Monthly Environment Art Challenge - September & October 2017 (50)

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polycounter lvl 8
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kadeschui polycounter lvl 8
Hello everyone and welcome to the Monthly Environment & Prop Challenge #50!

Dare I say last round was our biggest turn out ever? Incredible work by all - as always special thanks to everyone who participated in the voting process this time. 

Remember if you don't finish in the time allotted, just keep plugging away and post when your work is finished. There's always some good progress that falls off the radar - we want to see your work! So keep going and finish those pieces!

 Without further ado, here are our options for Challenge 50!


HARD SURFACE CATEGORY:

Artist: Waldemar-Kazak

HAND PAINTED CATEGORY:

Artist: nunchakus chen


HAND PAINTED CATEGORY:
 
wildstar concept

HARD SURFACE CATEGORY:


Artist: olabooku yu

If you want to change up either concept a bit, as some people wanted, then feel free. Interpret these concepts to your liking.


Please read all the rules before starting.

When you are just starting out making a scene, it can seem complicated or imposing, so take the time to break it down. 

Think about how you can re-use assets, re-use textures, break it down as simple as possible and plan it out. A lot of people will break it down in their own way when they start out their challenge. Gather some reference images as well for different parts of the scene, maybe gather some refs and make it your own.

Take your time planning and blocking out, it will set you up for success later on.

Here are some specifics.
  • Try to post one critique for every post that you make. This will make for a better learning environment and help us all grow as artists.
  • You must use a game engine to present your work. Unreal Engine and CryEngine are very common engines that can be used but feel free to use any alternatives that you want. (Marmoset Toolbag is allowed as well)
  • You must try your best and finish as much as you can in the time frame provided.
  • Post what you are working on in this thread so that way it's a more centralized place for advice and critique. We don't need to have 1000 disjointed threads littering the forums. 
  • I would strongly encourage you to go and look at other games and see how they make their assets as well   as get concept art to give it your own feel, but it must stay very close to the concept, if not super close. 
Well, that's about it. If you think that any rules should be changed, or there should be new additions to the rules, please let me know. As always, please feel free to provide feedback / suggestions in this thread or by messaging me directly.

All that matters is that you learn while being able to effectively critique others, as well as accept critiques on your own work. Remember to have fun. Cheers!

Replies

  • Dreyzie
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    Dreyzie triangle
    I'm excited to give the factory environment a shot. This will be my first time starting one of these challenges, so it'll be an interesting experience.  :)
  • Larry
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    Larry polygon
    That is a lot of hard surface...! Gonna pick the house this time, it seems quite difficult with all the rock sculpting and this huge tree... I hope i have time to finish!

    Notice: Did the artist in the factory spell "MAHT" wrong? Isn't it "arbeit macht frei?" meaning "working for free"?
  • jewski-bot
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    jewski-bot polycounter lvl 3
    Like last time, I'm going to enter for the Hard Surface Prop category.  Depending on how quickly I knock them out, I might then go for the Hand painted prop.
  • Toku
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    Toku polycounter lvl 4
    Going to do the props this time round, Just relocated for a new job so I cant risk doing a full-blown env :<
  • Dethling
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    Dethling polycounter lvl 6
    @Larry: Yeah there is a "c" missing. "Arbeit macht frei" was the phrase which was written about the gates of german concentration camps (e.g. Auschwitz) during WW2. The correct translation would be something like "work set you free".

     @Topic: nice concepts, not sure  about the factory (due to it's history origin) but maybe I will give the closet a try (would be a difference to the usual realistic hard surface stuff).
  • kwagner
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    kwagner triangle
    I might attempt the hand painted prop. Still trying to finish last month's environment but getting a prop into my portfolio would be nice!
  • Finnn
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    Finnn triangle
    Dethling said:
    @Larry: Yeah there is a "c" missing. "Arbeit macht frei" was the phrase which was written about the gates of german concentration camps (e.g. Auschwitz) during WW2. The correct translation would be something like "work set you free".

