Sketchbook: Airfreshene

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Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4

Ok crit Is welcome, can't get better without a bit of a beating haha


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  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4

    So I have been meaning to start a sketchbook on here for ages, I have a bad… but good habit of starting a project and not being able to put it down until it’s over or I get a bit stumped or  bored with it, I get entirely stuck into projects and never actually end up starting a thread… BUT THAT STOPS TODAY *confetti*

    I finally managed to tell myself to start one so now the only problem will be updating it and keeping it updated…

     

    Anywho, here’s what I have been doing…. I started working on an environmental project, I have mostly taken an interest in interiors and models but I always wanted to do a natural environment so this is a first attempt at a proper natural environment.

     

    First new program I learnt for this was good-ol ‘World machine’ never used it before, though I have heard plenty about it, I have used plenty of node base programs before like UE4s material editor and substance designer so I got the idea of it pretty fast, a bit of poking here and prodding there and I managed to get something I was happy with, few tutorials always help

    But this is what I ended up with


    with all the nodes looking like this


  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4

    I was thinking that I wanted an alpine biome or something like that anyway

    So I exported a high map and imported it into UE4, re scaled it to a size I felt was suitable Though I had to rescale it more on the Z axis as it imported too flat.. No idea what that was about

     

    So then I went about texturing it with the maps I exported, I would admit to being cheeky with this, I’m not sure how to import painted weight for the terrain so I used a 4096 RGB mask scaled to the size of the map to mask different materials… but hell it worked.. And this is what the material node mess looked like


    … its good to know what I usually do is make a base material setup and apply an instance of the material with all the tweaking done in the instance, I do this for all my materials unless there’s no tweaking required

    I think I covered all the basics… different normal maps depending on camera distance to add texture from a distance, custom blending between textures I feel it worked… at least there was no ugly fading


    So I think I hit a point where I was happy with it


    So… grass? I’ve done this before but I feel this really came together in one go, didn’t need to revisit it at all


    Pretty straight forward, grass planes, normal, alphas etc etc

    Came out nice a tufty :D threw in some fog played with the lighting a little


    Nice and simple material setup allowed for different types of foliage to be textured with the same material with a different instanced version of it


  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4

    Now there’s the material I hate the most (but love at the same time)…  water….. The amount of times I have attempted water in the past and came close but with no luck, either the reflections were off,  it didn’t displace correctly, it didn’t refract properly or more importantly I just didn’t know how to make a depth based material effect without it being affected by the camera's angle or distance from the water.

    until unreal thankfully released their water planes project to help, I made a test project to test things out on and identified the part of the Shader that determined the depth of the water and its opacity fade off copied it straight from one project to another… I will be damned if I want to figure out what its doing and how but that will be for another day…

    Now this took a few days to get everything working properly with all the fade offs I wanted and to get the feel right, the camera based tessellation, the faked reflections using reflection cubes. I did this because I figured with a basic day night cycle at the time that the scene reflection capture actors weren’t updating the time of day reflections on the water so I baked out two reflection maps from in game, one for the day, one for the night and I would use blueprint to time the transition from one to the other and turn off reflections on the water entirely by setting the roughness to 1. As well as this I had 4 normal maps, large (waves) medium and small, the small would camera depth fade off at distance to stop the water being too noisy and grainy at a distance.


    I feel in the end I got a good result and it felt right, the only thing I couldn’t do and wanted to was to stop water displacement when it came into contact with land, stop the annoying bubbling look… and as much as I would like my water to be as brilliantly rendered as AC black flags water…well that just not going to happen haha water is a nightmare though in fairness the material was quite clean compared to some I have made.


    After some more work and some more foliage meshes I felt it was coming together nicely 


  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    Ok onto trees, the next new program, speedtree. I started by downloading the Free ‘Sample Trees package’ to load and use as a base, as I was aiming for an alpine environment so I used the Conifer as a base to get started and learn abit about the program.

    After getting to grips with as many of the settings as I felt was necessary to make the tree I wanted, I got to work and made something I felt happy with so I saved it and imported it into UE4.


    Very Christmas tree-ish haha

    Bringing it into UE4 is a drag and drop deal, along with that I bought in a dead tree variant and changed the material around to be instanced and to have colours customisations to make the fit in the colour scheme of the scene and so I started painting them into the terrain and threw in the wind modifier.

    Ok so trees are easy with speed tree, I have taken the time to lean what it does and some tricks speed tree uses for example the normal on the leaves are center projected? As though a sphere pointing out from the center in all directions to add volume, and the leaf blowing effect in UE4 is determined by vertex painting, so I get the idea it just speeds the creation possess up exponentially and allows you to use seeds to make different variants of essentially the same tree, though I plan to change the textures to something custom to feel less lazy about it.


