Breakdown of SciFi Cylinder tunnel.

Hello!
After some requests, this is a breakdown and quick walkthrough of how i created the scifi corridor i recently finished.
The scene is inspired by this scene: http://cghub.com/files/Image/103001-104000/103206/737_max.jpg
Created by Sam Brown (thanks people in the community for pointing this out)


This is my first tutorial/walkthrough/breakdown, hopefully its comprehensive enough to be of use!
Hope you enjoy it!

Also big thanks to Helder Pinto for helping me out with technical aspects of the engine!

Goal:

To Create a small contained sci-fi environment in a short amount of time while learning material, shader and lighting properties better.

I wanted to make a scene where i could really focus on materials, shading and lighting to learn more about their properties.

I knew that i at times have a short attention/motivationspan when it comes to creating my own 3D art when my entire days at work are spent working with it, so i wanted to quickly establish
a base envrionment that i could feel compelled to polish and really get a great end product, i set the deadline of one weekend to get my base up and get everything in the engine.

I also wanted to go for a clean scene, not too much dirt and to add some of my own flavor and inspiration that i had acculmulated to an already awesome conceptart piece.
So by keeping the scene smaller i could also make sure that it was easier for me to put a higher quality polish into it and not stretching myselfe thin with too many areas to cover.


Modeling

Pieces1.jpg

Wireframe1.jpg

I started of by making my Basic cylinder of the room quickly and laid out basics to get everything into the scene and set it up within CryEngine3.
By establishing my main cylinder room, i had a space to fill with objects. The Cylinder was quickly created and exported into the engine so that i could later interate on its texture and model.

Polycount and optimized models was not something i wanted to spend time on, while i did not waste polygons either.

To save time i did not bake anything through highpoly modeling, instead i used the soften edge bevel technique to get nice smoothe edges quickly.

Here is how i made it:

Korean.jpg


You simply add 2 extra edges to an edge after you know the angle of it, and soften the middle edge, that way the two outer edges control the smoothness size.
I used this throughout the making of the scene to easily test and add smoothed edges and not spend time on Highpoly and baking them.

Pros:
Alot faster
Easy to Control the size
No need to bake

Cons:
Extra triangles added
Needs to be added after the shapes have been established, if shapes needs to change the extra edges should be removed.
Needs to be added after UVmap is done, or it can lead to alot of complications when uvmapping.

Texturing:

All normalmap details where created using nDo2 that can be found here: http://quixel.se/
A very useful tool that im sure alot of you are familiar with.
The basic workflow i used is just to try out different shapes that i liked and making selections or solid colors that i then ran through nDo2 to get nice shapes.
This boiled down to experimenting with the shapes that i liked and taking inspiriation from any potential sci-fi source i could think of.
The normalmaps where the first thing i made for the textures which i then through the cavity map based my diffuse/spec/gloss on.

Normals.jpg

Specular and gloss where among the most important part in texturing this scene, as the visual look on the metal surfaces needed to be as good as possible with alot of clean surfaces.
I also took use of the Parallax occlusion mapping feature that CryEngine offers, i had never really properly used it before this, but it added some really interesting results,
Not all pieces in the scene uses POM, since adapting it in all parts of the scene would be both a waste of time and did either not bring anything extra or just made it look overall wierd.

Examples:

TextureExample.jpg

The POM effect is subtle but it lifts the scene overall and gives it a less flat feeling.

POM.jpg



Materials:

Once i got more of the textures and models in place into my scene i started tweaking the lighting and settings for the materials.
This was by far the biggest timesink.
Most of my time was spent finetweaking and tuning the textures in the gloss and specular map to really nail the surface type that i liked, aswell as adjusting the materials in the engine.
I was quite new to CryEngine3 when i started so i had to learn alot about the engine as i went on.

The look on the entire scene hung on how the materials were presented, so putting that time into every section of scenes material was essential.

GlossExample.jpg


Lighting:

One technique i found to be suprisingly useful when getting the right lighting i wanted was to completely delete the entire lighting setup from time to time.
This might seem crazy, but the scene was small and by deleting the lights i had a clean slate to try out new ideas and see what my latest material updates would do
in different setups.
All the lighting setups i used strived towards the same goal, but they yeilded very different results as i went, i learned also how my scene responded to different setups, sometimes i would try to
set up just 5 pointlights without any lighttextures, in other lightings i would use up to 20 pointlights just to highlight specific points in the scene.
I settled for a mix where some areas got extra pointlights to get highlighted for the camera angle while keeping a smoother light overall light in the middle of the scene.

I had alot of problems with the cubemaps in my scene, these were rarely generated properly and alot of time was spent to figure out how they worked, and in the end i realised that alot of fixing was needed
to be done within photoshop to get them right.
This is one of the areas i never really solved and would want to do better.

(Check the end of post for lighting examples)


Polish and Post:

As i went along i worked on pretty much everything at the same time towards the end to boil away problem areas and to correct details, that could be everything from modelproblems to texture tweaks, shading lighting and what not.
I also started adding smaller objects that i thought would complement the scene, things like pipes, grates, and glowing lights.
I made the lights from just a cube that had a high glowamount on it so i could easily move the glow around in the scene without having to add it into the texture.
This saved me alot of time when figuring out their placement.

GlowSource.jpg

Smaller props added to the scene:

Pieces2.jpg

I also went through alot of tutorials and forums on the CVARS for CryEngine3 To set up correct reflections, SSAO
SSDO and so on.
CryEngine has alot of useful CVARS that can really give the scene a little extra.

Here are the console commands i recommend searching for and playing around with in the CE3 console:
R_SSDO
R_SSAO
R_SSReflections
R_MSAA

When i started feeling like the scene was close to done (its not really done, but then i could go on forever)
i took a screenshot and went over the image in photoshop to add some minor polish
These fixes included:
Fixing minor visual bugs i couldnt hammer out in the engine.
Enforcing the AO in some areas to enhance details
Pushing the Lensflares
Color adjustments
Depth adjustmenet through some light darkening.

These are all small fixes that gave the image some extra detail.

I hope you liked this tutorial, im sorry if im not covering anything in specific. If there is anything in particular people want i can see if i get the time to make a more indepth tutorial of a certain section.


Here are some work in progress on lighting and materials from the scene (in a non particular order)

Scifiearly1.jpg

Scene1.jpg


ChromeScifi.jpg

Scifi4.jpg

ScifiInterior.jpg




And the final Image!

ScifiTunnel_01.jpg

//Pontus aka Spitfire

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