I recently came across a speed level design by a user named Maverick on Youtube, who has time lapsed himself creating a street in Unreal called “Overgrown Ruins”.
He starts of with a simple street but it quickly progresses into a lush environment.
He also vertex paints the textures onto the road. Buildings that are added also have rubble attached to them, instead of being added separately. The terrain tool was also used to block of the sections of the streets. The texture also changes realistically from a ground/mud texture to a rocky texture on the raised sides. By using unreals terrain methods you can create an area such as a street, and segment it off making the area manageable and believable. Something I need to consider doing when creating my project for my final year.
Rubble patches being added in modular sections. Moss being added to tram line increasing the detail within the scene.
Different variations of mud was also added to the environment. There is also wildlife in the city street drinking from a puddle, along with a radiation warning sign in the background which adds a little context from the scene. There is also a narrative being told through the vegetation within the scene along with the wildlife, giving the viewer/player some idea of the time frame since the destruction of the environment.
Birds on the tram.Lighting was added making a huge different to the look of the scene. This is something I need to work on, and consider a lot more often when working in Unreal. As it really can have a drastic change on the scene. Here is the incredible final look.
Seeing something like this is certainly inspirational, and has made me starting thinking more about what I want to do for my final project, along with what techniques I can use to acheive this. Vertex Painting is one technique I have just recently learned, but even then I still have a lot to learn in that regard. Such as in this video he vertex paints grass which I do not know how to do yet. Everything in this video was already made, so it is important to remember that it would take a lot longer than this to make with assets, textures, wildlife+animations etc.
One skill I needed learn in order to make my vault look a bit more realistic, was a way to make the textures look worn, dirty and seamless. Part of this is to include dirt and grunge within the textures, so when you apply it to the object/environment it already has a specific look you wanted. This I have already started doing and improving by learning more of substance designer 5, where I can blend gradients with grunge maps. However, sometimes it is needed to add a little more detail onto the texture, whether that be a puddle on a floor, or dirt and dust on the lower part of the wall. Vertex painting allows this by plugging your maps into a lerp and multiply, along with a vertex colour node.
Ceiling material that I have edited to be used for painting.
I can also make some textures look a bit more seamless, from two different ceiling textures connecting I can add a little dirt in between covering the line that breaks the two. One issue I have encountered is the way I have modeled the environment. Due to me not considering that I was going to use vertex painting, my models do not have enough verts for me to efficiently paint, or even paint onto the bits that I want to. This means that I will need to go back into max, add more verts to the model and re import which is of course time consuming.
This is something to think about for future projects when I know that I am going to use vertex painting, which means I can save time and make sure there are enough verts in the model for it to be effective. This would of course be the most efficient way of working. So now I am in the process of adding more verts to walls and models in order to take advantage of painting. This will be worth the lost time however, especially for major pieces like the floor which is something that will be seen many times, so adding a bit more detail onto it won’t go unnoticed. Here I added some dirt to the ceiling.
I have also started to vertex paint for our heritage project onto one of my buildings, adding moss in a couple of areas adding a bit more realism. This will now also allow me to add details onto the paths and tram lines, with materials I could create such as dust and dirt.
Since the last update I have started to experiment with the use of darkness. Due to it of course being underground, lighting is artificial with some light sources down there being more adequate than others. So in order to translate this across in Unreal I have been using the post process, mainly the sub setting called colour grading which allows me to tweak the contrast, brightness etc.
Here you can see the post process settings in the bottom right hand corner.
Here are two examples of how different the enviorment can look with a couple of changes to the post process. You can see with this shot that it looks a little more atmospheric and darker, possibly adding a little more than what the other one did.
I also created a dust material which I then put into a particle system. I can then use this is make the environment look a little more dynamic and believable.
I also removed the middle roof pattern as it looked a little out of place.
I have also been filling empty spaces and with papers and boxes, but I need more assets creating as these quickly become repetitive. Though I have used the darkness to mask a couple of these details which make it less noticeable the viewer.
I have asked a couple of people for options and many have mentioned the lack of dirt on the floor, roof along with others assets so this is something that needs addressing, and I do completely agree. To acheive this I am going to create a couple variations of dirt textures, then apply this in Unreal through vertex painting. I also need to model a few beams, pipes and lighting for the environment.
For my Vault environment, I have decided to import it into the Unreal engine in order to test how it will look in there. I was originally going to render out a video on 3ds max with a camera sequence moving through the vault, but but due to the amount of polys and my computers performance, it makes it difficult to use dynamic lighting on the high quality setting to viably continue. However, on Unreal this is not an issue so I should be able to place lighting within the environment, with instant, dynamic lighting results. This does not rule out rendering in 3ds however, as this is just to test whether Unreal would be suitable. Also when I transfer the max project to a separate computer the textures reapply themselves to the wrong objects, which does not happen on Unreal. I have started to import some of the scene and object, along with textures which is somewhat time consuming. I can also clearly see what textures need improving and changing. I have found that my roughness maps need changing and my brick textures needs improving dramatically. One thing I could make more efficient is how I transfer textures. After I have created a texture on Sub designer 5 I could export as a sbsar file, which can be immediately imported as a material in Unreal, instead of individually connecting each map up. However, this was not planned for due to me not anticipating using unreal.
