Skyrim Alchemy Table progress thread

greentooth
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Ashervisalis greentooth
I've decided to start doing video game props from my favourite concept artists. First one is the alchemy table from Skyrim, by Ray Lederer as seen here:
https://www.artstation.com/artwork/e0o8D
Constructive criticism would be more than appreciated!

The first piece I've done for it is the medieval microscope furthest from the view (thought it was the coolest thing in the image). Since it's a small part of the scene, I've tried to keep it somewhat low poly. This is 712 tris and 512 maps.

https://sketchfab.com/models/abd14dedf82a4067a64a95de0fa35945 model

I've been chipping away at the table but got stuck figuring out how to do the carved lines in the table. I'll be focusing on that and creating an alpha in Photoshop, then using it in ZBrush. I've got a bunch of the bottles made, but I'm a little weary at their polycount, as they're going to need an inside for the refraction of the glass. If I'm correct, the glass material will need to be created inside the engine. It'll be my first time using an engine for rendering, so will be a learning experience!

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  • Twister3
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    Twister3 polycounter lvl 6
    Ashervisalis said:
    I've been chipping away at the table but got stuck figuring out how to do the carved lines in the table. I'll be focusing on that and creating an alpha in Photoshop, then using it in ZBrush. I've got a bunch of the bottles made, but I'm a little weary at their polycount, as they're going to need an inside for the refraction of the glass. If I'm correct, the glass material will need to be created inside the engine. It'll be my first time using an engine for rendering, so will be a learning experience
    Yes, that's how I would go about the table as well. Create a stamp in Photoshop and create an indent in Zbrush. I would probably create a unique texture for the tabletop, rather than using tileable textures.
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis greentooth
    @Twister3 I really need to get better with Photoshop! Ended up making the stamp from a high poly version. Will be making a unique texture for the entire thing.

    Made the stamp from the high poly and applied it to the table. I'll be sculpting the stone now. Only minor edge details and a few tiny cracks as I plan on doing the rest in texturing.


  • Beard3D Bandit
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    Beard3D Bandit polycounter lvl 2
    It looks nice so far, stamp looks good too! The high poly should look extra nice once you start sculpting. Are you texturing purely in Photoshop? I mean you're not using substance painter or anything?

    -beardy

  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis greentooth
    @Beard3D Bandit Thanks man! I've actually been redoing the stamp. The bowls in the table were far too deep and the edges were too sharp when compared with the concept art. I've recently given it a larger bevel for the edge, and spent some time learning how to make the stamp in Photoshop properly (actually took a few hours for me to get the stamp the way I want it). Regarding texturing, I try and do most of it in Substance. Haven't been using if for very long though, so I'm not very good with it. I was never a huge fan of using Photoshop 3D though.
  • Beard3D Bandit
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    Beard3D Bandit polycounter lvl 2
    @Ashervisalis Yeahh, it's kinda difficult to read the bottom part of the concept, to see how thick the edges are. but it seems to be made of the same material as the top, so It would make sense to have the edges a similar thickness etc. I can imagine this thing being HEAVY so logistically, it would be difficult to move about, so a lot of wearing (scratches, chips etc) along the base would be something you would usually do in ZBrush etc

    When you say stamp, is it an alpha you're making? Also, look into using emissive maps. I'm guessing if you're presenting this prop for portfolio, it can be boring to have assets artificially lit. So perhaps the volatility of the potions could result in some of them glowing. It could add that extra SHAZAM :) 

    Proportions look okay though dude, there are tiny differences in size, but there's no problem putting your own spin on it. 

    Nice soundcloud link. will be checking them out tonight

    -beardy
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis greentooth
    @Beard3D Bandit Will do with the emissive maps. The bottles all have a separate mesh inside them which will be the liquid, I'll add a glowing material to those too. Thanks!!

    Finally getting back into things. High poly table sculpt done! For the stone table, I decided not to weather it too much. I love weathering objects a lot, but I wanted this table to be relatively new. The high poly for the oven is done, I need retopogize the table, to bake the maps, then texture! Main question I'd have; The 3 outer bowls, could I use a normal/height map for those (to save poly count), or would it be best to build them into the mesh?



  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis greentooth
    Aaaaaaaand I'm back!!