     @Topic: nice concepts, not sure  about the factory (due to it's history origin) but maybe I will give the closet a try (would be a difference to the usual realistic hard surface stuff).
    Was about to say that the phrase means 'work sets you free', which isnt meant in any positve way obviously. It was actually used before ww2, because KZ's were employed already at 1933.
    Anyway, I feel a little upset about this part of the concept. I am from germany, maybe I have a different connection to it.
    I even think the artist might have mispelled it on purpose.
    It reminds me a little bit of the Wolfenstein Series...
  • muckuruxx
    Longtime lurker, first time poster here. I've been trying to take my art skills more seriously lately and thought this might be a good place to develop them.

    I had started on the previous challenge pretty late last month and didn't get much done, so I've decided to work on one of the smaller pieces this time around. Just finished getting everything blocked out. Will start detailing things a bit more tomorrow.

  • Larry
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    Larry polygon
    Dethling said:
    @Larry: Yeah there is a "c" missing. "Arbeit macht frei" was the phrase which was written about the gates of german concentration camps (e.g. Auschwitz) during WW2. The correct translation would be something like "work set you free".

     @Topic: nice concepts, not sure  about the factory (due to it's history origin) but maybe I will give the closet a try (would be a difference to the usual realistic hard surface stuff).
    Was about to say that the phrase means 'work sets you free', which isnt meant in any positve way obviously. It was actually used before ww2, because KZ's were employed already at 1933.
    Anyway, I feel a little upset about this part of the concept. I am from germany, maybe I have a different connection to it.
    I even think the artist might have mispelled it on purpose.
    It reminds me a little bit of the Wolfenstein Series...
    I think mostly germans get offended by such things. The rest of the world,including countries that suffered, take things more relaxed. Anyway I dont really know how this grim picture ended up in the challenge, it wasnt even in the voting thread.
  • jewski-bot
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    jewski-bot polycounter lvl 3
    @muckuruxx, quite eager to start, aren't we? Proportions and general modeling look top notch!  I almost don't want to look at this thread until I contribute my piece just so I don't feel like I'm being a cheap mimic! Looking forward to the textures!
  • Jesse Walsh
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    Jesse Walsh polycounter lvl 6
    @muckuruxx
    looking good! The bottom right leg/pipe (the fat dark gray one) looks to be more of a chamfer box in the concept than a cylinder like you have it.
  • kadeschui
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    kadeschui polycounter lvl 8
    Larry said:
    Dethling said:
    @Larry: Yeah there is a "c" missing. "Arbeit macht frei" was the phrase which was written about the gates of german concentration camps (e.g. Auschwitz) during WW2. The correct translation would be something like "work set you free".

     @Topic: nice concepts, not sure  about the factory (due to it's history origin) but maybe I will give the closet a try (would be a difference to the usual realistic hard surface stuff).
    Was about to say that the phrase means 'work sets you free', which isnt meant in any positve way obviously. It was actually used before ww2, because KZ's were employed already at 1933.
    Anyway, I feel a little upset about this part of the concept. I am from germany, maybe I have a different connection to it.
    I even think the artist might have mispelled it on purpose.
    It reminds me a little bit of the Wolfenstein Series...
    I think mostly germans get offended by such things. The rest of the world,including countries that suffered, take things more relaxed. Anyway I dont really know how this grim picture ended up in the challenge, it wasnt even in the voting thread.
    It was posted towards the end. It was one of 2 hard surface scenes that got two votes, so it was a toss up. @FinnIsengardt was actually the second vote :D

    I interpret it as more of a graffiti/intentional misspelling than posted propaganda with an error. Either way now is your chance to change it as you see fit for your modeled scene! :)
  • Hyperion Terror
    I really want to try the hand painted environment but its probably way out of my capabilities.
  • root
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    root polycounter lvl 11
    I really want to try the hand painted environment but its probably way out of my capabilities.

    Nothing wrong with trying and failing and learning from it!
  • Namic
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    Namic polycounter lvl 2

    I’ve been lurking around for a while and I wanted to throw my hat into the ring on this one.  Here is the progress I’ve made so far. I haven’t decided what direction to take it in but I’m thinking of going for a boarderlands style. 

  • jewski-bot
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    jewski-bot polycounter lvl 3


    Here's a small breakdown guide for overlapping UVs, text/paint decals, and shared geometry.  I may add more to the breakdown later as there are still plenty of things that can be shared.  This will be an interesting challenge, not so much from a creative standpoint, but more for figuring out how to efficiently handle props.  I'm not sure if I'll continue to use Toolbag 2 for the rendering, or switch over to Unity or UE4.

