Refinery Hallway Scene

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polycounter lvl 12
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JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
Hey all, I've been working on this on and off for about a month now, and I'm at the point where I'm kinda getting sick of it... therefore it is time to get this done.

scene3light.jpg
scene3clean.jpg

This is based off of the concept art from the team working on Natural Selection 2 - http://img196.imageshack.us/img196/21/refineryhallway.jpg

The scene so far is just quickly put together so I can get a feel for it, as I'm still working on textures / models. Right now its feeling very boring to me, but I think once I add some clutter with wires, maybe some crates or something, it may feel a bit more alive.

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  • Turbosmooth Operator
    Most of the blandness seems to be from the lack of contrast in the lighting, especially in comparison to the concept art. Notice how the arms barely stand out from the walls? Also, I didn't even know the yellow danger railing wasn't part of the wall itself until seeing the concept art. Get the lighting looking a little more intense and try to push that lava section a lot more than it is currently, maybe with a gradient self illumination map on that section to make it really pop? It has very good potential but just being let down by the lighting at the moment.
  • Alberto Rdrgz
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    Alberto Rdrgz polycounter lvl 8
    you're following the concept pretty nicely, just kinda leaning towards the sterile side.
  • cycloverid
    I think the lack of polys and detail is taking away from the potential grandness of such a tight space. I mean, clearly this is a wip, but I wouldn't be stingy on this one given the small area you have to work with.
    That, and your perspective is obstructing the focal point too much, I'd open that space up a bit more or change the focal length.

    I have no doubts that it's going to be awesome, and you have a decent start. I've been slacking on environments recently, but you should go all out!
  • salman_fas
    I agree to both guys above. Spend more polys and get some lighting in there. do you have normal/spec maps.
  • Cody
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    Cody polycounter lvl 11
    Also need to include that glowing lava river to the left there. Make that bad boy GLOW! Nice WIP so far.
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    Bit confused in what areas you want more polies in right now? At this point I really only have the base shell, which seems pretty basic to me, where as most details would most likely rely on normals (Walls etc.). Also... are you guys seeing 2 images, or only 1? (the flat one) cause it seems like imageshack is deleting my first image which is weird (had to upload it twice so far).

    I agree, the lighting is really crap right now, but this lighting was quickly done up to get the ball rolling, definatly going to work it so its much more like the concept art (brighter), and work with spec much more once I get some sort of ok lighting setup.

    I may have to increase the strength of the normals in the shader for unreal, because right now everything seems flat (also due to lighting). In 3d max it shows them pretty well. Right now I just need to get the rest of the assests in, work in the wires as well, which seems to break up the scene pretty nicely. And I'll also work with the camrea FOV later on...

    Thanks for the crits so far.
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    Here is just a quick screen from 3d Max... just showing how it looks in there, hopefully gets a better idea on how the normals / spec is working. I know in unreal editor, they lower the res of textures by default, I haven't messed with the config yet to fix that though... wondering if its worth it :(

    wall02preview.jpg
  • MoP
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    MoP polycounter lvl 12
    The asset looks good in Max, therefore I assume your lighting needs to have more kick in UE3 to make the normals/spec work better. The lighting in game looks very flat at the moment.

    I also think your diffuse / spec need more contrast to make the separate panels and elements pop out more. For example I barely noticed the wires running under the panel at the bottom because they're so flat and dark, just like the surrounding area.
  • Shogun3d
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    Shogun3d polycounter lvl 8
    The wall does look a lot better in the viewport, it must be your shader and lighting setup in UE3. You can try adding a multiply node with a constant vector to try to adjust the spec as well as using a constant 3 vector for the normals. You could also setup a couple directional lights at a steep angle to produce good specularity. I had the same trouble on my wall here but with adjustments I was able to produce decent results.

    http://boards.polycount.net/showthread.php?t=62681&highlight=industrial+underground+bunker

    It's looking great, keep it up!
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    Hey all, long time no post... haven't had internet for a couple weeks now, and just other stuff going on. But I come with an update... still got lots do to though :(

    scene4.jpg
  • Acid.
    Very nice, think the spec for those metal bits on the arms need up up.
  • acapulco
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    acapulco polycounter lvl 7
    That prop on the left looks like it was flying. No good shadows! Everything else looks fine for now. Following this.

    I would dimm the ambientlight down and pop the contrast with the existing lights.
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    That little fuse box? Yuh I know, I've been trying my hardest to get the shadows not to look like the object is floating... but its not working, it doesn't seem to want to bake the shadows right at the top point of the fusebox... its really annoying, anyone else have this issue?

