Month: October 2015

Asset List & Floor Plan Of The Addams Family Mansion Ground floor

Once I finished my initial asset inventory list to help give me an idea of the number of assets I would need to gather research for and create for the environment, I had 172 in total which I found to be way too many for this project. My supervisor agreed with me so I immediately tried to reduce the number of assets. As you can also see from my asset inventory list, I set up a naming convention system for my assets and will be adding other information to the list as this project progress.

This is my asset inventory list before I reduced the number of assets in the environment.

This was the the first version of my asset inventory list before I reduced the number of assets I would need in the environment.

This was the second version of my asset inventory list after I reduced the number of assets from 172 to 158.

This was the second version of my asset inventory list after I reduced the number of assets from 172 to 158.  I also added another column so I could indicate if I had gathered research for that particular asset.

I know my asset list needs to be reduced further and I believe that many of the structural assets will merge together after I have built more of the white-box or start modeling, as this was just purely an estimate I created before I started any work in 3D. This list also includes some assets that will be fairly simple to model and texture, such as the floors and paintings in the hallway. My goal is to have around 120 assets in the scene but more is fine if it’s justified as the house doesn’t easily lend itself to modular structural assets due to its shape and design.

I was originally going to make a  breakdown of the assets in the environment where I made a note of the materials that made up the object and important details of the object, but found this is. waste of time due the the sheer amount of assets in this scene.

Addams Family Floor Plan

No actual floor plan of the Addams Family mansion existed for the home I was taking inspiration from  so I had to create my own. I created the layout by trying to match up elements of the exterior of the home to the interior sets used in the film, although this is not a perfect method as some rooms are either barely shown or not shown and often sets are built in sections and cannot feasibly go together in reality. Most of this is approximation  from what I saw in the film and from my printscreen research, and in some cases I used my own creative license to fill in areas that were left blank by the film or were unseen. I choose to only focus on the room layouts for the rooms that will be featured in this project.This floor plan does not included a floor plan.layout of the library,living room, dining room or conservatory as I am not modeling them for this project, however I have labeled their rough position in the home. Basically I noted which  doors lead to which rooms.

Ultimately, this floor plan just really includes basic information on rooms, the home layout and the positions of objects within them to help me visualise them for when I create the white-box. I am very aware of the fact that the rooms aren’t really drawn to scale . The white-box when finished I may use it to help me create a more accurate floor plan which I will draw over in Photoshop. This will be easier for me to do as I been having issues visualising the entrance hall due to it having curved walls in 3d before converting it to a top down drawing and these rooms will already be created in a fairly accurate scale within 3ds Max for use by UE4 as static meshes. This therefore will help reduce the issue of scale in the floor plan.

Pinterest Photographic Research, Project Plan & Gantt Chart

I decided to use Pinterest to gather my photographic research and references to use to model the environment. I chose to do this as I can access Pinterest (and therefore my research) from labs or home with ease. This means it doesn’t fill up space on my portable hard drive and I also can attach comments to the pins which can  include important information like dimensions or materials that make up a asset/object/feature. I just think it is a neater and more efficient way of saving and organising my research.

This is my pintrest research over a week ago. I will update this blog with a screenshot of my interest research page once I have finished gathering my asset/object references.

This is how I’ve set up my Pinterest boards. This is a screenshot taken from around a week ago. I will update this blog with a screenshot of my Pinterest research page once I have finished gathering my asset/object references.

I also submitted my project proposal on the 16th of October which included a summary of the aims of this project, justifications for it, the project’s deliverables and technical aspects. The proposal also included a rough project plan. I made both a version of this plan in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Project as shown in the images below. I am currently on schedule but will update my project plan if this alters.

This is the Gantt Chart Plan I created in Microsoft project which as you can see has been colour coded to show deadline dates and half terms/animex week.

This is the Gantt Chart Plan I created in Microsoft Project which, as you can see, has been colour coded to show deadline dates and half terms/Animex week.

