Nate AylingArtist2 months ago
See the full project uploaded here with a further breakdown: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/qA386N
The Challenge Begins!
So this is my first time here on the forums, I have checked out the video content produced by FlippedNormals for a while and saw that there was a challenge happening through Facebook. I have got a month before uni kicks off again so I thought I would give a pirate themed environment a go!
I saw the below concept image, and although it looks initially quite complex, I feel like I can do a ,lot of it in a very modular fashion and with very few materials and meshes. I will mostly focus my time on the foliage int he scene as the jungle is the bulk of the scene. I will model some palm trees, other trees and also some shrubs bushes, some flowers for colour and grass.
I will add some more piratey things too the image as well. I am thinking a small rowing boat dragged up onto the shore. The main things I want to practice and improve throughout this challenge is going to be to improve the efficiency of my foliage production pipeline. As I go it will be great to get some tips and feedback and I aim to have keep this feed updated as I go, starting with a blockout and paint over.
Good luck all and I look forward to seeing what you produce!
So as I said above the scene was pretty straight forward to begin with. I blocked out in UE4 creating the terrain relief I wanted to achieve then followed by some place holder materials (water and a basic sand material) and some blockout foliage (in this case the UE4 starter contetn bush big time scaled up) I used BSP shapes to create the rough scale of the hut and used a 75x75x180 block to give everything a decent scale reference.
I will need to straighten the beach line slightly to really achieve a decent copy of the reference.
My next big task is going to be to create my landscape material. for this I will want:
– 2 types of sand to blend between using world space texturing
– Sand with rubbish on top (fallen palm fronds and general drift wood)
– Wet Sand for the coast line (I will probably adjust an instance of the dry sand to do this adjusting the roughness and albedo channels.
– Grass material to blend into further up the beach
Its early days yet, as in its only day 1, but I feel like I am already making decent headway. As always feedback and critique are appreciated as I go and I look forward to checking out everyone’s work.
First Meshes in the Scene
So this evening I have modelled my first palm trees in Speedtree, I have used the default palm material and frond material which are pretty poor, but as a good placeholder for getting the forms of the tree they have worked well. Fixing the materials is going to be Sundays problem. Already dropping the pines in the scene is getting more tropical. I have also begun the landscape material. I have been having some issues with the tiling of the texture, but I am hoping once I start getting meshes onto the beach and some more variety in, it will break this up. Below is a screen grab of the scene so far and also the palm trees.
My next steps as touched on above will be:
– Create a better bark texture for the palms and a better frond texture
– Texture another shorter palm tree to add some more variance
– Begin modelling Larger forest tress and getting these in the scene.
Wit the larger trees in the scene, I can create the secondary and ground level foliage to fit in with the scene and not choke it out and make it too busy for the viewers eye. The foliage is going to be the biggest challenge in this scene so the man made elements will be of a secondary concern in the short term. As always love to get some feedback, especially from any Speedtree gurus out there as it’s all still quite new for me!
More Meshes and Waves
So i have continued to add some more foliage, this time I have focused more on the ground level foliage such as ferns and other small shrubs to populate some more of the scene with. I have included them below. Most of them have been manipulated photos that I have found online or scanned myself using a home scanner. Something else I have added which can be seen in the GIF below is moving waves. I am still trying to finesse the fade in and out, but I feel it adds some nice movement into the scene.
I used a series of Panner nodes in UE4 and also a sine for opactiy so that the waves would periodically phase in and out. To draw them along the coast line I created a custom Spline Blueprint to allow me to draw them in across several layers of the ocean to achieve the feeling of overlapping waves. My current progres ont he scene and some close ups of the foliage are below:
Next steps for me are grass, some reworking of some of the foliage meshes and then its on to getting the cabin modelled and textures. I will want to keep it as modular as possible to allow me to add in more cabins if I get the chance.
Always happy for feedback and crits!
Final Foliage Stage
So I have now got all of the foliage I want in the scene, I modelled a single larger jungle tree. I have instanced it using the foliage painter and have adjusted the size, orientation and hue of the leaves based on world position. This has meant that I can add a lot of variety with a few meshes, I also modelled a smaller tree and some grass. The last thing I have done is reworked the ground material to make it less grassy and green and more brown like a forest floor would be in real life. Coupled with a few lighting tweaks it is now on to the cabin and other much more piratey elements of the scene.
