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Witch House - Environment

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Elod.H polycounter lvl 7
Hello everyone,

I wanted to share an environment I have been working on for a while now.
I fell in love with one of Alex Shatohin's concepts, so I've decided to have a go at it inside UDK.

The goal is to match the concept really closely but at the same time allow a bit of freedom for myself as well.
Here is the concept:
mXMiGqP.jpg

Here is the UDK scene so far:

JRzOcIN.jpg

Jji7zhE.jpg

Hope to learn a lot from your feedback. Thanks!
Textures coming after a good night's sleep :)

Replies

  • felipealves
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    felipealves polycounter lvl 7
    Cool enviro so far man!

    Would be better with a fog on it. And your house textures are a bit noisy and they aren't contrasting very well between each other.
  • Deathstick
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    Deathstick polycounter lvl 7
    That is some sexy ass foilage, great job on the geometry and concept matching!
  • DireWolf
    Love it!

    Looking at the concept I think the top part sort of hint that the whole area is cover under leafs. So the tree may be denser than you think creating very gloomy atmosphere.
  • Deathstick
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    Deathstick polycounter lvl 7
    oh and I must say, that's quite a major improvement over your last scene with the color and texture interest. Good job!

    Maybe you can mess around with a fresnel shader on your materials if you would like to get that edge rim lighting from the concept although I wouldn't overdo it.
  • DWalker
    I think your camera's FOV doesn't match that of the concept. Your house is thinner, while the fence appears shorter.

    The textures - especially those of the house - should have less contrast. The tree trunks - especially the one in the foreground - are the exception; the deep vertical lines really contribute to their spooky appearance.

    There's a definite white light source in the distant fog, lightening the area at the end of the trail.

    The individual bricks & shingles on the house should be larger. Your bricks appear almost square, while those in the concept are much wider.
  • Elod.H
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    Elod.H polycounter lvl 7
    felipeleaves: thanks very much! Yes, DWalker pointed out some issues with the textures, so I will definitely look to improve the contrast and the scale as well.

    Deathstick: thanks! The Fresnel idea is great, didn't even cross my mind :) . Will have to look into it. Thanks again and I`m keeping my eyes on your village environment as well :)

    DireWolf: hmmm, That's a very good point.. on the concept it looks like an enclosed area from the top. How did I miss this? :poly122: Thanks!

    DWalker: wow, thanks so much for all the observations. I`ll work on fixing these issues. Your not the first one to mention problems with contrast and textures on the house, so I`ll definitely look into it.
    Regarding the fog: I was thinking that maybe as the fog gets further away from the camera it becomes whiter, but there could be some whitish light coming from that area. Thanks again!

    Here are some of the textures of the scene:

    Z9v0Zcw.jpg

    m22CMyO.jpg
  • 87roach
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    87roach polycounter lvl 5
    Beautiful concept, and really awesome work so far on the models!

    I agree with what else is being said about the textures and contrast issues, etc.

    The one other thing I noticed is that the stump in the foreground to the lower right has the "crack" in it like the concept but it really just looks like a seam issue. Either just forget about it and make it a normal stump or make it really clear that it's the wood that has a large crack.

    I am looking forward to seeing progress, keep it up!
  • Soldier63
    I really love your textures personally. Are there any good tutorials on the internet in order to create these? I really have to learn this for my current project :D
  • ParksMarks
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    ParksMarks polycounter lvl 5
    HI Elod.H
    I love your environment- its well realised!
    the only suggestions i have are for polish tweaks;
    I agree with DWalker- if you truck your camera further away and zoom in, it should give you the same proportions as the concept art ( and flatten everything out to match the perspective)
    I dont know what you're process is for lighting, but keep in mind that the forground tree and rightmost ground area are much darker in the concept art- you could get the same tonal composition, either by using negative lights for those areas, or lowering the overall ambient and sticking an omni in the center of the composition.
  • Minos
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    Minos polycounter lvl 13
    Nice stuff!

