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THRONE ROOM – Abandoned Green Steel Tower – Justo

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Justo polycounter
On strange lands, a tower is found, consumed by trees. Its top floor holds a throne room, a grand but perhaps menacing place in other times. Was it abandoned? The colossal roots piercing metal walls, the vines consuming and claiming spots suggest otherwise. Whether this empire or kingdom moved on or was taken out by force, this building of theirs still holds some special kind of magnificence.

Software to be used:
Maya
Max
ZBrush
xNormal
Substance Designer
Substance Painter
Unreal Engine 4

Hi! I’m a young beginner-medium experienced guy in modeling, texturing and drawing who’d like to learn some next-gen workflows for UE4. I’ve only had little experience with Unity4 before, so a lot of this will be new to me. I’m so excited to be competing against so many talented artists! Hopefully I’ll be able to make something to make them say That’s Cool.

For my entry, the description above sums it up…I’m going for something that could be found in a fantasy setting. I’d like to mix in metal with plants, pipes, cool architecture and even cooler textures. Big ambitions, little time left. Let’s work!!

Initial Reference

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Sketches painted on top of different UE blockings

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Blockout

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I have advanced a lot more in the modeling of the environment and some things have changed, but I’d rather show it in Unreal with some lights. I spent all day reading about lights, blueprints, lightmaps in UE and a bit more, so hopefully I’ll be able to show more tomorrow. I’m also watching Wes’ Substance Painter tuts, thank God there’s good and easy-to-follow documentation for this software.

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  • Justo
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    Justo polycounter
    Update time! Was able to put some lights and choose some shots. Some of these assets are very early in the making, so expect some changes. I'm not digging the 3 pipes at each side of the corridor, and proportions in the room are still way off. C&C welcome! Next up, I'll try to work on some early normal maps and start importing into UE some assets that are more finished..

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  • Justo
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    Justo polycounter
    If any mods see this, please change the thread's name to "Green Steel Throne Room" instead of "Abandoned Green Steel Tower".

    I think it's time to post the work I've done these past two months. Because I also had to learn UE4, SD & SP from 0, I'm sure more experienced folks will notice big flaws in my work. Please feel free to tell me what I did wrong! There's always room for improvement.

    I was so busy making this stage that I barely had the time to do other stuff in my life, hence the lack of updates here. I'd feel it'd be a waste of time to post something, only to then come back and say "oops, I'm actually redoing this asset". But now that the work's DONE, let the posts begin.

    First off, the blocking itself went through numerous phases as I did and redid assets which I wasn't digging. Mistake number one: always try to get stuff to the target engine asap.

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  • Justo
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    Justo polycounter
    If any mods see this, please change the thread's name to "Green Steel Throne Room" instead of "Abandoned Green Steel Tower".

    All textures with the exception of foliage were done between Substance Painter and Designer. I realllllly like these programs, and am pretty sure I'll be adding them permanently to my pipeline. Both programs saved me a loooooot of time.

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    Mistake number two: use more fill layers + masks combo. They can save you a lot of timeif you want to change something...
    Because my poor lil' laptop isn't able to run the more complex graphs I made in SD using my school's computers, I'm limited to only showing this for the moment. I do plan to show you guys the graphs I made though!!
  • Justo
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    Justo polycounter
    If any mods see this, please change the thread's name to "Green Steel Throne Room" instead of "Abandoned Green Steel Tower".


    Like I said, all textures were done in SD except foliage...so here goes what the vegetation looks like. I followed a basic pipeline for this: made some planes in the forms of leaves in 3ds max, added detail in Zbrush, then baked down to texture maps.

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    Mistake number 3: be careful of that Y channel for normal maps in UE...

    Inside UE4 I'm using the new 4.7 two-sided foliage shader. Pretty good-looking guy : )
  • Justo
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    Justo polycounter
    If any mods see this, please change the thread's name to "Green Steel Throne Room" instead of "Abandoned Green Steel Tower".

    I then started bringing together all the elements that I had made and trying different lighting. Watched a lot of reference for that, like koola's work. My results are obviously a lot poorer than his of course. Right now, I think the foreground is looking too dark.

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    Mistake number 4: Don't start a scene with a directional light at 40 intensity...
  • Justo
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    Justo polycounter
    If any mods see this, please change the thread's name to "Green Steel Throne Room" instead of "Abandoned Green Steel Tower".

    Small doodle of what I imagine this environment looks like from the outside, more or less :P

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    Mistake number 5: use F9 to screencap correctly.
  • Justo
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    Justo polycounter
    And as we approach the deadline, I have to start finishing this. I think the foliage is the weakest element in my piece (ironically the only objects I didn't texture with Substance software) and the tree trunk should look better, but given the fact I didn't know anything about UE or Substance before doing this, I'm pretty satisfied with my work.

    Next up, I'll light some areas that are too dark and try to illuminate some assets more. Also, I'll tweak some substance parameters in the editor (super cool) so that these elements don't look that similar.

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  • Justo
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    Justo polycounter
    If any mods see this, please change the thread's name to "Green Steel Throne Room" instead of "Abandoned Green Steel Tower".

    One final post showing some graphs and assets before posting the final screenshots:

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  • Justo
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    Justo polycounter
    If any mods see this, please change the thread's name to "Green Steel Throne Room" instead of "Abandoned Green Steel Tower".

    Final screenshots!! I learned a lot during this, and I'm pretty sure I'll keep working on this after the contest as I learn more about UE4 and Substance. I'm super proud of having participated in a contest with so many talented artists around the globe.

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