  • JamesArk
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    JamesArk polycounter lvl 7
    WIP high-poly for a few of the Hard Surface props. I think I'm only going to do the ones in the top row of the reference image and then ideally also tackle the Hand Painted prop for this month. I'm pretty rusty at hard-surface stuff so I decided to model as much as I thought was reasonable just for the practice, but tbh a lot of the details here I should've just done in nDo or baked from floating geo. Also a lot of repeating parts on these like how @jewski-bot nicely illustrated, so really these were more of me practicing/indulging than going for efficiency.

    C&C welcome of course!

  • jewski-bot
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    jewski-bot polycounter lvl 3


    Not exactly a finished prop, but more of decal test.  The screws are a higher texel density to get the necessary resolution and I think that they're working okay.  Asides from the screws which use a small poly-plane, the main prop itself uses a single poly plane.  I want to go back and do a proper low-res model and see how things progress.  By no means is this a finished product, but more akin to a proof-of-concept.

    I have all the props in various stages of modeling right now, and will hopefully be able to efficiently get the UVs mapped out onto a single 2048 map.

    @JamesArk, nice work on the modeling for the two hatches / panels / props.  I agree that some of the details are best left to being stamped out in either NDO or Substance Painter, in particular panel lines, notches that don't disturb the silhouette, and other such areas that might be a little bit tricky to directly carve into the high res model.
  • 9Solid
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    9Solid polycounter lvl 2
    I'm definitely going to give that hard surface environment a shot. It kind of looks like something out of a bad dream I had as a kid. I've stayed inside my comfort zone of interiors for way too long. It looks pretty painterly at parts, I'm curious how I'll tackle some of the less refined areas down the line. Overall though, should be fun.

    @muckuruxx That's an awesome start, although I would consider putting more geo in the cylindrical areas where the tessellation is especially noticeable, particularly up top. Sure, when it comes to really putting something in a game, you might want to scale those back and reduce as much as possible, but for presentation purposes in your portfolio, making it look great takes all precedence. 

    @jewski-bot I love how the bottom hatches have a residue of dirt around where they used to be when they're flipped up. At least that's how it looks in the screenshot. It's a nice touch.
  • jewski-bot
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    jewski-bot polycounter lvl 3
    @9Solid, thanks for the critique! That's actually not the imprint of the latches against the door, but rather the latches themselves.  However, upon looking at the area, I can see what led you to that idea.  I made the metal pieces too thin and form fitting to the door.  I'll go and correct this error when I make the proper game res door / hatch model.
  • Hyperion Terror
    @Beccenstein It looks good so far!! I'm doing the same challenge. I originally just tried using non-linear bends on planes to get what I want I scrapped that idea. Nothing was forming to the correct shape or scale I needed. I finally settled on NURBS to produce those crazy rooftops. I don't have much practice in curves but this will be my lesson I guess. haha Good luck!!
  • Tokoya
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    Tokoya polycounter lvl 6
    Hey all, got my blockout done. It's been awhile since I really modeled anything so this is a fun relearning process. On to the high-poly stuff.

    @Namic I really like the proportions you went with on the shelf. looking good so far!

    @Beccenstein seeing your breakdowns of those complex shapes is super informative


  • muckuruxx
    @jewski-bot Thanks!
    @Jesse Walsh Yeah, I wasn't sure about that one. I'll try both and see how it looks.
    @9Solid Thanks! I need to remake that part anyway, so I will definitely keep that in mind.

    @Tokoya I think the body of the shelf and the legs might be a bit long, but looks good so far. What are your thoughts on that cylindrical item in the bottom shelf space? Flashlight? I couldn't really tell what it was from the concept art, so I just made a wrench.


  • Mahelix
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    Mahelix triangle
    Started modeling the small props today. Already got two done and ready for texturing so far

  • Beccenstein
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    Beccenstein polycounter lvl 3
    Everyone's props are looking great so far, @jewski-bot the texture is excellent, it resembles the concept very closely already, looking forward to the final result. 

