Amir's Portfolio environments

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polycounter lvl 8
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choco polycounter lvl 8
Hi guys, I just started working on an environment for my portfolio.
I'm planning to do a medieval landscape with a big castle in the background (shadow of the colossus/ICO style) and some ruins and vegetation in the foreground.
I'm currently working on the terrain and trying to setup the mood for it. (CE3)

I'll posting my progress daily on this thread :)
Qq3MI.jpg
8vHca.jpg

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  • jsargent
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    jsargent polycounter lvl 5
    for a split second I thought the terrain was waves!! I think its just down to the scale of the rain to the ground, if the rain was smaller it might read better. Its a good start, sounds really interesting!
  • IchII3D
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    IchII3D keyframe
    Looking alright so far, I would probably make a screen space particle effect for the rain though, the rain shadier plane built in is very... console limited...

    Another thing to point out also is that terrain is flat unless eroded, make sure you understand why you have elevation and not just have a bumpy mess. Terrain naturally is very flat without wind, glacial or water erosion, considering its raining I would assume those channels would be visible?

    Hope it helps.
  • Computron
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    Computron sublime tool
    Choco, how long have you been working on this style, your other thread had a slightly different Shadow of the Colossus environment, where did that go to?
  • choco
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    choco polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks for the feedback guys, I do agree that the terrain looks rather random at the moment.
    I'm trying out a different direction this time and probably something a bit more realistic as a goal for a portfolio scene.
    I'm going for a more stylised scene based on references such as Miazaki's art (studio ghibli).

    The goal is to make a cluster of floating islands with one or two houses plus some vegetation such as trees, ground plants and some ruins + scattered rocks.

    Regarding the texturing style, I will be learning how to make hand-painted stylised textures while doing the scene.

    Here are a few references that I'm currently using for the moment :

    b72DS.jpg

    BPJqf.jpg

    LYGDh.jpg

    ohOWx.jpg

    vMpw0.jpg


    yKyHU.jpg

    qk6uM.jpg

    A5Zk0.jpg

    gFzTR.jpg




    As for the progress so far regarding the floating islands scene, here are a few screenshots set in chronological order :

    1. Blocked out the islands in 3dcoat by using their voxel based sculpting system then exported to mudbox for detailing and refining :

    our_lase_place_01.jpg

    2. Added some details in mudbox :

    our_lase_place_06.jpg

    3. Low poly mesh with normal map :

    our_lase_place_08.jpg

    4. Base color painting in mudbox WIP (unlit view, diffuse only) : This color map will be overlayed on top of gray scale detail textures with their normal maps in the material editor.

    our_lase_place_09.jpg

    our_lase_place_10.jpg


    our_lase_place_11.jpg

    @Computron : I've been working on a personal project which was about making a game inspired by Shadow of the colossus/ICO. As for now, I'm still having a hard time to chose between CE3 or UDK. Both engines got their strong points (UDK : more mature and complete tool set, especially the material editor which is a huge plus; CE3 : overal render quality and the fact that you could push over 2 millions polys in a scene without having your fps drop).
  • Hayden Zammit
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    Hayden Zammit polycounter lvl 8
    Loving that last pic a lot. How are you texturing it? Is it all just one big uv Map for that?
  • choco
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    choco polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks, and yeah, what you are seeing is just one diffuse texture on one UV map.
    The actual mesh has 2 UV maps, one is for unique texturing (normal map, basic color map) and the other one is for tiled detail textures which I will add later on in UDK.
  • S2Engine
    Those last shots with the color map are beautiful, really like how it's working. Unless you're planning a lot of localized detail though I feel like it could just be two tiling textures (rock, grass) with some transition textures if need be. You wouldn't get all the same fidelity, but then the player is probably never going to see it from this far away. At ground level I imagine you'd need ridiculously highres maps for it to hold up. This is a portfolio piece so the angle's up to you of course, but something to keep in mind. Looks great either way, and some nice ref choices :)
  • choco
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    choco polycounter lvl 8
    S2Engine wrote: »
    Those last shots with the color map are beautiful, really like how it's working. Unless you're planning a lot of localized detail though I feel like it could just be two tiling textures (rock, grass) with some transition textures if need be. You wouldn't get all the same fidelity, but then the player is probably never going to see it from this far away. At ground level I imagine you'd need ridiculously highres maps for it to hold up. This is a portfolio piece so the angle's up to you of course, but something to keep in mind. Looks great either way, and some nice ref choices :)

    Thanks for the feedback, very useful advices, I'll keep note of them :)
    As for the environement I'm working on, I'm thinking about doing it as if I was working on a game level, taking into consideration texture memory usage and optimization. Its pretty much a new workflow that I'm trying to setup for this sort of landscape.

