30 November 2011

My First Adventure with 3ds Max

November is my final attempt to get a job in the video game industry, so I was pretty excited when I received a phone interview and then a request for an art test. I was pretty nervous as I had never really used 3ds Max before, but everyone says "it's just like maya" .. and they're wrong. I won't go into who the art test was for or show the screenshot I was supposed to make my environment look like, to protect the company, instead I'll just tell you the rest of the details.

Art Test:
In 3ds Max, make an environment with less than 3500 triangles with diffuse and specular textures of 512x512 or below. The environment should be at night with a full moon, it should have 1 cargo ship, 2 cranes, cargo containers, and a warehouse. Optional was rain effects, but I figured I would be happy with just being able to UV and texture for 3ds max. :p

To save time I started in maya, I figured I would make less mistakes in a program I knew pretty well. So after a lot of work in modeling and then saving triangles everywhere that I could manage, it came down to this.

Then I textured everything.

Then I took it all to windows, and hoped I had everything I needed .. which of course I didn't. :p I hate it that I can't just use the mac side for everything. Eventually I figured out how to light and make materials in 3ds max, and I learned that making a secondary uv set for lighting and having shadows bake to that uv set is actually a lot easier than in maya ... but viewing that baked lighting was somewhat more difficult since a lot of color is lost. Too bad 3ds max doesn't have an unlit mode like maya. Anyways, here's what I ended up with for my final render.

They also wanted a video to go along with the final render, so I rendered out a video and found that while the scene was pretty simple and all the lights were baked .. it took max a lot longer to render than maya ever would with this scene. Or maybe it's just because it was my first time building with 3ds max. :) Here's the video I ended up with.

Total build and render time in this new [to me] program was one week, I turned it all in and was promptly told the canned email response that I'd lost out on the job of a lifetime. I think for my skill level in this program I did some amazing work, but I can fully understand them going with a more experienced environment artist in 3ds max.
It's been five months since I graduated and I've applied to 199 positions which came out to three interviews and 1 art test. All of that with no luck, it's time to go get re-certified for my security d and g licenses. I humbly admit my defeat, but I will continue to battle my school to get my diploma which they are still holding for ransom.