World Builders: Post Mortem

Behaviour, Processes and Overall Outcome

Behaviour

I myself held a bit of worry pretty much until the end of the project, primarily towards simply feeling that I was not doing enough work, as I only made a Plane and a Rock. Meanwhile Dylan and Andrew, members of the team, had more work, at least in the number of different pieces.

Dylan had a Tree, the Landscape, a Tent made of leaves and a campfire.Andrew was tasked with creating a Bear, a bird and the ferns

My teammates did reassure me that I was doing a fair share of work, though I still doubted that. Outside of my doubt, and the small worry it carried, My behaviour towards the project was standard, in that I didn’t feel overly enthusiastic about it, but I still had the motivation to do the best job I could.

Teammates were excellent with both behaviour and morale, as mentioned before they eased my worries about the project and as a result the confidence of the group was very high.

Creative Work and Processes

Issues/problems that arose  –

Stress and worry:

Worry about not doing enough work for the project. It turned out to be a non-issue as the workload was roughly equal, what made it seem that the opposite was true was the way assets were used. A prime example would be the trees, as there was only a single variant, simply copy-pasted with small tweaks in the scene. I think this may have thrown off my perception of the workload present in the project.

Teammates were supportive in any interaction in which i brought up my worries, encouraging me that the workload was effectively even. Under the impression they were simply being nice, I still doubted the fact until later in production.

Solution:

Trust team members.

what i mean by this is to simply trust that team members are not just being nice when they say the work is split evenly, and similar situations for that matter. This did indeed occur, but in the last 2 weeks of production. This did not negatively affect the project itself, but it could have become detrimental to my mental health and drive to complete work.

Gantt Chart:

While not necessarily becoming a critical issue that destroyed production, let alone hold a noticeable impact, the issues our teams gantt chart had still had the potential to derail our project.

At its initial creation, the first issue with the gantt chart was not apparent to me. Put simply it was ‘optimistic’, with pre-production finishing 3 weeks into the 7 week timeframe, asset creation taking a further 2 weeks, with the last 2 weeks going towards animation and rendering in UE4 and editing all of the footage together. This ‘prediction’ was way off, but even after it was tweaked to a achievable time frame, there was some small confusion.

Since each week was spread out across two columns, there was some minimal confusion on the layout, as some tasks were set to be completed halfway though a week. Overall this specific issue wasn’t hard to negate. However, I never fixed it, as all of us on the team ended up neglecting the gantt chart, rather revising what was needed with each scrum meeting before weekly sprints.

Had we needed to rely on the gantt chart, the chance the issues it had negatively impact the project would have been higher. How much higher? i personally couldn’t say, but I would guess that however larger the chance, it would have been substantial enough to be worrisome.

Solutions:

Simply put, Crosscheck with team members and take the time to weigh up all progress that has currently taken place, and iterate on it in the following days.

Also, dont neglect it. In our case it did not affect the project in a noticeable way, though that is likely attributed to both the small team size (3 people) and the fact that we all understood what was needed. This is not likely to happen again, and should not be expected nor ‘banked on’.

 

Models, Textures and Exporting (Animation)

Asset creation went without a hitch, and that applies to the entire team. All models were completed with some very minor issues, and generally were at a good level of quality. One situation that did cause some worry was that the real start to making the ‘final’ assets started late. At least, in conjunction with the overly optimistic Gantt chart.

Textures were created mostly in Quixel, to utilise Unreal Engine 4 as much as we can. Assets made by teammates didn’t always use Quixel or simmilar program to create PBR textures. A prime example being the foliage, where it uses actual images and then other value maps (Metalness, Roughness, etc) used a simple material in engine if required,

I personally do not know if there were any issues in importing animations from 3Ds Max for other team members, but I do know that there were limited obstacles I faced. Given that the movement of the plane as a whole was animated in UE4, the only animation that was exported from 3Ds Max was the propeller spinning. The worst of the obstacles, was simply getting the animation to loop correctly, where it would rotate in the opposit direction to return to the starting position – regardless of how well it looped in 3Ds max. A few tweaked export settings later and having each and every frame of animation keyed resolved the issue.

UE4 Rendering and Animation

As with the asset creation and exporting, there were little issues to overcome. Learning the smaller things about animating in UE4, and the similarities with other programs. Outside of that, there was one key thing I did not do – Version control. While I did have two shots, and both were successfully rendered, I did not take the time to have both shots version controlled in any proper way, meaning that when it came to tweaking the teaser trailer, the ability to edit and change the crash shot were severely limited.

Post-Production:

Video Editing

Video editing posed nothing overly good or bad, and was the most uneventful part of the production.  Editing audio into the teaser was also pretty simple, along with editing overall. It still ended with a nice product.

Personal Performance: Roles, Responsibilities and KPI’s:

KPI’s

Strong Work Ethic

My enthusiasm for the project as a whole holds a contrast to my will to model, in that overall I had little interest in this project. It has likely affected the effort I put in but I simply did not care much. I certainly continued on working on it for educational purposes, as not doing so would bring up as to why I would remain in this course if I would not attempt to learn.