    The lighting needs some work to match the concept. You could do try some color grading to get rid of the blacks and high contrast. Also try to add some more gradients to your scene (example: notice how the skybox has a gradient in the concept). Some subtle specularity on the materials would also help with this :)
  • KennyTies
    Wow, awesome concept and awesome texture work.
  • secondnightmare
    I think the house textures could use some work, but it looks great overall. Puts me in the Halloween mood. Would personally love to cover this scene in pumpkins.

    Edit: I think you could scale the house up a bit too to match the ref
  • sltrOlsson
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    sltrOlsson polycounter lvl 11
    The trail that goes in to the woods on the left, that ends in a brighter color, I think you should do a texture that have it's features instead of your XY tiling texture you have now. You would have to model out the path and map in straight to your texture though.

    The brightness in the end of that trail really helps guide the eye as well, it would also add to your scene.

    Great work!
  • ScottHoneycutt
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    ScottHoneycutt polycounter lvl 10
    Minos wrote: »
    Nice stuff!

    The lighting needs some work to match the concept. You could do try some color grading to get rid of the blacks and high contrast. Also try to add some more gradients to your scene (example: notice how the skybox has a gradient in the concept). Some subtle specularity on the materials would also help with this :)

    +1

    The tree looks soft and under-defined as well. Great concept and good job bringing it to life.
    Soldier63 wrote: »
    I really love your textures personally. Are there any good tutorials on the internet in order to create these? I really have to learn this for my current project :D

    Here's a good start:
    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=hand+painted+textures
  • gsokol
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    gsokol Polycount Sponsor
    Oh man that is a rad concept!

    Couple things:

    1. That tree in the foreground is awful blurry compared to the rest of the scene. It seems like all the trees are of a lower pixel density than the other textures in the scene, but its especially bad since one of them is right up next to the camera and takes up a big chunk of your shot.

    2. I know somebody mentioned the FOV being different than the concept. That may be the case but I think the important thing would be getting that house up closer in the shot. Its such a pivotal part of the concept, and It seems like it takes a back seat in your comp.

    3. You could really use some secondary lighting in here. Your house and the fence posts don't look seated in this environment very well. In the concept you can really see the brown/orange from the ground bouncing onto the house/posts.


    Your textures are killer! Really liking the grass/tree leaves one!
  • JWalk
    Just out of curiosity, have you used fibermesh to create your grass texture? Or did you hand-place the clumps? I've made grass textures using both techniques, but found that getting a tileable version using fibermesh can be a headache.
  • Noren
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    Noren polycounter lvl 15
    Lighting and value/contrast of the textures have already been mentioned.
    I'd add that I'd make the scale of the textures (bricks etc.) bigger than in the concept, while yours are even smaller right now. Your textures look great, if perhaps a bit monochrome, but all that detail is mostly small scale and only visible when seen up close and becomes noise when the scene is seen as a whole and your bricks and shingles look almost the same. The concept works with those small bricks because most of the detail is only vaguely suggested.
    Don't be afraid to change proportions compared to the concept if you find them to be slightly off and rather follow the intentions of the concept than the lines or the exact perspective. E.g. I think the stepping stones toward the house are actually meant to be flat stairs and the house is on a hill, rather than to the back. Proportions of the gate/fence/stairs compared to the house are simply off in the concept and you went even further in that direction. Or take the door, for another example.
    Other than that it's shaping up very nicely.
  • Imasho
    So cool

    I love the grass texture ;)
  • Elod.H
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    Elod.H polycounter lvl 7
    You guys are helping me so much here, thanks very much!
    I`m currently working on the lighting, because it was just not working and looking as I wanted it to. Taking into account what you guys said, the scene is already starting to look better... still a lot of work left, though :) .

    Meanwhile, here are some more textures before I post an update of the scene:

    CVt3Mtk.jpg
    uXy3xIE.jpg

    87roach: thanks, I hope I do justice here :) . Now that I look at that cut in the wood, it looks kind of bad, so thanks for pointing that out!