    Oh and while i was messing around one night I found this option that sets your textures to full on quality (usually when you bring in your texture, unreal compresses it way too much). If you doubl click on your texture file, and then scroll down to where you find LODBias, just put it to -1 or -2 (sometimes it doesn't catch -1) and it should work right away. Since I'm not really worried about LOD... there is no need to compress my textures.
  • oobersli
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    oobersli polycounter lvl 11
    That little fuse box? Yuh I know, I've been trying my hardest to get the shadows not to look like the object is floating... but its not working, it doesn't seem to want to bake the shadows right at the top point of the fusebox... its really annoying, anyone else have this issue?

    have you tried to cut it into the wall geometry instead of floating?
  • Thegodzero
    it will always look like its floating, wana know why?

    Its not because it is... its because its flowing over a tiling texture that has details that push the geo on top of it visually out. don't try and fix it except it and work with it. Why not have it actually floating off the wall throw in some brackets that hold it up run some more wires to i or just under it. Take advantage of your "problem".
    Trust me after the tenth time banging your head against the wall trying to figure out how to get something to stop looking like its doing something else, you will realize that it makes more sense to make it look more the the something else. Just so long as that something else is sexy.
  • SHEPEIRO
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    SHEPEIRO polycounter lvl 10
    up the strength of your lights and reduce their size, or change them to use a better falloff so you can get more contrast in there.
  • Ged
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    Ged polycounter lvl 11
    thats looking great! love the textures
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    Very well said Brandon :) I also like your suggestion oobersli. Right now I'm using custom lightmaps made within unreal (I didn't make a secondary uv channel for my models for lightmaps) so I don't know if that is having a big affect on why the object look likes its floating. I'll play around with it some more as well, maybe adding brackets will helps ground it more... thanks for the suggestion :)

    Shep, when you say "better falloff" are you talking about increasing the falloff? And yuh, more contrast is definatly needed, I'll work on that much more, thanks. Do you think right now it is too bright? Or that by lowering the radius of the light (while increasing the brightness) it'll help pop the scene out more? I just don't want it to get too dark, the concept itself seems to be a pretty well lit area... but it is also pretty washed out.

    Thanks all, more updates to come. Still a bit hesitant as to what to do with the ceiling... a lot of the pieces don't exactly "match" style wise (in my opinion anyways) so its hard to get a solid grasp... but I guess thats part of the fun :P
  • Alec3d
    awesome scene, can't wait to see that magma light!
  • OBlastradiusO
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    OBlastradiusO polycounter lvl 10
    Awesome hallway! To me it looks like something could be add more on the left side of your piece. It would be cool if you had some loose wires hanging from the walls or ceiling. Or maybe hanging out the junction box.
  • cycloverid
    Your sculpted details are adding a pretty big organic twist on this environment, but I like it! It's unusual and stylized, and that works for me.

    One thing that is really bugging me though, is: Why didn't you model those wires running along the floor?! I don't think it'd add too many poly's .. but I'm not sure what your budget is either.

    Some of the silhouettes are still pretty blocky, like the extruded pillars on the right hand side especially. But, you're far enough that you can't change them now. Not a huge deal anyway.


    Overall, this is a very satisfying style. I want to see more!

    PS: did you sculpt or combine painted details in your normal map to get that look?
  • Zack Fowler
    Good stuff so far, but I think you are being way too restrictive on your polycount. Can we see some wires? Looks like you could double the triangle count on some of these assets, if not more.
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    scene5.jpg

    Meh meh, just adding more things in, messing around with the lighting some more, still not happy with it. After playing the Batman Arkham Asylum demo though... I would really like to hit the kind of lighting style they did, its almost as though they over-exaggerated the lighting to create some really great atmosphere, so I'll take a shot at that later.

    Zack - I'll post some wires tomorrow. I think I may model the wire on the floor though. For the most part I haven't worried about polycount, but the reference seems pretty "blocky" in general... so I'm having a hard time seeing where else I could "add" polies for a "good" reason. Let me know any other areas you think I should add more too.
  • Ben Apuna
    I've been watching this scene progress and have been struggling to come up with something useful to add. I do like your texture and material work, everything reads well.

    Now that you've posted some updated lighting I see that it's headed in a better direction. You've got some bright lights which look pretty good. I think you need a bit of the opposite as well, just as Shepeiro mentioned earlier you should get more contrast in there, a few well placed deep shadows will help out a lot.

