Having the avatars being featured by VRChat.
Unity's social media account reposting our content during the challenge.
Increase of the followers both on Instagram and Twitter.
It all started back in September of 2018. I wanted to start investing time into develop new game art styles using Unity, I was not sure how to start but then I found about the 100 days drawing challenge by Amanda Oleander on her Instagram.
Her challenge and commitment inspired me so much that I did my own version of it by doing 100 characters, 1 character a day for 100 consecutive days.
The condition for me was to make an Instagram and Twitter post with a moving character every day, so I had to create a steady workflow that could work for all the days of the challenge.
The challenge process
To succeed on a challenge like this you should try to define a process, and try to follow through it everyday, this will help you focus and will slowly reduce the time you have to dedicate to the challenge overtime, since your brain will be learning and adapting to the tasks.
If you don't know how to set up a process, is okay, most of the times processes are the result of repetition, so just start, do it once, and then write down the steps you made to get to the final result, then the next day try to repeat them. Over time, the process takes shape, evolves and improves.
During the 100 days a lot of people asked us how we managed to make 1 per day so we'll be taking a general overview of the character creation process. Most of the characters follow this scheme.
- Fixing retopology with MayaLT
- UVs and Textures
To create the texture, we like to use Adobe Color in the studio. Easily help us find color schemes that work for out characters.
- Rigging and Animation
- Unity scene set up
Finally we got to the point where I wanted invest more time at. Unity. The hole point of this madness was to force myself to use Unity as a quick tool to develop new visual concepts and ideas for future projects.
Not gonna dig into every detail of what I did with Unity, but there are a couple of tools that helped me to save time and get great results during the 100 days.
- Final steps
- BONUS: extra tips to iterate faster on a challenge like this one
Uploading them to VRChat as avatars
Halfway through the challenge we came up with the idea of giving a second life to all the characters by transforming them into avatars for the Metaverse. They were all already rigged with Mixamo so we knew by experience that they could be used, at least in VRChat.
Months later I decided to give it a go to the avatar idea with the help of 2 interns in the studio.
Initially we just wanted to give them simple rig and upload them into VRChat, but after a few days into the work, we got reach out by the VRChat team, they loved the variety of our characters, and they suggested us to give them some extra love, by adding visemes and optimising them for the new Oculus Quest release, this way they could be used by even more players.
So we improved them and created a VRChat World to gather them. I must admit that Investing some more time into adding visemes made the characters way more interesting and fun to use!
Here is a screenshot of our Notion.so board in the middle of the project.
There is a lot of documentation already about how to upload avatars into VRChat, so we wont be covering any of it on this post, but, we'll be releasing another blogpost with some tips for optimising avatars for Quest using MayaLT later on.
Next Steps for this project
As you can see in our roadmap for now our most closest goal is to keep uploading all the characters into VRChat with visemes, we're really close to have them all up and ready to use. At the same time we'll be improving the world too.
After this our next milestone is to tokenize this avatars using the blockchain, our final goal is to release all model files for free to download on our site, as "Open source avatars" so anyone can use our avatars in any virtual world platform or project they're developing.
During the time I was writing this post, the guys at LIV reached out to us to use the avatars for their platform, so you'll be able to use them for streaming Beat Saber soon.
If you have a VR platform or a project you might wanna use our characters at, feel free to reach out so you can have a test before we make the open source release.
If you want to see the characters during the challenge, you can check our Instagram and Twitter accounts.
Daniel García (aka Toxsam) is the founder and creative director at Polygonal Mind.