  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    So some rocks… now I have never actually found any good description or example on how to make some amazing rock formations so I just did what I thought was best and started by using Zbrush and creating a sphere and dynameshing it as to avoid pinching at the edges


    From there I used some ‘clay build’ up and ‘polish’ to get a rough shape and then ‘planar’ to flatter the edges as though it had been chipped off


    From there I exported it as a high poly mesh and because I’m lazy I re-dynameshed it to make a low poly mesh, now even though I could re topologies it properly I didn’t want to spend all that time doing it over and over so I cut the fat.


    I made ten different rock types in all and I UVed all the low polys, baked the normal maps and cavity maps and combined all the cavity maps into 2 images with each map in either the RGBA channels. after I imported it all into UE4 I used the cavity masks to highlight the edges and darken the crevices of the rocks and used the same tiling texture for the rock on the terrain on the rocks themselves along with combining the normal maps, now I know this will leave texture seams but I felt it was the most controllable way to get a high detailed material using the smallest maps but I expect I will revisit it at a later date…

    Oh and I also did a moss texture designed to always face up… but I think I will tilt it so its more on the side…. I believe moss grows on the side of object and the side it grows on is determined by the sun…. *Shrugs* just a matter of changing a colour value.


    Ok since I expect I will be placing a lot of rocks I think randomly grabbing them, rotating them and scaling them will get old fast… not to mention time consuming.. so I built a blueprint to do that all for me :) like I said, it selects one of the ten rocks, rotates them on their X Y and Z axis independently and randomly and scales them slightly, great way of mixing things up and making it a drag and drop deal


    Now I would much sooner paint them in but the foliage painter as far as I know doesn’t randomly select meshes from a pre-defined selection and doesn’t accept blueprints :/ I could just have all the rocks in independently and paint with them all selected but that way it will get messy fast.. and I don’t like that.


  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4

    And the last and most recent thing I have done is added a day and night cycle… now at the minute is unfinished, I had started by attempting it in matinee… bad idea… its fiddly, rotations are a pain in the ass with gimbaling and it cant remember the lights assigned colour for love nor money.. Matinee needs an upgrade… so feeling stumped and fed-up with my head on my desk I remembered when UE4 came out its content examples had a day night sequence  in the ‘level scripting’ example

    Looking into that I realised it was using the level blueprint and the timeline node to run things and oooh boy did that fix all the issues I had, now some things are still ran by matinee and some by blueprint, at the minute but i'm moving everything over to run on blueprint.


    But this is what it all looks like at the minute with a simple day night cycle

     

    BUT THAT’S ALL I HAVE DONE FOR NOW…. Now there have obviously been many other things I have done but that’s the main important overview of everything for now… I hope I will be back to do updates here and there and take any feedback whether it’s a kick in the side or a pat on the head

  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4

    My mental list of things to change and fix/fix:

    Custom sky box and to have it update to the time of day correctly
    Replace the speed tree textures to my own work, feel better about it
    Import proper painted weight textures for the terrain
    Air fill, some kind of partials to fill the air with, not sure what (leafs??)
    More tree variants
    Rock upgrades (need to get good)
     

    But I do have two Questions:

    Is there a way to kill off water displacement as it comes in contact to land?
    Can I paint foliage on the terrain and it selects a random mesh? Like trees but it randomly selects different trees each time?
    Thanks in advance if anyone addresses this 
  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    Thought i would get some renders from different angles and places in the map, i don't feel i have shown much off as of yet



  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    So i deviated a little and thought it would make a nice scene for a model of the flying scotsman i have made previously, so i duplicated it the scene, imported some assets from another scene i made (the asylum) for a signal box type building and gave the train some tracks using the spline road tool and that was that, actualy quite happy with it, i feel the train looks better in UE4 than marmoset... which is something i'm not used to haha


  • Kamul
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    Kamul polycounter lvl 3
    I know nothing about enviroments and it's technical aspects, but i can surely tell that you are doing pretty well so far.

