[UE4] Forest Path

MattN
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MattN triangle
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Hey all!

I recently finished the vegetation and plants class by Jeremy Huxley (awesome course) and took a few weeks to improve on a few things and I actually eneded up rebuilding the scene again from scratch. Feel like I am in a good place to get some feedback from you guys on what you think so far and what I should change or improve.

Thanks!










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  • hauntedmadness
    I'm not sure if you were trying to go for full realism have it be slightly cartoony, but I think the greenery could be a bit darker. Aside for that it look really nice.
  • MattN
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    MattN triangle
    Thanks. Yeah I agree the green is a bit too strong on some of the assets. Think I need to adjust the ferns and grass a bit for sure.
  • MattN
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    MattN triangle
    Hey guys. Been playing with materials a fair bit and made changes to the post process. Also replaced the grass base texture with one from mega scans and made a few changes to it in the material editor. Still needs a lot of tweaking I think, but going to focus on a few materials today that I wanted to do another pass on.

    Also want to get some root action going on!



  • fdfxd2
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    fdfxd2 polycounter lvl 3
    well that's an improvement but


    The transition between the rocks and the ground is a bit awkward same with the grass
  • MattN
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    MattN triangle
    Thanks yeah I agree its pretty harsh and odd looking, will get that sorted out too.
  • FreneticPonies
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    FreneticPonies polycounter lvl 3
    Looking good! If a bit, lumpen? Maybe fiddle with terrain tessellation. 
  • MattN
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    MattN triangle
    @FreneticPonies thanks, yeah I think its a bit much turned it down quite a bit so its just adding a bit of depth to the rocks.

    Made some more changes


  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis sublime tool
    I'm not sure how I feel about the green grass forest floor texture. I think it'd look more realistic if you got rid of the green texture and just had plant meshes lining the forest floor. As for the trees, maybe add a little geo to the leaf cards as they're noticeably flat. Other than that it looks great!
  • MattN
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    MattN triangle
    Thanks for the feedback @Ashervisalis I will take a look at that

  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher polycount lvl 666
    I'm not sure how I feel about the green grass forest floor texture. I think it'd look more realistic if you got rid of the green texture and just had plant meshes lining the forest floor. As for the trees, maybe add a little geo to the leaf cards as they're noticeably flat. Other than that it looks great!
    I would keep it, right now it looks a little too just green, but I would also COVER that bitch with a mix of grass planes and smaller veg models. Look at some screenshots of how we did it on farcry, there are hundreds of thousands of foliage polys on screen at once. make your scatter meshes optimized of course but dont be afraid of polygons. right now its the "baldness" contrast between where there are plants and where there is just smooth terrain that is causing this disconnect. also the terrain is really lumpy bumpy right now, smooth it out to mainly larger shapes and let your textures drive the small scale details.

    I would take the option of tons of foliage models over terrain tessilation any day. realistically, 90% of games are not even using displacement/tesselation anyways. Go for a strong normal map/paralax shader for chunkier surfaces, then scatter detailed models with a realistic kill/lod distance for performance.

    tesselation will kill your performance much faster than an few extra hundreds of thousands of polygons/foliage.
  • MattN
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    MattN triangle
    Thanks so much for the feedback @PixelMasher will get on that this weekend

  • MattN
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    MattN triangle
    Some of the changes I made this weekend so far, removed terrain tessellation and added a lot more ground coverage, a few other little changes here and there too.





  • MattN
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    MattN triangle
    Few more changes here and there, just continuing to iterate on things at this stage really.









