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THRONE ROOM - Fisherman's Kingdom - Kimmokaunela

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  • kimmokaunela
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    kimmokaunela ngon master
    Now that the comp is coming to it´s end I decided to start looking back what I have created and do some sort of post mortem. I want to share some parts and techniques that I found useful. I like to read other artist workflows so I want to share some of mine.

    I work with mobile games and that means a lot of optimization in graphics side of things. So on my free time I try to do something else. Much more complex and realistic stuff. I can´t help it but I still try to optimize a lot there. This project was no different so I wanted to have nice results but instead of brute force it I wanted to find clever ways to achieve what I wanted.

    Textures were one part of it. I wanted to have good resolution but at the same time I wanted to save Vram (I only have 512mt). Instead of using unique textures for every rock I started to test blending two generic looping rock texture that I baked down. First iteration was using vertex colors. That worked but the results were inaccurate and it was pretty time consuming because Unity don´t have vertex painter so I needed to do painting in 3ds max and it ended up being really slow way to do it. Then I started using mask texture. This worked exactly like I wanted. It was much more accurate, faster and I could visualize it better. I wanted that the edges of the models have much brighter texture and then it will blend smoothly to a darker one. I simply made brighter version of the texture. This way I was able to loop these two texture and I got much better resolution instead of using 2k maps that would kill my Vram. I use this technique where I could. I would like to test with DX11 tesselation but my HW can´t handle that.

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  • William3DArtist
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    William3DArtist polycounter lvl 10
    Loooking sweet bud. Best of luck.
  • kimmokaunela
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    kimmokaunela ngon master
    Thanks william21984, good luck to you too! I never win in these comps but as long as I´m having fun and I learn new tricks the time is well spend :)
  • kimmokaunela
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    kimmokaunela ngon master
    I played with the throne texture saturation levels and it helped a lot. Thanks all for the feedback! I´m getting blind to my own mistakes :)

    I also cleaned some stuff and tweaked post process stuff in Unity. Did some small fixing in the grass and other vege textures to add more variation. Ground has more specular to show the wetness better.

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  • kimmokaunela
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    kimmokaunela ngon master
    I decided to test the throne in Marmoset Toolbag 2. That software always suprises me :) Right now I´m tweaking textures and other small things.

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  • kimmokaunela
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    kimmokaunela ngon master
    Rendering normal maps is very interesting and I found out a really neat way to do it. It worked very well with the vegetation in this project. This is something that I want to try IRL :)

    The way it worked was using red, green and blue lights and a material that has white diffuse color. I placed the negative version of the lights to opposite position with negative intensity value. Then I just used a camera and rendered the image. Normal maps are full of important values so I used that when I started texturing.

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    This was my light rig for the vege textures. You can never know enough about normal maps so the testing continues :)
  • kimmokaunela
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    kimmokaunela ngon master
    Starting to model the fishing net that I´m planning to put on the rocks to make it look more like a place for the fisherman to live.

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  • kimmokaunela
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    kimmokaunela ngon master
    I´ve been doing a lot of changes/fixes/redos. I bake down that fishing net texture and it was very easy to texture. Then I modeled the net model. I also moved stones, tweaked almost every shader again and add random wood planks and a wrecked boat. It was fast because I already modeled those for this project when I did the throne and the fence :)

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  • kimmokaunela
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    kimmokaunela ngon master
    I think I have all the modeling done now. I´m going to finish this project tomorrow because I´m going to be afk for a while. Here is the wireframe shots. Tris count is about 110k for the whole scene.

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  • kimmokaunela
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    kimmokaunela ngon master
    Now that I have these texture blending shaders I can use the same material with multiple different objects. I started to model different tree trunks and sticks. I still need to tweak the uvs but now the power of texture blending really starts to show it´s potential.

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    Right now I´m like a child in a toy shop just before closing time. So much nice things to to test and play but the time is running out :)
  • kimmokaunela
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    kimmokaunela ngon master
    Almost done with the scene so I decided to collect some of the hi polys. Almost three months of freetime went to this and it´s nice to see how it comes together.

