Desmond Man - Hand-painted Cottage Level

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  • Kid.in.the.Dark
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    Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 3
    Thanks guys, It's nice knowing it's going in a better direction.

    Having a second look at this again this morning I think I was just really exhausted yesterday and the frustration of trying to get the shadows in a better fashion was stressing me out so I kind of pushed myself to dump this and call it done for the time being when I shouldn't have. Good points were made so before I do put this down I'm gonna go and fix those trees and try and do what I can with the critique so far... Hopefully I'll make my weekend's worth.

    @AtticusMars
    Thanks, yeah I've been putting off the normal issue with my trees... in fact I thought I had fixed it in UE4 by turning off tangent space normals in the material and it proved fine until you mentioned the issue about shadows... then I realised I hadn't casted shadows on any of my lights xD! so I'll give normal thief a try after work tonight... I'm also curious if anyone could explain the technical theory behind normal thief... like how does it work exactly? do you need individual meshes or does it work off one combined mesh? I tried off one combined mesh a while back and it crashed my max xD! so I'm assuming I'm doing it wrong... I'll do some research now any way but it would be nice to know what people's take on how it should be used or could be used as well. Thanks for the critiques so far, really appreciate them (Y)

    @pixelpatron
    Thanks for the advice on that, I'm having trouble with my sky actually... because I'm using a emmisive cylinder with my sky matte paint mapped to it... (i'm assuming this is a really DIY way of doing it) so I'm having a bit of a clash with the fog actor in my UE4 scene... is there a specific way I should approach this that will help me obtain more control over the sky? I'm assuming a cube map but is there anything like a tutorial etc on how I could go about generating a cubemap from my matte painting?
    Those trees look awesome! but I've actually tried that before and it looked like hell LOL... but this is an amazing example... I could give it a show again but I'll try normal thief first... if that doesn't work out well I'll try the blobs. Thank you for your input :) Cheers.

    More updates soon!
  • AtticusMars
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    AtticusMars greentooth
    All it does is try to match the vertex normals (not the normal map) of your selected mesh with the nearest normals of a target mesh. So that you can have a tree made of a bunch of leaf planes, but it shades/recieves lighting as if it were shaped like a dome or a sphere.

    Unfortunately I can't really help you with your crash, it's been a long time since I used normal thief. I use Blender now and it has a data transfer feature that functions much the same way (but way faster)

    JedTheKrampus did a brief tutorial on how to use it in the Blender Megathread: http://www.polycount.com/forum/showpost.php?p=2279488&postcount=2289

    Otherwise this is the best I could find on youtube for normal thief https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKsQNrAzVYM

    btw even for what PixelPatron was suggesting, you need to transfer normals. Basically for foliage you almost ALWAYS need to transfer normals unless you're making something extremely high poly.
  • Kid.in.the.Dark
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    Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 3
    @AtticusMars
    dude that's amazing thank you... yeah I didn't do ANY of that when I briefly tried a little while back... kind of just half assed it and didn't do enough research into it which is why it probably crashed... I'll definitely give this thing a look at once I'm home. I briefly remember touching up on this when I was still studying... but I haven't built any trees for a very very long time so it had completely slipped my mind about what this was all about but I'm pretty clear now haha thank you so much :) Cheers (Y)
  • Kid.in.the.Dark
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    Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 3
    So I've ran normal thief on my trees... it definitely helped... I'm wondering if this is okay for you guys now? If it's not then I'll most likely just have to rebuild the trees again altogether... hopefully I don't have to heh n__n''

    I've touched up on a few shaders, tried to adjust the sky to be a little more of a royal blue... sadly this is the best I can do without a proper solution to how I've setup my sky dome and also corrected some dark areas with some additional lights so parts of the trunks aren't so dark... C&C still very welcome.

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  • AtticusMars
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    AtticusMars greentooth
    It looks like you still have split normals on some of the leaf planes, did you merge all of your canopy geometry into one mesh before trying to run normal thief?
  • Kid.in.the.Dark
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    Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 3
    Yeah I did :( Maybe it's down to a poorly constructed tree mesh then? like... it looks nice when the lighting isn't built on the tree leaves sadly... but once I build lighting the weird harsh cuts in the shading come back... Maybe my best bet is to have another whack at building the tree leaves again?
  • AtticusMars
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    AtticusMars greentooth
    I can't be sure without looking at the mesh. If you look at the vertex normals in 3DS max are they all pointing outward? If they are, that's a good sign that normal thief worked properly.

    If that's the case then yeah your issue is probably with how you modeled them, could be that your leaf planes are just too large and you have too many intersecting pieces. Again, can't really know without the model.

    Honestly though you could probably just leave it. It's still a big improvement over where it was and for a low poly tree it looks good enough in my opinion.

    This is just my opinion but I did a photoshop mockup of where I think you should be going colorwise

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    Things I did:

    1) I cranked up the vibrance to 100%, I'm not sure vibrance in UE4 works the same as photoshop so if you try this you might need to experiment or use a color lut
    2) I desaturated the wood and made it more yellow (excep the wood on the house)
    3) Made the wood texture brighter but kept the dark areas in the bottom 20%~ of values
  • pixelpatron
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    pixelpatron polycounter lvl 5
    Hey Kid, you using Maya or Max? If your using Maya I can send you a rig to make a cubemap for your sky.
  • BradMyers82
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    BradMyers82 polycounter lvl 10
    Good job man! Small crit, I think the fence/well color looks too close to the tree bark color. It would actually look better if you had the yellowish of your orginal version on the well and fence and the tree bark as your current. Anyway, the more you can add variation like this in your textures the better it would read imo. Nice job here
  • Kid.in.the.Dark
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    Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 3
    Hope this is better... I actually spent all morning/noon doing some tests with different ways to build the trees... sadly the other ways of building this tree were actually far worst (God I hate building trees now Q___Q) so I decided to stick with the old ones... but I found a way to cut down those harsh normals in the end... I uniquely lit parts of each tree to gradually blend between hard edged shadows to softer edged ones... I hope this looks okay? to me it looks fine but I'm curious if anyone sees problems with this solution.