  • samnwck
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    samnwck polycounter lvl 4
    I feel like the rocks and the trees are at a lower quality or at least different art styles than the ground material and shrubs, making the image a bit non cohesive. 
  • shabba
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    shabba polycounter lvl 9
    Lots of interesting things, maybe some of these ideas could help:

    - cards on ur conifer trees are super obvious, consider cutting them up  and arranging the texture differently to make a more volumnous cluster
    - small broken branches on trunk look super jenky, maybe consider some geo around the connecting point to create a transition/blend, and consider remapping the 'cap' portion of the branch to different part of the texture so its not the same tileable.  Definitely keep ref in mind even if this is stylized.
    - I agree /w @samnwck ; you've got two styles going on. Either pull back on the foliage/ground or push more realism into the trees/rocks
    - for composition, maybe build the hill up higher on the left side to eliminate some of that blue sky. Or pull one of those rocks on the right more into the foreground, or consider making a clearing of the trees in one part of the image where its most beneficial depending on what you decide
    - your ferns need some love, their shape is fairly flat, and the cards look repetitive
    - what would it feel like with some sharp white clouds in the sky
    - could you better utilize the fallen log (and stump somehwere) in the middle or foreground to aid composition and interest?
    - the leafy plants on the bright green mossy rocks stand out like sore thumbs
    - maybe consider a story element? A backpack just off the trail of a hiker who's off gathering a rare mushroom, left over old ropes hanging from a tree that were used to shelter a campsite decades ago but still remain? trail markers on the trees? 
    - consider your materials again and see where you can add in some specular/roughness variation, the mossy rocks? maybe a deep shadowy spot int he foreground is still damp from a recent rain but the rest has dried up.

    anyways, keep going!

    EDIT: - i based all my comments off the first image of the 4 fyi 
  • MattN
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    MattN triangle
    Thanks so much guys loads of great points!
  • MattN
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    MattN triangle
    Not finished fixing on everything just yet but made more progress on things this weekend after the feedback.

  • JuhaKeranen
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    JuhaKeranen vertex
    That last one is a huge improvement over the first. Great job, MattN!

    What are you using as a reference?
  • MattN
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    MattN triangle
    Thanks!. Honestly I just looked up a lot of refrence online, one of my main sources was a forest refrence pack from https://gumroad.com/rens though.

  • JuhaKeranen
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    JuhaKeranen vertex
    MattN, alright, I was mainly thinking about like one reference picture that you're trying to recreate. That's the primary method of learning. I didn't see any forest on that site that was quite like your creation. This is probably the closest:



    Here the feeling is a lot different as the top of the undergrowth is lit by sun and the bottom parts are relatively dark due to light not reaching those parts. In your latest picture most of the stuff on the ground is pretty similarly lit. Almost everything (save for the small spots of sunlight) is located in a very narrow section of grayscale. I'd be looking for more contrast like in the reference picture above, but of course, it's not a very good reference for the kind of forest you're trying to recreate.

    If you take a look at how the guys at Epic created open world Kite demo, they had plenty of references and based everything on real world.



    I'd say you can just pick one picture from image search (as long as it looks good), setup a camera, and try to have the output match the reference as close as possible. If you can find multiple photos from the same exact are, all the better!

    That's if you really want to step to another level. I think what you have is very good already.
  • MattN
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    MattN triangle
    Thanks for the thoughts @JuhaKeranen . Yeah I want to push this even more so have taken  that all onboard to see what I can do to improve it.

  • dpadam450
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    dpadam450 polycounter lvl 6
    I liked the 2nd picture in the original with the bright green. It look like stylized, but not cartoon like many other games.  In its current state some ambient occlusion or stronger lighting would be nice. Your fern/ground plants have no curvature to their leaves/branches, so they look unnatural.
  • MattN
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    MattN triangle
    Thanks @dpadam450 I agree the ferns in particular still need work, adding another pass on them onto the list.

    I had a go a some different lighting this evening when I got home from work, it might not be perfect but I think it highlights how some contrast could help the environment a lot.


  • MattN
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    MattN triangle
    Played a bit more with some things, added some trail markers to one or two of the trees just to see how it looks, unsure if I will keep them or not. Shadows on main parts of the trees in the forground look a bit distracting to me now though, might have to see if there is a way to tone it down a bit.







  • MattN
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    MattN triangle
    Hey guys,

    I decided to touch up a few more things and call this done. Uploded some screens to https://www.artstation.com/artwork/n9kxE

    Again really wanted to thank everyone for their feedback could not have done it without you guys :)



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