ArenaNet Environment Art Test




Hi everyone. Since the ArenaNet environment art test came out about a week and a half ago I've been working on it whenever I've had time outside of school. I've got some fairly rough WIP screenshots and textures to show. From here I need to do a lot of refinement and polish.

Here's the house in UDK with higher resolution textures that I intend to size down in the future:






When I get the chance tomorrow I want to do some paintovers of these renders to start planning some fixes. Among the things on the list to fix:

-Color refinement across the whole house
-Roof shingle tiling
-Extra hanging shingles for sillouette
-Extra foliage
-Window specularity
-Extra rock bricks for sillouette
-A light grunge pass overall

Here are a couple of my textures rendered out in Marmoset. Once again, these are the high res textures that I'll size down for the texture limit:






I'll do my best to post updates as I finish things. Wish me luck!


  • AlexCatMasterSupreme
  • artquest
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    artquest polycounter lvl 7
    Looking good so far! I just wanted to say that your textures look sooo much better displayed in marmoset, do you plan to tweak the scene in UDK? I don't think your current images do your work justice. I'd love to see it really shine in UDK though. I'm lookin' forward to seeing the finalized piece.

    Keep up the good work! :D
  • stoofoo
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    stoofoo polycounter lvl 12
    Do not submit as is! Your list of things "to do " is on the money. Make sure you get a little stucco wear and tear too. Right now the asset looks hella flat but the materials are looking alright in marmoset. Why are you authoring in marmoset or even displaying there when you are using UDK? They do not deal at all the same way with specular. Author for your final, not for pretties in the middle!
  • neilberard
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    neilberard polycounter lvl 10
    I totally agree with stoofoo. Also, I would suggest using a lens of 50mm or above in your settings. Right now it looks like you are using a 35mm camera lens and it's a causing a lot of perspective distortion in your render.
  • AlexCatMasterSupreme
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    AlexCatMasterSupreme polycounter lvl 5
    stoofoo wrote: »
    Do not submit as is! Your list of things "to do " is on the money. Make sure you get a little stucco wear and tear too. Right now the asset looks hella flat but the materials are looking alright in marmoset. Why are you authoring in marmoset or even displaying there when you are using UDK? They do not deal at all the same way with specular. Author for your final, not for pretties in the middle!

  • m4dcow
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    m4dcow polycounter lvl 7
    I mentioned this in another one of these threads, but the Arenanet posts are supposed to be in the Contests & Challenges section of the forum. Personally I don't care if one or 2 are out of place, but when everyone else starts posting there is a good chance most will want to put their threads in P&P for the added exposure and what not.
  • AlexCatMasterSupreme
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    AlexCatMasterSupreme polycounter lvl 5
    m4dcow wrote: »
    I mentioned this in another one of these threads, but the Arenanet posts are supposed to be in the Contests & Challenges section of the forum. Personally I don't care if one or 2 are out of place, but when everyone else starts posting there is a good chance most will want to put their threads in P&P for the added exposure and what not.

    Or for critque....
  • brandonorden
    Thanks for the feedback everyone. I am pretty aware that the way it looks in UDK right now is fairly rough and can use a lot of work.

    @AlexCat: I've still got a ways to go for this test, so I'm by no means done at this point.

    @stoofoo: You bring up a good point. My intention of rendering my textures in Marmoset was merely to show off my work in progress, rather than using it as a working rendering area for my textures. I think I'll take your advice and save further marmoset rendering for some of the final presentation of the assets.

    @m4dcow: Oh whoops, sorry. You'll have to forgive me, I didn't know there was a contests forum. Is there a way I can get this thread moved to there?

    I did a quick paintover to play with some of the asset colors and to plan out some additional elements. Here's a before/after shot:



    I think the next step will be to adjust the texture colors I have now and get the materials to look better in the engine. Then I'll get to work on adding extra elements with the textures I already have, so like the extra shingles and stones. After that I'll likely be on foliage duty.

    Any more feedback is welcomed!
  • Rhoutermans
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    Rhoutermans polycounter lvl 7
    I like the color pallete you chose :) The stone looks nice too.