    It's starting to come together just keep at it :)
  • A-Train
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    A-Train polycounter lvl 8
    Hey Jason, it's definitely worth it. You don't want to have compressed textures by default shown in your final. You most probably want to have the full resolution of what each texture is (wall is 512, then it should appear 512). I realize that game textures are compressed, but the overall look will appear better (and show off all your hard work)! Keep at it man!

    Update: Oh... and on the note of you getting sick of it (read your first post in your thread). It's probably smarter to build some assets when you've wrapped up the lighting portion. So that it feels more filled out, and will provide you with a better final image. It will also impress those that you're applying to for a job.
    Here is just a quick screen from 3d Max... just showing how it looks in there, hopefully gets a better idea on how the normals / spec is working. I know in unreal editor, they lower the res of textures by default, I haven't messed with the config yet to fix that though... wondering if its worth it :(

    wall02preview.jpg
  • Zack Fowler
    Good progress, that's a noticeable improvement. At this point you really should get temporary models and textures for the lava and ceiling in there. Better to have something crappy and temp in there as a point of reference than empty space.

    Looking at it more closely, I was probably wrong about the geometry. It seems like you're using good triangle counts but your bevels and extrusions are very thin and small which ends up flattening things. Like the mounting plates where the arms attach to the walls, they're so thin they almost look like alpha planes. The bolts and screws are much more petite in your version also, and don't have enough screen space to catch the kinds of highlights seen in the concepts.

    Just did some switching between the newest update and the concept. I think one thing that can help make the scene a bit more dramatic is to play with the materials a bit more, with the following options to explore in order of probable usefulness:

    -Increase spec power
    -Brighten the specular (easiest done in the shaders rather than textures)
    -Darken the diffuse (ditto)

    When you do get back to the lighting, don't be afraid to set light intensities really high. The orange lights for the lava might work best at an intensity over 4.0 or even 6.0. For the modeled light sources, try doubling up their effect using one average intensity light with moderate range and a super high intensity light and short range.

    Keep it up, you're making a lot of progress.
  • dv8ix
    Lol it looks bad asss man
  • killingpeople
    looks awesome haus! the scratches on your paint look a little puffy tho.
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    Damn, thanks everyone for the great crits.

    Zack - When you say "increase" spec power (this acts as a gloss type option right) where would you suggest. I've played with it around 16 (default) to anywhere from 30 - 40... and I like how the higher ones look, but in my scene, when I bake down the lightmaps, nothing really catches.

    By any chance do you have an example of how you want the lights to read? If I can get a visual reference that will probably help me out a ton! The one thing I want to try and avoid is too much "bloom", do you think by increasing intensity will it blow out some of the spec?

    KP - Ha ha, yup! The big reason why that is happening right now is when I finish up the mask for sratches in the diffuse, I take that mask and bring it over to my normal, convert that to a normal... then flatten that and run that through Xnormals Normal to Cavity (thanks racer for the great idea)... which I think gives it the illusion of "fattening" it up, I will work on that man, thanks.
  • Zack Fowler
    Jason - Yeah it's glossiness. Off the cuff I would say around 20-24 would probably work best, hard to say without having the scene myself to tweak. If nothing is catching at that spec power then you probably have too much ambient light throwing off the spec direction averaging and intensity. Don't worry about bloom until you get the lighting the way you want. Edit your post process settings to disable bloom in your level for now. Once you have the lighting looking good, then turn bloom back on and set the threshold for it where you want.
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    Filled it out some more, need to get the texture for the ceiling finished, and then try and work on the "Lava" some more, and then of course... lighting.

    scene7y.jpg

    I have been scrubbing through the NS2 trailer trying to get some more ideas (the ceiling came from that) so hopefully I can fill out the scene some more with other objects, I just don't want to busy it up too much. I think if I add the wires on the wall, and maybe get in some decals (I was thinking some blood streaks leading to the grate) that should be (hopefully) what this scene needs.

    Napples napples napples!
  • crazyfingers
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    crazyfingers polycounter lvl 9
    wow, good call on the camera tilt dude.

    I'd tone down the red a bit. And some reddish steam coming from the bottem might look cool too!

    Really comin' together.
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    Ha ha yuh, right when I posted this I changed the lava colour, way too red, I agree. And as for the heat "waves" I'm defiantly going to mess with that, I think have a translucent normal panning in a weird way while using some masks can get that effect looking good, but then again... would look better if it was moving (which I am planning on doing a quick little video cut, seems to work well).

    Its slowly coming together, I've spent way too long on this, but I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel :P

    More updates coming.
  • Art-Machine
    The part in the ground that has the wire running over it would sell a lot better if you added a plane bridging the dip, that had some kind of perforated grate alpha on it.

