[UE4 Environment] " Research Lab Sector 03 "

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Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 2
Hey guys,

I've had so much time at work recently to do what I want... so I'm hoping I'm not coming across as someone who's just starting multiple projects and not finishing anything.. I'm actually far from that (Y) My other projects are all in the texturing phase which requires the use of Substance which I don't have at work... so this spare time at work is predominately spent modelling things :)

So here I am with another project... this time something in a bigger scale, an entire environment piece.

I've selected this concept painted by talented artist Sung Choi, I'll be building this in 3dsmax, baked and textured in Substance Painter/Designer and final delivery will be in Unreal Engine 4.

So far I've gone by what the concept looks like but I will be implementing finer details with reference material / self redesigning after the general blocking phase is done.

So I've had a lot of conflict inside my head recently... as to which pipeline to go about for building these buildings... My gut feeling has told me to just model the buildings in full detail / smoothed edges etc... and bake them down into a low poly... and go about it that way. However I've been thinking about just building the low-poly and then generating the additional panel detail in nDo or building them in Substance Designer.

Would building everything in subdivision modelling and then baking them be a waste of time? Would anyone actually care? Advice needed.

C&C Welcome.


Block out / minor modelling.


Original Concept by Sung Choi

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  • Count Vader
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    Count Vader polycounter lvl 5
    I would say unique UV's for a structure of this scale would be a waste of time/texture memory. Go with detailed geo, and then tiling textures. If you wanna do smooth edges, you can just chamfer them on the in-game Geo.
  • Kid.in.the.Dark
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    Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 2
    @Count Vader 
    Thank you for that input :) ... I guess I'll go about it that way then haha
  • Dethling
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    Dethling polycounter lvl 6
    If you like you can also add unique (aka not tiling) details (like writings etc.) as floaters with their own texture.
    I think they did something like this in Evolve (remember an post here about how they approach their building).
  • Count Vader
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    Count Vader polycounter lvl 5
    Ah yes! If you wanna go down the whole floater rabbithole, there's a great thread about it over at technical talk http://polycount.com/discussion/155894/decal-technique-from-star-citizen/p1
    gl hf

  • StevenTB
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    StevenTB polycounter lvl 3
    The concept piece there instantly reminded me of a tutorial series by FuturePoly. I will link to the playlist, but you should check out the last video in particular, where he uses some modular, highpoly baked pieces to augment the base model.

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLhn8HxtWs4QhSylHQsVDtMNTgQfBQxPO0
  • Kid.in.the.Dark
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    Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 2
    Thanks for all the information guys!

    I've just read through the star citizen thread and also watched the tutorials as well... I've got a much better insight on how to go about this however.. I must say I do feel like doing it this way feels extremely messy (I've got quite a bit of OCD) when it comes to keeping my models clean xD... but I'll do what I can... so from this stage onwards I'm just going to focus on hard modeling and probably just give up on the idea of unique baked geometry unless it's considered a prop/asset like those containers, railings, etc... but on the larger buildings it'll be solid detailed geometry with tiling textures like Vader mentioned before hehe :)

    Thanks a bunch everyone! :D
  • Kid.in.the.Dark
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    Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 2
    So this was what I was able to blockout today... I'll be getting back on this tomorrow for sure :) ... if I don't have anything to do at work again that is haha...

    C&C Welcome... are there any forms not right? or proportions are horribly wrong?
    Maybe something in the concept doesn't actually work itself either? I'm happy to hear what people's takes are :)

    Ciao.


  • Count Vader
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    Count Vader polycounter lvl 5
    Looks fine to me, I dunno how much of the scene  you are going to encompass in your final level, but I recommend blocking the whole thing out at once, establishing a relationship between ALL of the forms is the best thing for getting the proportions down.
  • Kid.in.the.Dark
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    Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 2
    Well, I'm planning to get this greybox mesh into UE4 later tonight after work to check scale and how it looks in-engine to make additional tweaks in that aspect. In terms of how far I'm looking to build this level? Ideally For the time being I've placed this environment blockout to the camera for the aid of scale/proportions from the concept.
    However once the blockout of the main structure is complete and polished the rest of the level/environment I won't be matching accurately to the concept art's composition and layout etc but I'll be taking all the elements from this concept and building them back together in a layout that's kind of similar but not position for position.

    The facilities in the background I plan on reusing the parts from the main building to build a variation to save time but I'll see what happens when I come closer to it, since they're not the focal point they're not as important.

    The thing I'm worried about most is building that big ass tree in the background haha... anyone got any suggestions on how I should approach that in future? I'm thinking perhaps building a bunch of it with actual low-res geometry for the base aided with strips of alphas where necessary and leaves being done the same way you'd do any other tree as well.
  • Kid.in.the.Dark
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    Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 2
    What I have today.. I would say this is good enough to throw into UE4 for a rough idea on how the scale will be now.. so I'll be giving that a try when I get home later tonight.
    If there are any major issues in the proportions at this point then please mention :)

    C&C Welcome.


  • Kid.in.the.Dark
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    Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 2
    So unfortunately my free time at the studio has come to an end so my only time to work on my personal work is restricted back to my after work hours and lunch periods (as it should be any way). Here is what I've been working on for the last week or so...

    I haven't really touched Substance Designer 5 at all to be honest so these are my first 3 attempts at using it...
    Ideally the main nodes I'm using to drive my details are tile samplers with displacement maps I've baked in Zbrush for the Grass & moss substances which are colour masked by clouds > histogram scans for positioning.
    As for the sci-fi panel substance I built a custom layering bevel node which I followed from Victor Kam's tutorial and utilized it as the core to the layering of details on that substance.

    So the substances I've created so far are what I'll be using for the main details on this environment... I've still got some others to build e.g. Concrete Floor/Walls, Rusty Pipes, Alternate Sci-Fi Panels Variation, Clean Metal (w/ Exposed Damage Function) and so on...

    Which reminds me, the dirt/moss on the sci-fi panels are also going to be exposed features on my final export, also the same with the density of grass on the patchy grass substance.

    C&C is always welcome.. any tips on obtaining better quality substances are also very welcome...




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