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    I also collect some low polys in Marmoset Toolbag 2. Even thought they are not PBR TB2 render them nicely. A lot of assets rely to my custom Unity shaders so I can´t do that in TB2.

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  • kimmokaunela
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    kimmokaunela ngon master
    Okay I´m done here!

    It has been quite a journey with this project and I want drain my brain here. I started with a weird idea and iterate A LOT during this time. At some point I decided to go with the sci-fi theme. It felt right choice at that time but it ended up looking wrong and forced like many said. Then I decided to keep things simple and go with the original idea. I still think that it was a right choice to go with this route because then I saw how to make things better. There are times when you just have to hit your head against your keyboard and hope something breaks. For me the mistakes are the thing that teaches me the most.

    It was also very depressing to saw others threads and how they made a nice looking art with UE4. Engine that has MUCH more candy stuff into it than Unity 4.6. At some point I really liked to switch engine but then again I love Unity for so many reasons so I decided ride with it.

    I encountered a lot of issues. I never used Unity for this kind of realistic stuff so there were a lot of things that I needed to learn. Unity is a great tool but it´s require coding to make awesome stuff with it so a person like me who don´t know a single line of C# is pretty lost there. I also wanted to learn making nature environment and creating different shaders using node based editor.

    A lot of time went to making the shaders. I basically created a shader and when I get it to work I started making the art that supported it´s functions. I needed to add different features along the way and then I saw how complicated my shaders were and cleaned them as much as possible. I like the tech side of things but I don´t know how to write code related stuff so that´s why node based tools are great!

    There were no stone hard limitations for the polycount or texture budget but I still wanted to get it running smoothly with my 6 years old pc. It was very interesting and it also meant that I needed to save memory where I could. Textures are a big memory eater and I realized that if I used 2k textures everywhere my Vram started to drain very fast. Dial back to 1k and 512 made a HUGE different and my Vram was nowhere near full.

    It was also nice to try Substance Designer again. I used it with my older project but I never had time to learn it well and then the demo time closed. Now I learnt much more about it but I´m still a noob. Again, it has nodes that I love :)

    One big thing happened during this project. UE4 went to free mode and Unity 5 followed that. I was like “Okay, let´s do it and port this into U5”. Everything exploded. Then I decided that I don´t have time to do most of the stuff again so I decided once again to stick with the 4.6.

    During the project I also came up with different back stories. I like the final story and that also helped me to make the scene to feel more interesting. I know my idea on this is very odd and I took the concept maybe too far but at the same time I wanted to make scene that would stick into others mind.

    It was great to see that artists shared their visions and gave feedback to others. I want to thank you all who gave me feedback. I´m blind for my own mistakes so it´s very important to hear what others things about it. There are something very interesting to see how a group of people makes different stuff from one idea.

    This was my take on the idea and I hope you learned something from my thread. How to NOT do things and how to suck at level design and stuff :) I wish you all the best of luck in this comp and in life. Congrats for the winners!


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  • William3DArtist
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    William3DArtist polycounter lvl 10
    kimmokaunela, following you with all the hard work you had done I thought you were for sure going to place. Glad we got to learn a lot. It was great following you. With the skills we gained from this comp its only going to make us better artists. Best of luck,

    William
  • kimmokaunela
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    kimmokaunela ngon master
    Thanks william21984 for the kind words, really means a lot to me! I gave my best with the tools and the time that I had. This time it wasn´t enough and I fully agreed with the jury about the winners.

    4-1 are so awesome that it was a pleasure to be in the same comp with those. I however don´t honestly agree with few in the 5-10. Also it´s hard to know why the jury chose some of them because there are no explanations or at least I didn´t find any. I think it would be very useful to know that because there are many of us who used a lot of time and effort and didn´t get selected and would like to know what was the thing jury wanted to see. That would make us better artist.

    I followed a lot what others did and I learned so much. It was very interesting to see how people tackled difficulties that they had and found interesting solutions. Originality was strong with this comp and for me there are way more winners that you can see in the Polycount front page!
  • Geno527
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    Geno527 polycounter lvl 8
    I was so sad to not see you in the top 3 (or at least 10) You and WarrenM have both started with a not so good concept but change it during the contest and made something awesome (I would have put both of you in the top 5 for this). I'm sure you have learn a lot, and you have a great piece for your portfolio now as I've already said your comp was very refreshing.