    Want to se more of your progress ^^
  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks man, thats nice to hear :)

    but sorry havent been on in a while, had a few other things going on, one of which was i was sorting things out for the Rookies (3D artist competition aimed at graduates) 
    www.therookies.co/next-gen-gaming/rookie-of-the-year-gaming/philip-dunckley < anyone nice enough to vote i would be grateful :)

    the organisers also asked me to do a 'Making of' article on a piece of my work which was cool, so i wrote about my beretta no idea if they will publish it though.
    Other than that i have kinda put the wilderness scene to one side for the moment, stretch my legs on another project but i will definitely be back to it at some point,
    so i started doing some star citizen fan art because i found some images of a ship mounted gun that i liked so i went to re build it, i believe it's called the "Preacher Armament Inquisition" pretty badass name basically a pimped monster of a minigun.

    It's So cool^
    obviously i claim no credit to the design or original art of the gun, just doing my own thing with the images i have, see what i can do.

    so i'm trying to rebuild it as accurately as i can, i grabbed some images and set up cameras with projection planes with some of the images applied, and using a very basic mesh i tried to line everything up as best i can so i can get the most accurate result i can. It took a bit of pushing and pulling and changing camera focal lengths, i don't claim it to be perfect but good enough.

    I started modeling a generic mesh for it, something that can be upresed with ease for a high poly mesh and optimised for the low poly all while considering poly flow.

    I currently have a nice mesh with everything modeled in i think? I might have missed one or two things but i will no doubt find them and fix that.

    at the moment i'm working on the high poly, get some nice edges, nothing too smooth, but not to sharp, gotta make sure the normal renders out nice, get some good edge highlight :P
  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    ok well i have spent all day working on the high res and finding a few odds and ends that i missed out, time to start optimising the low res mesh and UV mapping

  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    UV mapping is tedious... me no like... but gotta put the time in, optimise that UV space

  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    first normal map bake.. its 4K and i think i really need to optimise my UV maps some more *sigh* not to mention there are a few normal issues i need to fix up ¬¬

  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    well 4 days later and after a load of learning curves i cracked some normal issues, shout out to SUPERFRANKY and his normal map post
    http://polycount.com/discussion/146667/a-practical-guide-on-normal-mapping-for-games/p1
    some great things on there^ but i feel i have the final baked normal map done, nice and clean

    OH and i managed to crunch the mesh down to free space in the UVs so now the same visual level of detail that was viewable on 4K map now is near identical to a 2K map
  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    so a few days baking out different maps and texturing everything, feel i'm happy with it where it is, if anyone has any crit to add i will definitely see if i can build on that

    https://www.artstation.com/embed/2441171
    ^Marmoset viewer^ lower res texture but still holds up
  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    well as i have started a new job, nothing games related :/ life can be cruel haha i cant work on things as much as i was, so this weekend i decided to pick up an older project i started before i began this work thread, it was a lancaster bomber, i have it low poly modeled and UVed (i UVed it so parts that can be open/closed such as the bomb bay and landing gear have separate UV channels) but this is it in its current state


    cant remember exactly i stopped building it, think i wasn't in the mood for the high poly put it down for a bit and started something else 
  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    so i spent some time re-UVing everything, breaking it down some more, baked normals and created base textures for it in substance designer, it's very quickly becoming my favorite texturing tool, it's like a weird merge of photoshop (minus the paining) and UE4s material editor nodes, it's so quick to add and change things.

    Oh and as a footnote i have been trying to take it into substance painter for painted details etc, but it keeps crashing and it annoys the hell outta me that you cant save a brushes changes permanently :/
  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    ok so update, i was away last weekend in portsmouth, the historic dockyard and HMS victory just do it for me :) historic things are the coolest XD i plan to build the victory one day... one day... but that headache is not today's headache! but over the week after work i managed to keep tweaking the lancaster, i feel i'm happy with the outside now and will get something done for under the landing flaps... air brakes? i'm not to familiar with the official name but the flaps under the wings to cause drag and slow the plane down for landing, but again substance designer is so fast to add new things for texturing :P here's the newest images

  • Kamul
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    Kamul polycounter lvl 3
    Wooow, loving your texturing work and your hard surface modelling skills seems terrific.

    Don't know if it still counts, but voted for you there on the Rookies ;)

    Good luck and keep it up the awesome work 
  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    @Kamul
    wow thanks, it means a lot :) i hope you find some value to the things i post, entertainment or just some good ideas.
    And by the way your Arcanne Zatanna character is looking great, nice style and flare, i might be able to manage hard surface but i sure as hell can't do characters, everyone has their talents
  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    ok so i did some stuff for the landing flap things... the base texture is nice, but i wanted a the metal to have holes in it (The type of holes they punch in metal to save using too much metal) obviously because it will rarely be seen i haven't put any extra polys in there for the visuals because if feel it would be wasted... so honestly i'm left with black circles dotting it....