    Added some medium-large sized detail in the stone table. Finished the sculpt, retopo'd and then ran into my biggest enemy: baking. Holy cow. That was two weeks of hell. Still learned a ton. Ended up exploding the mesh because Substance's match by mesh name was giving me black maps.

    Made a stone texture in Designer, but the texture seems to hide a lot of the details I put into the sculpt. Probably because of the noise in the texture. Well, anyways, did a tiny bit of texturing on the oven and here's what I got for the beginning stages of texturing so far.

  • lloydj14
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    lloydj14 polycounter lvl 4
    You have already highlighted what I was going to say which is that a lot of your sculpted detail has been lost and leaves it feeling a little flat. The colour feels about right and I like the angle that you have set this up casts some nice shadows across the table. Looking like it could be a nice little project once finished.
  • Beard3D Bandit
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    Beard3D Bandit polycounter lvl 2
    It's strange how you've lost some of the sculpted details. don't be afraid to look for free alphas and use them for some cracks and chips. if you're using zbrush, check the chips you're making in different matcaps, as some matcaps exaggerate the details. 

    Are you using substance painter to texture or photoshop? If you're using substance painter, using smart materials will make those chips, cracks etc pop more. 

    peace,
    beardy
  • shabba
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    shabba polycounter lvl 9
    Good progress, I would add some more subdivisions into the silhouette of the table, it needs more polys to remove the jagged shapes. Also maybe consider removing the orange/red flame aspect of the burner texture, and make the space inside hollow geo, and use light / fx for that effect. Lastly, I would expect that those grooves would be caked with nasty stuff, staining, etc after decades of use.
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis greentooth
    Thanks guys!
    @Beard3D Bandit Yeah I always forget to check different matcaps. It could have been an issue that I didn't make all the grooves deep enough. I'm using Substance Designer/Painter. How would a smart material make the chips pop out more?
    @shabba Will remove the flame and add all the nasty stuff! The table, oven, and glass is reaching almost 10k polys now, so I was a bit weary of adding more polys to the table. Would you still advise of adding more when it's this high already?
  • Beard3D Bandit
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    Beard3D Bandit polycounter lvl 2
    perhaps yeah!

    Well, if you bake this in substance painter, you're going to not only get your normals, but you'll gett he AO, the curvature maps etc. which let's smart materials go to town and use this information and provide different results. It's not just throwing a material down and calling it a day. Some smart mats will use the chips and highlight those more. 

    For e.g This is a tiling texture I'm working on. 

    I threw on a smart material to start with, it was a stylised stone smartMat. It was way too stylised for me, but it gave me a foundation of tools to tweak and add to, as it highlight the cavity and edges. I then used my height map to create a mask and used generators (Dirt) to overlay moss in the cracks (which used the baked AO)


    yellow - I used alphas in zbrush to give me a rocky surface and then used trim dynamic to give it a less procedural look. The moss found these cracks and it only goes to the crevices.

    blue - these are just bumps made by the noise generator in ZBrush. highlighted by the moss and stone smart mat.

    pink - the smaller details can be done by finding a bumpy surface and creating a levels filter (just for the height) and then tweaked it until they looked like small chips.

    When I was starting out, I would lose all my details, because I would sculpt something, then throw a material that doesnt match the sculpt normal map, and it would smooth it all out.

    Like this: 



    as you can see, I just did the sculpt, but didn't really implement it in a very good way. and it left the final result quite flat.

    I don't know if it's helped, but hope it did kinda.

    Peace,
    Beardy
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis greentooth
    @Beard3D Bandit Would I be correct in saying a substance smart material is a material with multiple graphs/layers? I'll try making my stone material into a smart material. Thanks dude!
  • Kanni3d
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    Kanni3d polycounter lvl 2
    @Ashervisalis  Never doubt in adding more geometry to bigger focuses (such as the large tabletop) to add fidelity. Right now the tables real blocky and its a main focus, so there really is no harm in adding more subdivisions in the cylindrical shape to make it rounder. If you're worried about some sort of tri-budget, cut down on some of the smaller elements.

