[UE4] Street Scene Diorama (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:
Last March I traveled in Germany and Austria and found that my favorite places were often discovered after wandering away from the main tourist areas.  I'd often happen across a small square or wander through an alley which was full of life with local people doing their local things. And this occurred over and over again. I loved these 'side' spaces, just adjacent to the hustle and bustle of the main streets/areas. They felt so cozy, homily, and comfortable, 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.

Reference:
I've organized a bunch of great reference from my own photographs during the trip (this is but a small portion):
Planning:
I then started sketching out some ideas and worked those down into something a bit more manageable and planned out the assets and trim sheets.  As I look at my sketch further, I think the road is going to need to be only one lane to shrink the space down towards that cozy/comfy feeling I'm after.



Software:
I'll be using 3dsMax for modeling, Zbrush for sculpting, Substance Painter 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 ; 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!
  • 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 2
    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. (just realized I hadn't responded, whoops).   I don't know yet about combining materials over one another, but I intend to dig into it soon!  If anyone has a surefire way to accomplish this, don't hold back! ;)

    @Kanni3d
    Thank you kindly!  I have to admit that I haven't done much work on it yet (babies coming, and 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 my other projects where I haven't show an asset until it was mostly complete.
  • aclund3
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    aclund3 polycounter lvl 3
    Well, finishing the house remodel and keeping newborn twins alive pushed this project back a few months, hahaha!  But I've returned from my life imposed hiatus and its time to make an awesome European Street Environment!

    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 approach into something much 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 the original idea.



    I've also created new material, massing, 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.


    Massing Reference Sheet
    These photos show some of the spaces I encountered in Germany and they provide so much life and character which I will be working on incorporating into this environment.



    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 onward as 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 have to work out how to add story elements without people in the scene. This one is really about the environment, not character art ;)
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