    @Hyperion Terror Thank you :) I'm glad someone else is doing the same one. It's definitely a challenge. I am not very good at using the nurbs curves either, so I went for my comfort zone of Illustrator and made my paths in there and brought them in, was useful for tracing shapes directly from the concept.... it still ended up far away from the image, lol, but it's progress. Good luck to you too.

    @Toyoka Glad you liked the breakdown. Your work on the Wildstar cupboard is looking ace, I was almost going to do this one too, all the little knick-knacks look fun. Looking forward to seeing more.

    Since my last post I decided to re-use some of my roof pieces and warped them using a lattice, so I have a total of 3 unique shapes being used for the 7 roof pieces. Matching the image is impossible in a few places as the concept uses a little bit of forced perspective here and there, so the proportions are a little off with my interpretation. Hopefully I can do it justice.


  • jewski-bot
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    jewski-bot polycounter lvl 3
    Sorry for the minor update.  Most of my work since Sunday, was about an hour last night after work and a few minutes here and there today troubleshooting the Normal Map (baked a Direct X from an Open GL map, oh dear).  


    The above is a bit closer to how I envision the final product.  Added the panel lines and vents.  I promise that the next update (probably the weekend) will be substantially more than a few tweaks!  :s

    Now, for the feedback! :smiley:

    @Mahelix, good start on the props.  Depending on what software you're using, you might want to use a rounded edge shader to fake the microbevels on the hard edges without having to deal with the hassle of manually beveling / chamfering.  A good thing about this is that if you use Modo, you can always adjust the width to give the desired effect at any given time!  You can then also bake this out as part of the normal map before importing into Substance Painter or Quixel Suite.

    @Tokoya, the blockout looks great, my only concern is that you'll want to added more polygons to round out the cylinders on top of the shelf for the high res model.

    @Beccenstein, I appreciate you demonstrating your workflow as to how to go about tackling those curved shapes!  I wasn't really sure about it myself, so I opted out for doing a full scale environment this time, but it does give me some ideas on how to go about tackling some of the other parts of the environment, depending if I decide to try this later.  As for the modeling, I think that there may be some issues with smoothing of the curved surfaces.  If at all possible, you might want to re-loft / sub-patch the curves with lower polygon count and then manually adjust the vertices to tweak the shape.  To do refined smoothness tests, you might consider temporarily enabling NURMS, Turbosmooth, or MeshSmooth (not sure if all those things are the same as I haven't used Max for modeling in ages).
  • Hyperion Terror
    I've started the basic shapes using NURBS. Converting them to polygons was easy enough. Here are the wireframes of the roofs so far. There's some weird black artifacting going on with the base model. I think it's due to the faces being moderately close together with such a high far clip plane active. No there aren't Z-Fighting. lol

    @Beccenstein, I'm super jealous!! You've got a good grasp of what how the rooftops flow. I like the topography so far. Keep it up!

    @Mahelix, The props you have are very clean looking. What did you use for the AO and Normals?
  • Mahelix
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    Mahelix triangle
    @jewski-bot Well, I use the Chamfer general modifier on my highpolys on 3DS Max, so it's not too much of a hassle when it comes to create smooth edges, I set the smoothing to "Unsmoothed Edges", I add a TurboSmooth on top and voilà :^)

    @Hyperion Terror I use Tim Bergholz's baking method on Substance Painter and bake in two parts. Here I made some quick pics to explain :

    Hope this answered your question ! :^)
  • Beccenstein
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    Beccenstein polycounter lvl 3
    @jewski-bot Thanks! And I agree about the topology, there are a few areas I'm struggling to tweak, such as the bits of the roof that look very 'pinched'. Many of my smoothing and topology issues came from me going in vertex by vertex and moving things around trying to puff them out.

    @Hyperion Terror Looking amazing so far, and so neat and tidy! The curves are very accurate to the image as well. Getting the flow of each roof piece relative to neighbouring pieces is definitely a stumbling block with this one.

    After a few more tweaks I blocked out more of the surrounding environment, it definitely deviates quite far from the concept in some areas, such as the length of some of the walls, and placement of the towers. 


    Since I mirrored the front door section and used it for the piece that fades off into the distance, the back of the building has a door now too. I probably won't add any more to the back though, the environment is busy enough as is :)
  • 9Solid
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    9Solid polycounter lvl 2
    Using a few basic modular building pieces, I was able to block in and build the main structures and pipes. I looked into and took some inspiration from how this guy built his Victorian street scene here. I strayed a little from the concept, just because of how flat a lot of the architecture looked in areas, but I'm still toying with it.

