For the video I used the sequencer to animate the cameras and export the raw footage. Exported out at 4k with 60 fps, I edited it in premiere to some Chopin music. The editing process was quite difficult, as the video previewer was too laggy to get life feedback on your changes, I had to export out small chunks of the video as i went along. This was probably because of the 4k resolution, but I think it was worth it in the end. In future I may render out some test footage and test premiere on my primary editing desktop and then make a judgment call afterwards.
For the post process I wanted to accentuate the feel given by the lighting, and also to blend the environment into one. I used bloom to add a very hazy feel the the scene which made it feel almost dreamlike. I had to change the anti-aliasing because image capture wasn't working correctly with the bloom.
For the lighting I went with a hot summers day with the house being dusty and stuffy. Using lots of yellow values in the lighting to keep the scene warm but cooling it down slightly as you got deeper into the room. I made sure every light I used had a specific purpose in order to keep full control of the scene.
I used the lightmass settings from Koola's Lightroom scene, i also edited the Lightmass.INI file to increase the bake quality of the static scene. In the future, due to many suggestions from multiple people, I may come back to this scene and relight it in a more horror setting.
In my scene there is a lot of fabric elements, Rugs, curtains, table covers and stair runners. Due to this I needed a fast way to generate accurate cloth without having to sculpt every fold and crease. I used marvelous Designer to generate the cloth, this was a good piece of software and did most of the work for me.
It would also unwrap the mesh 1 to 1 perfectly, this was great as it made creating masks for patterns easily. the only issue was that I needed a low poly to bake onto, as 30 tris per rug was a bit too much. To would normally use TopoGun or Zbrush in the process for creating my lowpoly, however I had a lot of cloth to make and not much time. I opted to use the ProOptimizer modifier in 3DS max, although not perfectly optimized, it reduced the poly count significantly and kept the UV's aligned.
Throughout the project I received feedback from my tutor Deepak, however I felt the project was starting to come together and Ubisoft was coming too Teesside for a talk. I took advantage of this and gained critique from Leonardo Iezzi, I also gained feedback from another tutor Shafeq Rahman. Here I was advised to create a polish list, where I would get all my feedback, and take a detailed look at my scene and write every issue down on a list. I prioritized the list and spent two weeks towards the end of the project just ticking of the list.
This was usefull as it kept me focussed on the smaller details that brought my project to the next level. I will definately be using this technique in the future.
This was a more organic asset, so I took a different approach to creating it. Almost entirely using Zbrush to sculpt and creating the low poly with TopoGun 2. It took roughly 3 days to create and the process went smoothly. I will definitely be using TopoGun again.
Initially I wanted the chair to be ornate, but not overwhelming within the scene. I looked on sellingantiques.co.uk and searched for Georgian period chairs. There was a large variety of designs, I decided to blend afew designs together taking bits i liked from different refference.
I started by hard surface modelling the chairs frame. I took this into Zbrush and sculpted wear and damage. i wanted to keep the damage minor so only slight indents were made where the chair legs may have been bashed against something.
I received a lot critique towards the cushion, it was too square shaped, the creases were to deep, it didn't look like it connected to the chair properly and the material didn't work. As a result of this, I put on the polish list that I would revisit the cushion later in the project. Looking back, these problems stem from a lack of reference when creating the cushion, as a result I was sort of making it up as I went a long and it shows.
Over the past few weeks I have been working on multiple detailed props. This was a sort of test for me, as I needed to figure out how to sculpt the ornate pattern into the cast iron metal. It went okay but it could be improved, the details are not very defined in some places. I did it using alphas as a template and sculpting over the top of that.
To texture the walls, I have used a fully procedural texture with exposed parameters. This allows me to control the amount of wear and tear, roughness, and hue in engine on the fly. However I still need to do minor tweaks, especially in the roughness variation on the wallpaper itself.
For the criteria I had to produce a presentation and showcase my progress for the first month of the project. This was nice because it also helped me nail down a project theme and give it a unique identity.
I have completed most of my modular assets. All that is left is the windows, Until then, here are some AO renders of the mansion. I looked at interesting compositions and camera angles for when I create the video and take images.
I'm in full motion now, creating all my modular assets, I am high to low baking everything to get that level of quality I want. Here are a few renders I have collected over the past two weeks while constructing my scene.
I spent the last two day working on a procedural floor material in Substance Designer. here are the results. On reflection, I like the roughness values, however it is too obviously tiled. I will solve this by having different wear variations of these planks, vertex painting them.
I decided to go for a worn down look for the door, or to at-least start experimenting with a more damaged look and how id go about it. To help me with this i downloaded a Zbrush pack to save time, including lots of nice high quality alphas. Download here
I baked the door down, I didn't get the effect I wanted. The worn parts of the wood were not defined enough with the smart material set up I was using. I decided to bring the alphas into Substance Painter, there I played around with them to get a more worn down effect.
This week I am going through all my essential modular assets and high to low baking them, I will also do a initial texturing pass in substance designer, and then painter.
Here are all my wooden wall high polys. And below is my initial texturing pass in substance, finaly rendered in my environment.
Initially I tried to texture the walls with the world aligned texture node directly in UE4 from Substance Designer, however at this early stage I couldn't get the detail I wanted at this time. As a result I opted for Substance Painter in combination with Designer. I will use the world aligned texture nodes for my floor, as it lets me peel back plank geometry seamlessly and I like the effect.
The next step was to break down my block out into a modular a grid system. I decided to go with 150 by 150 cm dimensions. This means that I have the minimum amount of assets to make, and they all link together with little effort.
The images above showcase every asset that makes up the base of my environment, it doesn't include small detail assets which will come later in the project. Below shows the environment made up with the modular assets, I also experimented with lighting. I looked at this article for a base to start on. Big thanks to rafareis123 for this.
I was experimenting with time of day, and if I wanted my project set at dusk or mid day. It is too dark and there is lighting errors at this stage, but this helped me understand where my focal points will be, and where best to put detail later in the project.
To get an idea of scale, and the kind of modular assets I will need to make, I did some draw overs on some reference images. I need to break this project down into manageable chunks.
First off I created a rudimentary block out of the building, this would be where I spend most of my time figuring out the scale of the room. To help me I exported the mannequin from UE4, and used this mesh as a basis for proportion. Here are some development shots of my block out production. I would flick from 3DS Max and UE4 checking the scale throughout the time I build it in max. Slide through below!
Essentially in the next three months, I will create a fully enclosed 3D game environment for Unreal Engine 4. My project will be loosely based on a room in the grand Kinlochmoidart house.
There is a walk-through of the mansion HERE
The room consists on the entrances hallway, a large front room, a side room, a staircase and if I have time, I will do a singular room upstairs. Note - none of this is disconnected by any doors.
I chose this building because I like the interesting layout of the room, and the Georgian themes. There is also a lot of refference available to me online. Although I will be using the layout, my project will differ as I want it to be run down and worn, almost abandoned.
Hi everyone! My name is Zack, I am a games art student at Teesside university in my third year. I specialize in 3D environments for games and currently I'm starting my final year project, where I get near complete freedom on what to spend the next 13-15 weeks creating!
I'm writing this weekly blog to invite you along on this final year project, sharing with you my weekly progress. You will get a sneak peak into my production process, and see my methodology behind the choices I make. I'm sure I will come across many problems and I may not be able to solve them all, but I will hit that level of industry quality one way or another in these coming months.