This is the project plan i created in Microsoft Excel. As you can see it colour coded with importanted deadline noted and estimates of the minimum time required for the modules I'm studying this year.

This is the project plan I  created in Microsoft Excel. As you can see it is colour coded with important deadlines noted and estimates of the minimum time required for the modules I’m studying this year.

Screenshots, Moodboards & Initial Research Into The Addams Family

For my initial research for this project I watched and read as many things relating to the Addams Family as I could, including:

  • The Addams family: An Evilution (2010), a book showing the evolution of the Addams Family in comics.
  • The Addams family TV Show (1964-1966), in its entirety and with some of the bonus content, talking about the show’s development and Charles Addams.
  • Halloween with the New Addams Family (1977), a TV special that was a continuation of the 1960s TV show.
  • The Addams Family (1991), a film which influenced most of this project.
  • The Addams Family Values (1993) film.
  • The New Adams Family (1998-1999) of which I only watched a few episodes as only 8-10 out the 65 were released.
  • The Addams Family Reunion (1998), a direct to VHS film that is unrelated to the original 2 films of the 1990s.
  • Half-baked Cookbook (2005),  a book by Charles Addams. I looked into this book to better understand Charles Addams and his humor which I think is important to better understand the Addams Family.

After this I chose to take screenshots from the Addams Family 1960s TV show, 1991 film and its 1993 sequel. I gathered these as research to create my moodboards as I felt they were the best examples, were the most comprehensive or closest to Charles Addams’ original Illustrations. Although  I have not used any of his drawings in my moodboards, the style and depiction of the home in his work is something I always keep in mind as I progress with this project.

Below is how I organised these screenshots to be able to easily access references when I need them. I did this by sorting each captured image into a corresponding  folder, sorted by room.

This is how I origanised the folders for the screenshot research of the 1960's Addams Family TV Show.

This is how I organised the folders for the screenshot research of the 1960s Addams Family TV show.

This shows some folders open with the screenshots sorted/organised within them.

This shows some folders open with the screenshots organised within them.

This is how I origanised the folders for the screenshot research of the Addams Family film (1991).

This is how I organised the folders for the screenshot research of the Addams Family film (1991).

This shows some folders open with the screenshots sorted/organised within them.

This shows some folders open with the screenshots organised within them.

This is how I origanised the folders for the screenshot research of the Addams Family Values film (1993).

This is how I organised the folders for the screenshot research of the Addams Family Values film (1993).

This shows some folders open with the screenshots sorted/organised within them.

This shows some folders open with the screenshots organised within them.

After this I created a series of annotated moodboards to make a note of what each room contained furniture wise, decoratively and architecturally. I also created an exterior, living room/parlour and library moodboard despite the fact they are not in this project. This is because I plan to use the exterior moodboard when I recreate the exterior of the home as a continuation of this project. The living room/parlour and library were created as I had not yet decided to cull them for scope reasons.

Annotated moodboard of the exterior of the Addams family home/mansion.

Annotated moodboard of the exterior of the Addams family mansion.

Moodboard of the porch & entrance hall.

Moodboard of the porch and entrance hall.

Annotated moodboard of the stairs in the entrance hall.

Annotated moodboard of the stairs in the entrance hall.

Annotated moodboard of Gomez Office.

Annotated moodboard of Gomez’s Office.

Annotated moodboard of the hallway.

Annotated moodboard of the hallway.

Annotated moodboard of key/important items that may be included in the project as they are iconic.

Annotated moodboard of key or important items that may be included in the project as they are iconic.

Annotated moodboard of the library.

Annotated moodboard of the library.

Annotated moodboard of the living room/parlor.

Annotated moodboard of the living room/parlour.

Aside from this initial work and moodboards, I also picked up these books that were unrelated to the Addams Family but I felt would be beneficial to this project to help me to identify aspects of the home’s style and architecture, decor, exteriors, interiors and furnishing as I was not familiar with American homes, let alone a  home built during the late 19th century. Some of these books I have used for research more than others. In particular the books by Dover Publications have been incredibly useful to my project as they are reprints of period books from the United States of America featuring furniture, decor and architecture of the time.