    Soldier63: I`m glad you like the textures, thanks! I did look at some hand painting tutorials, also Fanny Vergne's tutorial on how she made some textures for World of Warcraft was really helpful! You can check out her thread HERE. A more in depth look at it you can find in the new Vertex2 magazine.

    ParksMarks: thanks very much! I will adjust the camera as you suggested, it sounds logical and will surely make my environment match the concept more. Right now I`m rebuilding the lighting and then I`ll adjust the camera as well.
    Yes, the lighting needs to be adjusted, so I went ahead and started to completely rebuild it. I think it's looking better already but a lot of tweaking and moving around still has to be done. Thanks again!

    Minos: your suggestions are sooo spot on, thanks for pointing these things out, I`m already working on making the lighting look much better.

    KennyTies: thanks man, I did spend quite a bit of time learning how to make them... and then actually making them :) .

    secondnightmare: yes, people have been mentioning the scale and the contrast issues and I`ve already changed a lot of things regarding the textures. Hahaha :))) makes me want to actually fill the place with pumpkins .. ahh but I need to finish the actual important work on it first :) .

    sltrOlsson: I was actually thinking of handpainting that part of the land, but stuck with the regular tiling method eventually. I will try to get the most out of that trail via lighting and will see if that's enough. Thanks for the suggestions!

    ScottMichaelH: yes, I still need to paint some more on the trees, at the moment they have pretty much only the baked maps applied to them.

    gsokol: thanks for all the tips, they help me immensely! The trees will get more attention :) . After I adjust the FOV I`ll check how everything looks and I will bring the house closer or even scale it up if need be.
    To be honest I was never happy with the lighting and I`m rebuilding it completely. Will definitely look into achieving more bounces in my lights as well. Thanks!

    JWalk: I`m not actually familiar on how to place grass clumps via Fibermesh. Your talking about the ZBrush feature, right? I created the grass texture with 3DSMax and Photoshop and then just used the Alt+S feature in UDK to place the selected planes where my cursor was.
    It would be great of you could talk a bit about the fibermesh method :) .

    Noren: phew, your post is full of so much valuable information. Yes, I did notice that most of the textures look ok from close, but they get noisy because of the scale of the detail on them. I've already widened the bricks and removed much contrast from them. They already look so much better.
    A lot of things were hard to achieve because there is a distorted perspective on the concept I've found. It's not really a realistic perspective, so either I messed around with the camera or I pulled and pushed the shapes to achieve the look. Ahh, it's not easy, but I will try to match as many things possible :) . In the end, I want to communicate the mood of the concept as close as possible.
    Thanks for the help!

    Imasho: that one is my favorite as well! Thanks :)
  • Gannon
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    Gannon greentooth
    Love the concept and you're definitely on the right path. I think you could go bolder in your shapes. Push the exaggeration and bulk up the size slightly. Your textures are getting a little noisy and it's making the composition muddy. For example your dirt and the fence bricks could stand to use a bit less contrast, but more saturation - imo.

    Can't wait to see more!
  • JWalk
    Elod.H wrote: »
    JWalk: I`m not actually familiar on how to place grass clumps via Fibermesh. Your talking about the ZBrush feature, right? I created the grass texture with 3DSMax and Photoshop and then just used the Alt+S feature in UDK to place the selected planes where my cursor was.
    It would be great of you could talk a bit about the fibermesh method :) .

    Ah, I actually meant your grass/leaf ground texture (not your grass planes)...

    As for the fibermesh method. You can use it to generate organic looking fibers on models, or in the context of grass textures, you could generate grass-like fibers on a plane and potentially bake them out.

    (pretty much all you need to know)
    http://pixologic.com/zclassroom/homeroom/lesson/fibermesh/

    Additionally, you can combine micromesh with fibermesh (which essentially lets you replace your fibers with other ztools) which can lead to some interesting things... Think, leaves on branches, pine needles etc :)
  • xChris
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    xChris polycounter lvl 6
    Elod.H wrote: »
    You guys are helping me so much here, thanks very much!
    I`m currently working on the lighting, because it was just not working and looking as I wanted it to. Taking into account what you guys said, the scene is already starting to look better... still a lot of work left, though :) .

