Portfolio Revamp

General / 18 March 2024

So I can say its been awhile since I've really sat down and created something. And as of now my portfolio is well... old, stagnant, doesn't reflect my growth, etc, etc, etc.

So I'm creating new pieces, and redoing my demo reel! So to say my website is 'Under Construction' isn't an understatement!

So as of now I'll be working on a few things that help beef up my stuff! And right now I'm working on an FN SCAR and good news is that I'm almost finished modelling it and the last thing will be texturing! YAY!!!! So until then here is my WIP of the FN SCAR!

Project Afrodite- Part Three "The End"

Making Of / 14 April 2023

Well here we are! I know I kinda didn't update for a bit! And I gotta say it was a wild ride! Lots of ups and downs and alot of trial and error as well! But here is the end! Learning Ornatrix was a huge hurdle and I am super happy and proud of the outcome! 

The first part as exporting the MetaHuman head to Maya and creating the scalp from the head which really tried my patience as it was really detailed. Next, it was firing up Ornatrix and creating a stack. 

There isn't many but it there are three major operators that were used; curl, clump, and frizz. 

The bar to the right are the parameters for the curls. The yellow square is for a Helix curl, and yes there is a difference! Helix curls around the curves where the other is more of a zig zag, the phase and the magnitude were fun to play around with and create a thicker curl, that is more wavy.  

The really major piece to this and making it realistic is the Clump operator, all hair clumps up and makes it realistic. The graph on the right really helped me customize the clumps for example with my hair it doesn't clump until about halfway and goes to the tip.  

When everything was done and was to my satisfaction I exported it which was super convenient! The export was an Ornatrix Alembic file or .abc, and the best part? There is a Unreal Exporter! Which means I don't have to do -1.0 on the z axis! 

This is what it looked like coming into the engine, it defaults to blonde which can be changed! There is also a Alembic exporter plugin that you have to install to the engine to make the .abc file valid but it was the easiest process of this whole saga!

This is the end product of Aphrodite! I think she looks great and I'm excited that she works well!

This project has evolved and changed in many ways, and is definitely different since the first blog post! So the other MetaHuman is gone and the colour pallet is different but I like this more and I could focus more on the one hair and put more time and care into it.

Here is the physics in motion, I've been playing with the stiffness of the strands and making them more lifelike. I have a bit to go but for my first time I think it was pretty good!

So what's next for the hair? Well, I'm going to create hair in Houdini and learn to create more hair, fur and feathers.


Project Afrodite - Part Two "The Start"

Work In Progress / 30 January 2023

Hello again!

It's been so long I forgot to write! However, I'm back and let me tell you it's been wild! 

This post is about the last two weeks, since both would be a short update I thought I would combine the two!

To start off, I have created both of my MetaHumans as well as the stage for them to make their grand entrance.

I figured I would start off with my stage, I wanted to make something moody and not to have anything to detract from the MetaHumans. Now usually I would create a box and put lights in it and done! But, with Unreal Engine 5 that wasn't really the case. So I decided to take a new approach and make a completely blank level, put a platform on it then put the spotlights in, and I can honestly say I loved it more and it looked really clean!

I decided to go a little more 'artsy' and use some pinky purple lighting and a light blue instead of plain white light, and so far I really like the outcome, it may change you never know though! 

The next thing on the agenda (or in this case gantt chart) was to get the Metahumans done! This was a really fun part of the past couple of weeks and that was designing them! I already had one done who I've named Afrodite and it was fun using the blend to use different features of the Metahumans to create her look as a whole.

And with Afrodite done the clothes were to my liking and the face, head shape, makeup, and everything else I could think of was done she was ready for hair! 

Before I would start the hair (which will be coming up in the next update!) I wanted to push myself more and create more hair styles! Since hair isn't just for one person or cultures and really anything in between I decided that I would do a hairstyle that would be with more complex braids. I wanted to make this project less about just me and make it more inclusive and push my limits as an artist and hair groomer, so I made another Metahuman whom I have named Athena.

Here's Athena in all her glory ready to receive the best hairdo I can probably do! 

And the rest of the week as been looking at how to use Ornatrix, how to make a scalp, and putting the Metahumans in UE5 which has been posing a problem! But more to that later! I shall tell you in my next update I can't wait to show you what I've been doing!

All the best!

-Nicole (Yeoman)


Project Afrodite - Part One "The Big One"

Work In Progress / 16 January 2023

     Most students when they think of their last year in college is their capstone project, or as we like to call it "THE BIG ONE!" The big project, the one that keeps you up at night in a panicked frenzy thinking 'Why am I like this? What was I thinking?!' and the glorious one that I constantly get told by my parents when I told them I was doing Game Art and telling them I'm freaking out... "You should've gone to that art school in Nova Scotia and gotten your degree in painting and art history!"

    Regardless here I am thinking about my capstone, while most of my classmates are focusing on concept art, environment art, or animation, I was still deciding what I was going to do. And yes, I know I could've done just a scene and left it at that, but I want to make a statement, something that I could make a splash and have it be a conversation piece, and maybe be something that extends beyond me and becomes an ongoing project.  

    So dear reader this is where I welcome you! Welcome! To Project Afrodite!

    One thing I find about video games is that hair options can be pretty slim, at least when it comes to my hair. When your mother comes from South Africa and your dad looks like Bob Ross who wears coveralls and clogs, I guess you could say that my hair is pretty interesting. Hair options with the games that I play (mostly RPG's) were either nothing even remotely close, or downright insulting! And as an RPG, most players want to see themselves in the game doing whatever action or conversation they are doing, and your whole being and sometimes personality is your hair. For me, I used to have an afro when I was younger and it sucked! It was torture, most hair stylists didn't know what to do with my hair when it was long, and most just chopped it off and my hair was short, cue sad little Nicole who got teased and got called "Bud", "Boy", or "Him". I didn't grow out my hair until I was in college and long before that I was playing games hating my hair because the game never matched mine. The afro's  in the game looked like someone had no idea what afro hair was and decided that a cauliflower was the equivalent to that kind of hair. Curls were also non existent in games as well, they were messy and gross, even dreadlocks were dreadful and this is only a couple of years ago! 

    So I decided what my capstone was going to be, "The lack of representation of ethnic hair"! This is something that I believe in to my core and should get more attention, and what better way than to make an art piece about it and not only that give devs an example of different styles of hair! Pretty good, huh? 

    So with all of this in mind I'll cut to the chase! I'll be using Unreal Engine 5, MetaHumans, and Ornatrix to create this, every week I will give an update to how everything is going, any challenges, whats done and what needs to be done in the upcoming weeks, what I've learned and maybe throw in a tutorial or two. So this will be a multi-parted series that I'm excited and passionate about and I can't wait to share it with you! And with that! I'll see you next week!

-Nicole (Yeoman)