    i'm not happy with it in the slightest and will have to rethink it later...
    But i have been working on the landing gear (obviously) and the bomb bays


    it's a bit dark but i'm at a happy(ish) place with it, more TLC needed (especially on the tire) but the idea is there, also might customise a bomb or two, have some chalk drawings on there.... but that has been the last few days :P
  • Eric Chadwick
    For the flap holes, try using alpha test transparency, and duplicate/flip the mesh. This will give the holes a bit more depth, because you'll see through to the "interior" and the bottom holes.
  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    @Eric Chadwick
    i had considered doing something similar... i was thinking of having some kind of low poly fake interior of the wing/ flaps with basically no UV space or polys, paint it black and then rethink the hole punching pattern... i will probably do something like that... i just don't want to have to go about re-UV mapping everything again XD
  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    ok so i have been having some texture UV seam issues on the lancaster and was thinking of ways to fix it... i considered a few things and then i had the thought "hey this texture system is a lot like UE4s node editor.... i wonder if it has world space projection node too" so with a quick google i found out substance designer does indeed have something like that... and i was like cool... how'd i use it? fun fact, it's only on substance designer 5.... i'm running 4.... so i have elected to upgrade (not to expensive, substance are good with their indie licences) so after syncing my algorithmic account to my steam (where i have 4 installed) i upgraded on their site... but i want substance designer 5 on my steam account... i'm fussy like that, it just suits me tbh, so i Emailed them asking if they would be so kind to give me a steam key (According to google they will) but i expect it will be a few days before they get back to me and so i'm spending my time instead of texturing my plane anymore (i'm not sure if 4 is compatible with 5, i hope so) i'm building a UE4 Environment to display it in, now it's early days and very rough with bucket tones more to add in but the idea is there... this is one day's work mind you.... but this is what i built to show off the plane

  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    ok so the lovely people at Algorithmic got back to me today and gave me the steam code so i started to iron out some UV seams in the texture, the seams are near gone (so happy) but some areas appear to be looking a little bare and off, it's just a matter of tweaking some of the parameters, anyway here's an image of the wing where the worst seam of all was (it was pretty awful) and as far as i can tell it's basically gone :) so out with one problem and in with a new but more manageable one
  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    ok.... so it's been a month... and honestly i haven't done much 3D recently so no updates :/ sorry. been working, seeing my friends catching up, even started going airsoft again......... eh anywho i'm feeling that itch again and though the lancaster isn't anywhere near finished it will be put away for a month or so... again.... i just worry i'm going to rush it just to get it over with and it was getting tedious, constant back and forth on the texturing.
    but i saw this on my facebook (Ten thousand hours page i think) 
    it's inspired me to want to do something similar, i was thinking some WW2 mansion... duno if who's seen Band Of Brothers but on episode 10 they enter a town with a grand house in it draped in nazi flags etc... something like that would be interesting 
  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    ok so there has been a slight change of plan, things have happened so imma hold that idea in the back of my head until i have time to actually execute it... so instead i decided to finish the texturing of the lancaster (except the inside and turrets) and created this pretty picture......... because it was over due
  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    Nope didn't die, here.... have a.... thing i did?
    wip, more of a concept piece at the minuet
  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    HOOOOOOOOOOOOO LORD HAS IT REALLY BEEN A YEAR AND A MONTH!
    Time realy flies when you're at the bottom of the barrel
    well whats happened over the past year or so...
    eh did some commission work, had a bit of a social life... a few art tests..... my job...............
    BUUUUUUUUUUT i have done some art i can show off

    Recently i did some research into star citizen and their pipeline using higher poly models, smart materials and decals, found that people had been replicating it in unreal engine... so as a test piece and inspired by an artist called Elijah McNeal who does what i think are incredibly imaginative and stylized weapons.
    heres his art station:
    https://www.artstation.com/el1j4h

    so i decided to build this gun of his for myself


    and after a lot of painstaking head scratching i made this (this is it currently in UE4 using some smart materials and Decals)

    shiney and all that, it looks ok but most of the wow comes from the rendering not the texture or mesh popping, just lense flare and that.
    So after experimenting i'm thinking of definitely going into substance designer and creating a proper base texture for the more procedural materials to build on
  • Airfreshene
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    Airfreshene polycounter lvl 4
    OH and i recently completed this

    Its a british Sherman M4A4 or better known as the sherman firefly... 
    i will probably post more images of it and a breakdown at a later date but here it is for now
    made in Maya, Textured in Substance designer and Rendered in Marmoset with help from Xnormal and Photoshop
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