    But I think the moss is looking a bit stretched/blended on the roof/stone tiles. Ur roof tiles are not really visible anymore at this point, make them a bit bigger perhaps too.

    a missing stone here and there would be sweet too, like in front of the door (on the floor) too.

    Keep it up :)
  • AlexCatMasterSupreme
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    AlexCatMasterSupreme polycounter lvl 5
    I said to finish it cause I want to win.
  • Jason Young
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    Jason Young polycounter lvl 8
    I said to finish it cause I want to win.

    Dude, this is the 2nd ANet thread you've told someone to just submit what they've got or not change a thing. Being a shithead isn't going to help your chances at landing an internship. Try being helpful and go post some art.

    To the OP, roof tiles are looking low contrast compared to the others. Paintover looks like a good direction!
  • iniside
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    iniside polycounter lvl 6
    The Green moss on roof have no history/placment it look like splashed blob. Moss will cover roof from top to bottom, accumulating where tiles meet with each other.
  • PontusP
    Not sure if this was mentioned, but it looks like you need to invert the green channel of your normal maps. That should make it look much better inside UDK. Other than that I like where you're going with that paintover!
  • Prtofdacrowd
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    Prtofdacrowd polycounter lvl 5
    Looking good so far, but theres a lot to do, you get some vertex painting in there to break up the tiling brick and roof tiles, definitely add those roof tiles and brick outside of the silhouette to make it more interesting and break up the straight lines.

    I would also totally revisit all the spec maps, you need to consider the material and its specular properties, theres a few good resources out there! but that will really make your asset better.

    Id also only place one of the tattered flags on the side of the house, as this makes for a more interesting piece, and breaks up some of the symmetry on that roof.

    @AlexCatMasterSupreme - instead of trying to sabotage the competition, although I believe it was all in good fun, you should be all seek and destroy on all the art test threads, cause typically they will also benefit your asset greatly or you may learn something, which is everyones goal

    Good Luck to both of you!
  • romy
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    romy polycounter lvl 6
    PontusP wrote: »
    Not sure if this was mentioned, but it looks like you need to invert the green channel of your normal maps. That should make it look much better inside UDK. Other than that I like where you're going with that paintover!

    +1, it's really visible on your stonewall =)
  • brandonorden
    Thanks for all the crit and advice everyone.

    @PontusP/Romy: Good catch, I switched that right away.

    I wanted to quickly post some progress since my last post. I got some first pass foliage in there along with some other fixes and thought it was a good time to post some more screens:





    I'm currently working on a little more foliage variety, like flowers and different bushes. I know there's still some grunge that can go in some places, I think the plaster/wood/roof all look a little too clean. I'll keep chugging as fast as I can.
  • brandonorden
    Sorry for the quick bump, but I just about finished modeling all of the elements I planned for and wanted to post for feedback on those. Working on a material/texture pass right now.

    Here's where I'm at:




  • Marchwarden
    Hey man. Way to sell that stone wall, holy crap it looks nice. Those polies for the stones are well spent.

    So a note on the moss: I'm not sure if I buy it because it's so sparse and kind of thrown around. Check out this moss:
    This moss tells a story and looks really interesting. You can see how the water runoff affected where and how the moss grew. It's a lot thicker near the bottom and in the corners, and doesn't grow near the peak. It will also be thicker in the parts of the roof that get a lot of shade. Your building likely isn't in the middle of the forest, so I wouldn't exaggerate it that much.

    The vine hanging from the roof post is very nice for silhouette but doesn't make sense at the moment. You'll want to very clearly show it growing up the wall and then hanging off the post.

    Another big thing is you'll want to decide exactly how weathered and in disrepair this house really is. I'm imagining you're going for a house that's inviting but is old and has a lot of character because of it. The stones sell that perfectly. The tattered flag on the other hand is really making the place seem uninviting or even abandoned. The flag is still a strong element, but I suggest making it significantly less tattered.

    On a related note the wood looks too new and isn't matching the wear on the rest of the house. It could use some desaturation/variance. Also really play up the wear on the corners and make them a lighter brown; that makes it more interesting and will sell the form as the corners turn.