  • American Furniture from the Kaufman Collection (1986).
  • Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery and Other Details (1971).
  • Late Victorian Interiors and Interior Details (2010).
  • The Gothic Revival Style in America, 1830-1870 (1976).
  • Victorian Architectural Details: Designs for Over 700 Stairs, Mantels, Doors, Windows, Cornices, Porches, and Other Decorative Elements (2005).
  • Victorian Designs for the Home (1991).
  • Victorian Domestic Architectural Plans and Details (1989).
  • Victorian Houses and their Details (2002).
  • Victorian House Designs in Authentic Full Color (1996).
  • Victorian Houseware, Hardware and Kitchenware (2001).
  • Victorian Gothic House Style (2003).
  • Victorian Splendor: Re-creating America’s 19th Century Interiors (1986).
  • Victorian Style (1999).

I also created a list of useful architectural terms to help me research this project. Here’s a screenshot of the PDF.

This is a screenshot of the the list of useful architectural terms I created, it was several pages long.

This is a screenshot of the the list of useful architectural terms I created; it was several pages long.

Initial Blog Post

My name is Siân Butcher, I am 21 years old and I am currently in the third and final year of my Computer Games Arts Degree at Teesside University.This blog will mainly serve as a work in progress blog for my Games Practical Project module, showing the natural development of my work and this project.

For my Games Practical Project which is my final year project, I will be creating an environment that will run real-time in Unreal Engine 4 (UE4). This environment will be inspired by the home of the Addams Family, in particular the home that was featured in the 1991 film ‘The Addams Family’.  For this project I wanted to keep the scope limited whilst also still making it challenging.  I will be creating a small section of the ground floor of the Addams Family’s mansion. This section will be several rooms including the porch, the entrance hall, hallway and Gomez Addams’ Office.  Originally I had planned to create all the previously mentioned rooms plus the living room and library but this was way too ambitious a task which I quickly realised after my initial research. So with the advice of my supervisor I scaled back to these four rooms  as 3 of them (porch, entrance hall and hallway) are mainly structural assets and  a few furnishings therefore  contain very few  assets overall. In comparison Gomez’s office is by far the most difficult and complex room due to the sheer number of assets needed to populate and decorate the room.

Although I choose to mainly be inspired and influenced by the 1991 film, I still did a large amount of research into the original comic strips by Charles Addams, the 1960s TV show, the 1977 TV special, the 1993 sequel to the 1991 film and finally the 1998 TV show with its accompanying direct to VHS film.

The reason I decided to focus on the 1991 film for the design of the house is because  I found it, along with the 1960s TV show version of the home, the most appealing and interesting, and they were also the only homes I could get comprehensive research from.The reason for this is that most of the other homes in the movies, specials or TV shows were either barely featured or it was not possible to find decent copy of the work to use as reference. The 1977 TV special, ‘Halloween with the Addams Family’, was only ever released on VHS which also happened to be the case with the 1998 direct to VHS film, “The Addams Family Reunion’ (which is unrelated to the 2 other earlier 1990s films). Whilst the 1998 TV series, ‘The New Addams Family’, did have a DVD release it only contained 8-10 episodes out of the  65 that were made, so whilst I have researched them I am probably not going to incorporate them much into my work. The reason I found the 1991 version of the home more apropos to my project’s needs over the 1960s one is fairly simple; the home has tons of interesting objects/furnishings but in comparison to the 1991 version it is very cluttered and complex. Therefore I feel that this would quickly become too ambitious a project here, especially when in view of how much taxidermy there is which will need fur shaders which currently I have no experience of making. I would also have been heavily hampered by the lack of colour in the original program.Finally, I feel that the 1991 film more closely resembles the home in Charles Addams’ Illustrations.

This is a Charles Addams 'illustration/comic depicts the outside of their home and how the Addams family deals with Christmas carolers.

