Your client site was featured back in 2007, can you give our readers a recap of your background and let us know of anything new that you have been up to?
Mick: I went to school for Multimedia, specializing in 3D animation and web design. I got swift3D and liked it so much that I remade my portfolio site (www.crazymansentertainment.com) in it a few years ago. After winning the award in September, I noticed people started to like and appreciate my work.
I created Greenthingmedia.com as a freelance site for myself. I wanted to show people that I think differently with projects and if they want something unique and different, then I am the perfect person for them. A lot of the techniques that I use for 3D, Swift3D, and Flash, can be applied to so many different areas now, especially web projects.
A new thing I am working on with a friend is a shooter game. We are using swift3D for characters and some minor graphics. I also wanted to use it for some Flash animations for the game. I am also going to create a free section of the site that will have free 3d models, tutorials, and other things that I have done over the years.
This site is quite a bit different than the previous featured site.
Can you give us some insight on how you came up with the new idea?
Mick: Actually, the character “Green Thing” was a blue creature that I did a few years ago. You can see the original concept on the Crazymansentertainment.com site. That version was hard to update and animate. I wanted to go back and redo everything, including the design with what I know now. I created a character that was similar to a dinosaur, cartoon-styled, and it took some time, but then Green Thing was born.
When I first showed people the creature, I didn’t know what to name it. So I just said it was a Green Thing, hence greenthingmedia.com.
How did Swift 3D help you in reaching your design goals?
Mick: I wanted to go a step higher than I did with the amicuscorp.com website. I was going to create a character that I could use over and over again with facial animation. I also wanted to make the website cartoon-styled, similar to my other sites. I knew Swift could help do this, by taking and rendering the character as a cartoon. I also wanted to create a site where I can keep adding new animations and not have to worry about file sizes, bandwith speeds, and other problems. With its Flash capabilities, I knew I could achieve this.
Did you use any of Swift 3D v5's new features for this site?
Mick: No, I still have version 4.5. I primarily used SwiftMax for this and some of Version 4.5 for minor quick animations. I liked the idea of the new morph capabilities for 5, but since I use 3ds Max for most of my projects, I decided to go with SwiftMax.
What was your biggest design challenge and how did you overcome it?
Mick: The biggest design challenges were lights and renderings. I did many experiments using 3ds Max’s lights and importing them into Flash. I was trying to see what the shadows and lights look like--do I need 4 lights or just 1, how does the character react to the lights and shadows, etc.
Then I had to experiment with different render modes. For example, do I like 1 color fill or is it better with 3 color fill? Stuff like that was the biggest challenge because I had to make sure that all the animations looked the same. I couldn’t have one scene with one light and then you see the creature brighter in another because it had 3 lights. To overcome it, I just kept experimenting until I got the effect I liked.
Do you have any design tips or inspiration you would like to share with our readers.
Mick: Actually the best thing to do when it comes to 3D is to keep experimenting. I get a good effect I like 90% of the time because I get curious with lights, sample renderings, animation techniques, or materials. For example, a simple scenario is creating a road. First I texture-mapped it, then rendered it with just a concrete texture repeated, and yellow and white lines overlaid. Then I just kept experimenting with brushes, sample renderings, texture settings, material types and so on. Eventually I got the road to have skid marks, lines that were worn down and so on. It is pretty much your curiosity with experimenting that will get the effect you are looking for.
I am always on the look out for new challenges and how far I can push 3D and Flash with a project. I like to work with the companies that want something different and unique.