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Sketchbook: Stephanie Nieves

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polycounter lvl 3
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Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
Hello everyone, I am a prop and environment artist wanting to improve my skills. Critiques are encouraged!
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Edit: I merged the original first post into the one below and will be using this space for some quick navigation between projects.

Current Project: Duncan's Room [retro futurism inspired concept]

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Biomodem - Handpainted Prop
[Start Here] [Final Post] [ArtStation]


Noir Apartment (Household Props Challenge) - UE4 Environment
[Start Here] [Final Post] [ArtStation]

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  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    My previous projects were handpainted, and I'm looking to continue that trend. Here is what I've recently completed in late November as an example of my current level of skill.


    This month's current project is a little more ambitious than a low poly prop; I'd like to try to create a higher poly hero prop while still sticking to using handpainted textures.

    The concept I'll be referencing is by Simon Stalenhag, along with some reference pics of a USRobotics Modem



    At this stage, I have finished my high res model. The organic part was sculpted in Blender, and the modem was modeled in Maya.



    ----
    Tweaked the high res a bit more. Here are some fancier beauty shots of it.


  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Created the game res version and baked out an AO and Normal. Here's a snapshot of the WIP:


    [Edit: I've rendered out better quality screenshots of the game mesh and fixed a few minor things that were bugging me in the initial bake]

  • NTakasato
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    NTakasato polycounter lvl 2
    Love how this Simon Stalenhag piece is coming along, you picked a great concept and are capturing the details very nicely. Looking forward to seeing the results.
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Thank you for the kind comment! 


    Below are a few snapshots of my diffuse in progress:



    I still have a ways to go--mainly getting those highlights in place to sell the different materials, and really solidifying where my light source is coming from. I wanted to first tackle getting the base colors laid out and defining most of my shapes.
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Texture update for today:


  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Learned how to utilize Blender's texture painting feature as I don't own 3DCoat, and I'm already spoiled by it. I don't have to worry about seams as much, however I am finding myself bouncing back and forth between Blender and Manga Studio for minor tweaks (text tool, better brush control, etc.). Regardless, this is something that I'll certainly incorporate in my workflow in the future.

  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Progress from today: Started painting the metal bits on the back. Still finding chrome to be tricky to paint, but reference has been helping me wrap my brain around the material.


    Also cleaned up some areas on the modem that got muddied while painting in Blender.
  • BagelHero
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    BagelHero greentooth
    Looking gorgeous! I think adding a little more yellow undertones to the fatty/sinewy areas, and cool tones to the bulges would go a long way. Absolutely subbing <3
  • purehilarity
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    purehilarity polycounter lvl 6
    This is awesome!
  • Dash-POWER
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    Dash-POWER polycounter lvl 5
    Looks nice. Btw: You can take inspiration from upcoming Scorn game. They have some gore stuff with Biomech environment too.
  • TudorMorris
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    TudorMorris polycounter
    Joocy, love it
  • Stinkhorse
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    Stinkhorse polycounter lvl 10
    More of this, less of everything else.
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    BagelHero said:
    Looking gorgeous! I think adding a little more yellow undertones to the fatty/sinewy areas, and cool tones to the bulges would go a long way. Absolutely subbing <3
    Thank you! That's a great suggestion; I'll give that a try and see how that looks.
    Dash-POWER said:
    Looks nice. Btw: You can take inspiration from upcoming Scorn game. They have some gore stuff with Biomech environment too.
    Thanks! I have been keeping an eye on that game. Love the art direction the developer has been taking it. I'm a bit of a sucker for biomech/Giger-esque art. :)
  • Bigg__D
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    Bigg__D polycounter lvl 4
    Yeah thats a great concept you found to work on & I think you are nailing it for sure! You definitely captured the feel of the concept which is hard to do sometimes because concept drawing have a certain lively-ness to them which gets lost during the transition to 3D where it becomes somewhat dull. And I really like tumorous shapes as well lol (yeah I know that sounds wierd) I love resident evil concept art for example
  • VictorSantos
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    VictorSantos polycounter lvl 10
    Great stuff! Loving the progress of this, you are nailing it.

    I'd go even further with the values to create some more contrast, as you are already doing from that back render from the edges, silhouette, gradient (bottom-top) and ambient occlusion.



    Paintover 

    Keep us posted :) 
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    @VictorSantos Thank you for your critique! I've increased the contrast based on your feedback; do you think it needs to be pushed further? Here's what I have as a result so far:


  • VictorSantos
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    VictorSantos polycounter lvl 10
    It feels great overall, it is pretty much there.