I am going to continue adding textures and objects and update with another blog on the progress.
I decided to start another project to further advance my 3d knowledge and skill set. After looking at other peoples portfolios online and on poly count, it motivated me to create something different to what I would be usually be making. One of my recent blogs I looked into how some artist create a small scene which look great for portfolios, so I new I wanted to create a scene of some kind with that in mind. In the end I decided I wanted to create a floating island in the sky which featured, well, I didn’t know to be exact but it just came to be as I continued modelling. I was originally going to have it as some kind of oasis, with a waterfall and a river flowing through, along with trees and a cabin. But I somehow ended up with a wild west setting, with a saloon and a train line cutting through the middle. A slight deviation from the original idea to say the least. I accumulated a bunch of images on Pinterest which can be found here – https://uk.pinterest.com/sam137069/island/
The project is not finished yet and I’m unsure whether I will have time to texture it, due to managing time with the other modules. I also don’t know what style to go for, I’m torn on whether to go a more cartoony style like a Blizzard game, or whether to go for a more realistic style.
Here are a couple of early renders of the progress of the project so far –
After modelling my Biplane the other day, I was going to leave it un-textured and just leave it as it. However, I decided against this as one of my weak points is texturing, so I decided to go ahead and texture it for more experience.
I did not particularly come into any difficulty unwrapping the plane, as I tried to build most of it modular making it easier to unwrap. I did however target wield seams within the unwrap, which I was unaware you could do until now. I also used Marmoset Toolbag for a couple of renders, but I had forgotten that you had to invert the roughness map due to how the software works. This explains why the plane did not look as glossy as I would have liked, during the first couple of screenshots.
Here are a couple of screenshots from Toolbag –
Number one I had a very low gloss value, but after increasing the value it allowed me to achieve a more realistic look on the biplane, as you can see by the second image.
Here are a few more renders from 3ds max –
I am fairly happy with how the project turned out, but I do think I could improve on the textures by quite a bit. For example, the lines on the wings don’t fully align due to way I painted them on, with Substance Painter. This is because the uv maps for the top and bottom where not fully aligned which caused this issue. There is also a lack of detail on the wear and tear side, with a lack of scratches and dirt. I added a little but are hardly noticeable to the finished renders. I do tend to rush the texture process a bit in order to get to rendering, which is something I need to slow down on and work more carefully over this process.
As I was browsing Instagram a while back, I thought I would search for 3d modellers which is something I would not really consider Instagram for. As I mainly use it for photography. However, I came across a page called BlueZoo who specialise in making CG character animation. After looking through there page I came across a 3d model which captivated me with one of there models. The link was below the image which is how I found his profile which is called panda744( Andrew Scott). Here there are many more similarly styled models which I very much like the style of.
This was the first image I saw and I loved the detailed of the house, and how it was put onto a roundtable which enhances the look. I have never rendered or particular considered rendering a model on a roundtable design, but It looks great as a portfolio piece.
Here you can see how the lighting can effect the same model which can drastically change the look of the scene, something I have not fully achieved with my renders to this extent. Definitely an area I need to improve on, which I have started looking at with my recent models.Here is a rather quirky model of a car turning around a corner, with a sense of speed and urgency. I could certainly see this being in an animated cartoon/film.This is one of my favourites of his, which encompasses so much detail into what looks like a small scene. There is a lot to appreciate in this scene from the pattern on the floor, to the small intricate details on the robot.I certainly want to try this type of style out, with a smallish scene that is put onto a pedestal of sorts as I feel like it could greatly enhance my portfolio. Such as the scene above, by choosing to model a smallish area you do not spread yourself to thin, and you can capture a large amount of detail in a relatively small space, whilst enhancing the look with a turntable/pedestal.
Yesterday, I decided to model a Biplane in order to increase my portfolio and improve my 3d modelling. I started stockpiling images of biplanes onto my Pinterest which can be found here – https://uk.pinterest.com/sam137069/biplane/
I then made a start onto modelling the plane itself.
I then started getting the base shape which was simple to do, by using a cylinder and scaling the vertexes at the end in order to taper it. I then added a cylinder onto the end and beveled it for the placement of the engine.In order to get the shape of the wings I used a cylinder and removed half, in order to get a semicircle shape.
In between other projects I have been continuing to texture the end section of the vault. On the last blog I made, the end section was not textured at all so I have made some pretty good progress. Whilst progress is slow with the texturing, I am now moving onto the corridor section, which will then lead onto the final rooms. Hopefully, from there I will have time to start modelling and texturing the area outside the vault onto the stairs and so on. However, this project is being extremely time consuming so I am somewhat doubtful of progress being made past the stairs bet we will see.
Here are a couple of screenshots of the progress that has been made –
Here I had trouble when moving the files from my laptop to my desktop. Some of the references for the textures messed up, which resulted in me backtracking re-referencing some texture files.
Here is the red vault door. Here is one room fully textured.
Here is a render of the room. The light is a little to bright overexposing the shot, but also the door texture is lighter towards the top making the issue worse. I have re-edited the door texture so not it just needs re-adding to the scene.
Here is an unfinished top down render of vault rooms.
I am currently in the process of getting some higher quality renders, but of course they are extremely time consuming. I will update with another blog when I have a few better renders to show.