    And yep! Smart materials is pretty much just a folder filled with layers, each with a mask that automatically apply a bunch of effects - each layer has a premade mask to analyse your baked maps to apply those layers correctly. Some Smart Materials however can be developed in Designer, so they have some parameters/graphs applied to them.
  • Ashervisalis
  • Beard3D Bandit
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    Beard3D Bandit polycounter lvl 2
    what Kanni3d said. If you don't use the smart material, you can always open it up and see how they're achieving some effects etc. 

  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis greentooth
    Added more subs to the table, looks less chunky now! I've thrown down some grime into the cracks, but still gotta do a bit more texture work with it. I've added a few things (metal holder for the beaker, cork for the hose). Took out the fire from the inside as well. Still looking into smart materials.

    Big issue I'm having right now is with Substance Painter's opacity. As you can see, it causes issues when I use opacity for the liquids due to the low poly count of the liquids. The emissive properties of the liquids don't really look that great either. Would this work better in engine...?

    I've got some props I've made so far, and have to create a buncha sick bottles to hold magic potions, poisons and such. I think I'll make some wax candles and have the whole thing partially lit by those.

    Let me know what you guys think.

  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis greentooth
    Here's the completed table. I'll be combing Substance Painter maps now, creating some bottles, and bringing it into Unreal for some lighting and rendering. I've got those other props I made for this too, should be really interesting to the eye when its done.

  • Tetranome
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    Tetranome polycounter lvl 4
    Do you have a cavity map? It will help you get some more refined edge details. I would treat what you currently have as a good base, but it needs more weathering, wear & tear and general detail. Maybe a chemical has stained part of the table. Perhaps there are little droplets of a recently made potion. Did someone get angsty whilst crafting and scratch at the surface?

    Also those vials need more vertical loops. Way too much faceting.

    Good work so far! Keep going :)
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis greentooth
    Thanks @Tetranome ! This render doesn't have a cavity map. Is it weird that Substance doesn't have an option to bake cavity maps? I'll throw down some some more details for ya!
  • Beard3D Bandit
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    Beard3D Bandit polycounter lvl 2
    hmmm yeha, I usually bake out extra height maps and cavity maps in xnormal.


  • Kanni3d
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    Kanni3d polycounter lvl 2
    @Ashervisalis
    It's not weird that substance doesn't bake out cavity maps. It doesn't bake out convexity maps either, which is the direct opposite of cavity maps. But that's what curvature maps are for - it's both combined convex/cavity maps. 

    I feel like you should have some sort of high frequency across the entire stone table. It seems extremely 'weathered' and smooth. Put some porous, crackily detail and tile it a bunch via tri-planar projections. Could do wonders :)
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis greentooth
    I'll play around with some bumpy texture to break up the smoothness. Will see how it sits!! Could have probably added some surface noise when I was in the sculpting phase, but I wanted to make the texture in Designer.

    Decided to do some more props for the table. Started with this candle. I wanted to try making an asset in a small amount of time, because everything I make takes so damn long. It's not perfect, but it definitely looks like a candle. I'm thinking ahead and would like the scene lit by a few candles, the glow in the liquids, and an off screen torch.

    model
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis greentooth
    So this isn't a progress post. One of the biggest things slowing down my 3D is of course work. Well, on Saturday, I broke my back from snowboarding a 20 foot jump. This means I'll have maybe a month off work?

    So, besides working my ass off to get physically stronger, I'm going to use all my bed time working on 3D (as soon as I get out of the hosital).

    I'll post the video of my "sick" jump when I'm back all the my computer!
  • RyoClick
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    RyoClick Polycount Sponsor
    Good luck man, hope you get well! Nice way to turn this bad situation into a good one :smile:
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis greentooth
    @RyoClick Thanks, I'm trying to keep this positive!

    Here's what I got so far. Be easy on me because I've just started learning Unreal. There are a few issued I'm encountering;

    1) My glass material is doing weird things, mainly when I do a high res screenshot in Unreal. It looks a lot better in test game play. Now I'm getting this swirly glass.
    2) My glass is not casting shadows. I've looked around and can't find a way of forcing it to do this.
    3) My light in the oven is actually shining through the oven and making it glow red as you can see.

    On the other hand, I have applied a less weathered bump to the stone, and I have learned how to import props into engine!



  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis greentooth
    Finished  product here!! For more renders, check out my Artstation;
    https://www.artstation.com/artwork/abkBz




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