Ackes Environment Improvement thread

polycounter lvl 7
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ackehallgren polycounter lvl 7
Hi everyone.
I've had an environment project going for a long time now and am intent on finishing it up quickly, so to easily keep track of my progress and perhaps getting some good input from people here I will do my best to update regularly.

The thing I'm focusing on improving right now is material and lighting (including learning about baked vs non-baked lighting and UE4 in general.)

The environment is meant to be the first scene in an adventure game that would be urban-fantasy inspired by stuff like Narnia or The Longest Journey. The main character would start out looking through her recently deceased grandfathers attic for things to keep/auction off and so forth. The player would then have to inspect things and figure out why some of the stuff in there has strange markings and mysterious connections.

I intend to focus on things to be added now and will sit down to start on a 3d Cello tonight.

HighresScreenshot00009.png

HighresScreenshot00010.png

Replies

  • chrisradsby
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    chrisradsby polycounter lvl 9
    This is a really nice start! You've got some really nice looking wooden surfaces going on here :)

    Things I would probably try to see how it looks:

    - Maybe increase the tiling of the floorboards? Just to see if you get a better sense of scale. It'll make the other props look a bit bigger. Right now the floorboards look a bit too big. (I know there are some that are this big though)

    - Your wooden surfaces are nice, but try to work in some other materials in there. Like this shot : Old_attic_Stock_2_by_Finsternis_stock.jpg

    It has a brick wall at the end, that might look nice :)


    Looking forward to seeing more of this and its great to see you work hard Acke :)!
  • ackehallgren
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    ackehallgren polycounter lvl 7
    Thanks for the comment Chris!

    - I made a quick try at the floorboards and I think you're right! It helped making the scene feel bigger, which was much needed. I am however a bit scared of it looking too tiled. I made two variations, should I push it further or is the change noticeable enough? :) I think I'm leaning towards the middle one being best.
    floor.jpg

    I also intend to enlarge the wooden beams on the side walls which might help with the sense of scale

    - Brick wall is an excellent idea. I was originally going to have furniture under cloth to break up the materials a bit but am horrible at sculpting, so this would help a lot. Will investigate and try it out at some point!

    Once again, thanks a lot! It means the world.

    Simple progress shot of the lowpoly Cello:

    atticcello.jpg
  • chrisradsby
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    chrisradsby polycounter lvl 9
    I wouldn't worry that much about tiling, when you've got enough stuff on the floor you won't really notice it , like random things strewn about :)

    Nice work so far!
  • amirabd2130
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    amirabd2130 polycounter lvl 5
    nice start.
    this is my kind of environment, a busy one with a looooot of objects :))
  • stickadtroja
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    stickadtroja polycounter lvl 8
    cool stuff, but how do you reach this attic from the floor beneath? some support beams like in chris's ref would also be cool
  • ackehallgren
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    ackehallgren polycounter lvl 7
    Thanks a bunch for your replies!

    @chris - Then I will keep it at the smallest right now and get used to it :) Once again, great advice.

    @amirabd2130 - Thanks! :)

    @stickadtroja - A hatch is planned, and will be in the corner of the room opposite the window. Might try out the support beams as well, although I'm scared of them cluttering up the scene too much? Not hard to test out though as my beams are modular-ish.

    Simple progress-shot of the cello. Test of normal map and texture, the material is not behaving as I want it to but it'll get there.

    cello2.jpg
  • Carabiner
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    Carabiner polycounter lvl 5
    I really like the mood and lighting you've got going on! I'm also a cellist, so let me know if you want any feedback on the cello part (not sure how far you are). I could also take reference pics of my own cello if there are specific angles you're looking for! It actually looks a bit like the one you're making.
  • ackehallgren
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    ackehallgren polycounter lvl 7
    Thanks Carabiner! I might actually take you up on that! The thing I'm having hard finding references on is the peg in the middle that holds up the strings (No idea what the term would be). A picture of that would be gold!

    I asked in the UDK subforum but did not get any wiser. Does anyone know if there is a way to get sharp shadows with a Stationary light? I prefer the look of the light, but static has nicer shadows. Anyone have a good idea?
    ue4light.jpg
  • Carabiner
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    Carabiner polycounter lvl 5
    Hey there, finally got around to taking pictures! I'm just going to comment here (instead of PMing you) in case they're helpful to anyone else. I made an Imgur album here:

    http://imgur.com/a/wO0AT

    The part you're referring to, I think, is called the "bridge" and is shaped like this.

