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Sketchbook: Stephanie Nieves

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  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Found a little bit of free time today and continued working on my blockout. I'll give the tree a proper blockout model in Maya soon.


    Here's the full concept art below for comparison:

  • joshephkirley
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  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Back from an unexpected hiatus! Had some major life changes occur over the past two months, which kinda put this project on hold until things got sorted out. But now my hands are free to art! It feels great to push some polygons once again, haha

    First thing I revisited was the wagon: I fleshed out more of its shape and added a few details. I then exported my building blockout from UE4 into Maya and I'm currently reconstructing the geo there while adjusting some proportional issues.

    Even though the Wild West Challenge has already been closed, I'd like to continue working on this project. I have a few ideas I'd like to add to make this a neat environment for Halloween. Hopefully I'll be able to complete this by October!




  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Wanted to pop in for a small update: finally got the building modeled! Next up will be UVing everything, which shouldn't be too bad as I tried to keep pieces modular and symmetrical :)


  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3


    Still chipping away at this project! Assets got the UV treatment and I spent a moment messing with the Unreal scene. I've decided to start tackling the textures using Substance Designer. My goal will be to achieve a stylized look through procedurally generated textures as opposed to handpainting everything in Photoshop. I've laid out my UVs so that I could use repeated textures for the wood of the wagon, and for 90% of the building.

    Right now I'm refreshing my brain on using Designer since it's been a while, but I'm hoping to post more progress pictures soon!
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    It's been a minute, but I have returned!

    The artist in me recently woke up from a very deep sleep, and has been itching to create some new art. However, I've been curious about exploring the 2D side of things. I've recently began some courses from CGMA to see if I could take a stab at drawing out some ideas. I love making 3D worlds, but the bit I struggled with has been coming up with my own designs and concepts.

    So this Sketchbook will start having some of my drawings, and I'll be cross-posting with some of my assignments for additional feedback (hopefully!). And honestly, I think it would be a super cool challenge if I could draw out a 2D environment and then translate it into something in 3D.
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Currently working on a throne room scene, here are some thumbs and a rough draft of an idea:



  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Learned alot about what happens when a vanishing point is too close to the edge; gives an interesting angle, but becomes quite challenging in figuring out how different shapes are supposed to look when foreshortened. Ellipses are still a little tricky to wrangle, but I think I'm beginning to understand how they properly deform.


  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    3-point perspective! 
    Edit: Was pointed out to me that I had my 3rd VP set up in the opposite direction of where it should be (it should be below the scene as we're looking down on the objects). Whoops!







  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    WIPs of a wide shot/pan scene. I'm attempting a Moebius-ish style for the final pass and I'm having a bit of fun with it.

  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3

    Made some slight revisions based on some nice feedback received the other day. Most of it was addressing the slightly confusing texture choices for the tops of the pillars, and the brick wall at the far back. Also revisited the hourglasses & their sand in order to give them better form.
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3

    Some more practice with 3-point perspective
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Some traditional texturing/cross-hatch exercises from a CGMA class.
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3


    A preview of what my next portfolio project will be. 2021 is the year where I’m diving back into primarily 3D work, and I’ll be creating an environment based on an original concept piece I sketched up. My goal isn’t to match my drawing 1:1, but to utilize it as a jumping off point to help me develop the idea I had in my head. 

    I’m a bit rusty as it’s been a minute since I’ve completed a full personal project, and so this shall be my way of getting back up to speed. In addition, I’ve got a couple of learning goals I want to reach towards as I’m chipping away at this block: 

    Actually Learning Blender
    • This will be my first project utilizing Blender throughout the entire process. My go-to modeling/uv-ing software for the past several years has always been Maya, but I’ve been curious about fully learning Blender, as my brief time with it during previous projects have been positive. It’s also free, which would be nicer for my budget. :)
    Expanding Substance Skills
    • I’d also like to expand my skills within the Substance Suite, primarily Designer. This project will be somewhat stylized, and I’ve seen so many awesome results created procedurally from other artists. While painting away in Photoshop is fun, the efficiency and flexibility that Designer provides shows that it’s a powerful tool worth learning fully.

    Due to the amount of things that I’ll be spending time learning (and the fact that I still have a day job taking up most of my time), I kept the scope of the actual environment small. I realize there isn’t alot of mesh modularity present, but I’ll probably make up for it by focusing on trim sheets and modular textures.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Edit: In a way to organize my thoughts of the purpose and mood of this room and to get a better sense of direction, I’ve written up a short blurb of what kind of character this is for. It’s been helping me a bit in regards to figuring out the design:
    Duncan, the character this room is for, is an explorer/artifact recoverer for hire, with his previous life being a successful merc who was forced into early retirement and into hiding after a major business fallout with his long-term partner. The ship is a mid-tier compact cargo ship; usually built to hold small to medium loads and a very small team (about 3 people). This ship model is typically used in the industry for transportation of common non-organic supplies, so Duncan over the years has deeply modified it for extra defense, basic stealth, and added some luxury cosmetic touches (such as carpeting and wood paneling) to meet his tastes. Very few computer-based parts are factory, as alot of the technology here came from the previous career when Duncan did even more riskier jobs and required top-of-the-line surveillance and communication. 