This is a Charles Addams illustration depicting the outside of their home and how the Addams family deals with Christmas carolers.

This is the depiction of the comic's above joke in the 1991 film.

This is the depiction of the comic’s above joke in the 1991 film.

A comic which features their living room/parlor room.

A comic which features their living room/parlour room.

Pictures showing both the black & white and colour versions of the 1960's Addams Family living room. It's actually very surprising how colorful it actually was in reality and how cluttered it was in comparison to the comics 1990's films.

The pictures above shows both the black & white and colour versions of the 1960s Addams Family living room. It’s actually very surprising how colourful it actually was in reality and how cluttered it was in comparison to the comics and 1990s films.

This is the parlor living room which is much more dark, gloomy and far less cluttered. It is also noticeably more unkempt with dust and spiderwebs.

This is the parlour/ living room in 1991 film which is much darker, gloomier and far less cluttered. It is also noticeably more unkempt with dust and spiderwebs and appears to be much closer to Charles Addams’ work.

A family portrait of the Addams c1991 in their parlor/living room.

A family portrait of the Addams c1991 in their parlour/living room.

Nonetheless I realise that much of the Addams family mythos/iconography was established thanks the 1960s show. Most of the characters were given their names because of it, as well as them gaining the name “The Addams Family” as to that point in time, they were just a recurring set of characters with no names in Charles Addams’ work. Therefore I plan to include some aspects of the home’s interior/furnishing inspired by the TV show to pay homage to it and a to make it more Addams Familyesque, with the inclusion of items like the butler bell noose and marlin head, for example. This is also a way to make it look less like some other haunted house and more obviously their home.There is a fine line between creepy, spooky and ooky and looking similar to Disney’ Phantom Manor/ Haunted Mansion

Disney's Phantom Manor (French counterpart of the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland Paris) and second empire in style.

Disneyland Paris’s Phantom Manor (French counterpart of the Haunted Mansion) and Second Empire in style.

The Addams Family home in the 1991 film, also second empire in style and generally spooky looking. This house style is often attributed to haunted houses in the United States of America in part due to the Addams Family and Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.

The Addams Family home in the 1991 film which is also Second Empire in style and generally spooky looking. The Second Empire style of home  is often associated with  haunted houses in the United States of America, in part due to the Addams Family and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

The facade of the 1960's Addams family home which was only ever seen during the opening.

The facade of the 1960’s Addams family home which was only ever seen during the opening.

Speaking of the exterior, although this project will not entail creating the exterior of the home, I hope to do so next year as a personal piece and continuation of this project, outside of my studies for my portfolio. I would love to be able to have my project along with a work in progress of the exterior to show at Expotees should I be chosen for it.

Getting more into the technical aspect of the project, aside from my aim to create an environment that runs real-time in UE4, I hope that this project will allow me to further develop my abilities and understanding of the various types software, workflows and techniques that have become industry standard practice when creating current generation environments for video games, and in particular AAA games. I also want to further strengthen my knowledge of particle effects, high to low poly modeling and finally lighting an environment for use in a video game. I also want to continue to develop my interest in shader creation which is a passion which was ignited during the Journey Man Project in my second year at university which  naturally led me to be interested in PBS/PBR and to the switch to it. I actually wrote a  a paper for university on ‘How has the switch to physical based shading  affected the artist’s workflow?’ last year. The software I will be using for this project, aside from UE4, includes 3ds Max, Mudbox, Photoshop, Quixel Suite, Substance Designer, Substance Painter, Substance Bitmap2Material3, and Xnormal. I have previous experience with all of them  aside from the Substance programs.

My deliverables for the project will be the UDK/UE4 project files and a packaged version of the project, a series of beautyshots  and a video showing the environment running real-time. I will also submit each asset’a 3ds Max source file, textures and .fbx file along with an inventory list noting every asset contained in the environment/level.

I will be regularly updating this blog to show research, preparatory work, screenshots, work in progress, workflows and any general other work  relating to this project, as well as any issues I face until I finally submit this project in March 2016.