    I would only watch the values on the small buttons as they are pretty close to the base object, adding a highlight along the edges would help there, but this is just me being extremely picky :p :

    Excellent work, can't wait to see more!
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    I like the highlight suggestion, it certainly helps separate the buttons from the base. Thanks! :smile:


  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Alright, I think I'm in the home stretch of this project! Most of the work has just been refining some areas, adding little vein details, and painting the prop bottom. All that's left to do is to paint the wires and fix a few small seams I came across while working.


  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Apparently, finishing the texture just wasn't enough! I decided to try to learn how to animate in Blender, and through the super neat addon AnimAll, I was able to animate the UVs and eye geometry to give it even more life. At the moment, only one eye has been animated, but I'm planning on doing the other eyes as well. :smile:



    Slightly higher quality here:
    https://gyazo.com/74c98d1079116f1028166cddb3618a3a
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Animated a few more eyes and continued to mess around with the AnimAll addon. I'm finding it to be a fun tool to mess with!



    Slightly higher quality:
    https://gyazo.com/1155de8d44cc775844f5beb5ae8fd299
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Animation update: I wanted the organic bit to appear more active, so my goal was to have it behave more like a heart.


    HQ: https://gyazo.com/fcdae0c4a746424d19e0397a54569e78


    HQ: https://gyazo.com/6a037e1d67d6a48587205550c552b0de

    (Edit: Looking at these snapshots again is making me think that I've overanimated and as a result may be too distracting and taking away from the rest of the work. I've lowered the intensity by a lot and I actually like the more subtle look more. I've probably been staring at this for too long!)


    HQ: https://gyazo.com/2ee5924ed033ab333095e02351a30b4e


    HQ: https://gyazo.com/d3bcdb832c3814ba650c19cb66a3b34b
  • plasticarm
    Really Awesome work!
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Today I've begun Sketchfab's 30 day Household Props Challenge! Unfortunately, I've become drastically busy due to a sudden increase of hours from my day job, which has been preventing me from tackling any new full projects as of late. However, I saw that Sketchfab started this challenge which involves just making one low-poly prop (300 tri limit) a day based on typical household items. Bite-sized assets like these sound much more doable with my limited time and at the very least keeps my art juices active!

    The full list can be found on this page: https://blog.sketchfab.com/improve-your-low-poly-modeling-skills-with-the-30-day-household-props-challenge/

    And here's my first day's prop!

     

    (edit: whoops, I had accidentally uploaded a version of my breakdown that had an out of date model! I've now replaced it with the correct one)

    I'm actually holding off before I upload these to Sketchfab, as I want to incorporate everything created this month into a small scene. I'm considering going for a noir-type theme, hence why everything is grayscale. I also want this doubled as a way to learn how to improve my skills with values and contrast. And throughout the month, if time allows, I'll revisit some assets if they need any adjustments. For example, I'd like to create a proper texture for the fish and bubbles, but unfortunately I ran out of time for today. But that's alright, I'm hoping with this I can become more efficient in creating small assets like these!
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Day 2 of the Household Props Challenge: Desk (300 tris, 256 diffuse)



    Only had enough time to quickly blockout my texture; most of my time was spent trying to push as much silhouette as I could within the tri limit. A bit tricky for something that's a little curvy!
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Currently playing a bit of catch up as I was away from my PC for the past several days. For time's sake, I'm focusing more on modeling, and instead of using texture maps I'll be using vertex coloring as I find that to be a quicker method to use for these low poly assets.

    Here are the assets from Days 3 - 5:



    (the computer parts are based off of the original IBM PC; I like the shapes of older tech :P )
  • ArtOfEdge
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    ArtOfEdge polycounter lvl 5
    I'm really enjoying seeing your process and progress! Your artistic aesthetic is so lovely.
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Thank you so much! I'm glad you're enjoying the thread. :smile:

    Today's update: assets for Days 6-8. The more that I work with vertex colors, the more I realize that they're giving me better overall results than the 256 texture maps. I'm thinking of utilizing texture maps only for additional detail that would otherwise drastically increase my polycount if vertex colors were used.


  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Today's update: asset for Day 9.