Its going to be good fun doing some more traditional modelling rather than scene composition and there should be more to come tomorrow. As alwyas love to know what you think and enjoying seeing what everyone is submitting!
Building the Shack
So I created the shack using some simple modular assets. This gives me a good degree of control if I want to change up the design of the shack on the fly. I created a floor tile, a wall mesh, a window mesh, a door mesh and a roof mesh. I then authored the texture in photoshop and added it to the scene. I will now be moving on to dress the scene and give it more of a life and story, after receiving some feedback, I have also pulled in the camera somewhat to better focus on the cabin and what will be surrounding it. My initial thoughts are to get a hammock attached to some of the palm trees with a few bottles around it, some smuggled or stolen crates of cargo and a row boat on the beach that the smuggler would use to load and unload cargo from bigger ships. i am very happy with the progress I am making on the scene and the speed with which it is coming together.
I will also break up the sand texture a bit more with some beach trash, some footprint decals and some wet sand by the shoreline.
Morten JaegerWizard @ FlippedNormals2 months ago
Welcome to the forum, and best of luck in the challenge!
Love where this is going. I’m excited to see where this will end up 🙂
Thanks, it’s been going well, glad you like it! Not long now to get it finished…
Adding the Story
So I have been working on some of the smaller props in the scene and have begun dressing it. Since my last update, I have been busy at Gamescom working so haven’t had a great deal of time to update things, but I have been in the Polygon Zone today! Below is the wide angle of the shot and a few close ups I have been working on to get some good angles on the details.
Below are the props I have been working on, something else I have implemented, as can be seen in the close ups, is Distance Field Blending. This means that I can place props on the beach and give a softer blend between them and the landscape. This helps anchor the assets in the scene and makes things blend in more naturally.
BrynethPaltrowArtist1 month ago
Nice work buddy! You have got a really nice sense of scale and it’s very accurate to the reference image. I reckon a focal point on the shack could work really well, maybe a little bit of story telling like a sign or a big shark hanging up, maybe. Something to draw the eye. I can’t wait to see how this scene progresses 🙂
Hanging shark :p
Thanks for the feedback, I am currently trying to make the shack the focal point of the scene alongside the surrounding beach. I am trying to sell it more as a smugglers hide out rather than a fishery and I don’t think my skills quite extend that far with organic modelling. Having a shark hanging outside would be dope, I might get some fish hanging on a wrak hanging out to dry, that might be a tad more achievable with the time I have left. And like you said, that might tell a better story than just a shack on a beach 🙂
A Boat Load of New Props
So I have worked a bit more over the weekend on the project, I am getting ready to take a final pass now to iron out the kinks (mainly the sand) and add any little details to the scene to just help bring it further to life. The main assets I have modelled since my last update are: a fire pit, a row boat, branches and sticks to scatter on the beach. The updated scene can be scene below alongside an updated asset zoo.
The final assets I want to add to the scene before I go into full tweak mode are:
– Rum bottles and other living junk to scatter around
– A 4th and 5th variety of cargo to avoid over use of the current assets.
– Fish on a line
I will be submitting this project early (this coming Sunday) unfortunately after this point I will be away until the 8th so I am going to miss 5 days for the project hand in, but at this rate, I am confident I will get things finished and portfolio ready by then. Thanks to Bryneth Paltrow for the feedback and some tasty fishy inspiration. Loving how some the other projects are coming along and look forward to seeing them finished!
So it’s been a crazy week so I haven’t had the time to add as many of the assets in the list above as I wanted/ I managed to include another crate and some bottles and I have also fixed the sand texture to get a better colour grading and to remove most of the tiling. I have also grabbed a few different screenshots fromt hsoe seen above. Below are the final shots I want to include in the comeptition.
You can also check out a more detailed breakdown of some of the assets on ArtStation here: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/qA386N
Morten JaegerWizard @ FlippedNormals1 month ago
Nice one, turned out really well!
Still a week left if you feel like adding more assets, ha 😉
It’s turned out well happy with it 🙂
I would loved to have kept going on it for the next week, but I’m away in Berlin with work and I don’t think I’ll be able to get my desktop on the plane with me ;).
Just got to hope I’ve done enough, there’s some really great work on the forum.
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