    The door on the other hand works, even though it also looks new and freshly painted. I think that's fine because I imagine someone living there would more easily keep that painted and inviting than the rest of the house.

    Maybe play up the presence of the windows, they're all really hard to spot in the dark shadows. I'm kind of curious how it would look if there were a window on the front facade (I noticed there aren't any at all. Just an idea).

    Also I would barely have known that chimney pipe existed if I hadn't seen the concept. It's a nice element that's getting lost, so play it up. Make it bigger/more prominent, maybe even copy pasta it onto the main roof to add some more silhouette. *Alternatively* you can axe it all together and use that free texture space for other things.

    All that said it's looking really strong. The important part will be getting it into a setting and making a great composition. Keep it up!
  • AimBiZ
    Nice progress so far. The curvy metal things on the door looks cartoony compared to the rest. Might wanna make them thinner to match the scale.
  • Marchwarden
    The color/value variance on the roof tiles is looking really cloudy, I'd like to see more definition.
  • ZacD
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    ZacD greentooth
    SOOO much better. The back wall is a bit boring right now though. And the glass material could be made more interesting.
  • ablaine
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    ablaine polygon
    Really loving what you've done with the stone bricks on that front section. Looks awesome. :)
  • Marchwarden
    Have you considered using the lattice tool on there to taper the walls a bit? It could help the silhouette because right now the walls are very straight and parallel. I know ArenaNet likes to get that exaggeration in there. It would cost some polies to get the wood curving nicely but it seems worth it.
  • brandonorden
    @Marchwarden: Thanks for the great and thorough crit! You brought up a lot of good points. On this pass I've addressed most of your notes. I'd like for the house to be weathered, but not too much. I'm aiming for it to look kind of cozy and whimsical, rather than totally desaturated and gloomy.

    @Aimbiz: I'll consider modifying the bars on the door later, to me I'm somewhat on the fence about it. Thanks for the suggestion!

    @ablaine: Thanks! :)

    @ZacD: I could work on a paintover of the back wall. At this point, I've got a couple dozen polys to spare to add more elements. The windows are still WIP too, I'm trying to think of the best way to tackle those. Thanks for stopping by!

    Okay, so here's another round of renders from UDK, some lit from the front, some from the back:






    Most of the work has been texturing, but here some of the main fixes:

    -Worn down wood
    -Increased contrast on roofing
    -Adjusted moss painting
    -Redid/repositioned chimney
    -Window material experimentation
    -Baked down textures to actual submission size

    That's all I have for now. The biggest thing I'm unhappy with is the windows, which I'm still tweaking with. I gave a shot using an emissive map for the windows so they could self illuminate, like it's being lit from inside. I'm not totally in love with it but I'll keep trying things. If anyone has any suggestions for the windows I'd be thankful for help.

    I also want to get this house in an environment soon, using textures not in the two 1024 limit. I'll get to work on a paintover/planning for extra fixes as well as planning for what environment I want to get this in.

    Stay tuned for more!
  • futurepoly
    Hey Brandon, this is looking great! I'm glad you've pushed it further, all the latest changes have helped immensely!

    good luck :)
  • ZacD
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    ZacD greentooth
    The edge highlights on the wood beams are too light now, tone them down.
  • Mazher
    This is looking pretty solid. I feel like in GW2 the man made elements tend to be a bit less saturated in their structure, with the natural elements having the lion's share of it. In your case, I would tone down the saturation of the wood (look at screenshots of the buildings in queensdale) and maybe even the roof. I think the contrast is nice, just tone down the saturation. Then maybe pull some of the yellow out of the grass/ivy and leave those a nice green.

    I also agree with ZacD about the edge highlights on the wood. Dont really see a lot of that in the game which was probably a mix of style choice and using tiles.
  • brandonorden
    @Marchwarden: I saw your post after I posted last week. I did like the idea of tapering the building, but I didn't have enough in my poly budget to get curvy wood going. So I settled for the middleground and just tapered the house with the polys I have on the wood now. Thanks for the tip!

    @futurepoly: Thanks! :) It's good to know I'm on the right track.

    @ZacD: Thanks! I've fixed that on this pass.

