the character role and figure out what she would like to have in your hands, what to wear and how it feels to be under a hood or into a heavy armor =)

I've based my final design mostly on the 3rd concept but I've looked a lot to the second one, as well as my quick doodles from time to time when I was sculpting. At some point I made a few more sketches to define local parts a bit better. As you can see the initial name was "BattleMage Phoenix", this was about a heroic-fantasy version of a Jedi. The double blade was a difficult part to figure out once in sculpt part, as a lightsaber it's easy to retract and carry on your belt, but with solid blades, it's harder. That's why I finally ended up leaving this weapon really behind, which consolidated my will to create a character appart from Mevenn.

Then I choosed ZBrush to create the Highpoly character model (as well as some lowpoly parts), and I really liked the possibility to manage my poly the same way I do on 3dsmax while having no lag and the ability to turn any desired meshes into sculpt-able parts. Here's a WIP screenshot just before sculpting body parts



After that, I used 3dsMax mostly to cleanup my lowpoly mesh and do UVs, then Toolbag for bakes of my base maps (Normalmap, AO, Cavity)

and finally 3DCoat to handpaint the whole stuff. It's important to keep in mind that at anytime a quick draw could save you hours of processing, so at texturing time I wanted to help myself with a quick colorsheme test on the previous concept

Here it is : (based on the concept I made earlier with a few adaptations based on the final model of course ;))

 
And here is the final result in Marmoset Toolbag 3 :


Front/back views with all stuff laid out :



I'll stream the rigging/skinning process (and later I may do some on animation aswell =)) this Thursday ( 23th April 2020 starting around 7:00 PM to 2:00 AM, FR time), so if you want to joint in and follow how to rig this in akeytsu, or if you want to ask me questions about how to use this super cool animation and rigging software, feel free to jump in ! The twitch stream will set here : https://www.twitch.tv/vexod14 and I'll be doing this on my own initiative, so not in behalf of Nukeygara/Akeytsu, it's just a cool software more people may like, so I'll show it off, that's as simple as that ;)


That's all folks !

Des Bisous ♥

Akeytsu tips & tricks #1

Tutorial / 16 April 2020
  1. Combine Update skinned Mesh + retopology to skin perfectly with ease. This also works great with cloth : if you have to skin a "thick cloth" with volume between back and front faces, simply skin a single-sided version of that same cloth and transfer its skin weights to the final mesh ;)  

    Here are the steps of the video below :

    1  duplicate your "issued" mesh
    2  unbind it and export it to 3DCoat (import it as reference mesh for retopo)
    3  perform a clean retopo on one side, apply a symmetry and export it in fbx to Akeytsu
    4  Import new retopo mesh in Akeytsu
    5  Duplicate the whole existing character and remove any useless meshes
    6  take both skinned mesh (from dupplcated character) and retopo mesh, then perform an "update skinned mesh". You should now see your retopo mesh skinned "badly" (in fact it's just your previous issued skin)
    7  hide first character in order to focus on retopo mesh
    8  smooth like a fool, be generous in your strokes ! Tip : I used a looped macro that does click THEN release click so the brushing feels more natural ;)
    9  show back your original character
    10  select root joint of your "retopo character" directly from the tree, then select all its vertices and hit "Alt+C" (copy weights)
    11  select now the root joint from your target mesh, the original, and select the vertices you want to paste values to (select larger areas, no matter if it hits other areas especially if they're rigid, you could clean them after all)
    12  hit "Atl+V"
    13  you're done ! 










    1  duplicate your "issued" mesh 2  unbind it and export it to 3DCoat (import it as reference mesh for retopo) 3  perform a clean retopo on one side, apply a symmetry and export it in fbx to Akeytsu 4  Import new retopo mesh in Akeytsu 5  Duplicate the whole existing character and remove any useless meshes 6  take both skinned mesh (from dupplcated character) and retopo mesh, then perform an "update skinned mesh". You should now see your retopo mesh skinned "badly" (in fact it's just your previous issued skin) 7  hide first character in order to focus on retopo mesh 8  smooth like a fool, be generous in your strokes ! Tip : I used a macro that does click THEN release click so the brushing feels more natural ;) 9  show back your original character 10  select root joint of your "retopo character" directly from the tree, then select all its vertices and hit "Alt+C" (copy weights) 11  select now the root joint from your target mesh, the orinigal, and select the vertices you want to paste values to (select larger areas, no matter if it hits other areas especially if they're rigid, you could clean them after all) 12  hit "Atl+V" 13  you're done !
  2. Use mixers to animate step-by-step. It's probably the most memorable trick Aurélien Charrier showed to Akeytsu users. When you have to make a walk, you have to focus first on pelvis movement, then legs+feets, then the trunk, head and finally the arms, details like hands or facial expressions comes at the very last polishing pass. Iterate