    Right now as it sits in the 'wide open' it looks very flat and texture-like. Putting something like a grate plane over top would add more dimension to that section.

    Also all those dips looks like tripping hazards as is.
  • maltuna
    Hey Jason, this is starting to look really nice. To add to what crazyfingers said, adding some kind of heat distortion effect to the lava so it distorts the lower wall could be really cool. Maybe take a look at the distortion effects used in the unreal water mat's. Good work :thumbup:
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    Hmmm... thats a good idea Art, I did it that way though because of the concept art. I can defiantly play around with it though.

    Thanks
  • g0th
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    g0th triangle
    That last screen looks really good. Agreed with other speakers that the lava could use some improvements but great work none the less.
  • Zack Fowler
    Nice update, it's looking good!
  • Ben Apuna
    Great ceiling! I like it very much. This scene just keeps getting better and better :)
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    Little bit of an update...

    scene9.jpg

    I have some freelance I'm working on right now which is taking sometime away, but I'm almost done this scene I think. I added the floor grates as was requested, and I put in some more wires here and there, as well as messed with the lava some more. I think I'm going to make a quick (loop-able) video that just shows everything moving. I put a fan in the back there so you can see the blades casting shadows (doesn't show in preview though... which sucks).

    The bottom still feels kind of boring to me, but I don't know if thats a good thing or not cause of the ceiling being "busy". I'm having a hard time figuring out how to get the heat waves from the lava to work, seems like the normal needs to have some sort of emmisive map on it or something, because just normal and spec don't seem to be working. If anyone has any ideas, I would love to hear it.

    Still need to add in some blood decals near the end there (i figure might as well get a bit gory in telling the story of this environment...).
  • SHEPEIRO
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    SHEPEIRO polycounter lvl 10
    i would still try and push the lighting, maybe take one of those whitish blue lights and put it behind and to the right of the camera, then turn the strength up and the falloff up, reduce the ambient of the scene so that the middle of the walkway (distance wise) is reduced in brightness, this should help beef up the 3d of the scene

    will do paintover if thats nonsense
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    Damn Shep, I like that idea about the back light. Are you saying I should reduce the brightness of the back floor as well (in the distance) or are you saying by including the brighter blue light, that it'll help break up the foreground and background.

    Either way I think that background light is a great idea, that never really crossed my mind either :( (sooo much to learn).

    If you want to take the time and do a quick paintover, It would be very very helpful. I think I know what you are saying, but any visual help is good help to me :)

    Thanks Shep!
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    Double post... I know :P

    I have a question though. does anyone know if there is a way to have a light transparent, but still cast shadows? I don't need the colour information from the light... just the shadows it generates.

    Weird question... I know.
  • Thegodzero
    a quick visual helper is to drop your shot into PS and play with the levels to see what contrast you really have. As is you currently don't have any real pools of light you still have a pretty evenly lit scene. To see what i mean drop the levels so that you have 0,.5,150. Id also extend the light from the lava so that it hits up back wall a bit.
  • Razorb
  • wester
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    wester polycounter lvl 10
    This is gorgeous. I would say keep the ground the way it is. It reads alot easier with the busy background and ceiling.

    If i'm reading correctly..i love the sign that says "danger, shit gets pretty hot." haha.
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    Thanks Brandon for the tip, I can see where some of the trouble spots are. Should I have it so that the mid section of the scene is darker? And maybe lessen the falloff of the floor lights? As shep said before, by putting in that light behind the camera, I think it may punch out the scene some more which is what I need.

    I've been messing so much with the lava lights on those walls, ha ha. I'll try and get it so the lights bleeds off into the top part a bit more :)

    Another problem I am still having is my spec is not catching enough, I've tired putting down the falloff and increasing the strength of the light itself... but I'm getting mixed results. I'm defiantly going to play with it more.

    Wester - Thanks man, and yes... this shit DOES get pretty hot, ha ha :) (didn't think anyone could read that from the angle).
  • killingpeople
    ya this is pretty much heading in the right direction dude, nice work so far!
  • Thegodzero
    sent you an email of a paint over.
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    For now I'm calling this done... kinda getting to the point where if I edit something its making it look worse :( I need to take a break and do something a little more modern, then come back to some more sci love.

    refineryhallwayfinal.jpg

    I'll be making a new portfolio site in the coming months, I just need a couple more scenes in there that will hopefully do it justice.

    Thanks again for all the help everyone, as always, I've learned a lot from you guys, and I'm looking forward to the next project (I'm getting a nice Heavy Rain type of scene vibe right now... ).
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