Technical Artist

Work In Progress

03.02.2012 Update - SSS Shader: 

The picture above is from a side project I was working on at work to try and make the first person hands look a little better. In this example you can see how we did manage to achieve some very soft light light scattering around the fingers but in game the effect was just not worth the extra shader cost. 

DX 11 Displacement Shader: 

The above example is a just one of many examples of how you can use DX11 to get some cool displacement mapping. This shader takes a head mesh and gives it some horns that come in over time.

02.15.13 - Update  - Have been to busy to update my site in a long time and for that I am sorry. But that does not mean that I have not been hard at work. Here are just a few of the things that I have been messing around with over the past few years.

03.13.09 - Update
 - I finally got paid at work today allowing me to buy a copy of FRAPS and shot some video of the PhysX white room I had been working on. The matinée project is still unfinished and I learned so much from doing it the problem is UT3 is not the best game to do a cinematic for as it does not have animations that are really good for cut scenes. So I decide that I would shift the project from UT3 to the GOW 1 build for the PC. In the mean time I have started on my own TC (Total Conversion) of UT3 to make a first/third person shooter called Box Wars. Box Wars is a game idea that I have had for a long time...something that has simple art work putting more of an emphasis on team game play dynamics, environmental hazards, and progressive characters. 

04.15.09 - Update - The video that I had on here does not want to work all the time so follow this link to You Tube where it is being hosted.

05.12.09 - Update - Hey the video above should be working inside the web page now. I had to convert it way down so it might be really blurry. If its really bad or does not stream in that well I have left the you tube link up and the video does play from there. As for what I have been doing for the last month..Well it's an up and down ride at work and that has been taking a toll on me doing personal work. We where really starting to jam there at work and then all of a sudden BAM another monkey wrench was thrown into the mix and now I don't know whats going to happen.
I think i am going to turn this page into a rants and raves / I need a spot to stick stuff and take my guest book down and make that a tutorial page as that pages just sits there...I don't even think that it works correctly as I have tried to add a comment using my work e-mail and I never got or saw anything to allow me to post so I am going to take it down for now.
The following is for an Unreal cinematic that I am working on in my free time. As of now this has no real title its just something I thought would make a good show case of all my different tech skills with in unreal. Its going to be your basic run and gun cut scene with bullets whizzing by your head, narrowly escaping explosions, and body parts flying around its going to be a good time had by all.

Cut_Scene_03.jpg - This is from the start of the scene as the player approaches the door  an alarm will go off and as he gets closer to the door it will open up letting out a huge groan and setting off all kinds of alarms.

Cut_Scene_00.jpg - This is form the other side of the door and is the beginning of the hallway that the player will be running down while the explosion is going off behind them. When they reach the end of this hallway the get blown out the door by the explosion that is chasing them down the hallway.

Kismet_00.jpg - This is the beginning to the kismet scripts that are need to power all the different events that are going off during the cut scene. This is small now but will continue to grow as the scene gets more and more complex.

01.19.09 - Update - I did work on this project this weekend but I did not get that much done as I ran into a problem that looked like it would be an easy fix but ended up taking me about five hours to solve. So that pretty much sucked out all my enthusiasm to work on it more but at least I did finally get it to work.

Problem - During the cinematic you see the player running around arms raised as if he/she had a weapon in his/hers hands but there was no weapon mesh being displayed. So it looked a little weird to see the player running around with arms raised like they where holding something but there was nothing in their hands. So easy enough right, just add a weapon to the scene and attach it to the character's hand and off we go right. No, not right or easy at all but after a case of mountain due and some very intense yelling sessions at Unreal I did figure it out and here is how I did it.

Solution - First of all a few key things to understand about cinematic cut scenes and pawns. During a cinematic you don't (very key thing to understand) control the player's pawn you control a special actor that works with matinée called a Skeletal_Mesh_Actor_MAT which graphically can be the same as the player pawn but works in a much different manner. This special actor is not a player pawn so certain things that work with pawns like weapons, triggers, pickups, and dynamic trigger volumes to my knowledge don't work or at least I could not get them to work with the Skeletal_Mesh_Actor_MAT.