My work ethic left some room for improvement overral. I need to search for ways to motivate myself for the whole project, rather than bits and pieces. A possible way to do this is to explore my options. Other possible roles in a project, or other details that are open to be changed. Be it specific assets or tasks.

Positive attitude

My attitude has been positive for most of this project, and that is due to a confidence boost from better understanding from how long a certain task will take, and thus being able to better compose myself.

Prior to this boost, I did have some worries, and a helping of anxiety, as the project kicked off. this was primarily thanks to general uncertainty about shot composition and destruction.

Perhaps the mitigate these initial worries, I need to simply look closer at what I may be worried about, and see what about it is worrying me, understanding what I need to do about it.

Effective Communication skills

My communication in this project, along with my teammates, was quite good. There was not a moment in which communication errors caused confusion, and meetings were quick and to the point, allowing week by week sprints to be effective. However, nearing the end of development of the world builders project communication has started to drop off a little bit. It isnt critical and hasn’t negatively affected our production, but it still a minor worry.

In hindsight, I should have talked to my team members about it, as it very well had a chance, although minimal within that specific time in production, to disrupt or impact the final product.

Time Management

Simmilar to my attitude, time management didn’t start out all that well this trimester, in terms of balancing out work, as so there wasn’t a steady increase in stress as due dates came close to passing. For the most part, work was in on time, but it was still a case of ‘close shaves’.

I believe this was not helped by my lack of motivation or drive to complete the work, and I honestly need to force myself to really start getting into completing tasks earlier, and planning them earlier too.

Problem Solving skills

Perhaps the only real issue I encountered in this production was finding a shot to deconstruct that had a strong enough similarity to compare to my shot. While there wasnt a quick solution i found, i still managed to resolve the issue by finding Steven Spielberg’s ‘Duel’. Outside of this problem, I did not run into any significant issues, with most of them being small things such as generated UV maps not being usable.

Being a Team Player

I believe myself to be an excellent team player, though there is always something i can do to improve.
Within the world builders project, my teammates made it very easy to work together. We all communicated. We all gave each other feedback and worked from it and generally worked well together. However, i do feel as though i fell short in the sharing of responsibilities, as mentioned before.

To improve on this i plan to be upfront about taking on more work (Though the way world builders was set up didnt technically allow for this).

Self Confidence

Over the past 7 weeks, My self confidence as seen a boost from how nervous and worried i was about the world builders project, which was initially compounded by Final Project. However roughly 3 weeks in my confidence rose quite a bit with simply stepping back and looking at teammates and fellow students, for at that point i really didn’t know how to gauge myself and how i am actually doing. with that boost i became a lot more calmer and observant of what i was doing and how long it was taking me. This led to to understand i was spending enough time and that i was on track for completion.
The boost in confidence is still not enough though as i still feel as though i am not at a proficiency i should be at, but i cannot tell if it is just me underestimating myself or that a lot of my classmates have differing specialisations that make it seem as though I have not learnt much.

I am going to try and solve this by uploading more artwork to Artstation in hopes of getting external feedback to put my worries and deep-down fears to rest, though the internet being what is is the the complete lack of feedback after posting online for 4 years now may leave this upcoming attempt unsuccessful

Accepting and Learning from Criticism

My ability to learn from criticism as at least improved from last trimester in the way of understanding what the criticism is and where it is coming from. Other than that I am confident in saying I seek out criticism.
Specifically the main piece of feedback i got in this project was my shot (Effectively 2 now) that it was jarring and did not provide an idea on what was happening (Shot in question is a plane crashing into the ground). Overall, it was too short to tell the entire story/excerpt in which it is adapted from. Using this feedback i created a technically separate shot in which shows the plane very close to the tops of trees. After showing the updated sequence it received a final tid bit of feedback, of which was that the plane came into shot immediately, and that it would look better if it was out of shot for a second before coming into view. This was implemented fairly easily and made quite the improvement to the sequence as a whole.

Flexibility/Adaptability

feel that my flexibility/adaptability went in a similar vein to problem solving in that there wasn’t necessarily a critical moment in which my ability to be flexible or adapt was truly stressed and tested. However, there were some smaller times where plans needed to be updated. Primarily our Gantt Chart

Working Under Pressure

Working under pressure only came into realisation quite recently, as the deadline for the project came closer and closer while my Plane model was still not out of the blockout stage. Fortunately i was calm and collected thanks to the confidence boost I have had as my understanding on how long things can take was improved. I ended up modelling and texturing the model in roughly 3-4 days

Overall Conclusion

While the project when quite smoothly, the few issues encountered still served as a learning opportunity. the optimism in the first iteration of the Gantt chart, and the undue stress and worry.

As uneventful as this production has been, it has improved a key flaw i have when it comes to producing content outside of personal boredom or want – anxiety, stress and confidence in my abilities.

 

Final product

Individual shot link: (ETA: 24th Aug)

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s