    Before I go any further in texturing and detailing, I've decided to preview the mesh in UDK with 2 tiled textures (rock, grass) to see how the color map would react when overlayed on top of detail textures in the engine.
    I placed some trees as place holders to have a good sense of scale.



    Still a lot of work to do, I will probably start by adding more contrast and color varition on to floor before I'm move on to modeling vegetation and some man made constructions. Also thinking about making small rocks to scatter on the ground.

    I will use the 3dmotive Vegetation tutorial as guide for making my own trees and grass.

    our_lase_place_18.jpg

    our_lase_place_16.jpg

    our_lase_place_20.jpg

    our_lase_place_19.jpg

    our_lase_place_22.jpg
  • dissonance
    this probably isn't the direction you've planned for this piece (at all), but have you considered turning it into a mini-golf course?

    in all seriousness though, it does look good. being pretty new to UDK myself, all i can recommend is some grass sprites hanging off the edges, or tree roots poking down through the ceiling of the rock outcrop. the grass itself seems like it needs something... a bit of large-scale variation, perhaps large patches of slightly more yellow/brownish grass.
  • choco
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    choco polycounter lvl 8
    I'd suggest you read again the post below :)
  • dissonance
    wasn't quite sure if you were talking about small or big patches :\
  • cholden
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    cholden polycounter lvl 12
    I like what's going on in this thread. I want to lay in the grass.
  • marq4porsche
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    marq4porsche polycounter lvl 8
    Great work so far man. You have a lot of style and your texture work is great. My only crit is that some of the rocks stick out too much from the grass because there is no blending. Maybe blend the texture where it meets the grass and it won't be so jarring. Waiting for more progress!
  • choco
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    choco polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks, and ya those rocks are just place holders (old models from past projects) which I used to see how it would look like if I placed a model on top of these platforms xD I will be making assets which are especially made for this scene to help out the consistency.
    I might be going to for this style that I used in a past project :

    nVgJp.jpg

    Some extra references that I will be using for covering the ground :

    paths-cc-davers.jpg

    flower_ref.jpg
    dsc06396.jpg

    phske2.JPG

    phske5.JPG
  • praetor187
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    praetor187 polycounter lvl 6
    I really love the direction this is going, I think adding in some new ground rocks like the ones in the reference photos could add a lot to the scene, (im sure your going to do that though) great work so far really inspiring :)
  • Makkon
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    Makkon greentooth
    Subscribed.
    Love those vivid colors!
  • ParoXum
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    ParoXum polycounter
    Subscribed as well.

    I think you should also work on having some interesting focal point in your environment. Be it a character, a building, a vehicle, etc..
  • Sebeuroc
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    Sebeuroc polycounter lvl 7
    Great work so far, this is looking really great! I'll be keeping an eye on this. ;)

    BTW, it would be awesome to see some progress timelapses of your work. It's always fun/informatie to watch how other people craft their art.
  • teaandcigarettes
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    teaandcigarettes polycounter lvl 8
    Damn, that's super nice. I'm gonna follow this thread too :)

    Just wondering, how did you get these sweet highlights on the grass? Are they painted into the diffuse? Or is it done via spec map/shader work? I'm loving how the grass looks like, it has that cool plushy feel.
  • romy
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    romy polycounter lvl 6
    Very cool terrain, i subscribed too. It would be great to define the main point of interest in your scene, just to have a preview of the final composition.

    Anyway, i like those vivid colors as well =)
  • choco
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    choco polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks, and happy new year, regarding the grass highlights, I'm using a big color map which is overlayed on top of gray scale detail texture maps (grass, rock , soil etc...) This method helps me get more control over the overall colors and consistency.

    As for the point of interest, I'm still brainstorming about it. Thinking about making a windmill but I'm not sure yet since it has been done and redone before
    Reference : Gorillaz

    The sky/clouds in the following pictures is definitely something that I'm going for.

