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 #define TECHNICAL_ARTIST


As an Associate CG Supervisor I have dealt with many complex problems and task. Including the design and implementation of an automated recursive build system with roll-back and error reporting on child/parent build failure.


While I am versed in many programming and scripting languages, my greatest strength is my ability to combine my experience as an artist with my ability to problem solve side by side with engineers. My true interest lies in creating better features and developing the tools to make using them intuitive.

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 simCity(Technical.Art){


SimCity(2013) used many complex graphics systems and pixel-shaders to provide scalable detail within strict performance constraints. Ocean Quigley(Creative Director) gave a great presentation at GDC 2013. The video to the right is a version of this presentation cut down to the technology I was heavily involved in taking to completion.


  • Facade System
  • Relief mapping
  • interior mapping
  • Damage-State effects
  • SDF lot texturing system
  • Sim. driven light states
  • Complex window tagging
  • Documentation for artist
  • Redesign of systems
  • (after initial title)

 /** Detailed Description */

Facade System (building texture generation):

Building textures involved a complex and error prone process of rendering seven separate textures that were manually added to texture atlases. I documented the process and helped staff artist create proper texture atlases.


I later redesigned the Facade System for easy of creation, optimization, scalability, and accuracy.


Interior Mapping and dynamic light states:

Took Ocean's initial design and worked closely with graphics engineers to create versatile simulation state driven self-illuminated window/interior system. Document the extremely complex embed data system for room state tagging.


"Damage" decal system:

Expanded on the interior parallax mapping to create illusion of holes in building walls, etc. Created a variety of "decals" that could be easily placed by artist to create "abandoned" building states.


SDF Lot texture system:

Worked with graphics engineers to overhaul lot texturing technique. Repurposed unused data channels to add simple fully textured lots (normal maps, specular maps etc.)


Wrote tools to help artist batch translated image colors to text values for manual entry.

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 #define Adobe Development


As an artist I understood the amount of 2D work in Photoshop that 3D artists were required to do. As a technical artist I realized that our focus was on tools for Maya and entirely neglected Adobe Photoshop  as an opportunity for tools and pipeline improvement. I began a campaign to get more Technical Art time dedicated to Photoshop tools and automation. This led to various demonstrations, presentations, and eventually the development of a working relationship with Adobe themselves.


The tools below show samples of the Adobe Photoshop tools I wrote for Maxis artist. They are project specific, and some are designed for a specific artist faced with a difficult task.

...

 Adobe("Facade Element Previewer")


Post SimCity I revamped the way building textures where created. Artist now created individual elements using Photoshop files as the source file. Elements were then automatically compiled into packed atlases.


This gave artist the freedom to create seven required textures in a single Photoshop file with no restrictions on features used.


I created this tool to allow artist to work on textures in Photoshop and view them in Maya directly rather than exporting and checking in game. The preview used the exact Physically Based Rendering shaders as the game engine.

...

 Adobe("Gamma Picker")


This tool was created to demonstrate the advantages of Adobe "Panels" vs scriptUI (javacript based UI).


With the new physically based rendering engine artist where required to create textures in both sRGB and Linear gamma space. Likewise, Artist where often required to manually enter linear based numbers in several text based property files.


This tool allow artist to easily view sRGB colors and there Linear equivalent, including using the color picker or manually entering values. Numeric conversions matched the game engine math (including floating point errors)

...

 simCity(Texture, Export)


Tool created for specific Senior Artist


Artist tasked with extremely complicated "Sim" texture creation process. Existing source file used 50+ layers and 10+ min to export.


Tool catered to needs of single user.


Photoshop file became designated source file (vs multiple targa files). Required minimal layers without putting restrictions on artist. Automatic export to complex game texture format (build machine used same export code).


...

 simCity(Texture, Validation)


An additional complication of the "Sim" texture creation process involved the masking system. Textures had to be pixel exact or dramatic artifacts would show in-game.


Tool behavior catered to needs of single user


Tool parse specific Photoshop layers for any pixels not conforming to one of 16 expected colors. Generates election of "Bad" pixels (usually caused by anti-aliasing).


Artist can use selection as mask, alpha channel, etc.


...


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