    @pixelpatron
    I'm actually a max user... so sadly that won't help me out :( is there a theory to how your rig works that I can follow and try remake? or if that rig is relatively simple to use I could still try it out just for the cube map generation process and all.

    Anyhoo, If this gets a go ahead then I'll probably spend the next week or so just refining textures and then start wrapping this up (Y)

    C&C Very Welcome.

    -EDIT-
    Thank you for the criticism / advice so far btw everyone!

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    I've also provided a screenshot of how those test trees were turning out... I'm sure with a butt loads of refining and tweaking I could achieve a good look but sadly I don't really know how to? and the trees atm are looking far better than these ones (when I first initially started off with them) so forgive me if I strayed back onto my previous direction .___.

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  • Kid.in.the.Dark
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    Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 3
    Just a small humming bird asset I thought would be nice to add to my scene... I'll most probably place it on the fences looking in at the house and a few on the roof of the house or something :) I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

    It's still a rough sculpt and I'll be polishing it up and try tighten up those bumpy areas across the surface still :)

    C&C Very Welcome

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    Ref:
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  • Kid.in.the.Dark
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    Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 3
    Update on the humming bird sculpt.

    I'm pretty much gonna call this sculpt done... since I'm looking for a stylized bird for this scene I've probably already gone too deep into detail... so I've avoided using alphas for the sculpting process and just sculpted everything rawly.

    If there are any major problems with this sculpt atm please feel free to drop advice on it :) otherwise I'll move onto retopology tomorrow and then baking/texturing afterwards.

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    C&C Very welcome! :D
  • pixelpatron
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    pixelpatron polycounter lvl 5
    Okay Kid.in.Dark It's Christmas in almost July.....

    DOWNLOAD SKYDOME RIG

    Sample Skydome (no stealing) :shifty:
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    Here is a Cubemap/Skydome rig for maya. It's pretty easy to use:
    • Make a new PSD 4096 x 2048 (the halfway mark of this document will basically be your horizon)
    • You will want to change your output in render globals (filename/export filetype/name/location/imagesize.etc).
    • All you'll need from that point is to update the Maya shader (load your 4096 x 2048 PSD)
    • You'll get some pinching at the very top and bottom of the outputted images, so either avoid that by adding gradients to the top and bottom like my test image or just paint them out by hand after export (cleanup on the top and bottom images of the cube)
    • Then just do a batch render and it should output all your images. Then it's just a matter of putting them in the right order for your cubemap/skydome shader in your 3D engine. (The current output 1-6 is setup to plug into Unity skydomes.)
    Enjoy
  • Kid.in.the.Dark
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    Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 3
    @pixelpatron.
    Legend, I'll give this a try in a bit. Thank you! :D
  • Kid.in.the.Dark
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    Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 3
    UPDATOU!

    I haven't played around with the skydome rig yet but it will be next on my list of things to do to this scene... I spent today pretty much finalizing this humming bird model... the textures are okay atm but I'll probably revisit it later on to polish up any fine highlights and such but ideally most of it's there :) I've placed it into the scene and thus we have a few humming birds sitting there peacefully n___n

    The lights weren't baked after putting the birds in so I'm aware they look like they're floating atm (Y)

    C&C Very Welcome.

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  • Kid.in.the.Dark
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    Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 3
    So I tried out the skydome stuff...
    I have to say, it was an absolute pain in the ass to get a custom skydome texture working in UE4... I haven't touched blueprints before so it took me a while to actually do this... and the outcome wasn't quite what I expected either xD...

    So I've put up a comparison... for some really annoying reason UE4 loads .DDS maps as slow as a 56K dial-up internet ringtone. (not really, loading the file was actually waaaay slower than that lol) ... I couldn't manage to load a 1024 cube map in... so I had to downsize it to a 512 cube map and I must say it is suffering pretty horribly from that...

    I read on a UE4 Q&A forum that other people have been having this problem and that epic are looking to have this problem fixed for 4.8.0 but idk when that is and idk... meh...

    Either way, I personally feel like the cylinder one will do for now... even trying to pump up the contrast on the skydome wasn't giving me great results... most likely because of the fog but removing the fog kind of removes a big essence to the atmosphere... You guys tell me what you think is the best call on this...

    If there aren't anymore suggestions.. I'll probably just stick with the cylinder setup and spend this weekend just cleaning textures and fixing some shaders before I wrap this up for good and move onto a realistic PBR environment next.

    C&C Welcome!

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    -EDIT-
    Does anyone have a good tutorial that explains how to do a decent SSS Material on foliage? I've been rattling my brain trying to figure it out from skin SSS tutorials and sadly all I really want is that soft fresnel look shining off my foliage and not that hardcore skin detail that they want... but I can't even seem to get my fresnel node working... feeling quite stupid but just can't seem to get my head around it so any help would be very much appreciated :(

    thanks everyone.
  • Kid.in.the.Dark
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    Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 3
    I played around with the SS Shader settings quite a bit... and managed to get some functionality in the end... but I still feel like I'm running blind on this so any tutorials that properly explain how a decent SSS shader is broken down in UE4 would be highly appreciated...

    I've applied the shader to the mushrooms and the tree leaves... it does give off a slightly warmer feel on the fall off but I can't tell if it's all wrong or if it's still badly controlled.

    This is what I have for the evening... C&C Very Welcome.

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