    Gorillaz_01.jpg

    Gorillaz_02.jpg

    Gorillaz_03.jpg

    I have also been painting some masks for grass patches and trying to improve abit the grass layer.

    I have added a normal map generated from the grass mask texture in the material editor to add some volume to the grass.

    Test results so far :

    our_lase_place_30.jpg

    our_lase_place_31.jpg
  • JasonLavoie
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    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    Really digging this so far. The transition between grass to ground (more so the strength of the normals) I think may be a bit too much, but than again, it's creating a sense of fullness (is that even a word) that when coupled with your foliage layers, may actually look super nice.

    Either way, awesome job so far, super interested to see how this progress :)
  • Minos
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    Minos polycounter lvl 9
    I'm not digging all those deep shadows in the normal maps at all! I'd even say to soften the normal maps by 90% or so. This shot looks very special and I really think you should go in this direction instead: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/53969153/our_lase_place_10.jpg
  • jeremiah_bigley
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    jeremiah_bigley polycounter lvl 8
    Loving the feel of everything so far! Keep the stuff coming!
  • Mathew O
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    Mathew O greentooth
    Subscribed, I love this man :D

    I totally agree with ParoXum about the focal point, something similar to that windmill would be awesome. Or maybe just one big stylistic tree.

    The grass looks soooooo good :D
  • choco
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    choco polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks for the advices guys,

    @Minos : ya I didn't like the normal map effect on the grass patchs much, I dropped the normal map method away and spent some time on hand painting those in mudbox.

    I've also been doing some grass color tweaking :

    Diffuse texture only (flat lighting) :

    our_lase_place_37.jpg

    our_lase_place_36.jpg

    our_lase_place_32.jpg
  • Macattackk
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    Macattackk polycounter lvl 6
    So this whole island has a unique normal map across the whole thing? how large is the texture space for that? I thought that would be unadvisable since it would take up a lot of space to have something that large.

    not really critiquing here, just curious to know more about environment art creation
  • Snader
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    Snader polycounter lvl 9
    He's using two maps. One with rough shapes like the blobs that form rock extrusions and the dents for the spots without grass. And then one that's tiled to give the actual detail like grass blades and dirt clumps.

    Sort of like this, except for normal maps:
    material_detailmateralswithmasking.png

    Yes it's expensive to unwrap something this big, because it requires something like a 2024² and then some smaller ones, but considering this is an island in the sky, there's probably not much else around.
  • SnowInChina
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    SnowInChina polycounter lvl 8
    how big would the overall map be (for an enviroment of this size, style & quality) ?

    and is the enviroment completly unique unwrapped or do you use overlapping uv shells for rocks and stuff ?
    a complete breakdown of this would be cool
  • Nix
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    Nix polycounter lvl 6
    Dunno if it's been said but this looks so much like a real maquette, awesome. It has that kind of diorama feel, can't wait to see how this ends up.
  • Computron
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    Computron sublime tool
    Aww, I liked the normal mapped transitions.
  • jeremiah_bigley
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    jeremiah_bigley polycounter lvl 8
    Computron wrote: »
    Aww, I liked the normal mapped transitions.

    +1

    Yeah I agree. I was liking the way it was looking. At least go half and half. ;)
  • ZacD
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    ZacD greentooth
    The depth looked pretty accurate to the reference images... It gives the grass some volume with is nice.
  • NAIMA
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    NAIMA polycounter lvl 7
    choco wrote: »
    Thanks, and happy new year, regarding the grass highlights, I'm using a big color map which is overlayed on top of gray scale detail texture maps (grass, rock , soil etc...) This method helps me get more control over the overall colors and consistency.





    I have also been painting some masks for grass patches and trying to improve abit the grass layer.

    I have added a normal map generated from the grass mask texture in the material editor to add some volume to the grass.