  • BagelHero
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    BagelHero greentooth
    These are all super clean and cute!
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Thank you! :)

    Today's update is the asset for Day 10, an alarm clock:



    It's interesting to see that the longer that I've been working on this project, the more efficient my workflow seems to be. Not only am I able to complete these assets faster (roughly between 2 - 3 hours), but I also think they're looking a bit better. Which is neat! And my love for vertex coloring grows, haha. I like how this one came out!
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Some quick floppies:



    Day 11 was actually for books, but I thought floppy disks would be fun to do instead.
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Managed to find some free time to bust out a few more simple props today.


    Made extra props like these boxes that hold all the program floppies.


    Ended up making some books anyways as it wouldn't make much sense to have a bookshelf without any books!


  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Assets for Days 13 - 15:




  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Day 18, w/ an additional nightstand:



    Also took a moment to throw a few of these assets into one scene to see how they are looking together:



    The desk fan seems like it's blending into the dresser, so I'll have to adjust the values on the fan to help separate it.
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Bit of an update dump! Been trying to get ahead in my workload so that I'll actually have free time to start playing God of War later this week!!


    Day 20 was for any kind of exercise equipment, and a stationary bike seemed to be a fun idea to do. As it turns out, this asset ended up taking longer than expected, as most of my time was spent just trying to bring my model to be under 300 tris. It hurt a little every time I had to delete an edgeloop, haha.


    Swapped out Day 21's grill for a dishwasher since the next few props are kitchen themed. 





  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Another update dump! Days 26 - 29. I've got Day 30's asset to do, revisit the first two assets from this challenge, and then I should be done with the props! 




  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3

    Finally made it through the asset list! I've got a few pieces to revisit for minor tweaks, but for the most part, I'm done. :) 


    Not as fancy as the first desk attempt, but it matches the look of the rest of the furniture pieces.

    I've also dumped everything into Unreal, and it's kinda neat to see everything in one scene!!

    Right now it's just of a bunch of assets sitting next to each other, but I'll be making some structural pieces to create some rooms, and will play with the lighting to see if I can get that noir look.
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Snapshot of today's progress: 

    I've made several small tweaks and fixes to most of the assets while messing around with Unreal to see how I would create that noir look. Did some searching for lighting reference and made a small ref sheet:



    I haven't really touched lighting yet as the rooms haven't been created (also just noticed I'm missing a roof, whoops), which is something I'll be tackling tomorrow. So I just have a few random point lights as placeholders for now.
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Spent today figuring out what kind of layout I wanted for this place. Initially I wanted to create a small studio apartment, but I realized that the space would be difficult to work with since I've created several large pieces of furniture. I decided to attach a bedroom on the side to make the area feel less cramped.



    Some closeups of the interior:


  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    I recently learned about Unreal's Light Propagation Volumes, which provide real time Global Illumination. Seeing as I have no UVs at all on these models, I'd figured I'd play around with it and see what I can do. So far I think it's a good start, but the level seems to be a bit too dark. Still got a bit more work to do.


    It's pretty cool that this stuff is running in real time. Saves me from waiting for lighting bakes. P:
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Been chipping away at this scene for the past couple of days. I've rearranged part of the layout and added some more assets like the counter tops, doors, and trim (each asset still under 300 tris!). I've also tweaked the lighting a bit more. The props challenge has been over for a while now, but for some reason I just want to keep working on it. :P 





    Some unlit snapshots:

  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Added a few more assets and continued to mess with the lighting. Ended up making a short(ish) to-do list of additional low-poly props that I felt would give the area more personality, and so I'm currently working through that. Hopefully I'll finish most of it tomorrow and start entering the final polishing stages of the scene. 

    Oh! And almost forgot to mention that I finally managed to add a single 256 texture to my scene, haha. It's for the IBM monitor which you can kinda see in the screenshot below.




  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Heading straight from one project to another, I've begun working on my entry for ArtStation's Wild West challenge!
    I'll also be posting some progression on my Submission Page.

    I will be creating an environment using one of Fin Downes' concepts as reference: https://www.artstation.com/contests/wild-west/challenges/44/submissions/26582



    Today I've created the blockout for the wagon and some of its accessories. I looked at some other wagons to help understand how this type of vehicle is generally constructed. I've got a folder with a bunch more pictures, but this is pretty much what I've been staring at for the most part.



    Next up will be placing this in Unreal to see how well the scale feels in-engine. I've been using the average dimensions of a delivery wagon to help with proportions, so hopefully it should turn out alright in-engine. I'll be blocking out the large building in the level as well. I want to get both of these inorganic blockouts done as early as possible as I have a feeling making that tree might turn into a project into itself, haha.
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