    Meanwhile, here are some more textures before I post an update of the scene:

    CVt3Mtk.jpg
    uXy3xIE.jpg

    87roach: thanks, I hope I do justice here :) . Now that I look at that cut in the wood, it looks kind of bad, so thanks for pointing that out!

    Soldier63: I`m glad you like the textures, thanks! I did look at some hand painting tutorials, also Fanny Vergne's tutorial on how she made some textures for World of Warcraft was really helpful! You can check out her thread HERE. A more in depth look at it you can find in the new Vertex2 magazine.

    ParksMarks: thanks very much! I will adjust the camera as you suggested, it sounds logical and will surely make my environment match the concept more. Right now I`m rebuilding the lighting and then I`ll adjust the camera as well.
    Yes, the lighting needs to be adjusted, so I went ahead and started to completely rebuild it. I think it's looking better already but a lot of tweaking and moving around still has to be done. Thanks again!

    Minos: your suggestions are sooo spot on, thanks for pointing these things out, I`m already working on making the lighting look much better.

    KennyTies: thanks man, I did spend quite a bit of time learning how to make them... and then actually making them :) .

    secondnightmare: yes, people have been mentioning the scale and the contrast issues and I`ve already changed a lot of things regarding the textures. Hahaha :))) makes me want to actually fill the place with pumpkins .. ahh but I need to finish the actual important work on it first :) .

    sltrOlsson: I was actually thinking of handpainting that part of the land, but stuck with the regular tiling method eventually. I will try to get the most out of that trail via lighting and will see if that's enough. Thanks for the suggestions!

    ScottMichaelH: yes, I still need to paint some more on the trees, at the moment they have pretty much only the baked maps applied to them.

    gsokol: thanks for all the tips, they help me immensely! The trees will get more attention :) . After I adjust the FOV I`ll check how everything looks and I will bring the house closer or even scale it up if need be.
    To be honest I was never happy with the lighting and I`m rebuilding it completely. Will definitely look into achieving more bounces in my lights as well. Thanks!

    JWalk: I`m not actually familiar on how to place grass clumps via Fibermesh. Your talking about the ZBrush feature, right? I created the grass texture with 3DSMax and Photoshop and then just used the Alt+S feature in UDK to place the selected planes where my cursor was.
    It would be great of you could talk a bit about the fibermesh method :) .

    Noren: phew, your post is full of so much valuable information. Yes, I did notice that most of the textures look ok from close, but they get noisy because of the scale of the detail on them. I've already widened the bricks and removed much contrast from them. They already look so much better.
    A lot of things were hard to achieve because there is a distorted perspective on the concept I've found. It's not really a realistic perspective, so either I messed around with the camera or I pulled and pushed the shapes to achieve the look. Ahh, it's not easy, but I will try to match as many things possible :) . In the end, I want to communicate the mood of the concept as close as possible.
    Thanks for the help!

    Imasho: that one is my favorite as well! Thanks :)

    Just saw the Fanny Vergne thread/mini tutorial. What does she mean by compositing the maps in photoshop? Is she combining the normal/AO, and height map somehow, than paints over them?

    I've been thinking about trying to give this method a try.
  • Elod.H
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    Elod.H polycounter lvl 7
    Gannon: thanks for the suggestions, they're really helpful. The noisy texture issue is definitely being dealt with right as I write this, will need to look at the shapes again. Thanks once more!