    @Mazher: Thank you! Especially for the color feedback. It's the kind of help I'm always welcome to. I've been looking through screens of GW2 for further direction and it's been fairly helpful.

    Okay, with only a few weeks left in this art test, I've decided that I want to submit at least a week early before the deadline, which means I'm planning on shipping this on the first weekend during November. At this point, I've got some more renders to show.

    I received a great suggestion from a friend of mine which led me to create modular houses from the textures I've already created from the main house. After building a few houses, I built out a little mock scene around the main house. I also re-purposed some foliage and ground textures from a previous project to fill in the environment.

    Here are the latest shots:






    The main changes from last week:
    -Desaturated some elements
    -Added grass edges on top of house rocks
    -Built scene and tweaked colors through Photoshop color picking
    -Adjusted window emissive color
    -Tapered building

    The next step is to work on polish all around, though I'll want to focus specifically on the house since that's the important thing here. I'll put these renders in Photoshop and try to make adjustments there to get some direction.

    With the way school is going I probably won't be able to get to this until the weekend again. If all goes as planned, I'll submit my test this coming weekend, at which point I'll post breakdowns for my textures and sculpts I did for those textures.

    Wish me luck!
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    GOBEE polycounter lvl 10
    Hey Brandon,

    This looks really good man. I like the buildings you threw in. Brings it all together. I can tell you've worked really hard on this. Not sure if you are aware or not, but the environment test is done. It's cancelled. From what I've read on other posts. Check for the post here on polycount and their website. No explanation so far why it's been cancelled but I assume the internship has been filled.

    But if you're like me, you'll say screw it and send it in anyway. I hope you do because this is pretty polished. Good luck man!
  • Pinuja
    I'm not an environment guy, but this made me want to become one :D
  • d1ver
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    d1ver polycounter lvl 9
    Nice work, son :)
    Right now I'd worry about the space around the house which seem pretty illogical - just a patch of grass in the middle of the town. Fix it up with a little pavement leading up to the house and maybe some props since you're so bent on overdelivering(which is nothing but a good thing).

    Now I'm not a big fan of he buildings in the back, they are a good filler but they don't hold up when you actually start looking at them and their composition feels pretty random. So I'd probably throw in a little depth of field to direct your viewers eyes where they need to go and prevent them from going where they shouldn't.

    Anyway, lovely work Brandon and if it were up to me I'd give you a shot with an internship.

    And if it's really canceled don't get discouraged - it's still a nice piece.
  • brandonorden
    Aw, man. I heard the news. That's unfortunate.

    Well, there's no point in throwing away all this work I've done. Might as well finish it right?

    @GOBEE: Thanks for telling me the news. Also, thanks for the complements!

    @Pinuja: Haha! I guess I should be happy I might've managed to turn someone into an environment artist. Thanks for dropping by!

    @d1ver: I'm glad for your feedback. On this final pass I addressed some of your notes. With the time I have with school on my plate I couldn't go overboard with additional props, but I at least tweaked the depth of field and modified a few other things. Above all, thanks for your post! I'm happy you think I'm worthy of an internship.

    So I think this is where I'll leave this finished for now. Here are the newest shots:






    I added a few fence props to make the grassy area around the house seem more like someone's yard, like they own that lot. I also added some rock bricks to the dirt path leading to the house, and I kicked up the depth of field just a bit more.

    There might be some other adjustments to this for portfolio purposes, but I think I'm calling it done here.

    Without further ado, here's some breakdowns for my textures and the model:











    A big thank you again to everyone that's helped me with this project. You guys all rock. :)
  • d1ver
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    d1ver polycounter lvl 9
  • nedwork
  • Marchwarden
    Awesome job dude, glad you finished it up, sucks that they cancelled the test... You totally had a shot at it.
  • LuCh!
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    LuCh! polycounter lvl 5
    nice work!
    you improved on all the comments I was thinking off from the first version you posted,

    although, I have a comment on the final presentation,
    your building isn't blending in with the rest,
    your's is looking al bueatifull and curvy and the rest are just blocks and a flat ground,
    so build a little town around it with the same design as your little house,
    or ditch the town altogether and place it on a nice hill side (non flat ground) with some nice trees or something
    do you understand what I'm saying?
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