Friday, July 23, 2021

Grave of the Fireflies: Sprint 12

 In this sprint, I helped create a new introductory level that precedes the main experience. I created the sequencer, adding in the introductory video, as well as adding in the candy tin and fireflies that appear at the tail end. I adjusted the candy tin blueprint so that in the level, the player picks up the candy tin and the screen fades and then loads in the main experience. In order to get the effect looking good, I modified the dissolve material function so that the masking is created by the bounding box of the object and will always work properly from bottom to top.

Additionally, I updated the post-processing material again. The line weight varied, especially in areas of overlapping meshes like the grass, and so that coupled with better matching the Ghibli style we decided to have the toon lines only on the main characters. I switched the material from masking out the custom depth from the material to only applying the lines to the custom depth, and comparing the scene depth and custom depth to mask out the Niagara-based fire.

The post-processing result

The portion of the material changed.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Grave of the Fireflies: Sprint 11

    During this sprint, I mainly tackled updating the model in the Seita rig and painting the skin weights. The rig is now finished and being used to update the animations.

I am now done with all of the specific tasks assigned to me, so I began polishing things in the engine. I tweaked the tiling of the water material so that it is less noticeable. I also began working on optimizations for the scene, such as reducing the particles in the fire to lower a shader complexity hotspot. I identified a tree model as being too complex, and reducing the number of leaf cards on it has been added to the task list.

The water tiling is less obvious now.

the fire effect looks largely the same, but the number of particles used was halved.

While the fire area is still more complex, it is now only red and no longer white. Reducing the leaf cards on the tree_03 model should help reduce the other hotspots in the scene.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Grave of the Fireflies: Sprint 10

 During this sprint, I created and finished the swing rig. I created it using IK Spline handles in the ropes and a controller leading clusters that deform the curves. The simple control set makes animating the swing fast and easy.

Screenshot of swing rig

I problem-solved in integrating the post-process toon material into the scene. The toon lines were appearing through additive/translucent elements such as the fire and the fireflies. I created a translucent sprite render material for the fire to pair with the additive sprite render, with custom depth writes checked. I switched the fireflies to a masked material. In the scene, I checked to allow custom depth writes on the fire and fireflies and then updated the post-process material so that it uses the custom depth pass to mask out the toon lines.

Before, toon lines penetrate fire


Allow Custom Depth writes

Custom Depth Pass

Addition to the post-process material

Additionally, I added the credits plane into the level sequencer so that it plays.

Media track added to sequencer

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Grave of the Fireflies: Sprint 9

 In this sprint, I set up the master material for the characters, with parameters to control the dissolve effect for the characters appearing/disappearing for each memory. I created a dissolve material function used in the effect, that can be animated using the Dissolve Amount parameter so characters dissolve in from the bottom up, and dissolve out from the head down. With the parameters set up and grouped, the material is now ready to be animated within the level sequencer.

Example of how the dissolve will work.

The dissolve material function.

The character master material.

Additionally, this sprint I created a Ghibli style wood smart material in Substance Painter. The smart material is 100% procedural, using color fill layers, and generators, texture fills, and filters to generate the masks. I followed the wood color palette set up by the art lead, Vanna Yang.

The wood smart material demoed on a sample asset.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Grave of the Fireflies: Sprint 8

 As summer kicks off, this semester I am focusing on the rigs for the scene, as well as some materials and effects.

Here is my schedule for the semester:

As the character game-res meshes are ready, I am updating the rigs with the new models and painting skin weights. During this sprint, I finished updating the Setsuko rig. The Seita rig will be completed by June 29th, dependent on when the game res model is done being optimized.

Rigs currently have proxy geometry from decimated ZBrush sculpts.

Setsuko rig has been updated with new model, and weights painted.

We want to have the swing rigged so it can be animated, currently, it is only a static mesh. the rig will be done by July 6.
The swing in the scene is currently a proxy static mesh.

We have several assets like  tree trunks, so I will create a wood smart material by June 15.
One of the assets that need a wooden material.

Finally, the different character poses just pop in and out of the scene in the sequencer. I will set up a material-based dissolve effect for the characters to appear/disappear, with parameters that can be animated in the sequencer by June 7.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Grave of the Fireflies: Sprint 7

 This sprint, I updated some materials in the engine. I created the water material, as well as a ground material with dirt and grass color variants. I set up the ground material with vertex painting so we can paint in the dirt pathway.

Dirt Material

Grass Material

Water Material

Once Nitin modeled the tree trunks, I added the leaves. I created a card texture in photoshop. I modified spheres to get the overall form for the leaves, and wrote a script to duplicate the leaf card and distribute along the surface of the shape. Then I hand tweaked the positioning of the leaf cards.

Tree leaf preview

Tree leaf preview

Trees with material in engine

another small tweak I did was adjust the height of the fire, so it was shorter and more akin to a campfire.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Grave of the Fireflies: Sprint 6

 The biggest task for this sprint was rigging the two main characters. I created a full rig with FK/IK switch arms and IK legs, as well as finger controls. I also created an animation file template with the rigs referenced so the animators can update the rigs with the final meshes later and preserve their animation.

Seita model rigged and ready to animate

I began work on a ground material that I desaturated and added into the environment. I began looking into vertex painting so later we can have the grass and dirt materials blended via vertex painting.

Initial ground material

I also did a lot of cleanup in the engine. I set up the bakes for the tree branches and got them updated in the engine. additionally, I troubleshot issues with the physics on the pickup objects and moved the entire scene to be more closely centered on the origin to fix the physics calculation errors. I cleaned up material graphs, adding in desaturation nodes to strip color away from the scene as we prototype. Finally, I added variables to the Niagara particle systems so we may control them from the sequencer. To avoid having to remember the desired maximum spawn rate and other key values, I implemented float linear interpolations so that the value keyed for "on/off" for the spawn rate goes from 0.0 - 1.0, making it more artist-friendly.

Grave of the Fireflies: Sprint 12

 In this sprint, I helped create a new introductory level that precedes the main experience. I created the sequencer, adding in the introduc...