    JWalk: oh yeah, sorry, my bad, I missunderstood you :) . I did use fibermesh once or twice, but never for foliage. I've already learned something new, thanks for the video :) . Will have to look into that method one day as well. Right now I am thinking that I might have issues making it tile, but where's a will there's a way :) . You had issues making it tile I understand?

    xChris: it's a great tutorial! Yes, basically that's what she is doing. She bakes out AO, Height map + she also extracts matcap images from ZBrush and then takes these images into Photoshop and overlay's them using various blending modes (with different opacity levels).
    I've quickly looked on youtube and Julio Nicoletti made a texturing tutorial in which he goes in-depth on his methods, worth to look at.
  • JWalk
    Yeah you'll get issues making it tile. It's easier to tile when your grass is noisy, but when you want clearly defined blades it's more difficult.

    How did you approach your grass (ground) texture then? :)
  • xChris
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    xChris polycounter lvl 6
    xChris wrote: »
    Just saw the Fanny Vergne thread/mini tutorial. What does she mean by compositing the maps in photoshop? Is she combining the normal/AO, and height map somehow, than paints over them?

    I've been thinking about trying to give this method a try.

    Hell yeah man, thanks for the link!
  • Elod.H
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    Elod.H polycounter lvl 7
    Hello again,

    I want to thank everyone again for all the feedback. I took as many as I could in regard to better the scene and here is what I've cooked up so far.

    I've rebuilt the lighting and adjusted the textures so everything would become more readable, less noisy and more true to the concept.
    Will look at the scene again tomorrow and read what you guys have to say and then tweak some more so I can wrap this one up!

    Thanks again!

    epTPKU1.jpg
  • felipealves
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    felipealves polycounter lvl 7
    It looks much better man!
  • atomander
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    atomander polycounter lvl 7
    Elod, just wanted to say its been really great watching this piece come together. I love the feel so far! One thing I think might help is to color your shadows a bit more; right now they are reading as flat black in a lot of textures. Giving these some color saturation I think would help pop the scene more.

    Looking forward to seeing more, keep going!
  • Elod.H
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    Elod.H polycounter lvl 7
    felipealves: thanks, that's really good to know :) .

    atomander: thanks very much! I did keep that in mind when painting my textures, but it seems I did not push those blue tones enough to be visible. Thanks for pointing that out!
  • Elod.H
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    Elod.H polycounter lvl 7
    While I`m polishing things up, thought I'd share another angle of the scene.

    B86PrDz.jpg
  • Gazu
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    Gazu polycounter lvl 8
  • Hoshi
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    Hoshi polycounter lvl 6
    Very nice ! Do you plan on adding more moody items, fog planes, small point lights or so ? I think your scene can pop up much more with some work on the overall atmosphere.
  • Deathstick
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    Deathstick polycounter lvl 7
    Very lovely, I'm a fan :D

    Especially the fence, sure it may be simple to model but the way you placed them and bent them adds a lot of character.
  • Elod.H
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    Elod.H polycounter lvl 7
    JWalk: sorry, I just noticed I forgot to answer your question.. my bad :( . The grass texture base was created in Max. What I did was set up my grid to match a 512x512 system. I created some grass blades and then used them with the Object Paint tool to scatter them around the top and left edge of my ground plane. Then I offset these "edge" grasses by 512 units so I achieve the tiling. Then it's just filling in the center and it's pretty much finished. Applied various materials (several types of gradients and color + selection masks) and baked them out.
    The workflow is very similar to the one you see in this 3Dmotive tutorial.
    For the ground texture I used ZBrush and set-up a tiling plane so when I sculpt on the edges, it tiles. I achieved this with the Wrap function.
    It really depends on what I want to create. Most of the time I liked to start out in Max, because I want to have full control over what I do, but sometimes I just need that looseness from the get go, looseness what ZBrush provides for example, so I choose ZB.

    Gazu: thanks :) really pumps me up to see that people like the scene :) .

    Hoshi: Thanks for the suggestions. My original goal was to create a scene that matches the concept as closely as possible, but creating another version with some different ideas like you mentioned sounds really good!

    Deathstick: hehe, thanks very much. Yeah I wasn't too sure about the fence, but it goes to show how any simple model can be brought to life and be given character by some relatively simple tweaks and curves here and there.
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