    Next I plan to block out the floor geometry and work on the composition a little more before delving heavily into the modelling and texturing phase.

    @jewski-bot I agree, I think it also has to do with the color/how the light hits it, since it's uniform between the plate and hatches.

    @Beccenstein That's an awesome start. Just imagining the organic modelling behind that was giving me a headache with all those details. I'm excited to see how that turns out and how it sits in the environment.




  • Tokoya
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    Tokoya polycounter lvl 6
    @muckuruxx thanks, thats a good point, I'll probably shorten the legs, To me it looked like a flashlight, but now that you mention it, it could definitely be a wrench as well.

    @jewski-bot thanks man, yeah that circular part is way too rough looking., first thing I'm going to do is smooth it out

    @Beccenstein dude! looking really good. I'm feeling more inclined to take a crack at this once I finish this shelf

  • Hyperion Terror
    @Mahelix Thank you for explaining!! I saved the pics you posted for future reference.

    @Beccenstein I'm excited to see what you'll do with the organic portion of the environment.
  • JamesArk
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    JamesArk polycounter lvl 7
    The blockouts are looking great @9Solid and @Beccenstein

    Finally finished the high polys for the Hard Surface props I'm gonna do (although some of the edges on the rightmost one seem a little thin to me now that I look at it again, so I might loosen 'em up if the bake sucks). Low poly are done also, gonna try to unwrap and test bake it all today.



  • Nathair23
    Hi everyone, I'm joining the challenge in the hand painted concept category! This piece is so appealing to me, I have to try :) I started to block out the basic roof shapes, and I'm learning a lot about nurbs surfaces.


  • Mahelix
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    Mahelix triangle
    My progress on the other props so far before I get to texture them

    The first plate


    For the second plate, I tried a different approach to model the hinges/locks. I think I prefer that result better though the upper part of the locks is so thin it is harder to see against the plate


    For the cylinder, uhhh... do I need to say that performing highpoly modeling on cylinders is not my strong point ? I think I'll have to rework it at least to remove the pinching here and there, because I doubt any amount of texture will be able to hide that mess >_>

    Now I'm modeling the "8" shaped prop, and the intersecting parts gave me quite a hard time figuring out how to model them, but I think I somehow managed to make it work.




  • Hyperion Terror
    @Nathair23 Yeah, the handpainted environment challenge has really forced me to learn NURBS too. They're much easier than I remember.
  • Dreyzie
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    Dreyzie triangle
    Here's what I whipped up so far. Right now I'm just blocking out the foreground using modular pieces. My next plan is to start working on the background building and smokestacks.




    @9Solid  I really like your take on the architecture. Especially the roof trim. Also, thanks for the link to the 80.lv article. It'll definitely help me with my workflow. If only I read it before starting lol.
  • DeathstrokeFTW
    @Mahelix
    Now I'm modeling the "8" shaped prop, and the intersecting parts gave me quite a hard time figuring out how to model them, but I think I somehow managed to make it work.


    Make 2x 8-sided circles and bridge the edges. That will get you started.
  • JamesArk
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    JamesArk polycounter lvl 7
    Finally test baked everything to the low poly meshes - absolutely full of problems still but here's the progress, mostly everything held up decently well. Going to hopefully unwrap, bake and texture properly this week.

  • jewski-bot
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    jewski-bot polycounter lvl 3


    I've been slowly plugging away on this, maybe about 12 hours or so invested.  I almost have all the high polygon meshes built, this time relying on things like creasing PSUBs, regular polygons and the Rounded Edge properties in the Material tab to create micro bevels rather than doing it myself manually.  There are a few trouble spots I need to resolve, especially for the last piece, but I hope to High Heaven that I can finish the high poly modeling soon.  (As an aside, I have some of the low poly models built and UV'd with test normal map bakes, which I might post later).