    Well done again !
  • William3DArtist
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    William3DArtist polycounter lvl 10
    If it was World of Warcraftish or Sci Fi or something they have already seen in a movie, then they might be comfortable with picking it, maybe. I don't know why, really. Maybe its because its something their eyes are familiar too. I am wondering the same as well. They did not pick the Kublah Khan one and that is off of a T.V. show on NetFlix. It was awesome too. There was probably way too many good entries. They should have done a top twenty. I dont know man, but I was hoping you were going to be top four at least. You are #1 to me for originality. I loved your piece. Man for 17 hours plus of learning Substance I felt you deserved at least a copy. That's why they should have done a top twenty with all the entries. Bro you are preachin what im thinkin.
  • kimmokaunela
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    kimmokaunela ngon master
    Thanks guys! I´m sure jury had their reasons for what they pick. It´s also very hard to describe what originality really means that the jury wanted to see according to this: http://www.polycount.com/the-throne-room-challenge/

    For me originality means something that once you see it you will remember it long after. Something that makes you look it closer and form different feelings. I think this is the most important effect that a picture can do. It doesn´t mean that it has to have PBR materials, epic GI effects or anything like that. This is very personal thing and that´s why it´s very hard to know what others think.

    I agree with you william21984 that it would be nice if there were more runner ups or everyone who entered gets a free cookie. Everyone likes to hear that "Hey, we liked what you did" or "thanks for taking the time to enter" :)

    But I win personally because I managed to create a scene that I´m proud of. I learned so much different things and got an opportunity to enter. Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win but the main thing is that you have a good time + I´m happy to hear that a lot of you liked to follow my thread and even learn something new. I think that is also one thing about these contest that we can learn from each others.
  • Spoon
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    Spoon polycounter lvl 8
    4-1 are so awesome that it was a pleasure to be in the same comp with those. I however don´t honestly agree with few in the 5-10. Also it´s hard to know why the jury chose some of them because there are no explanations or at least I didn´t find any. I think it would be very useful to know that because there are many of us who used a lot of time and effort and didn´t get selected and would like to know what was the thing jury wanted to see. That would make us better artist.

    I really agree with this, and it is also something I have talked to other artists at the studio about. There is a couple of them that I wouldn't even put top 20, but they still came top 10, so i would also value hearing why those entries won, so we could learn something from it, and seeing it from a new perspective.

    I am honestly really surprised you didn't make it top 10. It was one of the entries I KNEW would be top 10.
  • kimmokaunela
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    kimmokaunela ngon master
    Couple of my friends also pointed that out. They said that some had weird topology and one of them even had just a simple turbosmooth modifier applied to the throne that is not ideal for real-time even without any hard polycount limits. Also odd texturing was mentioned.

    Rules says "There are no hard limits on polycounts or texture sizes but use your best judgement to keep it reasonable and logical." and "Technical mastery and craft – Work cleanly and show that you can come up with smart, creative solutions to the challenges you encounter along the way." This why I said that it would be nice to hear why so I can learn what to keep in my in the future.

    Btw, I started to think that was outdoor environments and non-PBR engines not allowed for this comp? I thought they were allowed but UE4 and Cry Engine is used almost every work and winning entries used only PBR engines and indoors environments?
  • m4dcow
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    m4dcow interpolator
    I think your entry was well executed, and one of the ones waiting just outside the top 10. Your throne was very unique, and I'm glad you changed from the weird sci-fi sort of thing. The only problem I would have with your entry is there are no secondary items around it, like it could have washed up there for all we know so looks a tad out of place.

    As far as the top 10, IMO I thought all but 1 of them could be top 10 depending on taste, that 1 entry I didn't even have in my top 20.

    With the outdoor entry thing, I just think it is a matter of statistics, I did an outdoor-ish entry but besides yours I can't really think of many others that were complete and outdoors. The aim probably was, by making a room the entries could focus more on things that were close up, and not on distant things in an outdoor setting.
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