When I started this project I had my heart set on using the stinger mini gun because of, well its over all coolness factor but that would prove to be a bad choice as it did not have a static mesh in the package along with the .PSK.  Well as it turns out the key to getting this to work correctly is having a static mesh but more on that later.

My first thought to getting this to work was to add the stinger mini gun as a Skeletal_Mesh_Actor_MAT to the scene and then attach it to the Skeletal_Mesh_Actor_MAT that was representing the player using the attach command in the actor properties. The stinger Skeletal_Mesh_Actor_MAT was attached to the Bip_Rhand_01 bone of the Skeletal_Mesh_Actor_MAT that was representing the player which did work but had two major problems.

The first problem was that the weapon would follow the player but it would not respect the player's movement in the X,Y, or Z  axis. So as the player moved along the stinger would move along with the player but it would not shadow the player's bounce as they moved it would just move in a straight line making it look like the player was not holding the stinger but that the stinger was just floating in the air next to the player off to the side.

The second problem that I ran into I did not know about till after I closed the matinée editor to save and test my progress. When I closed the matinée editor saved my work and ran the scene I noticed that the stinger's position and rotation where completely wrong and no where near where I put them while I was in the matinée editor. When I opened the matinée editor back up to see if the stinger would re-set it did not, it just stayed in the wrong location with the wrong rotation.

It was at this point that I took a break and installed GOW 1 to see what they did as that game has a lot of cinematic cut scenes. After the brutally long install( probably was not that long but felt like hours)  I found what I was looking for. In one cut scene I found out that for this to work I need to use a different actor type called an interp actor or mover.

Remember earlier how I said that in order for this to work correctly I need a static mesh? Well as it turns out if you want something to follow something else and shadow it's movement correctly you have to add it to the scene as an interp actor or more commonly referred to as a mover. Well to make something into a mover you need to have a static mesh version of the asset having just the .PSK will not work. Well the stinger did not have a static mesh in it's package so I had to use the flack cannon instead.

Now with my new flack cannon in the scene add as a interp actor I attached it to the Skeletal_Mesh_Actor_MAT that was representing the player in the same manner that I did for the stinger and to my surprise it started working, kind of working. While the flack cannon was now shadowing the player's movement in all axises it was still in the wrong location in the player's hands and rotated backwards so the back of the gun was facing forwards. But it was moving with the player and most importantly it was moving in the correct manner in all axises so I was at least half way there.

To try and correct this I opened the matinée editor up and proceeded to adjust the location and rotation of the gun to the correct position but every time I would exit the matinée editor to save or test the map the flack cannon would go back to original incorrect position. Well I had gotten this far and I was not about to give up and that's when I noticed in the proprieties for the flack cannon interp actor a section under DynamicSMActor called Primitive Component. What this section of the actor proprieties allows you to edit is the rotation, scale, or translation (position in x, y, z) of the object and have those values stay whether you are in matinée mode or not. To fix the rotation I checked Absolute Rotation to true from it's default false. With this checked I zeroed out the Pitch and Roll and turned the Yaw 180.00° then moved the Translation(position in X,Y,Z) with the widget in unreal by hand to fit the players hands at the first point in the animation.

This was it, the final piece of the puzzle that I needed to figure out to get this to work correctly and I did. So now its on to some explosions, maybe a fire fight with some slow mo action.  I don't know we will see what I can come up with I am sure it will be pretty sweet or at least I will think its pretty sweet. As always if your reading this and you see something wrong or you want more info about something I did please feel free to drop me a line or leave me a comment.

02.03.09 - Update -  So its been a long time since an update but  I still have been working on this project . I just got my new PC back form Dell this time with the correct configuration so now I can do all kind of cool things with the PhysX system in unreal. So that is what I have been messing with over the last few days that and I had to get my new PC back in working order. So tonight I will be making an update just some screen shot unless I can figure out how to embed a video link in here.

02.13.09 - Update - After being sick most of the week, dealing with the stress of work, and getting my computer back up and running I did finally mange to get some interesting work done in Unreal using the PhysX code. How this is going to tie into my cinematic is still not figured out but I will put it in there somewhere.

This following album is of a test room that I made for testing weapons and their reactions to cloth/metal. Please forgive the default textures as this is still a WIP(Work In Progress) so more attention was given to the code and setup of the objects than the aesthetics of the room. 

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