    Now, of course for some quick feedback.  My apologies in advance if it's not too detailed or if I don't get everyone; it's 10:13pm here, and I need to get up at 5:30am for work. :wink:

    @Mahelix, Good job with the hatches, don't fret too much about the cylinder.  As a freebie, I'll show you an up close shot of my cylinder piece and tell you the basics of how I made it:  I used a 60 sided cylinder, and extruded from the base on up.  To fake the micro bevels for rendering, I adjusted the Rounded edge to 1 mm / 2.5 mm.  Therefore, I didn't waste anytime with sub-D modeling.  Yes, Sub-D modeling is great, but if you're pressed for time, there's no shame in using cheats, especially since it's the game model that counts.


    @Dreyzie and @9Solid, excellent looking start for what I believe to be one of the more difficult 3D environments (the sense of scale is totally lost on me, going from the concept, so I look forward to how you'll handle this).  I'd definitely like to see a human reference put in there, as that might give you a better idea of how big the floor grates need to be compared with the height of the walls, etc.

    @JamesArk, Very Good modeling on the four props you've selected, especially the last two!  Of all the props, I considered those to be the most difficult in terms of reproducing accurately and making sure my proportions are correct (I still haven't completely figured out the last prop as you can see in my list).  I'd very much like to see what the props look like from other angles, especially from those viewpoints not given in the concept illustration.

    Excellent job thus far, guys! Keep'em coming~!

  • Bletzkarn
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    Bletzkarn polygon
    tried the prop and gave up after 2 hours of deleting the entire mesh. Still have a long way to go.
  • JasonWrong
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    JasonWrong polycounter lvl 2
    This is my first real attempt at doing one of these challenges, here are some of my high polys. I noticed when i was doing the square one that the handle is actually indented and not an extruded grip. I'll have to go back and fix that on the round one. Also thanks for the breakdowns. 

  • Mahelix
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    Mahelix triangle
    @jewski-bot thanks for the tip, I am constantly afraid of putting too much geometry into my models, maybe I should try to allow myself to use a higher polycount :^)

    As for the "8" (definitely don't know how else I could call it), the modeling ended up looking pretty good to me after the preliminary baking

    I am now modeling the long cylinder prop; I decided to use a plane and bend it for the circular hole in the middle, like some users did for last month's robot, and I gotta say it's already looking pretty clean with the turbosmooth on it.

    I might also try this technique for the previous cylinder as well as @jewski-bot 's technique; I feel in an experimenting mood today B)


  • tystnad
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    tystnad polycounter lvl 2
    Hi. Here's my progress so far. I hope it's finally the time when I have enough skills to finish what I've started. :) I've made a rough test bake for the main shape just to make sure that the result looks as I imagine, still have a lot to learn about baking. 

  • jewski-bot
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    jewski-bot polycounter lvl 3
    @tystnad, your bake looks pretty good so far.  One thing that might help with controlling the spec hilite on the box edges is to add a chamfer.  Since the cylinders aren't attached, it should bea simple operation.
  • Jesse Walsh
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    Jesse Walsh polycounter lvl 6
    @tystnad  looking good so far, but you are making it harder on yourself by having the top cylinders attached to the bottom box area. They are separate pieces in the concept.
  • Nathair23
    @Hyperion Terror That's true, I found them not as hard as I thought to be!
    Meanwhile, I basically finished the main blocking, so I will move on to smaller details.

  • Dreyzie
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    Dreyzie triangle
    Started working on the background buildings and smokestacks. This part was pretty much improv since it's hard to tell what's going on in the back of the concept art. I'm still trying to figure out what I can do with the base of the center smokestack.

    @jewski-bot Thanks for the feedback. I've always had a tough time judging scale, and this piece wasn't any easier for me. After looking at the height ref again, I think the floor pieces seem a little too big. 


  • Mahelix
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    Mahelix triangle
    I haven't been able to work a lot on the props this week, so here is what I've been doing so far during the week-end.

    Doing the "bent plane" method worked pretty well on the cylindrical prop, and the baking went nicely. I also had to detach the bottom in two parts for the highpoly to get those curved "dents" at the bottom.

    I should think a bit more about detaching parts in the highpoly model when I have those kind of details to model without messing the rest of the geometry.

    I am now finishing the lowpoly of the last prop.
    The hardest part for me was to figure out how to get the front part to correspond nicely to the main cylindrical part, also the reference picture kinda looked strange to me at some parts, so I had to make my own interpretation at some points.

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