    This area may be considered a mobile tech base, but because its location is a bedroom, it has only basic functions that communicate with the rest of the ship. Majority of official work and communication occurs in the central hub, so bedroom tech is limited and utilized mainly as occasional surveillance.

  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3


    This week I think I’ve reached a good point in my blockout to start texturing. I’ve created base meshes, and UVs have been laid out. I’ve contemplated on creating hi-res meshes to bake out, but I’m curious to see how much I can push with just Designer. 

    The room does feel a little small, yet I am conflicted on whether to scale everything up or not. References that I’ve been using for inspiration included submarine captain’s quarters and other various rooms, as the initial idea is that this bedroom is located on an industrial cargo ship that’s been refurbished for personal use. So I am aiming for a compact space. That being said, I’ll likely go back and fix the scaling of the bed, as it looks a little too large/long.


    Some more screenshots of additional angles:



  • Undertopian
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    A good chunk of time has been spent reviewing a few Designer tutorials and articles, and so begins my creation of some of the base textures. Far from done, but I'm getting a feel of how I'd like these materials to look. The walnut wood is beginning to look kinda cool, though I will have to revisit it at some point to make another pass addressing some of the weird, abstract "knots". I'm thinking of introducing paneling on the flat wall to break up the repetition, as well.

    Also played around with the idea of using a decal for certain designs, such as the orange paint on the curved wall.



    Keep on, keeping on...
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3


    Been staring at Substance graphs for the past few weeks, lol. Still have a fair bit of work to go, but I’m liking how some parts are turning out. Been playing around with POM as well. The bedframe model is a fairly simple mesh where the little grooves, vents, and indents are currently being shaped by the heightmap I put together in Substance. Overall, I really dig the software, it just feels kinda alien to wrap my brain around creating shapes and such via nodes as opposed to normally using high res bakes. Obviously, larger shapes and silhouettes will forever be geometry-powered, but it's neat to have an alternative to floating geo and sculpts.
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3


    Completed some work on the door, and readjusted several albedos as they were reading too dark in-engine.
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3

    Incoming update dump (it’s a little image heavy)! 

    Okay, so, it’s been some time since the last post, but throughout these few months, I’ve been chipping away at this project. A lot has evolved!

    First thing that’s noticeable is that the room looks very different, particularly in design. While working through my asset list, I realized the models themselves were...lacking. Nothing wrong with simplicity, but they felt a little too basic, and it really wasn’t pushing me in the ways where I felt like I was learning new modeling techniques with Blender. I think I was just playing it too safe? The textures were looking alright, but the models themselves didn’t have personality on their own. While I’m not going super crazy with the stylization, I still want each part of the room to feel like it has its own shape and rhythm, if that makes sense. So I went back to the drawing board (literally) and whipped up a new concept to use as part of my reference.


    Voilà! New & Improved!

    And here’s what the right curved wall would look:


    And here’s the original for comparison (lol)

    I’m much happier with the new design, and honestly it’s a lesson learned that concept design is a whole beast of its own skillset, and I shouldn’t take it lightly, haha. When I went back to further iterate on the room, I spent some time looking at various old tech and retro interior and furniture design, trying to understand what were some of the common shape languages found during these time periods (furniture ranging from 50s - 70s, and the technology design mostly based on 70s through 90s, with a few modern bits mixed in). I didn’t want to create a strict time capsule of any particular era, but more looking at a distant (unrealistic) future that carried over alot of the elements found in these decades. Basically a “best of” in terms of retro design, in my opinion.

    These are some brainstorming drawings I made during this process:

    I thought about what other parts of the ship would look like using this aesthetic, and what materials and shapes would be found depending on its location and function. Part of the galley to the left, and part of the study (now part of the bedroom) to the right.

    Also, some cases:


    Time for some actual in-engine stuff! There’s still plenty of work left to do, but already I feel more confident about this new direction. 





    Everything in this scene has been modeled and UV’d in Blender, and the various different shapes allowed me to try different things regarding modifiers, curves, sculpting, and even some simulation (for the bedding and pillows). I’m definitely a lot more comfortable with the program now. And Substance Designer! All textures here (that don’t include text or highly graphical elements) have been created using the node-based system. There are for sure several situations where Painter would’ve provided a quicker solution for some assets, but for the case of just becoming more familiar with Designer, I think the results aren’t that bad. P:

    Below, here are some closeups of props and materials that are furthest along in terms of progression.


    Even more below, are some iray renders of smaller props. Because of how little screen space they take, I decided to keep them relatively low poly.



    I took one of the artifact props and uploaded it to Sketchfab, if you want to tumble it around!

    model

    Annnnnnnd I think that’s it so far.


    If you made it to the end, thanks so much for checking this project out! If you have any feedback, please feel free to share, as I would appreciate any critiques from eyes other than my own, haha.

    I try to work on this project as much as I can, and I will be posting a little more frequently so that I don’t have to create large posts such as these. I don’t have a set schedule or anything, but at least once or maybe twice a month would be a goal!

  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3

    I spent the last couple of weeks playing around with Substance Painter, to get myself re-acquainted with the software. I modeled a small set of props based on some of my concepts, and used both Painter and Designer to texture them. I’ll spend some more time with it tomorrow adding a couple more decorative bits. 

    Screenshots are from UE4.



  • Scozzi
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    Scozzi polycounter lvl 10
    cant wait to see more. this is great!
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