    For this 4 legs fast paced walk I had to think about how the body moves, how the weight translates, and all this considering I'm not a full-time animator (despite I really enjoy making animations ^^). If you look at the Vulture droid's legs and how it's articulated, you not only have to deal with 4 simple legs but two pairs of legs linked to R & L kind of clavicles, but as stated above, I worked by iterations and this saved me from hours and hours of working on crap tons of keyframes ^^ Here the walk consists in 2 keys (3 & 4 are phased versions of 1 & 2), the head is slightly animated on top of it so I can have this look around/checking peoples movement which was initially done by Thomas Chaumel (for those who do not know, he is the animator behind StarWars Redemption ;))

Once you're okay with the base, everything else follows quickly. Here I do not used any IK/RF solvers, everything is made using good poses :)

3. Add twist/roll joints to your limbs (arm, forearm, thigh, calf...you name it !). It's not fully automated but still pretty simple to achieve, here's an example I gave several times on Nukeygara forums :


> For more convenience, align perfectly this twist joint to the disconnected joint he should twist from (here, the wrist), so when you twist your wrist, take the twist joint too and you'll achieve a perfect twist ;)

4. Load custom rigs instead of UE4/Unity ones. To do so, simply replace FBX stored in "C:\Users\Public\Documents\akeytsu\Templates" (keep the same names so akeytsu could find them). You can also replace icons if you want by editing what's in "C:\Program Files (x86)\nukeygara\Akeytsu\Resource" ;)
This can be helpful to load full rigs with a base mesh already skinned on it to tackle tons of characters skinning by using the update skinned mesh command =)


  5.Allow the tip toe joint control. Yep. It's THAT simple (Thanks to Addison DeBolt for showing it on Nukeygara forums) :


  6. Skin face joints using a mask mesh. Why ? Because doing so will allow you to transfer perfect weights to your final face mesh, of course you'll need to test & tweak the result, but it's far easier to skin "without thinking" at first and spend the less time possible on manual edits ;) This mask should be done outside of Akeytsu in a retopology software, take the one you love the most (my choice goes with 3DCoat). When creating your retopo skinning mask, keep in mind that each vertex will later have to match a joint. The skin weight transfer will then transfer a lowpoly weighted mesh to a "higher" one, so each vertex which falls inbetween two joints will simply receive the exact weights that technically exists between two distant vertices =)


  


  7. Proper orients.
That's the base of a cool rig to use. I've made an article for nukeygara about how to create a simple facial rig based on joints : https://www.nukeygara.com/blog/create-a-facial-rig Everything told here applies heavily on any other part of a rig (not necessarily a human one). It's a logic of who controls who. It can be a joint controlling other joint(s), a joint controlling a group of vertices, and most important : keep in mind that a joint is just a simple keyframable pivot, and a simpler way to manipulate geometry =) Rigging can be tedious if you don't have a good toolset, hopefully Akeytsu offers well-thought tools that ease the process a lot !

8. Smoothing out your animation.
If you encounter some jittering/imprecise transforms at some point of your animation, there's a few things you can do to fix that. The most obvious one is to open you curveboard and check for abnormal peaks, starting from the master joint and descending throughout the hierarchy after each fix until the very end. Yeah, tedious (even in Akeytsu). Another thing would be to avoid having tons of layers with timing offsets, because it will end up creating bad interpolations when the whole stack will be mixed. The thing I use a lot, is the tween machine. Since it's out, I simply take the keyframe that has a bad interpolation behavior and then I "tween" parts (still from master joint to the last one in issued part of the hierarchy). Doing this avoids opening the curveboard and fixes all transforms at once instead of going one by one ;)   


  That's all for this one ! Tell me if this helps you on using Akeytsu, and if you need specific explanation of some tricky points ;)