    Test results so far :

    our_lase_place_30.jpg

    our_lase_place_31.jpg

    I actually like a lot this grass better , why you skipped it? It looks more realistic tome .... anyway its a great job but wheren't you working on the Cryengine?How you working on a voxel object imported in CE3 and use materials in it?
  • choco
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    choco polycounter lvl 8
    Pretty much done with the grass layer I guess, I'll probably move on to modelling the main assets for this scene.
    I'll do a breakdown once I'm done :)

    our_lase_place_43.jpg

    our_lase_place_45.jpg



    And this is a quick paint over. I'm still trying to figure out how to handpaint a skydome or project it on a sphere, anyone got any tips ?

    our_lase_place_48.jpg


    our_lase_place_44.jpg
  • NAIMA
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    NAIMA polycounter lvl 7
    I think the grass was better befoure , the actual one in many places seems washed out or just green painted terrain ....
  • Computron
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    Computron sublime tool
    How do you get your textures? Your rocks have a sculpted painterly feel but the grass looked kind of photosourced.
  • marq4porsche
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    marq4porsche polycounter lvl 8
    I liked the old grass better, the new more painterly one looks washed out imo. Also if you're going to make stylized rocks I think you need to emphasize the depth of the cracks and lighting.
  • choco
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    choco polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks for the advice, and ya I'm trying to train myself at doing hand-painted textures, which kinda of a challenge to myself.
    I'm not aiming for a realistic style (as shown in the first "in engine" screenshots) I'm trying to get a stylised look without exaggerating the effect. (semi-stylised ?)
    I actually like a lot this grass better , why you skipped it? It looks more realistic tome .... anyway its a great job but wheren't you working on the Cryengine?How you working on a voxel object imported in CE3 and use materials in it?
    I'm actually using UDK now since I can get more control over the material settings and use custom shaders to blend textures together. Voxels were painted in 3dcoat then converted into polygones.
    how big would the overall map be (for an enviroment of this size, style & quality) ?

    and is the enviroment completly unique unwrapped or do you use overlapping uv shells for rocks and stuff ?
    a complete breakdown of this would be cool
    The overall normal is 4096x4096, I saved some texture memory by storing the detail textures in color channels (RGBA) same goes for the detail normal maps since I'm only using RG channels, the blue channel is discarded.
    In the end one texture could be used for storing 4 different detail textures (alpha map included) or could be used to store 2 detail normal maps which later on blended with the overall normal map.
    I liked the old grass better, the new more painterly one looks washed out imo. Also if you're going to make stylized rocks I think you need to emphasize the depth of the cracks and lighting.
    Some grass blades and vegetation would probably fix those washed out areas which are are meant to be that way to blend correctly the grass models with the ground texture.

    looks pretty much like this at this point (lit and unlit view, UDK viewport)
    I'm just hoping to get better at handpainting textures while working on this project.(Might aswell change these tilable textures when I get to that point).
    our_lase_place_50.jpg

    our_lase_place_49.jpg
  • Minos
  • velendil
    Hello Choco, the first thing I must say that You done great work here, I really like it.
    choco wrote: »
    The overall normal is 4096x4096, I saved some texture memory by storing the detail textures in color channels (RGBA) same goes for the detail normal maps since I'm only using RG channels, the blue channel is discarded.
    In the end one texture could be used for storing 4 different detail textures (alpha map included) or could be used to store 2 detail normal maps which later on blended with the overall normal map.

    I'm new in UDK and low-poly so please, could You explain this steps more or direct me to the relative article ? Thank You in advance
  • sltrOlsson
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    sltrOlsson polycounter lvl 7
    choco wrote: »
    The overall normal is 4096x4096, I saved some texture memory by storing the detail textures in color channels (RGBA) same goes for the detail normal maps since I'm only using RG channels, the blue channel is discarded.
    In the end one texture could be used for storing 4 different detail textures (alpha map included) or could be used to store 2 detail normal maps which later on blended with the overall normal map.

    Ok, so you pretty much have alphas for all the different materials? 4k^ alphas?

    Can't you show how you do that normal thingy with the grass? From what i understood you made it with the grass/dirt alpha right?

