IntelliMedia
3D, Game Design

Overview

The IntelliMedia Group is a part of the Center for Educational Informatics at North Carolina State University. IntelliMedia combines automated reasoning and human language technologies with game technologies and new media, to design and investigate high-impact adaptive learning environments.

Duration: May 2019 - December 2021

Role: Digital Artist Graduate Assistant

Tools: Maya, Substance Painter, ZBrush, Unity, Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, GitLab, Sourcetree

Introduction

I came in with basic knowledge on the workflow of creating 3d models, and have gained so much experience in other areas of game design such as character, environment design, and motion graphics work. I have learned so much on high-poly to low-poly modeling, modular building, and trim sheets.  Below is just some of the work that I have done with the IntelliMedia Group.

Character Design

I worked on the following two characters named Sulu and Kim for the EcoJourneys game. For Sulu, I worked off a base body and head mesh where I sculpted the hair, clothes, shoes in ZBrush, then baked the details onto the low poly model and painted in Substance Painter. For Kim, I also worked off a base body and head mesh and only worked on sculpting the clothes, accessories, and shoes. I did touch-ups in Photoshop and these are the final characters in Maya.

Teen boy character named Sulu

Kim the guest house manager for EcoJourneys game

Modular Building and Environment Design

These are buildings that I updated based on old ones. These buildings all share common materials and use the same trim sheet. I took the old buildings and did a breakdown of what materials each building had and what can be shared.


Then I began thinking of how I might lay out the textures on a single trim sheet.

Since the goal was to keep textures to one image. One of the members of the Art Team created a vertex color tool in Unity to make further color shade changes. I painted the buildings in Maya and created gradients by adjusting the hue of the color. The vertex color tool could only take the 6 main colors and swap them out for the correct texture.

Buildings with vertex colors in Maya

Here are the final pictures of the buildings with the color remapping in Unity.

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Take Aways

I'd say some of my biggest lessons of working with the IntelliMedia Group was to always ask questions, share/document processes and learnings, and to think outside of your own team. I learned so much that I would have never learned in a classroom simply by admitting that I didn't know how to do things or by asking if there's a better more efficient way of doing things. Documenting processes that you feel might help someone down the line is one of easiest ways to spread knowledge and lift each other up. Also, understanding how what you do affects others such as how a game asset file might be too big and will slow the load time of a game. I learned to keep in mind texture, pivot points, units, and other game asset properties in mind so that there's a clean handoff between artist and engineer. I learned so so much while working as part of the Art team and I am confident that what I have learned here, I can apply to any other role.

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