DreamLight Interactive

DreamLight Insight #08: 3D Multimedia Design, 3D Alien World & Virtual Environment Design, 3D Set Design, 3D Prop Design & Interactive 3D Character Design


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20 Years of Award-winning Multimedia, 1987-2007

Designing 3D Multimedia Content for the Award-winning KeyQuest, a Typing Adventure CD-ROM

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Location Scouting: 3D Environment Design


Finding Locations to Shoot in Cyberspace

These early test renders show the initial artistic treatment of Node 1: Datadepth. Each location needed views from cyberspace as well as views from the node’s surface.

Node 1 Space Test Renders Node 1 Beam Test Renders Node 1 Walk Test Renders

Synthesizing Entire Worlds

We created all the cyberspace and landscape views with KPT Bryce on the Macintosh. Bryce enabled us to quickly “discover” our imagery in a process of freewheeling exploration. This loose creative process was most effective because we needed to create strange alien landscapes rather than modeling actual locations.

Bryce/Power Macintosh Screen Shot

Designing the CyberNet Port

When the user is first pulled into cyberspace they end up stranded at a CyberNet Port. I wanted this port to be maze like but not so difficult that the user could really get lost, so I designed it as two concentric circles and four spokes. This circular structure allows the ship to come into view eventually as the user follows the circles. This should capture the user’s attention and give them a target to reach. The closed structure also gives us a finite number of images to render.

FreeHand/Power Macintosh CyberNet Port Map

I designed the CyberNet Port in Macromedia FreeHand on the Power Macintosh. Using FreeHand enabled me to experiment with the shapes and proportions in an object oriented environment. I then rasterized the grayscale plan to use as an elevation map directly in Bryce. I also used this map to plot out each camera location to render all the views.

Datadepth 3D Landscape I gave the CyberNet Port the feel of an ancient alien castle with turret like landing platforms and ramparts radiating out from the high central tower upon which the CyberNet Conduit ascends to the heavens.

QuickTime VR Movie: 320x240: 170K
Interactive Shockwave Demo: 320x240: 1.1M
24bit JPEG Image: 640x480: 67K | Panorama: 78K

Explore Alien Worlds

Explore Digitdomain Exlpore Silicasphere Explore Siroccon Explore Wasteworld Explore Datadepth Node Orbits

3D Sets & 3D Props: 3D CyberCruiser Design


Initial Conceptual Sketches

When I need to freely sketch out new ideas I use Fractal Painter on the Power Macintosh with a pressure sensitive stylus. Many digital artists still sketch out ideas on paper and scan them into the computer but I find that sketching them directly on the Mac gives me more flexibility than pencil and paper. I’m a digital purist in this respect. I like to use the digital medium for the entire design experience rather than designing on paper first and then simply using the computer for final production. Designing on paper first is neglecting the most powerful aspect of the digital medium, creative flexibility. I use my Mac for every aspect of a project, from a digital napkin for early sketches, to a high end rendering workstation for photo realistic final imagery, and everything in between.

Initial Rough CyberCruiser Sketches

Initial CyberCruiser Design

The next phase is to create a clean design sheet from which I can build a 3D model. I typically use Macromedia FreeHand on the Power Macintosh for this step. I find that FreeHand is the best program to create spline based object oriented designs. I find FreeHand much more flexible than Illustrator for creative design. Illustrator is aimed more at inking scanned sketches rather than designing from scratch.

Initial CyberCruiser Design

I designed the ship to lift off vertically. When landed, the control room is lifted high into the air on the tilted neck. A telescoping access tube with a ladder connects the upper passageway with the rear rooms in the belly which remains horizontal. Once aloft the bottom data sail pivots backward and the belly area rotates up flush with the neck. The outer airlock then becomes the bulkhead between the control room passageway and the rear rooms. In an emergency the control room can be jettisoned and used as an escape pod.

Building the CyberCruiser

Notice that the above design lacks the wings in the middle of the neck area that can be seen in the final model. The publisher thought that the ship was too phallic, so we later added wings to break up the length of the neck. I also made other stylistic changes while creating the 3D version of the ship in Autodessys Form-Z on the Mac.

CyberCruiser Exterior Model

Outfitting the CyberCruiser with Rooms

Once the exterior shell was built I then constructed the interior of the ship. The entire ship was built as a single model in Form-Z, the exterior shell and all the interior rooms and contents. The entire model was then imported into Strata Studio Pro Blitz where textures were applied and all the images were rendered on a Power Macintosh 9500 MaxPower 400+ 604e MP with 368MB of RAM.

CyberCruiser Interior Model

Explore the CyberCruiser Alpha

Explore Crews Quarters Explore Science Station Explore Engineering Explore Data Processing Explore the Control Room CyberCruiser Rooms

Casting Call: Interactive 3D Character Design


Digit Initial Concept SketchCreating a Multimedia Star

Many multimedia titles are composed of empty locations. I wanted to give this product more personality by incorporating an interactive animated character.

I created Digit’s first sketch in Fractal Painter on the Macintosh with a pressure sensitive stylus. Once I had the basic concept fleshed out, I built the three dimensional model in Macromedia Extreme 3D due to its superb spline based modeling capabilities. Once the model had been built, it was brought into Strata Studio Pro Blitz where it was placed into the CyberCruiser sets and animated. The animated frames were then dissected into separate pieces and brought into Macromedia Director. I finally brought Digit to life with object oriented Lingo programming in Director.

Digit Model

Early Digit Model Test

This early Extreme 3D render test of the Digit model shows the basic structure of the character. Notice that the skin textures were not entirely ready at this point. He looks a little as if he has a disease.

QuickTime Movie: LO Res: 72K | MD Res: 239K
24bit JPEG Image: 640x722: 64K

Digit’s Debut

Once Digit has been designed, modeled, animated and programed, he is finally ready for his multimedia debut.

Shockwave Audio: Intro: 122K | Tale: 758K
Interactive Shockwave Demo: 640x480: 1.1M
24bit JPEG Image: 640x480: 59K | 1024x768: 118K

Digit’s Finale

Digit is a bit of a ham. Here he steals the final scene. This sequence was animated in the Electric Image Animation System on a Power Macintosh over a KPT Bryce background.

Shockwave Audio: 258K
Shockwave Demo: 640x480: 1.2M
24bit JPEG Image: 640x480: 66K | 1024x768: 142K

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BlastOff! Wins a Silver W3 Award in the Pioneering Category of Web Video - 3D Animation

BlastOff! Wins an Official Honoree Webby Award in the category of 3D Animation
























































































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