    Definitely subscribed!
  • Kratilim
    Loving the look and really wondering where you're going to take the whole scene. I guess using a 4096 tex that way is a good way to do it, since it's a major part of your scene, it can take up a bit of memory imo. Definitely subscribed to the thread!
  • breakneck
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    breakneck polycounter lvl 9
    i like this alot!
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher polycounter lvl 9
    I think the thing killing the blend at the moment is the sharp, continuous edge where it transitions to ground. grass tends to become patchy before disappearing completely , having some little chunks here and there in the dirt would help sell it, could be done by adjusting your blend mask probably.
  • Tokusei
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    Tokusei polycounter lvl 6
    choco wrote: »
    And this is a quick paint over. I'm still trying to figure out how to handpaint a skydome or project it on a sphere, anyone got any tips ?

    there is a nice tut on how to create an animated skydome here: http://juarez3d.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/tutorial_animated_skydome_v1-3.pdf

    creating a handpainted texture then applying polar coordinates should give good results :)
  • theslingshot
    Wow, very very inspiring stuff...I dig floating islands soooo much :D
  • choco
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    choco polycounter lvl 8
    Hello Choco, the first thing I must say that You done great work here, I really like it.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by choco viewpost.gif
    The overall normal is 4096x4096, I saved some texture memory by storing the detail textures in color channels (RGBA) same goes for the detail normal maps since I'm only using RG channels, the blue channel is discarded.
    In the end one texture could be used for storing 4 different detail textures (alpha map included) or could be used to store 2 detail normal maps which later on blended with the overall normal map.


    I'm new in UDK and low-poly so please, could You explain this steps more or direct me to the relative article ? Thank You in advance


    Ok, so you pretty much have alphas for all the different materials? 4k^ alphas?

    Can't you show how you do that normal thingy with the grass? From what i understood you made it with the grass/dirt alpha right?

    Definitely subscribed!

    Thanks, I'm thinking of making a tutorial about my texturing methodes plus some tips/tricks once I'm done with the whole thing.

    Just hoping that it turns out well and that I wont get burned out when I spend too much time on this project.

    As for the grass alpha, ya its pretty much 3 alpha maps stored in one big texture map (RGB channels).
    I'm thinking about replacing them by vertex colors and use small tilable high frequency alpha maps to give the grass a nice patchy look in order to compensate with the low quality of vertex color masking.
    Using vertex colors will help me save more texture memory and I will be able to paint the masks in the engine for accurate placements.
    I'm still testing the vertex coloring method, but I think that its promising; I'll post some results later on :)
    I think the thing killing the blend at the moment is the sharp, continuous edge where it transitions to ground. grass tends to become patchy before disappearing completely , having some little chunks here and there in the dirt would help sell it, could be done by adjusting your blend mask probably.

    Ya I do agree with you, the grass patches look weird in some areas.
    I've been experimenting with some vertex colors to add detail without using more texture memory, I'll post some pics when I'm done making the tilable alpha maps to use for grass patches.

    Based on the following articles :

    http://www.chrisalbeluhn.com/UDK_Advanced_Vertex_Painting.html

    http://eat3d.com/free/vertex_painting

    there is a nice tut on how to create an animated skydome here: http://juarez3d.files.wordpress.com/...ydome_v1-3.pdf

    creating a handpainted texture then applying polar coordinates should give good results :)


    Thanks a lot, I'll take a look at it asap !


    On the other hand, I've been testing methodes to speed up the process of making paintery textures. I did some experimenting with some photoshop editing and filtering to get something close to a handpainted texture.

    Obviously this method wont replace handpainted textures but it might be a good alternative for people who want to save some time or have a good base to start painting on.

    Quick comparisons of textures where I literally just spent a few minutes on.

    handpainting_test06.jpg

    handpainting_test05.jpg

    handpainting_test07.jpg

    Anime_grass3.jpg

    handpainting_test02.jpg

    handpainting_test01.jpg

    handpainting_test03.jpg

    handpainting_test04.jpg

    Spending some time doing some paint overs might give good results.
  • Rurouni Strife
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    Rurouni Strife polycounter lvl 7
    I absolutely love this. Following along with this project (outside of it's awesomeness) is going to totally help out my wish to do more "stylized realism" or flat out cartoony work in the future. Right now I'm too short on time to do any hand painted textures for my current environment but if time presents itself toward the end of my project I'm going to see what I can do. Your work here has already inspired me ;)
  • Cordell Felix
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    Cordell Felix polycounter lvl 7
    Whoa i really like the way you stylized the photo-realistic textures! Can you do a small breakdown on how u did one of them? I'm sure you just samples colors and painted in the right areas and such, but idk how you applied it so well! I'd love to know :]
    great job man!
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