[UE4] European Street Scene (WIP)

polycounter lvl 3
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aclund3 polycounter lvl 3
Hi all, I've begun work on a new small-scale contained environment and am excited to share my work as it progresses.

Concept:
March 2017, I traveled in Germany/Austria and my favorite places were often discovered after wandering away from the main tourist areas.  I'd  happen across a small square or wander through an alley full of life with the local people doing their local things.  Aaaaaaand, this occurred over and over.  I loved these 'side' spaces, just adjacent to the hustle and bustle of the main streets/areas. They felt cozy, comfortable, and familiar, even though I was in a foreign land, couldn't speak the language, and could barely read the signs.  The buildings were old and tall and would often have projecting bays reaching out and gently enclosing the outdoor spaces.  Ever since I returned home I wanted to create a similar reality; so, this will be my attempt to recreate some of that feeling in an small environment.

Architecture/Massing Reference:
I've arch organized reference from my own photographs using PureRef:


Planning:

I then started sketching out some ideas and worked those into something a bit more manageable, planning out asset creation.  I'll likely shrink the street down to one lane to help tighten up the space a bit.



Software:
I'll be using 3dsMax for modeling, Zbrush for sculpting, Substance Painter/Designer for baking and texturing, and UE4 to pull it all together.

Feedback Appreciated!
I'm intentionally going after some new things with this project to keep myself learning and growing, so I will greatly appreciate any wisdom and advice in the form of critical feedback throughout this process.

Thanks for the look, please leave any thoughts, and stay tuned for updates as I progress!
Andrew III

Replies

  • Larry
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    Larry keyframe
    Seems like you are fond of this kind of "gate" passage. Personally i mostly like your medieval refference, but that is just my passion in general. One thing i noticed is that all the picture's buildings are kind of cold colors, so try and avoid that in your textures! 
    Also, what kind of trim sheet are you going to make?
  • aclund3
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    aclund3 polycounter lvl 3
    @Larry ; Some form of arched corridor seemed important to me as part of the passage into the scene, but it's early, things can change ;)

    Thanks for the note on the cold colors, I'll keep an eye on it.

    At the moment, I plan on creating a trim sheet for the wood panel elements on the projecting bays, but not sure where else I'll use them just yet. Things will get clearer as I work through the blockout. I'll use repeating tileable textures for the large walls/roads/sidewalks with variable dirt/grime textures overlayed on top, but I need to do more research into how that's done. One of the 'new things' I was referencing.
  • Larry
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    Larry keyframe
    aclund3 said:
    @Larry ; I love medieval stuff too, that'll be for another project for sure :)   I added that image in as kind of a scale and clutter/activity reference. The arched corridor seems important to me as part of the passage into the scene, but it's early, things can change ;)

    Thanks for the note on the cold colors, I'll keep an eye on it.

    I plan on creating a trim sheet for the wood panel elements on the projecting bays, but, I'm not sure about where else to use them just yet. Things will get clearer as I work through the blockout. My hope is to use repeating tileable textures for the large walls/roads/sidewalks with variable dirt/grime textures overlayed on top, but I need to do more research into how that's done. One of the 'new things' I was referencing.

    Thanks for the note!
    I haven't made this work as well, but i think that if you are going to lay multiple uv's on top of each other on a trim sheet, you cannot have dirt on them on the  texture. That would propably be done with vertex painting combining 2 materials.

    Or is there a way i don't know that you can both have a trim sheet and add dirt on top of your meshes?
  • Kanni3d
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    Kanni3d polycounter lvl 3
    Wonderful reference, and solid concept you've put together. Definitely a fan of centuries old architecture, especially ones that are prevalent modernly. 
  • aclund3
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    aclund3 polycounter lvl 3
    @Larry
    Thanks for the thoughts, mate!  I don't know yet about combining materials over one another, but I will dig into it as I go along.  I know its possible one way or another.  If anyone has a surefire way to accomplish this, let me know!

    @Kanni3d
    Thank you kindly!  I have to admit that I haven't done much work on this personal project yet (babies coming, and house remodel needs to get finished) but I am super pumped about this environment.  Encouragement from the polycounter community is an absolutely wonderful thing, and a large part of why I started this thread so early, relative to other projects where I haven't posted anything until it was mostly complete.
  • aclund3
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    aclund3 polycounter lvl 3
    Well, finishing the house remodel and taking care of newborn twins pushed this project back a few (re: many) months, but I'm back working on it!

    Coming back to the project after a bit of a break, I decided my concept could use a bit of an overhaul. I liked the bones of what I had, but it was looking very blocky and too heavily influenced by the 'grid' with stuff just kinda pasted on the three visible planes.  So I reworked my target into something more variable and appealing (I think). It's a bit less modular, but hey, I'm creating a diorama here, not a full asset kit ;) And, I think it gets back a bit more toward my original idea.



    I've also created new material and mood/lighting reference sheets with PureRef, which is an incredible and amazing program for reference gathering. Do yourself a favor and give it a try. I promise you won't be sad.


    Mood-Lighting Reference Sheet
    The early morning sun just up shooting through the alley (or arched tunnel) with the long warm shadows will be really nice, I think.



    Material Reference Sheet
    I have a separate sheet for each material (ref is KING), but rather than bore us all, I'll just post the overall material sheet.


    At this point, I think much of the planning is in place, so it's time to start pushing some verts around in Max and get a blockout up and running.  Things will continue to evolve as the project progresses, and as always, any helpful critique or feedback is absolutely appreciated. Thanks for following along with me through the break and on we go!  
  • Genotype
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    Genotype polycounter lvl 3
    Really loving the breakdown for materials, really adds scope to what your are trying to achieve really nice to break it all down into achievable chunks. The Plan looks super solid. The material variation should also be very visually appealing. Are you planning to add the characters in?

    Also Massively agree Pureref is the best! :) 
  • aclund3
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    aclund3 polycounter lvl 3
    @Genotype
    Thanks for the input!  I don't plan on adding the characters at the moment, but will definitely work out some story elements sans people. This one is really about the environment art, rather than character stuff ;)
  • aclund3
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    aclund3 polycounter lvl 3
    It turns out that personal projects really seem to slow down when you're busy raising twins ;)

    So, the mood/atmosphere/story targets have all been adjusted since I first began.  I'm now heading for more of a foggy evening, near blue hour, with a few snow flurries in the air, and snow on the ground (and everywhere else).  Here's a few shots of the basic blockout in UE4 with a tad of lighting and volumetrics blocked in as well.  I intend to massage the set dressings a bit to help compositionally and I also will add snow piles/clumps along the curbs before I really detail this out, but progress is progress is progress :)


    Street View Blockout


    Tunnel View Blockout


    If you have any thoughts about where this is going, please feel free to comment.  Constructive criticism is always very much appreciated!
  • polygons
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    polygons polycounter lvl 3
    Its looking great so far. Love the idea of doing it in blue hour with snow. It will contrast well with your orange lights. Good luck! 
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