    The bridge is pretty cool because it's not actually glued down—it's held down by the tension of the strings. Let me know if you need reference pics of anything closer up or at different angles!
  • ackehallgren
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    ackehallgren polycounter lvl 7
    That is super nice, and really helpful!
    I think I've done okay so far, the material might need some work and now I have references for the details, so that's nice. Really cool tidbit about the bridge. :)

    Haven't had a whole lot of time this week, but I have another progress shot at least:
    cello3.png
    cello4.png
  • BoHak
    I like the assets but textures are not that good imo. Looks like cartoon. But good start!
  • ackehallgren
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    ackehallgren polycounter lvl 7
    Considering myself done with the cello for now. Having some issues with the reflectivity, but will have a look at all materials when I have proper lighting.
    Thanks a lot Carabiner for the help and the pictures!
    cello5.jpg

    Will probably also restructure the whole room to make more use of the props and the placement of them. As it is right now they have just been placed after completion, and I want a more conscious layout of objects that would support the "game" as well.
  • ackehallgren
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    ackehallgren polycounter lvl 7
    Bigger update:

    - Changed the layout of the room to make it more "gamey" and also emphasizing the hero-prop (the grandfatherclock) as the eventual focal point.

    - Thickened the beams of the walls and added a center pillar.

    - Made a small desk-lamp which might need some work but adds some color.

    Am now planning to make some spammable props like strewn around paper, Newspaper-stacks and cardboard boxes. I'm still fiddling around with the placement of things (Unsure of where to put the gramophone and the globe for best effects) but feel like this is a lot more interesting compositionwise. The trick is to make the two other angles interesting.

    HighresScreenshot00011.png
  • Mathew O
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    Mathew O interpolator
    Hey man, doing well :D I like that you're thinking like you want it to work but don't worry about being too designery. Go crazy with it as it doesn't need to read perfectly as a play space right now.

    Also, in this shot atleast, the grandfather clock doesn't pop as a focal point and I think it's mostly because of the lighting. If you drop the light down a little throughout and bring it up a little around the clock then it'll pop out a little more for sure.

    Plus your final compisition will help alot, doing good dude :D
  • Jet_Pilot
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    Jet_Pilot polycounter lvl 10
    I would go with an alpha for the cello holes, this way you can bake down the string texture as well on the same texture, and use the alpha for that
  • ackehallgren
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    ackehallgren polycounter lvl 7
    - Mathew O - Thanks man! Great critiques, and I'm wrapping my hand around the lighting, because I don't want to loose contrast in the rest of the scene, but I don't have to have it be all white in that corner either. I guess it's small touches in the end. I have an idea to make a "throne of books" around the clock as well, to make it feel more important. But will most def have your words in mind when I fix the light in the end.

    - Jet_Pilot - I chose to do as you suggested and it looks a lot better. I also added the holes to the normal map so they have a bit of an indent around them. Thanks for the tip!

    New progress pics:
    cello6.png
    HighresScreenshot00012.png

    One of those days where I got stuck with composition and lighting and honestly got nowhere. But at least I improved on the Cello and the reflectivity of the gramophone. The reason I wasn't getting the desired result was because of faulty normals and the assumption that a two-faced material would do my job for me. It looks better but like I said, I am still struggling a lot with the lighting.
    I don't really get why the values are so darn high and I'm under the impression that the lights only look good between very specific values so I figure I have a lot to learn.
    Thanks again for the feedback everyone. It means a lot.
  • ackehallgren
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    ackehallgren polycounter lvl 7
    Papers and rug added. Minor light tweaks.

    HighresScreenshot00015.png
  • ackehallgren
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    ackehallgren polycounter lvl 7
    Long since I've updated, mostly because I've focused on gameplay and scripting, but stuff have finally been happening in the art-department as well. 
    I've baked better lights and added a bunch of props.



  • ackehallgren
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    ackehallgren polycounter lvl 7
    It's somewhat weird reviving this thread three years later, but here we go:

    This environment turned into a short little game called WHAT NEVER WAS!

    I've spent about four years working on and off on the art, music, gameplay and all else of this thing in my spare time, learning more and more of UE4 in the process! 

    It's free and can be found on Steam and Itch.io, and is a short, story-driven first-person game focused on exploration and puzzle-solving.

    The game is about Sarah, a teenager left to shoulder the arduous task of clearing out her recently deceased grandfather's attic, but soon finds that not everything is what it seems.

    This was the idea I had in the back of my mind when I started this scene, and when I put it all into Unreal and realized that blueprints were somewhat manageable to learn, it just evolved into this very short game.

    Thanks to everyone who supported me and for your feedback! And thank you to anyone who chooses to play it! :)

    Steam Store Page:

    https://store.steampowered.com/app/866440/What_Never_Was/

    Itch.io:

    ackehallgren.itch.io/whatneverwas

    Trailer:

    https://youtu.be/HFg27q_zwGg

    Trailer 2:

    https://youtu.be/3ereqKHtc9g

    Website:

    http://www.whatneverwas.se

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